Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, by HARPER BROTHERS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.
PREFACE. AT the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Oxford in 1860, I read an abstract of the physiological argument contained in this work respecting the mental progress of Europe, reserving the historical evidence for subsequent publication. This volume contains that evidence. It is intended as the completion of my work on Human Physiology, in which man was treated of as an individual. In this he is considered in his social relation. But the reader will also find, I think, that it is a history of the progress of ideas and opinions from a point of view heretofore almost entirely neglected. There are two methods of dealing with philosophical questions-the literary and the scientific. Many things which in a purely literary treatment of the subject remain in the background, spontaneously assume a more striking position when their scientific relations are considered. It is the latter method that I have used. Social advancement is as completely under the control of natural law as is bodily growth. The life of an individual is a miniature of the life of a nation. These propositions it is the special object of this book to demonstrate. No one, I believe, has hitherto undertaken the labor of arranging the evidence offered by the intellectual history of Europe in accordance with physiological principles, so as to illustrate the orderly progress of civilization, or collected the facts furnished by other branches of science with a view of enabling us to recognize clearly the conditions under which that progress takes place. This philosophical deficiency I have endeavored in the following pages to supply. Seen thus through the medium of physiology, history presents a new aspect to us. We gain a more just and thorough appreciation of the thoughts and motives of men in successive ages of the world. In the Preface to the second edition of my Physiology, published in 1858, it was mentioned that this work was at tlat time written. The
changes that have been since made in it have been chiefly with a view of condensing it. The discussion of several scientific questions, such as that of the origin of species, which have recently attracted public attention so strongly, has, however, remained untouched, the principles offered being the same as presented in the former work in 1856. NEW YORK, 1861.
POSTSCRIPT. OWING to the Civil War, the publication of this work has been postponed for nearly two years. I do not regret the delay. The American reader, for whom it is chiefly intended, will find on many of its pages suggestions arising from the history of other people and other institutions, which may be profitably considered in connection with the great events now transpiring. When a nation has reached one of the epochs of its life, and is preparing itself for another period of progress under new conditions, it is well for every thoughtful man interested in its prosperity to turn his eyes from the contentions of the present to the accomplished facts of the past, and to seek for a solution of existing difficulties in the record of what other people in former times have done.
NEW YORK, 1863. PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. IN the course of a few months a large edition of this work has been exhausted, and a second one is called for. For this token of public approval and encouragement I return my sincere thanks. In this edition I have not thought it necessary to make any changes. There had been so long a delay between the original composition of the work and its publication, that unusual opportunities had already been afforded for revising it. NEW YORK, 1864.
CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. ON THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE BY LAW. The Subject of this Work proposed.-Its Difficulty. Gradual Acquisition of the Idea of Natural Government by Law.-It is eventually sustained by Astronomical, Meteorological, and Physiological Discoveries.-Illustrations from Kepler's Laws, the Trade-winds, Migrations of Birds, Balancing of Vegetable and Animal Life, Variation of Species and their Permanence. Individual Man is an Emblem of Communities, Nations, and Universal Humanity.- They exhibit Epochs of Life like his, and like him are under the Control of Physical Conditions, and therefore of Law. Plan of this Work.-The intellectual History of Greece.-Its Five characteristic Ages.-European intellectual History. Grandeur of the Doctrine that the World is governed by Law................................ Page 1
CHAPTER II. OF EUROPE: ITS TOPOGRAPHY AND ETHNOLOGY. ITS PRIMITIVE MODES OF THOUGHT, AND THEIR PROGRESSIVE VARIATIONS, MANIFESTED IN THE GREEK AGE OF CREDULITY. Description of Europe: its Topography, meteorology, and secular geological Movements.Their Effect on its Inhabitants. Its Ethnology determined through its Vocabularies; it was peopled from Asia. Comparative Theology of Greece; the Stage of Sorcery, the Anthropocentric Stage.-Becomes connected with false Geography and Astronomy.-Heaven, the Earth, the Under World.-Origin, continuous Variation and Progress of Greek Theology.-It issues in Ionic Philosophy. Decline of Greek Theology, occasioned by the Advance of Geography and philosophical Criticism. -Secession of Poets, Philosophers, Historians.-Abortive public Attempts to sustain it.-Duration of its Decline.-Its Fall....................................................................... 17
CHAPTER III. DIGRESSION ON HINDU THEOLOGY AND EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION. Comparative Theology of India; its Phase of Sorcery; its Anthropocentric Phase. VEDAISM the Contemplation of Matter, or Adoration of Nature, set forth in the Vedas and Institutes of Menu. - The Universe is God. - Transmutation of the World. - Doctrine of Emanation.-Transmigration.-Absorption.-Penitential Services.-The Happiness of absolute Quietude. BUDDHISM the Contemplation of Force. The supreme impersonal Power. - Nature of the world-of Man.-The Passage of every thing to Nonentity.-Development of Buddhism into a vast monastic System marked by intense Selfishness.-Its practical Godlessness. EGYPT a mysterious Country to the old Europeans.-Its History, great public Works, and foreign Relations-its Fall.-Antiquity of its Civilization and Art.-Its Philosophy, hieroglyphic Literature, and peculiar Agriculture. Rise of Civilization in rainless Countries. - Geography, Geology, and Topography of Egypt. - The Inundations of the Nile lead to Astronomy. Comparative Theology of Egypt.-Animal Worship, Star Worship.-Impersonation of Divine Attributes-Pantheism.- The Trinities of Egypt.-Incarnation. Redemption.-Future Judgment.-Trial of the Dead.-Rituals and Ceremonies................................ 41
vi CONTENTS. CHAPTER IV. GREEK AGE OF INQUIRY. RISE AND DECLINE OF PHYSICAL SPECULATION. IONIAN PHILOSOPHY, commencing from Egyptian Ideas, identifies in Water, or Air, or Fire, the First Principle.-Emerging from the Stage of Sorcery, it founds Psychology, Biology, Cosmogony, Astronomy, and ends in doubting whether there is any Criterion of Truth. ITALIAN PHILOSOPHY depends on Numbers and Harmonies.-It reproduces the Egyptian and Hindu Doctrine of Transmigration. ELEATIC PHILOSOPHY presents a great Advance, indicating a rapid Approach to Oriental Ideas. -It assumes a Pantheistic Aspect. RISE OF PHILOSOPHY IN EUROPEAN GREECE.-Relations and Influence of the Mediterranean Commercial and Colonial System. Athens attain# to commercial Supremacy.-Her vast Progress in Intelligence and Art. Her Demoralization.-She becomes the-Intellectual Centre of the Mediterranean. Commencement of the Athenian higher Analysis.-It is conducted by THE SOPHISTS, who reject Philosophy, Religion, and even Morality, and end in Atheism. Political Dangers of the higher Analysis.-Illustration from the Middle Ages...........
Page 69 CHAPTER V. THE GREEK AGE OF FAITH. RISE AND DECLINE OF ETHICAL PHILOSOPHY. SOCRATES rejects Physical and Mathematical Speculations, and asserts the Importance of Virtue and Morality, thereby inaugurating an Age of Faith. - His Life and Death. - The Schools originating from his Movement teach the Pursuit of Pleasure and Gratification of Self. PLATO founds the Academy.-His three primal Principles. The Existence of a personal God. -Nature of the World and the Soul.-The ideal Theory, Generals or Types.-Reminiscence. - Transmigration. - Plato's political Institutions. - His Republic. - His Proofs of the Immortality of the Soul.- Criticism on his Doctrines. RISE OF THE SKEPTICS, who conduct the higher Analysis of Ethical Philosophy.-Pyrrho demonstrates the Uncertainty of Knowledge. -Inevitable Passage into tranquil Indifference, Quietude, and Irreligion, as recommended by Epicurus. - Decomposition of the Socratic and Platonic Systems in the later Academies.-Their Errors and Duplicities.-End of the Greek Age of Faith.............................................................................................. 106
CHAPTER VI. THE GREEK AGE OF REASON. RISE OF SCIENCE. THE MACEDONIAN CAMPAIGN.-Disastrous in its political Effects to Greece, but ushering in the Age of Reason. ARISTOTLE founds the Inductive Philosophy.-His Method the Inverse of that of Plato.-Its great Power.-In his own hands it fails for want of Knowledge, but is carried out by the Alexandrians. ZENO.-His Philosophical Aim is the Cultivation of Virtue and Knowledge.-He is in the Ethical Branch the Counterpart of Aristotle in the Physical. FOUNDATION OF THE MUSEUM OF ALEXANDRIA.-The great Libraries, Observatories, Botanical Gardens, Menageries, Dissecting Houses.-Its Effect on the rapid Development of exact Knowledge. -Influence of Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes, Apollonius, Ptolemy, Hipparchus, on Geometry, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Chronology, Geography. Decline of the Greek Age of Reason................................................................... 127
CONTENTS. Vii CHAPTER VII. THE GREEK AGE OF INTELLECTUAL DECREPITUDE. THE DEATH OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY. Decline of Greek Philosophy: it becomes Retrospective, and in Philo the Jew and Apollonius of Tyana leans on Inspiration, Mysticism, Miracles. NEO-PLATONISM founded by Ammonius Saccas, followed by Plotinus, Porphyry, lamblicus, Proclus.- The Alexandrian Trinity.-Ecstasy.-Alliance with M]agic, Necromancy. The Emperor Justinian closes the philosophical Schools. Summary of Greek Philosophy. -Its four Problems: 1. Origin of the World; 2. Nature of the Soul; 3. Existence of God; 4. Criterion of Truth.-Solution of these Problems in the Age of Inquiry-in that of Faith-in that of Reason-in that of Decrepitude. Determination of the Law of Variation of Greek Opinion.-The Development of National Intellect is the same as that of Individual. Determination of the final Conclusions of Greek Philosophy as to God, the World, the Soul, the Criterion of Truth.-Illustrations and Criticisms on each of these Points............. Page 153
CHAPTER VIII. DIGRESSION ON THE HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHICAL INFLUENCES OF ROME. PREPARATION FOR RESUMING THE EXAMINATION OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS OF EUROPE. Religious Ideas of the primitive Europeans.- The Form of their Variations is determined by the Influence of Rome.-Necessity of Roman History in these Investigations. Rise and Development of Roman Power, its successive Phases, territorial Acquisitions.-Becomes Supreme in the Mediterranean.-Consequent Demoralization of Italy.-Irresistible Concentration of Power.-Development of Imperialism.-Eventual Extinction of the true Roman Race. Effect on the intellectual, religious, and social Condition of the Mediterranean Countries.-Produces homogeneous Thought. - Imperialism prepares the Way for Monotheism. - Momentous Transition of the Roman World in its religious Ideas. Opinions of the Roman Philosophers.-Coalescence of the new and old Ideas.-Seizure of Power by the Illiterate, and consequent Debasement of Christianity in Rome........................ 177
CHAPTER IX. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF INQUIRY. THE PROGRESSIVE VARIATION OF OPINIONS CLOSED BY THE INSTITUTION OF COUNCILS AND THE CONCENTRATION OF POWER IN A PONTIFF. RISE, EARLY VARIATIONS, CONFLICTS, AND FINAL ESTABLISHMENT OF CHRISTIANITY. Rise of Christianity. Distinguished from ecclesiastical Organization.-It is demanded by the deplorable Condition of the Empire. -Its brief Conflict with Paganism.- Character of its first Organization.- Variations of Thought and Rise of Sects: their essential Difference in the East and West.-The three primitive Forms of Christianity: the Judaic Form, its Gnostic Form, its End-the African Form, continues. Spread of Christianity from Syria.-Its Antagonism to Imperialism; their Conflicts.-Position of Affairs under Dioclesian.-The Policy of Constantine.-He avails himself of the Christian Party, and through it attains supreme Power. His personal Relations to it. The Trinitarian Controversy.-Story of Arius.-The Council of Nicea. The Progress of the Bishop of Rome to Supremacy.-The Roman Church; its primitive subordinate Position. Causes of its increasing Wealth, Influence, and Corruptions.-Stages of its Advancement through the Pelagian, Nestorian, and Eutychian Disputes.-Rivalry of the Bishops of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Rome. Necessity of a Pontiff in the West and ecclesiastical Councils in the East.-Nature of those Councils and of pontifical Power. The Period closes at the Capture and Sack of Rome by Alaric.-Defense of that Event by St. Augustine.-Criticism on his Writings. Character of the Progress of Thought through this Period.-Destiny of the three great Bishops........................................................................................................ 197
Viii CONTENTS. CHAPTER X. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF FAITH. / AGE OF FAITH IN THE EAST. Consolidation of the Byzantine System, or the Union of Church and State.-The consequent Paganization of Religion and Persecution of Philosophy. Political Necessity for the Enforcement of Patristicism, or Science of the Fathers.-Its peculiar Doctrines. Obliteration of the Vestiges of Greek Knowledge by Patristicism.- The Libraries and Serapion of Alexandria. Destruction of the latter by Theodosius.-Death of Hypatia. Extinction of Learning in the East by Cyril, his Associates and Successors............................ Page 228
CHAPTER XI. PREMATURE END OF THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE EAST. THE THREE ATTACKS, VANDAL, PERSIAN, ARAB. THE VANDAL ATTACK leads to the Loss of Africa.-Recovery of that Province by Justinian after great Calamities. THE PERSIAN ATTACK leads to the Loss of Syria and Fall of Jerusalem.-The true Cross carried away as a Trophy.-Moral Impression of these Attacks. THE ARAB Attack.-Birth, Mission, and Doctrines of Mohammed.-Rapid Spread of his Faith in Asia and Africa.-Fall of Jerusalem.-Dreadful Losses of Christianity to M ohammedanism.-The Arabs become a learned Nation. Review of the Koran.-Reflections on the Loss of Asia and Africa by Christendom......... 241 CHAPTER XII. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST. The Age of Faith in the West is marked by Paganism.-The Arabian military Attacks produce the Isolation and permit the Independence of the Bishop of Rome. GREGORY THE GREAT organizes the Ideas of his Age, materializes Faith, allies it with Art, rejects Science, and creates the Italian Form of Religion. An Alliance of the Papacy with France diffuses that Form.-Political History of the Agreement and Conspiracy of the Frankish Kings and the Pope.-The resulting Consolidation of the new Dynasty in France, and Diffusion of Roman Ideas. Conversion of Europe. The Value of the Italian Form of Religion determined from the papal Biography............ 258
CHAPTER XIII. DIGRESSION ON THE PASSAGE OF THE ARABIANS TO THEIR AGE OF REASON. INFLUENCE OF MEDICAL IDEAS THROUGH THE NESTORIANS AND JEWS. The intellectual Development of the Arabians is guided by the Nestorians and the Jews, and is in the medical Direction. The Basis of this Alliance is theological. Antagonism of the Byzantine System to scientific Medicine.-Suppression of the Asclepions.Their Replacement by Miracle-cure.-The resulting Superstition and Ignorance. Affiliation of the Arabians with the Nestorians and Jews. 1st. The Nestorians, their Persecutions, and the Diffusion of their sectarian Ideas.-They inherit the old Greek Medicines. Sub-digression on Greek Medicine.- The Asclepions.-Philosophical Importance of Hippocrates, who separates Medicine from Religion.-The School of Cnidos.-Its Suppression by Constantine. \ Sub-digression on Egyptian Medicine. -It is founded on Anatomy and Physiology.-Dissections and Vivisections.- The great Alexandrian Physicians. 2d. The Jewish Physicians.-Their Emancipation from Superstition.-They found Colleges and promote Science and Letters. The contemporary Tendency to Magic, Necromancy, the Black Art. The Philosopher's Stone, Elixir of Life, etc. The Arabs originate scientific Chemistry.- Discover the strong Acids, Phosphorus, etc.,
Their geological Ideas. - Apply Chemistry to the Practice of Medicine.-Approach of the Conflict between the Saracenic material and the European supernatural System....... Page 284
CHAPTER XIV. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST-( Continued). IMAGE-WORSHIP AND THE MONKS. Origin of IMAGE-WORSHIP.-utility of Images discovered in Asia and Africa during the Saracen Wars.-Rise of Iconoclasm. The Emperors prohibit Image-worship. The Monks, aided by court Females, sustain it.-Final Victory of the latter. Image-worship in the West sustained by the Popes. - Quarrel between the Emperor and the Pope.-The Pope, aided by the Monks, revolts and allies himself with the Franks. THE MONKS.-History of the Rise and Development of Monasticism.-Hermits and Cenobites. -Spread of Monasticism from Egypt over Europe.-Monk Miracles and Legends.-Humanization of the monastic Establishments.-They materialize Religion, and impress their Ideas on Europe......................................................................................... 306
CHAPTER XV. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST. THE THREE ATTACKS: NORTHERN OR MORAL; WESTERN OR INTELLECTUAL; EASTERN OR MILITARY. THE NORTHERN OR MORAL ATTACK ON THE ITALIAN SYSTEM, AND ITS TEMPORARY REPULSE. Geographical Boundaries of Italian Christianity.-Attacks upon it. The Northern or moral Attack.-The Emperor of Germany insists on a reformation in the Papacy.- Gerbert, the representative of these Ideas, is made Pope.-They are both poisoned by the Italians. Commencement of the intellectual Rejection of the Italian System.-Originates in the Arabian doctrine of the supremacy of Reason over Authority.-The question of Transubstantiation.-~Rise and development of Scholasticism.-Mutiny among the Monks. Gregory VII. spontaneously accepts and enforces a Reform in the Church. - Overcomes the Emperor of Germany.-Is on the point of establishing a European Theocracy.-The Popes seize the military and monetary Resources of Europe through the Crusades................. 326
CHAPTER XVI. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST-(Continued). THE WESTERN OR INTELLECTUAL ATTACK ON THE ITALIAN SYSTEM. The intellectual Condition of Christendom contrasted with that of Arabian Spain. Diffusion of Arabian intellectual Influences through France and Sicily.-Examples of Saracen Science in Alhazen, and of Philosophy in Algazzali.-Innocent III. prepares to combat these Influences.-Results to Western Europe of the Sack of Constantinople by the Catholics. The spread of Mohammedan light Literature is followed by Heresy. - The crushing of heresy in the South of France by armed Force, the Inquisition, mendicant Orders, auricular Confession, and Casuistry. The rising Sentiment is embodied in Frederick II. in Sicily.-His Conflict with and Overthrow by the Pope.-Spread of Mutiny among the mendicant Orders............................... 345
CHAPTER XVII. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST-(Continued). OVERTHROW OF THE ITALIAN SYSTEM BY THE COMBINED INTELLECTUAL AND MORAL ATTACK. Progress of Irreligion among the mendicant Orders. -Publication of heretical Books.-The Everlasting Gospel and the Comment on the Apocalypse. Conflict between Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII.-Outrage upon and death of the Pope. The French King removes the Papacy from Rome to Avignon.-Post-mortem Trial of the Pope for Atheism and Immorality.-Causes and Consequences of the Atheism of the Pope.
Page image X CONTENTS. The Templars fall into Infidelity.-Their Trial, Conviction, and Punishment. Immoralities of the Papal Court at Avignon.-Its return to Rome. - Causes of the great Schism. -Disorganization of the Italian System.-Decomposition of the Papacy.-Three Popes. The Council of Constance attempts to convert the papal Autocracy into a constitutional Monarchy. -It murders John Huss and Jerome of Prague.-Pontificate of Nicolas V.-End of the intellectual influence of the Italian System..................................................... Page 382
CHAPTER XVIII. THE AGE OF FAITH IN THE WEST-(Concluded). EFFECT OF THE EASTERN OR MILITARY ATTACK.-GENERAL REVIEW OF THE AGE OF FAITH. The Fall of Constantinople.-Its momentary Effect on the Italian System. GENERAL REVIEW OF THE INTELLECTUAL CONDITION IN THE AGE OF FAITH.-Supernaturalism and its Logic spread all over Europe.-It is destroyed by the Jews and Arabians.Its total Extinction. The Jewish Physicians.- Their Acquirements and Influence.- Their Collision with the Imposture medicine of Europe.-Their Effect on the higher Classes.-Opposition to them. Two Impulses, the Intellectual and Moral, operating against the Medieval] state of Things.Downfall of the Italian System through the intellectual Impulse from the West and the moral from the North.-Action of the former through Astronomy.-Origin of the moral Impulse.Their conjoint irresistible Effect.-Discovery of the state of Affairs in Italy. The Writings of Machiavelli.- What the Church had actually done. Entire M3ovement of the Italian System determined from a consideration of the four Revolts against it.................................................................................................. 402
CHAPTER XIX. APPROACH OF THE AGE OF REASON IN EUROPE. IT IS PRECEDED BY MARITIME DISCOVERY. Consideration of the definite Epochs of Social Life. Experimental Philosophy emerging in the Age of Faith. The Age of Reason ushered in by Maritime Discovery and the rise of European Criticism. MARITIME DISCOVERY.- The three great Voyages. COLUMBUS discovers America.-DE Gama doubles the Cape and reaches India.-MAGELLAN circumnavigates the Earth.-The material and intellectual Results of each of these Voyages. DIGRESSION ON THE SOCIAL CONDITION OF AMERICA.-In isolated human Societies the process of Thought and of Civilization is always the same. man passes through a determinate succession of Ideas and imbodies them in determinate Institutions. The state of Mexico and Peru proves the influence of Law in the development of Man.......................................... 436
CHAPTER XX. APPROACH OF THE AGE OF REASON IN EUROPE. IT IS PRECEDED BY THE RISE OF CRITICISM. Restoration of Greek Literature and Philosophy in Italy.-Development of Modern Languages and Rise of Criticism.-Imminent Danger to Latin Ideas. Invention of Printing.-It revolutionizes the Communication of Knowledge, especially acts on Public Worship, and renders the Pulpit secondary. THE REFORMATION.-Theory of Supererogation and Use of Indulgences.-The Right of Individual Judgment asserted.-Political History of the Origin, Culmination, and Check of the Reformation.-Its Effects in Italy. Causes of the Arrest of the Reformation.-Internal Causes in Protestantism.-External in the Policy of Rome.-The Counter-Reformation.-Inquisition.-Jesuits.-Secession of the great Critics.-Culmination of the Reformation in America.-Emergence of Individual Liberty of Thought........................................................................................... 465
Page image CONTENTS. xi CHAPTER XXI. DIGRESSION ON THE CONDITION OF ENGLAND AT THE END OF THE AGE OF FAITH. RESULTS PRODUCED BY THE AGE OF FAITH. Condition of England at the Suppression of the Monasteries. Condition of England at the Close of the seventeenth Century.-Locomotion, Literature, Libraries.-Social and private Life of the Laity and Clergy.-Brutality in the Administration of Law.-Profligacy of Literature.- The Theatre, its three Phases.-Miracle, Moral, and Real Plays. Estimate of the Advance made in the Age of Faith.-Comparison with that already made in the Age of Reason.................................................................................... 494
CHAPTER XXII. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF REASON. REJECTION OF AUTHORITY AND TRADITION, AND ADOPTION OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTH.-DISCOVERY OF THE TRUE POSITION OF THE EARTH IN THE UNIVERSE. Ecclesiastical Attempt to enforce the GEOCENTRIC DOCTRINE that the Earth is the Centre of the Universe, and the most important Body in it. The HELIOCENTRIC DOCTRINE that the Sun is the Centre of the Solar System, and the Earth a small Planet, comes gradually into Prominence. Struggle between the Ecclesiastical and Astronomical Parties.-Activity of the Inquisition.Burning of Bruno.-Imprisonment of GALILEO. INVENTION OF THE TELESCOPE. - Complete Overthrow of the Ecclesiastical Idea.- Rise of Physical Astronomy.-NEWTON.-Rapid and resistless Development of all Branches of Natural;al Philosophy. Final Establishment of the Doctrine that the Universe is under the Dominion of mathematical, and, therefore, necessary Laws. Progress of Man from Anthropocentric Ideas to the Discovery of his true Position and Insignificance in the Universe................................................................................ 511
CHAPTER XXIII. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF REASON-( Continued). HISTORY OF THE EARTH.-HER SUCCESSIVE CHANGES IN THE COURSE OF TIME. Oriental and Occidental Doctrines respecting the Earth in Time.-Gradual Weakening of the Latter by astronomical Facts, and the Rise of Scientific Geology. Impersonal Manner in which the Problem was eventually solved, chiefly through Facts connected with Heat. Proofs of limitless Duration from inorganic Facts.-Igneous and Aqueous Rocks. Proofs of the same from organic Facts.-Successive Creations and Extinctions of living Forms, and their contemporaneous Distribution. Evidences of a slowly declining Temperature, and, therefore, of a long Time.-The Process of Events by Catastrophe and by Law.-Analogy of Individual and Race Development.-Both are determined by unchangeable Law. Conclusion that the Plan of the Universe indicates a 1Multiplicity of Worlds in infinite Space, and a Succession of Worlds in infinite Time...................................................... 542
CHAPTER XXIV. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF REASON-(Continued). THE NATURE AND RELATIONS OF MAN. Position of Man according to the Heliocentric and Geocentric Theories. OF ANIMAL LIFE.-The transitory Nature of living Forms.-Relations of Plants and Animals.-Animals are Aggregates of Matter expending Force originally derived from the Sun. THE ORGANIC SERIES.-Man a Member of it.-His Position determined by Anatomical and Physiological Investigation of his Nervous System.-Its triple Form: Automatic, Instinctive, Intellectual.
Page image xii CONTENTS. The same progressive Development is seen in individual Man, in the entire animal Series, and in the Life of the Globe.-They are all under the Control of an eternal, universal, irresistible Law. The Aim of Nature is intellectual Development, and human Institutions must conform thereto. Summary of the Investigation of the Position of Man.-Production of Inorganic and Organic Forms by the Sun.-Nature of Animals and their Series.-Analogies and Differences between them and Man.- The Soul.-The World............................................. Page 574
CHAPTER XXV. THE EUROPEAN AGE OF REASON ( Continued). TIE UNION OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY. European Progress in the Acquisition of exact Knowledge.-Its Resemblance to that of Greece. Discoveries respecting the Air.-Its mechanical and chemical Properties.-Its Relation to Animals and Plants.-The WInds.-Meteorology. -Sounds.-Acoustic Phenomena. Discoveries respecting the Ocean.-Physical and chemical Phenomena.-Tides and Currents.Clouds.-Decomposition of TWater. Discoveries respecting other material Substances.-Progress of Chemistry. Discoveries respecting Electricity, Magnetism, Light, Heat. Mechanical Philosophy and Inventions.-Physical Instruments.-The Result illustrated by the Cotton Manufacture-Steam-engine-Bleaching- Canals-Railways.-Improvements in the Construction of Machinery. -Social Changes produced.-Its Effect on intellectual Activity. The scientific Contributions of various Nations, and especially of Italy.......................... 595
CHAPTER XXVI. CONCLUSION.-THE FUTURE OF EUROPE. Summary of the Argument presented in this Book respecting the mental Progress of Europe. Intellectual Development is the Object of individual Life.-It is also the Result of social Progress. Nations arriving at M2laturity instinctively attempt their own intellectual Organization.-Example of the Manner in which this has been done in China.-Its Imperfection.- What it has accomplished. 7The Organization of public Intellect is the End to which European Civilization is tending.. 615
THE INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPE.
CHAPTER I. ON THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE BY LAW.
The Subject of this Work proposed.-Its Difficulty. Gradual Acquisition of the Idea of Natural Government by Law.-It is eventually sustained by Astronomical, Meteorological, and Physiological Discoveries.-Illustrations from Kepler's Laws, the Trade-winds, Migrations of Birds, Balancing of Vegetable and Animal Life, Variation of Species and their Permanence. Individual Man is an Emblem of Communities, Nations, and Universal Humanity. They exhibit Epochs of Life like his, and like him are under the Control of Physical Conditions, and therefore of Law. Plan of this Work.-The intellectual History of Greece.-Its Five characteristic Ages.-European intellectual History. Grandeur of the Doctrine that the World is governed by Law.
I INTEND, in this work, to consider in what manner the advancement of Europe in civilization has taken place, to ascertain how far its progress has been fortuitous, and how far determined by primordial law. Does the procession of nations in time, like the erratic phantasm of a dream, go forward without reason or order? or, is there a predetermined, a solemn march, in which all must join, ever moving, ever restlessly advancing, encountering and enduring an inevitable succession of events? In a philosophical examination of the intellectual and political history of nations, an answer to these questions is to be found. But how difficult it is to master the mass of facts necessary to be collected, to handle so great an accumulation, to arrange it in the clearest point of view; how difficult it is to select correctly the representative men, to produce them in the proper scenes, and to conduct successfully so grand and complicated a drama as that of European life! Though in one sense the subject offers itself as a scientific problem, and in that manner alone I have to deal with it, in another it swells into a noble epic-the life of humanity, its warfare and repose, its object and its end. Man is the archetype of society. Individual development is the model of social progress.
2 PRIMITIVE OPINIONS OF MAN.
Some have asserted that human affairs are altogether determined by the voluntary action of men, some that the Providence of God directs us in every step, some that all events are fixed by Destiny. It is for us to ascertain how far each of these affirmations is true. The life of individual man is of a mixed nature. In part he submits to the free-will impulses of himself and others, in part he is under the inexorable dominion of law. He insensibly changes his estimate of the relative power of each of these influences as he passes through successive stages. In the confidence of youth he imagines that very much is under his control, in the disappointment of old age very little. As time wears on, and the delusions of early imagination vanish away, he learns to correct his sanguine views, and prescribes a narrower boundary for the things he expects to obtain. The realities of life undeceive him at last, and there steals over the evening of his days an unwelcome conviction of the vanity of human hopes. The things he has secured are not the things he expected. He sees that a Supreme Power has been using him for unknown ends, that he was brought into the world without his own knowledge, and is departing from it against his own will. Whoever has made the physical and intellectual history of individual man his study, will be prepared to admit in what a surprising manner it foreshadows social history. The equilibrium and movement of humanity are altogether physiological phenomena. Yet not without hesitation may such an opinion be frankly avowed, since it is offensive to the pride, and to many of the prejudices and interests of our age. An author who has been disposed to devote many years to the labor of illustrating this topic, has need of the earnest support of all who prize the truth; and, considering the extent and profundity of his subject, his work, at the best, must be very imperfect, requiring all the forbearance, and even the generosity of criticism. In the intellectual infancy of a savage state Man transfers to Nature his conceptions of himself, and, considering that every thing he does is determined by his own pleasure, regards all passing events as depending on the arbitrary volition of a superior but invisible power. He gives to the world a constitution like his own. The tendency is necessarily to superstition. Whatever is strange, or powerful, or vast, impresses his imagination with dread. Such objects are only the outward manifestations of an indwelling spirit, and therefore worthy of his veneration. After Reason, aided by Experience, has led him forth from these delusions as respects surrounding things, he still clings to his original ideas as respects objects far removed. In the distance and irresistible motions of the stars he finds arguments for the supernatural, and gives to
THE IDEA OF GOVERNMENT BY LAW. 3
each of those shining bodies an abiding and controlling genius. The mental phase through which he is passing permits him to believe in the exercise of planetary influences on himself. But as reason led him forth from fetichism, so in due time it again leads him forth from star-worship. Perhaps not without regret does he abandon the mythological forms he has created; for, long after he has ascertained that the planets are nothing more than shining points, without any perceptible influence on him, he still venerates the genii once supposed to vivify them, perhaps even he exalts them into immortal gods. Philosophically speaking, he is; exchanging by ascending degrees his primitive doctrine of arbitrary volition for the doctrine of law. As the fall of a stone, the flowing of a river, the movement of a shadow, the rustling of a leaf, have been traced to physical causes, to like causes at last are traced the revolutions of the stars. In events and scenes continually increasing in greatness and grandeur, he is detecting the dominion of law. The goblins, and genii, and gods who successively extorted his fear and veneration, who determined events by their fitful passions or whims, are at last displaced by the noble conception of one Almighty Being, who rules the universe according to reason, and therefore according to law. In this manner the doctrine of government by law is extended, until at last it embraces all natural events. It was thus that, hardly two centuries ago, that doctrine gathered immense force from the discovery of Newton that Kepler's laws, under which the movements of the planetary bodies are executed, issue as a mathematical necessity from a very simple material condition, and that the complicated motions of the solar system can not be other than what they are. Few of those who read in the beautiful geometry of the Principia the demonstration of this fact, saw the imposing philosophical consequences which must inevitably follow this scientific discovery. And now the investigation of the aspect of the skies in past ages, and all predictions of its future, rest essentially upon the principle that no arbitrary volition ever intervenes, the gigantic mechanism moving impassively in virtue of a mathematical law. And so upon the earth, the more perfectly we understand the causes of present events, the more plainly are they seen to be the consequences of physical conditions, and therefore the results of law. To allude to one example out of many that might be considered, the winds, how proverbially inconstant, who can tell whence they come trial events. or whither they go! If any thing bears the fitful character of arbitrary volition, surely it is these. But we deceive ourselves in imagining that atmospheric events are fortuitous. Where shall a line be drawn between that eternal trade-wind, which, originating in well-un-
4 LAW IN THE INORGANIC AND ORGANIC WORLD.
derstood physical causes, sweeps, like the breath of destiny, slowly, and solemnly, and everlastingly over the Pacific Ocean, and the variable gusts into which it degenerates in more northerly and southerly regions -gusts which seem to come without any cause, and to pass away without leaving any trace? In what latitude is it that the domain of the physical ends, and that of the supernatural begins? All mundane events are the results of the operation of law. Every movement in the skies or upon the earth proclaims to us that the universe is under government. But if we admit that this is the case, from the mote that floats in the sunbeam to multiple stars revolving round each other, are we willing to carry our principles to their consequences, and recognize a like operation of law among living as among lifeless things, in the organic as well as the inorganic world? What testimony does physiology offer on this point? Physiology, in its progress, has passed through the same phases as physics. Living beings have been considered as beyond the power of external influences, and, conspicuously among them, Man has been affirmed to be independent of the forces that rule the world in which he lives. Besides that immaterial principle, the soul, which distinguishes him from all his animated companions, and makes him a moral and responsible being, he has been feigned, like them, to possess another immaterial principle, the vital agent, which, in a way of its own, carries forward all the various operations in his economy. But when it was discovered that the heart of man is constructed upon the recognized rules of hydraulics, and with its great tubes is furnished with common mechanical contrivances, valves; when it was discovered that the eye has been arranged on the most refined principles of optics, its cornea, and humors, and lens properly converging the rays to form an image-its iris, like the diaphragm of a telescope or microscope, shutting out stray light, and regulating the quantity admitted; when it was discovered that the ear is furnished with the means of dealing with the three characteristics of sound-its tympanum for intensity, its cochlea for pitch, its semicircular canals for quality; when it was seen that the air brought into the great air-passages by the descent of the diaphragm, calling into play atmospheric pressure, is conveyed upon physical principles into the ultimate cells of the lungs, and thence into the blood, producing chemical changes throughout the system, disengaging heat, and permitting all the functions of organic life to go on; when these facts and very many others of a like kind were brought into prominence by modern physiology, it obviously became necessary to admit that animated beings do not constitute that exception once supposed, and that organic operations are the result of physical agencies. If thus, in the recesses of the individual economy, these natural agents bear sway, must they not operate in the social economy too?
DOMINION OF LAW IN SOCIAL LIFE. 5
Has the great shadeless desert nothing to do with the habits of the nomade tribes who pitch their tents upon it-the fertile plain no connection with flocks and pastoral life-the mountain fastnesses with the courage that has so often defended them-the sea with habits of adventure? Indeed, do not all our expectations of the stability of social institutions rest upon our belief in the stability of surrounding physical conditions? From the time of Bodin, who nearly three hundred years ago published his work "De Republica," these principles have been well recognized: that the laws of Nature can not be subordinated to the will of Man, and that government must be adapted to climate. It was these things which led him to the conclusion that force is best resorted to for northern nations, reason for the middle, and superstition for the southern. In the month of March the sun crosses the equator, dispensing his rays more abundantly over our northern hemisphere. Following in his train, a wave of verdure expands toward the pole. The luxuriance is in proportion to the local brilliancy. The animal world is also affected. Pressed forward, or solicited onward by the warmth, the birds of passage commence their annual migration, keeping pace with the developing vegetation beneath. As autumn comes on, this orderly advance of light and life is followed by an orderly retreat, and in its turn the southern hemisphere presents the same glorious phenomenon. Once every year does the life of the earth pulsate; now there is an abounding vitality, now a desolation. But what is the cause of all this? It is only mechanical. The earth's axis of rotation is inclined to the plane of her orbit of revolution round the sun. Let that wonderful phenomenon and its explanation be a lesson to us; let it profoundly impress us with the importance of physical agents and physical laws. They intervene in the life and death of man personally and socially. External events become interwoven in our constitution; their periodicities create periodicities in us. Day and night are incorporated in our waking and sleeping; summer and winter compel us to exhibit cycles in our life. They who have paid attention to the subject have long ago ascertained that the possibility of human existence on the earth depends on conditions altogether of a material kind. Since it is only within a narrow range of temperature that life can be maintained, it is needful that our planet should be at a definite mean distance from the source of light and heat, the sun; and that the form of her orbit should be so little eccentric as to approach closely to a circle. If her mass were larger or less than it is, the weight of all living and lifeless things on her surface would no longer be the same; but absolute weight is one of the primary elements of organic construction. A change in the time of her diurnal rotation, as affecting the length of
6 ORIGIN, VARIATION, AND EXTINCTION OF SPECIES.
the day and night, must at once be followed by a corresponding modification of the periodicities of the nervous system of animals; a change in her orbitual translation round the sun, as determining the duration of the year, would, in like manner, give rise to a marked effect. If the year were shorter, we should live faster and die sooner. In the present economy of our globe, natural agents are relied upon as the means of regulation and of government. Through heat, the distribution and arrangement of the vegetable tribes are accomplished; through their mutual relations with the atmospheric air, plants and animals are interbalanced, and neither permitted to obtain a superiority. Considering the magnitude of this condition, and its necessity to general life, it might seem worthy of incessant Divine intervention, yet it is in fact accomplished automatically. Of past organic history the same remark may be made. The condensation of carbon from the air, and its inclusion in the strata, constitute the chief epoch in the organic life of the earth, giving a possibility for the appearance of the hot-blooded and more intellectual animal tribes. That great event was occasioned by the influence of the rays of the sun. And as such influences have thus been connected with the appearance of organisms, so likewise have they been concerned in the removals. Of the myriads of species which have become extinct, doubtless every one has passed away through the advent of material conditions incompatible with its continuance. Even now, a fall of half a. dozen degrees in the mean temperature of any latitude would occasion the vanishing away of the forms of warmer climates, and the advent of those of the colder. An obscuration of the rays of the sun for a few years would compel a redistribution of plants and animals all over the earth; many would totally disappear, and every where new-comers would be seen. The permanence of organic forms is altogether dependent on the invariability of the material conditions under which they live. Any variation therein, no matter how insignificant it might be, would be forthwith followed by a corresponding variation in the form. The present invariability of the world of organization is the direct consequence of the physical equilibrium, and so it will continue as long as the mean temperature, the annual supply of light, the composition of the air, the distribution of water, oceanic and atmospheric currents, and other such agencies remain unaltered; but if any one of these, or of a hundred other incidents that might be mentioned, should suffer modification, in an instant the fanciful doctrine of the immutability of species would be brought to its true value. The organic world appears to be in repose, because natural influences have reached an equilibrium. A marble may remain forever motionless
VARIATION OF SPECIES BY ORDERLY CHANGE. 7
upon a level table; but let the surface be a little inclined, and the marble will quickly run off. What should we say of him who, contemplating it in its state of rest, asserted that it was impossible for it ever to move? They who can see no difference between the race-horse and the Shetland pony, the bantam and the Shanghai fowl, the greyhound and the poodle dog, who altogether deny that impressions can be made on species, and see in the long succession of extinct forms, the ancient existence of which they must acknowledge, the evidences of a continuous and creative intervention, forget that mundane effects observe definite sequences, event following event in the necessity of the case, and thus constituting a chain, each link of which hangs on a preceding, and holds a succeeding one. Physical influences thus following one another, and bearing to each other the inter-relation of cause and effect, stand in their totality to the whole inorganic world as causes, it representing the effect, and the order of succession existing among them is perpetuated or embodied in it.' Thus, in those ancient times to which we have referred, the sunlight acting on the leaves of plants disturbed the chemical constitution of the atmosphere, gave rise to the accumulation of a more energetic element therein, diminished the mechanical pressure, and changed the rate of evaporation from the sea, a series of events following one another so necessarily that we foresee their order, and, in their turn, making an impression on the vegetable and animal economy. The natural influences, thus varying in an orderly way, controlled botanical events, and made them change correspondingly. The orderly procedure of the one must be imitated in the orderly procedure of the other. And the same holds good in the animal kingdom; the recognized variation in the material conditions is copied in the organic effects, in vigor of motion, energy of life, intellectual power. When, therefore, we notice such orderly successions, we must not at once assign them to a direct intervention, the issue of wise predeterminations of a voluntary agent; we must first satisfy ourselves how far they are dependent upon mundane or material conditions, occurring in a definite and necessary series, ever bearing in mind the important principle that an orderly sequence of inorganic events necessarily involves an orderly and corresponding progression of organic life. To this doctrine of the control of physical agencies over organic forms I acknowledge no exceptions, not even in the case of man. The varied aspects he presents in different countries are the necessary consequences of those influences. He who advocates the doctrine of the unity of the human race is plainly forced to the admission of the absolute control of such agents over the organization of man, since the originally-created type has been
8 VARIATIONS IN MAN.
brought to exhibit very different aspects in different parts of the world, apparently in accordance with the climate and other purely material circumstances. To those circumstances it is scarcely necessary to add manner of life, for that itself arises from them. The doctrine of unity demands as its essential postulate an admission of the paramount control of physical agents over the human aspect and organization, else how could it be that, proceeding from the same stock, all shades of complexion in the skin, and variety in the form of the skull should have arisen? Experience assures us that these are changes assumed only by slow degrees, and not with abruptness; they come as a cumulative effect. They plainly enforce the doctrine that national type is not to be regarded as a definite or final thing, a seeming immobility in this particular being due to the attainment of a correspondence with the conditions to which the type is exposed. Let those conditions be changed, and it begins forthwith to change too. I repeat it, therefore, that he who receives the doctrine of the unity of the human race, must also accept, in view of the present state of humanity on various parts of the surface of our planet, its necessary postulate, the complete control of physical agents, whether natural, or arising artificially from the arts of civilization and the secular progress of nations toward a correspondence with the conditions to which they are exposed. To the same conclusion also must he be brought who advocates the origin of different races from different centres. It comes to the same thing, whichever of those doctrines we adopt. Either brings us to the admission of the transitory nature of typical forms, to their transmutations and extinctions. Variations in the aspect of men are best seen when an examination is made of nations arranged in a northerly and southerly direction; the result is such as would ensue to an emigrant passing slowly along a meridional track, but the case would be quite different if the movement was along a parallel of latitude. In this latter direction the variations of climate are far less marked, and depend much more on geographical than on astronomical causes. In emigrations of this kind there is never that rapid change of aspect, complexion, and intellectual power which must occur in the other. Thus, though the mean temperature of Europe increases from Poland to France, chiefly through the influence of the great Atlantic current transferring heat from the Gulf of Mexico and tropical ocean, that rise is far less than would be encountered on passing through the same distance to the south. By the arts of civilization man can much more easily avoid the difficulties arising from variations along a parallel of latitude than those upon a meridian, for the simple reason that in that case those variations are less. But it is not only complexion, development of the brain, and, therefore, intellectual power, which are thus affected. With difference of
PROGRESS OF AN ETHNICAL ELEMENT. 9
climate there must be differences of manners and customs, that is, differences in the modes of civilization. These are facts which deserve our most serious attention, since such differences are inevitably connected with political results. If homogeneousness is an element of strength, an empire that lies east and west must be more powerful than one that lies north and south. I can not but think that this was no inconsiderable cause of the greatness and permanence of Rome, and that it lightened the task of the emperors, often hard enough, in government. There is a natural tendency to homogeneousness in the east and west direction, a tendency to diversity and antagonism in the north and south, and hence it is that government under the latter circumstances will always demand the highest grade of statesmanship. The transitional forms an animal type is capable of producing on a passage north and south are much more numerous than those it can produce on a passage east and west. These, though they are truly transitional as respects the type from which they have proceeded, are permanent as regards the locality in which they occur, being, indeed, the incarnation of its physical influences. As long, therefore, as those influences remain without change will the form that has been produced last without any alteration. For such a permanent form in the case of man we may adopt the designation of an ethnical element. An ethnical element is therefore necessarily of a dependent nature; its durability arises from its perfect correspondence with which it is surrounded. Whatever can affect that correspondence will touch its life. Such considerations carry us from individual man to groups of men or nations. There is a progress for races of men as well marked as the progress of one man. There are thoughts and actions appertaining to specific periods in the one case as in the other. Without difficulty we affirm of a given act that it appertains to a given period of individuals. We recognize the noisy sports of boyhood, the business application of maturity, the feeble garrulity of old age. We express our surprise when we witness actions unsuitable to the epoch of life. As it is in this respect in the individual, so it is in the nation. The march of individual existence shadows forth the march of race existence, being, indeed, its representative on a little scale. Groups of men, or nations, are disturbed by the same accidents, or complete the same cycle as the individual. Some scarcely pass beyond infancy, some are destroyed on a sudden, some die of mere old Communities, age. In this confusion of events, it might seem altogether hopeless to disentangle the law which is guiding them all, and demonstrate it clearly. Of such groups, each may exhibit, at the same moment, an advance to a different stage, just as we see in the same family the young, the middle-aged, the old. It is thus that Europe
10 DETERMINATION OF THE TRUE REPRESENTATIVE OF SOCIETY.
shows in its different parts societies in very different states-here the restless civilization of France and England, there the contentment and inferiority of Lapland. This commingling might seem to render it difficult to ascertain the true movement of the whole continent, and still more so for distant and successive periods of time. In each nation, moreover, the contemporaneously different classes, the educated and illiterate, the idle and industrious, the rich and poor, the intelligent and superstitious, represent different contemporaneous stages of advancement. One may have made a great progress, another scarcely have advanced at all. How shall we ascertain the real state of the case? Which of these classes shall we regard as the truest and most perfect type? Though difficult, this ascertainment is not impossible. The problem is to be dealt with in the same manner that we should estimate a family in which there are persons of every condition from infancy to old age. Each member of it tends to pursue a definite course, though some, cut off in an untimely manner, may not complete it. One may be enfeebled by accident, another by disease; but each, if his past and present circumstances be fully considered, will illustrate the nature of the general movement that all are making. To demonstrate that movement most satisfactorily, certain members of such a family suit our purpose better than others, because they more closely represent its type, or have advanced most completely in their career. So, in a family of many nations, some are more mature, some less advanced, some die in early life, some are worn out by extreme old age; all show special peculiarities. There are distinctions among kinsmen, whether we consider them intellectually or corporeally. Every one, nevertheless, illustrates in his own degree the of a community march that all are making, but some do it more, some less completely. The leading, the intellectual class, is hence always the true representative of a state. It has passed step by step through the lower stages, and has made the greatest advance. In an individual, life is maintained only by the production and destruction of organic particles, no portion of the system being in a state of immobility, but each displaying incessant change. Death is, therefore, necessarily the condition of life, and the more energetic the function of a- part-or, if we compare different animals with one another-the more active the mode of existence, correspondingly, the greater the waste and the more numerous the deaths of the interstitial constituents. To the death of particles in the individual answers the death of persons in the nation, of which they are the integral constituents. In both cases, in a period of time quite inconsiderable, a total change is accomplished without the entire system, which is the sum of these separate parts, losing its identity. Each
DISTURBANCE OF THE COURSE OF AN ETHNICAL ELEMENT. 11
particle or each person comes into existence, discharges an appropriate duty, and then passes away, perhaps unnoticed. The production, continuance, and death of an organic molecule in the person answers to the production, continuance, and death of a person in the nation. Nutrition and decay in one case are equivalent to well-being and transformation in the other. In the same manner that the individual is liable to changes through the action of external agencies, and offers no resistance thereto, nor any indication of the possession of a physiological inertia, but submits at once to any impression, so likewise it is with aggregates of men constituting nations. A national type pursues its way physically and intellectually through changes and developments answering to those of the individual, and being represented by Infancy, Childhood, Youth, Manhood, Old Age, and Death respectively. But this orderly process may be disturbed exteriorly or interiorly. If from its original seats a whole nation were transposed to some new abode, in which the climate, the seasons, the aspect of nature were altogether different, it would appear spontaneously in all its parts to commence a movement to come into harmony with the new conditions-a movement of a secular nature, and implying the consumption of many generations for its accomplishment. During such a period of transmutation there would, of course, be an increased waste of life, a risk, indeed, of total disappearance or national death; but the change once completed, the requisite correspondence once attained, things would go forward again in an orderly manner on the basis of the new modification that had been assumed. When the change to be accomplished is very profound, involving extensive anatomical alterations not merely in the appearance of the skin, but even in the structure of the skull, long periods of time are undoubtedly required, and many generations of individuals are consumed. Or, by interior disturbance, particularly by blood admixture, with more rapidity may a national type be affected, the result plainly depending on the extent to which admixture has taken place. This is a disturbance capable of mathematical computation. If the blood admixture is only of limited amount, and transient in its application, its effect will sensibly disappear in no very great period of time, though never, perhaps, in absolute reality. This accords with the observation of philosophical historians, who agree in the conclusion that a small tribe intermingling with a larger one will only disturb it in a temporary manner, and, after the course of a few years, the effect will cease to be perceptible. Nevertheless, the influence must really continue much longer than is outwardly apparent; and the result is the same as when, in a liquid, a drop of some other kind is placed, and additional quantities of the first liquid then successively
12 THE SECULAR VARIATIONS OF NATIONS. 4
added. Though it might have been possible at first to detect the adulteration without trouble, it becomes every moment less and less possible to do so, and before long it can not be done at all. But the drop is as much present at last as it was at first: it is merely masked; its properties overpowered. Considering in this manner the contamination of a numerous nation, a trifling amount of foreign blood admixture would appear to be indelible, and the disturbance, at any moment, capable of computation by the ascertained degree of dilution that has taken place. But it must not be forgotten that there is another agency at work, energetically tending to bring about homogeneousness: it is the influence of external physical conditions. The intrusive adulterating element possesses in itself no physiological inertia, but as quickly as may be is brought into correspondence with the new circumstances to which it is exposed, herein running in the same course as the element with which it had mingled had itself antecedently gone over. National homogeneousness is thus obviously secured by the operation of two distinct agencies: the first, gradual but inevitable dilution; the second, motion to come into harmony with the external natural state. The two conspire in their effects. We must therefore no longer regard nations or groups of men as offering a permanent picture. Human affairs must be looked upon as in continuous movement, not wandering in an arbitrary manner here and there, but proceeding in a perfectly definite course. Whatever may be the present state, it is altogether transient. All systems of civil life are therefore necessarily/ephemeral. Time brings new external conditions; the manner of thought is modified; with thought, action. Institutions of all kinds must hence participate in this fleeting nature, and, though they may have allied themselves to political power, and gathered therefrom the means of coercion, their permanency is but little improved thereby; for, sooner or later, the population on whom they have been imposed, following the external variations, spontaneously outgrows them, and their ruin, though it may have been delayed, is none the less certain. For the permanency of any such system it is essentially necessary that it should include within its own organization a law of change, and not of change only, but change in the right direction-the direction in which the society interested is about to pass. It is in an oversight of this last essential condition that we find an explanation of the failure of so many such institutions. Too commonly do we believe that the affairs of men are determined by a spontaneous action or free will; we keep that overpowering influence which really controls them in the background. In individual life we also accept a like deception, living in the belief that every thing we do is determined by the volition of ourselves or of those
THE DEATHE OF NATIONS. 13
around us, nor is it until the close of our days that we discern how great is the illusion, and that we have been. swimming, playing, and struggling in a stream which, in spite of all our voluntary motions, has silently and resistlessly borne us to a predetermined shore. In the foregoing pages I have been tracing analogies between the life of individuals and that of nations. There is yet one point more. Nations, like individuals, die. Their birth presents an ethnical element; their death, which is the most solemn event that we can contemplate, may arise from interior or from external causes. Empires are only sand-hills in the hour-glass of Time; they crumble spontaneously away by the process of their own growth. A nation, like a man, hides from itself the contemplation of its final day. It occupies itself with expedients for prolonging its present state. It frames laws and constitutions under the delusion that they will last, forgetting that the condition of life is change. Very able modern statesmen consider it to be the grand object of their art to keep things as they are, or rather as they were. But the human race is not at rest; and bands with which, for a moment, it may be restrained, break all the more violently the longer they hold. No man can stop the march of destiny. Time, to the nation as to the individual, is nothing absolute; its duration depends on the rate of thought and feeling. For the same reason that to the child the year is actually longer than absolute in time. to the adult, the life of a nation may be said to be no longer than the life of a person, considering the manner in which its affairs are moving. There is a variable velocity of existence, though the lapses of time may be equable. The origin, existence, and death of nations depend thus on physical influences, which are themselves the result of immutable laws. Nations are only transitional forms of humanity. They must undergo obliteration as do the transitional forms offered by the animal series. There is no more an immortality for them than there is an immobility for an embryo in any one of the manifold forms passed through in its progress of development. The life of a nation thus flows in a regular sequence, determined by invariable law, and hence, in estimating different nations, we must not be deceived by the casual aspect they present. The philosophical comparison is made by considering their entire manner of career or cycle of progress, and not their momentary or transitory state. Though they may encounter disaster, their absolute course can never be retrograde; it is always onward, even if tending to dissolution. It is as with the individual, who is equally advancing in infancy, in maturity, in old age. Pascal was more than justified in his assertion that "the entire succession of men, through the whole course of
14 PLAN OF THIS WORK.
ages, must be regarded as one man, always living and incessantly learning." In both cases, the manner of advance, though it may sometimes be unexpected, can never be abrupt. At each stage events and ideas emerge which not only necessarily owe their origin to preceding events and ideas, but extend far into the future and influence it. As these are crowded together, or occur more widely apart, national life, like individual, shows a variable rapidity, depending upon the intensity of thought and action. But, no matter how great that energy may be, nor with what rapidity modifications may take place-since events are springing as consequences of preceding events, and ideas from preceding ideas-in the midst of the most violent intellectual oscillations, a discerning observer will never fail to detect that there exists a law of continuous variation of human opinions. In the examination of the progress of Europe on which we now enter, it is, of course, to intellectual phenomena that we must, for the most part, refer; material aggrandizement and political power offering us less important though sill valuable indications, and serving our purpose rather in a corroborative way. There are five intellectual manifestations to which we may- resort philosophy, science, literature, religion, government. Our obvious course is, first, to Selection among study the progress of that member of the European family, European communities. the eldest in point of advancement, and to endeavor to ascertain the characteristics of its mental unfolding. We may reasonably expect that the younger members of the family, more or less distinctly, will offer us illustrations of the same mode of advancement that we shall thus find for Greece; and that the whole continent, which is the sum of these different parts, will, in its secular progress, comport itself in a like way. Of the early condition of Europe, since we have to consider it in its prehistoric times, our information must necessarily be imperfect. Perhaps, however, we may be disposed to accept that imperfection as a sufficient token of its true nature. Since history can offer us no aid, our guiding lights must be comparative theology and comparative philology. Proceeding from these times, we shall, in detail, examine the intellectual or philosophical movement first exhibited in Greece, endeavoring to ascertain its character at successive epochs, and thereby to judge of its complete nature. Fortunately for our purpose, the information is here sufficient, both in amount and distinctness. It then remains to show that the mental movement of the whole continent is essentially of the same kind, though, as must necessarily be the case, it is spread over far longer periods of time. Our conclusions will constantly be found to gather incidental support and distinctness from illustrations presented by the aged populations of Asia, and the aborigines of Africa and America.
THE FIVE EUROPEAN AGES. 15
The intellectual progress of Europe being of a nature answering to that observed in the case of Greece, and this, in its turn, being like that of an individual, we may conveniently separate it into arbitrary periods, sufficiently distinct from one another, though imperceptibly merging into each other. To these successive periods I shall give the titles of, 1, the Age of Credulity; 2, the Age of Inquiry; 8, the Age of Faith; 4, the Age of Reason; 5, the Age of Decrepitude; and shall use these designations in the division of my subject in its several chapters. From the possibility of thus regarding the progress of a continent in definite and successive stages, answering respectively to the periods of individual life-infancy, childhood, youth, maturity, old age-we may gather an instructive lesson. It is the same that we have learned from inquiries respecting the origin, maintenance, distribution, and extinction of animals and plants, their balancing against each other; from the variations of aspect and form of an individual man as determined by climate; from his social state, whether in repose or motion; from the secular variations of his opinions, and the gradual dominion of reason over society: this lesson is, that the government of the world is accomplished by immutable law. Such a conception commends itself to the intellect of man by its majestic grandeur. It makes him discern the eternal through the vanishing of present events and through the shadows of time. From the life, the pleasures, the sufferings of humanity, it points to the impassive; from our wishes, wants, and woes, to the inexorable. Leaving the individual beneath the eye of Providence, it shows society under the finger of law. And the laws of Nature never vary; in their application they never hesitate nor are wanting. But in thus ascending to primordial laws, and asserting their immutability, universality, and paramount control in the government of this world, there is nothing inconsistent with the free action of man. The appearance of things depends altogether on the point view we occupy. He who is immersed in the turmoil of a crowded city sees nothing but the acts of men, and, if he formed his opinion1 from his experience alone, must conclude that the course of events altogether depends on the uncertainties of human volition. But he who ascends to a sufficient elevation loses sight of the passing conflicts, and no longer hears the contentions. He discovers that the importance of individual action is diminishing, as the panorama beneath him is extending. And if he could attain to the truly philosophical, the general point of view, disengaging himself from all terrestrial influences and entanglements, rising high enough to see the whole globe at a glance, his acutest vision would fail to discover the slightest indication of man, his
16 THE CONTRAST OF FORMS AND OF LAW.
free-will, or his works. In her resistless, onward sweep, in the clocklike precision of her daily and nightly revolution, in the well-known pictured forms of her continents and seas, now no longer dark and doubtful, but shedding forth a planetary light, well might he ask what had become of all the aspirations and anxieties, the pleasures and agony of life. As the voluntary vanished from his sight, and the irresistible remained, and each movement became more and more distinct, well might he incline to disbelieve his own experience, and to question whether the seat of so much undying glory could be the place of so much human uncertainty, whether beneath the vastness, energy, and immutable course of a moving world, there lay concealed the feebleness and imbecility of man. Yet it is none the less true that these contradictory conditions co-exist-Free-will and Fate, Uncertainty and Destiny, and all are watched by the sleepless eye of Providence. It is only the point of view that has changed, but on that how much has depended. A little nearer we gather the successive ascertainments of human inquiry, a little farther off we realize the panoramic vision of the Deity. Well has a Hindu philosopher remarked, that he who stands by the bank of a flowing stream sees, in their order, the various parts as they successively glide by, but he who is placed on an exalted station views, at a glance, the whole as a motionless.silvery thread among the fields. To the one there is the accumulating experience and knowledge of man in time, to the other there is the instantaneous and unsuccessive knowledge of God. Is there an object presented to us which does not bear the mark of ephemeral duration? As respects the tribes of life, they are of form and scarcely worth a moment's thought, for the term of the great majority of them is so brief that we may say they are born and die before our eyes. If we examine them, not as individuals, but as races, the same conclusion holds good, only the scale is enlarged from a few days to a few centuries. If from living we turn to lifeless nature, we encounter again the evidence of brief continuance. The sea is unceasingly remoulding its shores; hard as they are, the mountains are constantly yielding to frost and to rain; here an extensive tract of country is elevated, there it is depressed. We fail to find any thing that is not undergoing change. Then forms are in their nature transitory, law is everlasting. If from visible forms we turn to directing law, how vast is the difference. We pass from the finite, the momentary, the incidental, the conditioned, to the illimitable, the eternal, the necessary, the unshackled. It is of law that I am to speak in this book. In a world composed of vanishing forms I am to vindicate the imperishability, the majesty of law, and to show how man proceeds, in his social march, in obedience to it. I am to lead my
DESCRIPTION OF EUROPE. 17
reader, perhaps in a reluctant path, from the outward phantasmagorial illusions which surround us, and so ostentatiously obtrude themselves on our attention, to something that lies in silence and strength behind. I am to draw his thoughts from the tangible to the invisible, from the limited to the universal, from the changeable to the invariable, from the transitory to the eternal-; from the expedients and volitions so largely amusing the life of man, to the predestined and resistless issuing from the fiat of God. CHAPTER II. OF EUROPE: ITS TOPOGRAPHY AND ETHNOLOGY. ITS PRIMITIVE MODES OF THOUGHT, AND THEIR PROGRESSIVE VARIATIONS, MANIFESTED IN THE GREEK AGE OF CREDULITY. Description of Europe: its Topography, Meteorology, and secular geological Movements.Their Effect on its Inhabitants. Its Ethnology determined through its Vocabularies; it was peopled from Asia. Comparative Theology of Greece; the Stage of Sorcery, the Anthropocentric Stage.-Becomes connected with false Geography and Astronomy.-Heaven, the Earth, the Under World.-Origin, continuous Variation and Progress of Greek Theology.-It issues in Ionic Philosophy..Decline of Greek Theology, occasioned by the Advance of Geography and philosophical Criticism. -Secession of Poets, Philosophers, Historians.-Abortive public Attempts to sustain it.-Duration of its Decline.-Its Fall. EUROPE is geographically a peninsula, and historically a dependency of Asia. It is constructed on the western third of a vast mountain axis, which reaches in a broken and irregular course from the Sea of Japan Description to the Bay of Biscay. On the flanks of this range peninsular slopes are directed toward the south, and extensive plateaus to the north. The culminating point in Europe is Mont Blanc, 16,000 feet above the level of the sea. The axis of elevation is not the axis of figure; the incline to the south is much shorter and steeper than that to the north. The boundless plains of Asia are prolonged through Germany and Holland. An army may pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of more than six thousand miles, without encountering any elevation of more than a few hundred feet. The descent from Asia into Europe is indicated in a general manner by the mean elevation of the two continents above the level of the sea, that for Asia being 1132 feet, and for Europe 671. Through the avenue thus open to them, the Oriental hordes have again and again precipitated themselves on the West. With an abundance of springs and head-waters, but without any stream capable of offering a serious obstacle, this track has
18 DESCRIPTION OF EUROPE.
a temperature well suited to military movements. It coincides generally with the annual isothermal line of 50~, skirting the northern boundary beyond which the vine ceases to grow, and the limiting region beyond which the wild boar does not pass. Constructed thus, Europe is not only easily accessible from Asia, a fact of no little moment in its ancient history, but it is also singularly accessible interiorly, or from one of its parts to another. Still more, its sea-line is so broken, it has so many intrusive gulfs and bays, that, its surface considered, its maritime coast is greater than that of any other continent. In this respect it contrasts strikingly with Africa. Europe has one mile of coast-line for every 156 square miles of surface, Africa has only one for every 623. This extensive maritime contact adds, of course, greatly to its interior as well as exterior accessibility. The mean annual temperature of the European countries on the southern slope of the mountain axis is from 60~ to 70~ F., but of those to the north the heat gradually declines, until, at the extreme limit on the shores of Zembla, the ground is perpetually frozen. As on the other parts of the globe, the climate does not correspond to the latitude, but disturbed by several causes, among which may be distinguished the great Atlantic current-the Gulf Stream coming from America-and the Sahara Desert. The latter gives to the south of Europe an unduly high heat, and the former to Ireland, England, and the entire west a genial temperature. Together they press into higher latitudes the annual isothermal lines. If in Europe there are no deserts, there are none of those impenetrable forests seen in tropical countries. From the westerly shores of Portugal, France, and Ireland, the humidity diminishes as we pass to the east, and, indeed, if we advance into Asia, disappears in the desert of Gobi. There are no vast homogeneous geographical areas as in Asia, and therefore no wide-spread uniformity in the races of men. But not only is the temperature of the European continent elevated by the Gulf Stream and the southwest wind, its luxuriance of vegetation depends on them; for luxuriance of vegetation is determined, among other things, by the supply of rain. A profusion gives to South America its amazing forests, a want to Australia its shadeless trees, with their shrunken and pointed leaves. With the diminished moisture the green gardens of France are replaced in Gobi by ligneous plants covered with a gray down. Physical circumstances control the vegetable as well as the animal world. The westerly countries of Europe, through the influence of the southwest wind, the Gulf Stream, and their mountain ranges, are supplied with abundant rains, and have a favorable mean annual temperature; but as we pass to the eastern confines the number of rainy days dimin-
DISTRIBUTION OF RAIN, SNOW, HEAT. 19
ishes, the absolute annual quantity of rain and snow is less, and the mean annual temperature is lower. On the Atlantic face of the mountains of Norway it is perpetually raining: the annual depth of water is there 82 inches; but on the opposite side of those mountains it is only 21 inches. For similar reasons, Ireland is moist and green, and in Cornwall the laurel and camellia will bear the winter exposure. There are six maximum points of rain-Norway, Scotland, Southwestern Ireland and England, Portugal, Northeastern Spain, Lombardy. They respectively correspond to mountains. In general, the amount of rain diminishes from the equator toward the poles; but it is greatly controlled by the disturbing influence of elevated ridges, which in many instances far more than compensate for the effects of latitude. The Alps exercise an influence over the meteorology of all Europe. Not only do mountains thus determine the absolute quantity of rain, they also affect the number of rainy days in a year. The occurrence of a rainy season depends on the amount of moisture existing in the air, and hence its frequency is greater at the Atlantic sea-board than in the interior, where the wind arrives in a drier state, much of its moisture having been precipitated by the mountains forcing it to a great elevation. Thus, on the eastern coast of Ireland it rains 208 days in a year; in England, about 150; at Kazan, 90; and in Siberia only 60 days. When the atmospheric temperature is sufficiently low, the condensed water descends under the form of snow. In general, the annual depth of snow and the number of snowy days increase toward the north. In Rome the snowy days are 11; in Venice, 5-; in Paris, 12; in St. Petersburg, 171. Whatever causes interfere with the distribution of heat must influence the precipitation of snow; among such are the Gulf Stream and local altitude. Hence, on the coast of Portugal, snow is of unfrequent occurrence; in Lisbon it never snowed from 1806 to 1811. From such facts as that the difference between the summer and winter temperature increases toward the interior of the continent; that the amount of rain, greatest on the mountain axis, diminishes as we go north or south, and also as we pass from the west to the east, and in like manner the number of rainy days; but snowy days, and the duration of snow, in an opposite way; we may learn how full of physical contrasts Europe is, and how many climates it presents. It necessarily follows that it is full of modified men. If we examine the maps of monthly isothermals, we observe how wonderfully those lines change, becoming convex to the north as summer approaches, and concave as the winter. They by no means observe a parallelism to the mean, but change their flexures, assuming new sinuosities. In their absolute transfer they move
20 EUROPE IS FULL OF MODIFIED MEN.
with a variable velocity, and through spaces far from insignificant. The line of 50~ F., which in January passes through Lisbon and the south of the Morea, in July has traveled to the north shore of Lapland, and incloses the White Sea. As in some grand musical instrument, the strings of which vibrate, the isothermal lines of Europe and Asia beat back and forth, but it takes a year for them to accomplish one pulsation. All over the world physical circumstances control the human race. They make the Australian a savage; incapacitate the negro, who can never invent an alphabet or an arithmetic, and whose theology never passes beyond the stage of sorcery. They cause the Tartars to delight in a diet of milk, and the American Indian to abominate it. They make the dwarfish races of Europe instinctive miners and metallurgists. An artificial control over temperature by dwellings, warm for the winter and cool for the summer; variations of clothing to suit the season of the year, and especially the management of fire, have enabled man to maintain himself in all climates. The single invention of artificial light has extended the available term of his life; by giving the night to his use, it has, by the social intercourse it encourages, polished his manners and refined his tastes, perhaps as much as any thing else has aided in his intellectual progress. Indeed, these are among the primary conditions that have occasioned his civilization. Variety of natural conditions gives rise to different national types, artificial inventions occasion renewed modifications. Where there are many climates.there will be many forms of men. Herein, as we shall in due season discover, lies the explanation of the energy of European life, and the development of its civilization. Would any one deny the influence of rainy days on our industrial habits and on our mental condition even in a civilized state? With how much more force, then, must such meteorological incidents have acted on the ill-protected, ill-clad, and ill-housed barbarian! Would any one deny the increasing difficulty with which life is maintained as we pass from the southern peninsulas to the more rigorous climates of the north? There is a relationship between the mean annual heat of a locality and the instincts of its inhabitants for food. The Sicilian is satisfied with a light farinaceous repast and a few fruits; the Norwegian requires a strong diet of flesh; to the Laplander it is none the less acceptable if grease of the bear, or train oil, or the blubber of whales be added. Meteorology to no little extent influences the morals; the instinctive propensity to drunkenness is a function of the latitude. Food, houses, clothing, bear a certain relation to the isothermal lines. For similar reasons, the inhabitants of Europe each year tend to more complete homogeneousness. Climate and meteorological differences are more and more perfectly equalized by artificial inventions; nor is it
THE MEDITERRANEAN PENINSULAS AND SEA. 21
alone a similarity of habits, but also a similarity of physiological constitution that is ensuing. The effect of such inventions is to equalize the influences to which men are exposed; they are brought more closely to the mean typical standard, and-especially is it to be remembered-with this closer approach to each other in conformation, comes a closer approach in feelings and habits, and even in th6 manner of thinking. On the southern slope of the mountain axis project the historic peninsulas, Greece, Italy, Spain. To the former we trace unmistakably the commencement of European civilization. The first Greeks patriotically affirmed that their own climate was the best suited for man; beyond the mountains to the north there reigned a Cimmerian darkness, an everlasting winter. It was the realm of Boreas, the shivering tyrant. In the early ages man recognized cold as his mortal enemy. Physical inventions have enabled him to overcome it, and now he maintains a more difficult and doubtful struggle with heat. Beyond these peninsulas, and bounding the continent on the south, is the Mediterranean, nearly two thousand miles in length, isolating Europe from Africa socially, but uniting them commercially. The Black Sea and that of Azof are dependencies of it. It has, conjointly with them, a shore-line of 13,000 miles, and exposes a surface of nearly a million and a quarter of square miles. It is subdivided into two basins, the eastern and western, the former being of high interest historically, since it is the scene of the dawn of European intelligence; the western is bounded by the Italian peninsula, Sicily, and the African promontory of Cape Bon on one side, and at the other has as its portal the Straits of Gibraltar. The temperature is ten or twelve degrees higher than the Atlantic, and, since much of the water is removed by evaporation, it is necessarily more saline than that ocean. Its color is green where shallow, blue where deep. For countless centuries Asia has experienced a slow upward movement, not only affecting her own topography, but likewise that of her European dependency. There was a time when the great sandy desert of Gobi was the bed of a sea which communicated through the Caspian with the Baltic, as may be proved not only by existing geographical facts, but also from geological considerations. It is only necessary, for this purpose, to inspect the imperfect maps that have been published of the silurian and even tertiary periods. The vertical displacement of Europe, during and since the latter period, has indisputably been more than 2000 feet in many places. The effects of such movements on the flora and fauna of a region must, in the course of time, be very important, for an elevation of 350 feet is equal to one degree of cold in the mean annual temperature, or to sixty miles horizontally northward. Nor is this slow disturbance ended.
22 SECULAR CHANGES OF LEVEL IN EUROPE.
Again and again, in historic times, have its results operated fearfully on Europe, by forcibly precipitating the Asiatic nomades along the great path-zone; again and again, through such changes of level, have they been rendered waterless, and thus driven into a forced emigration. Some of their rivers, as the Oxus and Jaxartes, have, within the records of history, been dry for several years. To these topographical changes, rather than to political influences, we should impute many of the most celebrated tribal invasions. It has been the custom to refer these events to an excessive overpopulation periodically occurring in Central Asia, or to the ambition of warlike chieftains. Doubtless those regions are well adapted to human life, and hence liable to overpopulation, considering the pursuits man there follows, and doubtless there have been occasions on which those nations have been put in motion by their princes, but the modern historian can not too carefully bear in mind the laws which regulate the production of men, and also the body of evidence which proves that the crust of the earth is not motionless, but rising in one place and sinking in another. The grand invasions of Europe by Asiatic hordes have been much more violent and abrupt than would answer to a steady pressure resulting from overpopulation, and too extensive for mere warlike incitement; they answer more completely to the experience of some irresistible necessity arising from an insuperable physical cause, which could drive in hopeless despair from their homes the young and the old, the vigorous and feeble, with their cattle, and wagons, and flocks. Such a cause is the shifting of the soil and disturbance of the courses of water. The tribes compelled to migrate were forced along the path-zone, their track being, therefore, on a parallel of latitude, and not on a meridian; and hence, for the reasons set forth in the preceding chapter, their movements and journey of easier accomplishment. These geological changes enter then as an element in human history, and extent of not only for Asia, of which the great inland sea has dwindled away to the Caspian, and lost its connection with the Baltic, but for Europe also. The traditions of ancient deluges, which are the primitive facts of Greek history, refer to such movements; perhaps the opening of the Thracian Bosphorus was one of them. In much later times we are perpetually meeting with incidents depending on geological disturbances; the caravan trade of Asia Minor was destroyed by changes of level and the accumulation of sands blown from the encroaching deserts; the Cimbri were impelled into Italy by the invasion of the sea on their possessions. There is not a shore in Europe, which does not give similar evidence; the mouths of the Rhine, as they were in the Roman times, are obliterated; the eastern coast of England has been cut away for miles. In the Mediterranean the shore line is altogether changed; towns, once on the coast, are far away inland; oth-
THE ETHNOLOGY OF EUROPE. 23
ers have sunk beneath the sea. Islands, like Rhodes, have risen from the bottom. The North Adriatic, once a deep gulf, has now become shallow; there are leaning towers and inclining temples that have sunk with the settling of the earth. On the opposite extremity of Europe, the Scandinavian peninsula furnishes an instance of slow secular motion, the northern part rising gradually above the sea at the rate of about four feet in a century. This elevation is observed through a space of many hundred miles, increasing toward the north. The southern extremity, on the contrary, experiences a slow depression. These slow movements are nothing more than a continuation of what has been going on for numberless ages. Since the tertiary period two thirds of Europe have been lifted above the sea. The Norway coast has been elevated 600 feet, the Alps have been upheaved 2000 to 3000, the Apennines 1000 to 2000. The country between Mont Blanc and Vienna has been thus elevated since the adjacent seas were peopled with existing animals. So intimately are the interests and occupations of men connected with the soil, that it is impossible for changes to take place on the great scale in it without being promptly followed by an equivalent political result. At the earliest period Europe presents us with a double population. An Indo-Germanic column had entered it from the east, and had separated into two portions the occupants it had encountered, driving one to the north, the other to the southwest. These primitive tribes betray, physiologically, a Mongolian origin; and there are indications of considerable weight that they themselves had been, in ancient times, intruders, who, issuing from their seats in Asia, had invaded and dislocated the proper autochthons of Europe. But, setting this aside, we have, as our starting-point, a barbarian population, believers in sorcery, and, in some places, undoubtedly cannibals, maintaining, in the central and northern parts of Europe, their existence with difficulty by reason of the severity of the climate. In the southern, more congenial conditions permitted a form of civilization to commence, of which the rude Cyclopean structures here and there met with, such as the ruins of Orchomenos, the lion gate of Mycenae, the tunnel of Lake Copais, are perhaps the vestiges. At what period this intrusive Indo-Germanic column made its attack cannot be ascertained. The national vocabularies of Europe, to which we must resort for evidence, might lead us to infer that the condition of civilization of the conquering people was not very advanced. They were acquainted with the use of domestic animals, with farming implements, carts, and yokes; they were also possessed of boats, the rudder, oars, but were unacquainted with the movement of vessels by sails. These conclusions seem to be established by the facts that- words equivalent to boat, rudder, oar, are common to
24 ITS INDO-GERMANIC INVADERS.
the languages of the offshoots of the stock, though located very widely asunder; but those for mast and sails are of special invention, and differ in adjacent nations. In nearly all the Indo-Germanic tongues, the family names, father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, are the same respectively. A similar equivalence may be observed in a great many familiar objects, house, door, town, path. It has been remarked, that while this holds good for terms of a peaceful nature, many of those connected with warfare and the chase are different in different languages. Such facts appear to prove that the Asiatic invaders followed a nomadic and pastoral life. Many of the terms connected with such an avocation are widely diffused. This is the case with plowing, grinding, weaving, cooking, baking, sewing, spinning; with such objects as corn, flesh, meat, vestment; with wild animals common to Europe and Asia, as the bear and the wolf. So, too, of words connected with social organization, despot, rex, queen. The numerals from 1 to 100 coincide in Sanscrit, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic; but this is not the case with 1000, a fact which has led comparative philologists to the conclusion that, though at the time of the emigration a sufficient intellectual advance had been made to invent the decimal system, perhaps from counting upon the fingers, yet that it was very far from perfection. To the inhabitants of Central Asia the sea was altogether unknown; hence the branches of the emigrating column, as they diverged north and south, gave it different names. But, though unacquainted with the sea, they were familiar with salt, as is proved by the recurrence of its name. Nor is it in the vocabularies alone that these resemblances are remarked; the same is to be said of the grammar. M. Max Muller shows that in Sanscrit, Zend, Lithuanian, Doric, Slavonic, Latin, Gothic, the forms of the auxiliary verb to be are all varieties of one common type, and that "the coincidences between the language of the Veda and the dialect spoken at the present day by the Lithuanian recruit at Berlin are greater by far than between French and Italian, and that the essential forms of grammar had been fully framed and established before the first separation of the Aryan family took place." But it should not be overlooked that such interesting deductions founded on language, its vocabularies and grammar, must not be pressed too closely. The state of civilization of the Indo-Germanic column, as thus ascertained, must needs have been inferior to that of the centre from which it issued forth. Such we observe to be the case in all migratory movements. It is not the more intellectual or civilized portions of a community which voluntarily participate therein, but those in whom the physical and animal character predominates. There may be a very rough offshoot from a very polished stock. Of course, the movement we are here considering must have taken place at a period
THEIR MODIFICATION BY CLIMATE. 25
chronologically remote, yet not so remote as might seem to be indicated by the state of civilization of the invaders, used as an indication of the state of civilization of the country from which they had come. In Asia, social advancement, as far back as we can see, has ever been very slow; but, at the first moment that we encounter the Hindu race historically or philologically, it is dealing with philosophical and theological questions of the highest order, and settling, to its own satisfaction, problems requiring a cultivated intellect even so much as to propose. All this implies that in its social advancement there must have already been consumed a very long period of time. But what chiefly interests us is the relation which must have been necessarily maintained between the intrusive people and those whom they thus displaced, the commingling of the ideas of the one and with those of the other, arising from their commingling of blood. It is because of this that we find coexisting in the pre-Hellenic times the sorcery of the Celt with the polytheism of the Hindu. There can be no doubt that many of the philosophical lineaments displayed by the early European mythology are not due to indigenous thought, but were derived from an Asiatic source. Moreover, at the earliest historic times, notwithstanding the disturbance which must have lasted long after the successful and perhaps slow advance of the Asiatic column, things had come to a state of equilibrium or repose, not alone socially, but also physiologically. It takes a long time for the conqueror and conquered to settle together, without farther disturbance or question, into their relative positions; it takes a long time for the recollection of conflicts to die away. But far longer does it take for a race of invaders to come into unison with the climate of the countries they have seized, the system of man accomodating itself only through successive generations, and therefore very slowly, to new physical conditions. It takes long before the skin assumes its determinate hue, and the skull its destined form. A period amply sufficient for all such changes to be accomplished in Europe had transpired at the very dawn of history, and strands of population in conformity with meteorological and geographical influences, though of such origin as has been described, were already distributed upon it. A condition of ethnical equilibrium had been reached. Along each isothermal or climatic band were its correspondingly modified men, spending their lives in avocations dictated by surrounding circumstances. These strands of population were destined to be dislocated, and some of them to become extinct, by inventing or originating among themselves new and unsuitable artificial physical conditions. Already Europe was preparing a repetition of those events of which Asia from time immemorial has been the scene. Already among the nations bordering on the Mediterranean, inhabitants of a pleasant cli-
26 ORIGIN OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY.
mate, in which life could be easily maintained-where the isothermal of January is 41~ F, and of July. 73~ F-civilization was commencing. There was an improving agriculture, an increasing commerce, and, the necessary consequence thereof, germs of art, the accumulation of wealth. The southern peninsulas were offering to the warlike chieftains of middle Europe a tempting prize. So it had been in Asia. Under such influences Europe may be considered as emerging from the barbarian state. It had lost all recollection of its ancient relations with India, which have only been disclosed to us by a study of the vocabularies and grammar of its diverse tongues. Upon its indigenous sorcery an Oriental star-worship had been ingrafted, the legends of which had lost their significance. What had at first been feigned of the heavenly bodies had now assumed an air of personality, and had become attributed to heroes and gods. The negro under the equinoctial line, the dwarfish Laplander beyond the Arctic Circle-man every where, in his barbarous state, is a believer in sorcery, witchcraft, enchantments; he is fascinated by the incomprehensible. Any unexpected sound or sudden motion he refers to invisible beings. Sleep and dreams, in which one third of his life is spent, assure him that there is a spiritual world. He multiplies these unrealities; he gives to every grotto a genius, to every tree, spring, river, mountain, a divinity. Comparative theology, which depends on the law of continuous variation of human thought, and is indeed one of its expressions, universally proves that, the moment man adopts the idea of an existence of invisible beings, he recognizes the necessity of places for their residence, all nations assigning them habitations beyond the boundaries of the earth. A local heaven and a local hell are found in every mythology. In Greece, as to heaven, there was a universal agreement that it was situated above the blue sky; but as to hell, much difference of opinion prevailed. There were many who thought that it was a deep abyss in the interior of the earth, to which certain passages, such as the Acherusian cave in Bithynia, led. But those who, with Anaximenes, considered the earth to be like a broad leaf floating in the air, and who accepted the doctrine that hell was divided into a Tartarus, or region of night on the left, and an Elysium, or region of dawn on the right, and that it was equally distant from all parts of the upper surface, were nearer to the original conception, which doubtless placed it on the under or shadowy side of the earth. The portals of descent were then in the west, where the sun and stars set, though here and there were passages leading through the ground to the other side, such as those by which Hercules and Ulysses had gone. The place of ascent was in the east, and the morning twilight a reflection from the Elysian Fields.
ITS GRAIDUAL DEVELOPMENT. 27
The picture of Nature thus interpreted has for its centre the earth; for its most prominent object, man. Whatever there is has been made for his pleasure, or to minister to his use. To this belief that every thing is of a subordinate value compared with himself, he clings with tenacity even in his most advanced mental state. Not without surprise do we trace the progress of the human mind. The barbarian, the believer in sorcery, lives in incessant dread. All nature seems to be at enmity with him and conspiring for his hurt. Out of the darkness he cannot tell what alarming spectre may emerge; he may, with reason, fear that injury is concealed in every stone, and hidden behind every leaf. How wide is the interval from this terror stricken condition to that state in which man persuades himself of the human destiny of the universe! Yet, wonderful to be said, he passes that interval at a single step. In the infancy of the human race, geographical and astronomical ideas are the same all over the world, for they are the interpretation of things according to outward appearances, the accepting of phenomena as they are presented, without any of the corrections that reason may offer. This universality and homogeneousness is nothing more than a manifestation of the uniform mode of action of the human organization. But such homogeneous conclusions, such similar pictures, are strictly peculiar to the infancy of humanity. The reasoning faculty at length inevitably makes itself felt, and of interpretation ensue. Comparative geography, comparative astronomy, comparative theology thus arise, homogeneous at first, soon exibiting variations, but ending in identity. To that tendency for personification which marks the early life of man are due many of the mythologic conceptions. It was thus that the Hours, the Dawn, and Night, with her black mantle bespangled with stars, received their forms. Many of the most beautiful legends were thus of a personified astronomical origin, many were derived from physical nature. The clouds were thus made to be animated things; a moving spirit was given to the storm, the dew, the wind. The sun setting in the glowing clouds of the west becomes Hercules in the fiery pile; the morning dawn' extinguished by the rising sun is embodied in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. These legends still survive in India. But it must not be supposed that all Greek mythology can be thus explained. It is enough for us to examine the circumstances under which, for many ages, the European communities had been placed, to understand that they had forgotten much that their ancestors had brought from Asia. Much that was new had also spontaneously arisen. The well-known variations of their theogony are not merely different legends of different locali-
28 ITS RESULTING COMPOSITE NATURE.
ties, they are more frequently successive improvements of the same place. The general theme upon which they are based requires the admission of a primitive chaotic disturbance of incomprehensible gigantic powers, brought into subjection by Divine agency, that agency dividing and regulating the empire it had thus acquired in a harmonious way. To this general conception was added a multitude of adventitious ornaments, some of which were of a rude astronomical, some of a moral, some, doubtless, of a historical kind. The primitive chaotic conflicts appear under the form of the war of the Titans; their end is the confinement of those giants in Tartarus; their compulsory subjection is the commencement of order: thus Atlas, the son of Iapetos, is made to sustain the vault of heaven in its western verge. The regulation of empire is shadowed forth in the subdivision of the universe between Zeus and his brothers, he taking the heavens, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the under world, all having the earth as their common theatre of action. The moral is prefigured by such myths as those of Prometheus and Epimetheus, the fore-thinker and the after-thinker; the historical in the deluge of Deucalion, the sieges of Thebes and of Troy. A harmony with human nature is established through the birth and marriage of the gods, and likewise by their sufferings, passions, and labors. The supernatural is gratified by Centaurs, Gorgons, Harpies, and Cyclops. It would be in vain to attempt the reduction of such a patchwork system to any single principle, astronomical or moral, as some have tried to do-a system originating from no single point as to country or to time. The gradual growth of many ages, its diversities are due to many local circumstances. Like the romances of a later period, it will not bear an application of the ordinary rules of life. It recommended itself to a people who found pleasure in accepting without any question statements no matter how marvelous, impostures no matter how preposterous. Gods, heroes, monsters, and men might figure together without any outrage to probability when there was no astronomy, no geography, no rule of evidence, no standard of belief. But the downfall of such a system was inevitable as soon as men began to deal with facts-as soon as history commenced to record, and philosophy to discuss. Yet not without reluctance was the faith of so many centuries given up. The extinction of a religion is not the abrupt movement of a day, it is a secular process of many well-marked stages-the rise of doubt among the candid; the disapprobation of the conservative; the defense of ideas fast becoming obsolete by the well-meaning, who hope that allegory and new interpretations may give renewed probability to what is almost incredible. But dissent ends in denial at last. Before we enter upon the history of that intellectual movement which thus occasioned the ruin of the ancient system, we must bring to our
CONCEPTIONS OF HEAVEN, EARTH, HELL. 29
selves the ideas of the Greek of the eighth century before Christ, who thought that the blue sky is the floor of heaven, the habitation of the Olympian gods; that the earth, man's proper seat, is flat, and circularly extended, like a plate, beneath the starry canopy. On its rim is the circumfluous ocean, the source of the rivers, which all flow to the Mediterranean, appropriately in after ages so called, since it is in the midst, in the centre of the expanse of the land. "The sea-girt disk of the earth supports the vault of heaven." Impelled by a celestial energy, the sun and stars, issuing forth from the east, ascend with difficulty the crystalline dome, but down its descent they more readily hasten to their setting. No one can tell what they encounter in the land of shadows beneath, nor what are the dangers of the way. In the morning the dawn mysteriously appears in the east, swiftly spreading over the confines of the horizon; in the evening the twilight fades gradually away. Besides the celestial bodies, the clouds are continually moving over the sky, forever changing their colors and their shape. No one can tell whence the wind comes or whither it goes; perhaps it is the breath of that invisible divinity who launches the lightning, or of him who rests his bow against the cloud. Not without delight might men contemplate the emerald plane, the sapphire dome, the border of silvery water, ever tranquil and ever flowing. Then, in the interior of the solid earth, or perhaps on the other side of its plane-under world, as it was well termed-is the realm of Hades or Pluto, the region of Night. From the midst of his dominion, that divinity, crowned with a diadem of ebony, and seated on a throne framed out of massive darkness, looks into the infinite abyss beyond, invisible himself to mortal eyes, but made known by the nocturnal thunder which is his weapon. The under world is also the realm to which the spirits retire after death. At its portals, beneath the setting sun, is stationed a numerous tribe of spectres-Care, Sorrow, Disease, Age, Want, Fear, Famine, War, Toil, Death, and her half-brother Sleep-Death, to whom it is useless for man to offer either prayers or sacrifice. In that land of forgetfulness and shadows there is the unnavigable lake Avernus, Acheron, Styx, the groaning Cocytus, and Phlegethon, with its waves of fire. There are all kinds of monsters and forms of fearful import: Cerberus, with his triple head; Charon, freighting his boat with the shades of the dead; the Fates, in their garments of ermine bordered with purple; the avenging Erinnys; Rhadamanthus, before whom every Asiatic must render his account; iEacus, before whom every European; and Minos, the dread arbiter of the judgment-seat. There, too, are to be seen those great criminals whose history is a warning to us: the giants, with dragons' feet extended in the burning gulf for many a mile; Phlegyas, in perpetual terror of the stone suspended over him, which never falls; Ixion chained to his wheel; the daughters of Danaus still vainly try-
30 THE ARGONAUTIC VOYAGE.
ing to fill their sieve; Tantalus, immersed in the water to his chin, yet tormented with unquenchable thirst; Sisyphus despairingly laboring at his ever-descending stone. Warned by such examples, we may learn not to contemn the gods. Beyond these sad scenes, extending far to the right, are the plains of pleasure, the Elysian Fields; and Lethe, the river of oblivion, of which whoever tastes, though he should ascend to the eastern boundary of the earth, and return again to life and day, forgets whatever he has seen. If the interior or the under side of the earth is thus occupied by phantoms and half-animated shades of the dead, its upper surface, inhabited by man, has also its wonders. In its centre is the Mediterranean Sea, as we have said, round which are placed all the known countries, each full of its own mysteries and marvels. Of these how many we might recount if we followed the wanderings of Odysseus, or the voyage of Jason and his heroic comrades in the ship Argo, when they went to seize the golden fleece of the speaking ram. We might tell of the Harpies, flying women-birds of obscene form; of the blind prophet and the self-shutting rocks Symplegades, between which, as if by miracle, the Argonauts passed, the colliding cliffs almost entrapping the stern of their vessel, but destined by fate from that portentous moment never to close again; of the country of the Amazons, and of Prometheus groaning on the rock to which he was nailed, of the avenging eagle forever hovering and forever devouring; of the land of AEetes, and of the bulls with brazen feet and flaming breath, and how Jason yoked and made them plow; of the enchantress Medea, and the unguent she concocted from herbs that grew where the blood of Prometheus had dripped; of the field sown with dragons' teeth, and the mailclad men that leaped out of the furrows; of the magical stone that divided them into two parties, and impelled them to fight each other; of the scaly dragon that guarded the golden fleece, and how he was lulled with a charmed potion, and the treasure carried away; of the River Phasis, through whose windings the Argo sailed into the circumfluous sea; of the circumnavigation round that tranquil stream to the sources of the Nile; of the Argonauts carrying their sentient, self-speaking ship on their shoulders through the sweltering Libyan deserts; of the island of Circe, the enchantress; of the rock, with its grateful haven, which in the height of a tempest rose out of the sea to receive them; of the arrow shot by Apollo from his golden bow; of the brazen man, the work of Hephsestos, who stood on the shore of Crete, and hurled at them as they passed vast fragments of stone; of their combat with him and their safe return to Iolcos; and of the translation of the ship Argo by the goddess Athene to heaven. Such were some of the incidents of that celebrated voyage, the story of which enchanted all Greece before the Odyssey was written. I have
GEOGRAPHICAL WONDERS. 31
not space to tell of the wonders that served to decorate the geography of those times. On the north there was the delicious country of the Hyperboreans, beyond the reach of winter; in the west the garden of the Hesperides, in which grew apples of gold; in the east the groves and dancing-ground of the sun; in the south the country of the blameless Ethiopians, whither the gods were wont to resort. In the Mediterranean itself the Sirens beguiled the passers-by with their songs near where Naples now stands; adjoining were Scylla and Charybdis; in Sicily were the one-eyed Cyclops and cannibal Laesestrygons. In the island of Erytheia the three-headed giant Geryon tended his oxen with a double-headed dog. I need not speak of the lotus eaters, whose food made one forget his native country; of the floating island of AEolus; of the happy fields in which the horses of the sun were grazing; of bulls and dogs of immortal breed; of hydras, gorgons, and chimeras; of the flying man Daedalus, and the brazen chamber in which Danae was kept. There was no river, no grotto that had not its genius; no island, no promontory without its legend. It is impossible to recall these antique myths without being satisfied that they are, for the most part, truly indigenous, truly of European growth. The seed may have been brought, as comparative philologists assert, from Asia, but it had luxuriantly germinated and developed under the sky of Europe. Of the legends, many are far from answering to their reputed Oriental source; their barbarism and indelicacy represent the state of Europe. The outrage of Kronos on his father Uranos speaks of the savageism of the times; the story of Dionysos tells of stealing and piracy; the rapes of Europa and Helen, of the abduction of women. The dinner in which Itys was served up assures us that cannibalism was practiced; the threat of Laomedon that he would sell Poseidon and Apollo for slaves shows how compulsory labor might be obtained. The polygamy of many heroes often appears in its worst form under the practice of sister-marriage, a crime indulged in from the King of Olympus downward. Upon the whole, then, we must admit that Greek mythology indicates a barbaric social state, man-stealing, piracy, human sacrifice, polygamy, cannibalism, and crimes of revenge that are unmentionable. A personal interpretation, such as man in his infancy resorts to, is embodied in circumstances suitable to a savage time. It was not until h later period that allegorical phantasms, such as Death, and Sleep, and Dreams were introduced, and still later when the old system was affected by Lydian, Phrygian, Assyrian, and Egyptian ideas. Not only thus from their intrinsic nature, but also from their recorded gradual development, are we warranted in imputing to the greater part of the myths an indigenous origin. The theogony of Homer is extended by Hesiod in many essential points.
32 SUCCESSIVE TRANSFORMATIONS OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY.
He prefixes the dynasty of Uranos, and differs in minor conceptions, as in the character of the Cyclops. The Orphic theogony is again another advance, having new fictions and new personages, as in the case of Zagreus, the horned child of Jupiter by his own daughter Persephone. Indeed, there is hardly one of the great and venerable gods of Olympus whose character does not change with his age, and, seen from this point of view, the origin of the Ionic philosophy becomes a necessary step in the advance. That philosophy, as we shall soon find, was due not only to the expansion of the Greek intellect and the necessary improvement of Greek morals; an extraneous cause, the sudden opening of the Egyptian ports, 670 B.C., accelerated it. European religion became more mysterious and more solemn. European philosophy learned the error of its chronology, and the necessity of applying a more strict and correct standard of evidence for ancient events. It was an ominous circumstance that the Ionian Greeks, who first began to philosophize, commenced their labors by depersonifying the elements, and treating not of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, but of Air, Water, Fire. The destruction of theological conceptions led irresistibly to the destruction of religious practices. To divinities whose existence he denied, the philosopher ceased to pray. Of what use were sacrificial offerings and entreaties directed to phantasms of the imagination? but advantages might accrue from the physical study of the impersonal elements. Greek religion contained within itself the principles of its own destruction. It is for the sake of thoroughly appreciating this that I have been led into a detail of what some of my readers may be disposed to regard as idle and useless myths. Two circumstances of inevitable occurrence insured the eventual overthrow of the whole system; they were geographical discovery and the rise of philosophical criticism. Our attention is riveted by the fact that, two thousand years later, the same thing again occurred on a greater scale. As to geographical discovery, how was it possible that all the marvels of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the sorcerers, enchanters, giants, and monsters of the deep, should survive when those seas were daily crossed in all directions? how was it possible that the notion of a flat earth, bounded by the horizon and bordered by the circumfluous ocean, could maintain itself when colonies were being founded in Gaul, and the Phoenicians were bringing tin from beyond the Pillars of Hercules? Moreover, it so happened that many of the most astounding prodigies were affirmed to be in the track which circumstances had now made the chief pathway of commerce. Not only was there a certainty of the destruction of mythical geography as thus presented on the plane of the earth looking upward to day; there was also an imminent risk, as many pious persons foresaw and dreaded, that what had been asserted as respects the interior, or the other face looking down-
EFFECT OF GEOGRAPHICAL DISCOVERY. 33 ward into night, would be involved in the ruin too. Well, therefore, might they make the struggle they did for the support of the ancient doctrine, taking the only course possible to them, of converting what had been affirmed to be actual events into allegories, under which, they said, the wisdom of ancient times had concealed many sacred and mysterious things. But it is apparent that a system which is forced to this necessity is fast hastening to its end. Nor was it maritime discovery only that thus removed fabulous prodigies and gave rise to new ideas. In due course of time the Macedonian expedition opened a new world to the Greeks, and presented them with real wonders; climates in marvelous diversity, vast deserts, mountains covered with eternal snow, salt seas far from the ocean, colossal animals, and men of every shade of color and every form of religion. The numerous Greek colonies founded all over Asia gave rise to an incessant locomotion, and caused these natural objects to make a profound and permanent impression on the Hellenic mind. If through the Bactrian empire European ideas were transmitted to the far East, through that and other similar channels Asiatic ideas found their way to Europe. At the dawn of reliable tradition the Phoenicians were masters of the Mediterranean Sea. Europe was altogether barbarous. On the very verge of Asiatic civilization the Thracians scalped their enemies and tattooed themselves; at the other end of the continent the Britons daubed their bodies with ochre and woad. Contemporaneous Egyptian sculptures show the Europeans dressed in skins like savages. It was the instinct of the Phoenicians every where to establish themselves on islands and coasts, and thus, for a long time, they maintained a maritime supremacy. By degrees a spirit of adventure was engendered among the Greeks. In 1250 B.C. they sailed round the Euxine, giving rise to the myth of the Argonautic voyage, and creating a profitable traffic in gold, dried fish, and corn. They had also become infamous for their freebooting practices. From every coast they stole away men, women, and children, thereby maintaining a considerable slave-trade, the relic of which endures to our time in the traffic for Circassian women. Minos, king of Crete, tried to suppress these piracies. His attempts to obtain the dominion of the Mediterranean were imitated in succession by the Lydians, Thracians, Rhodians, the latter being the inventors of the first maritime code, subsequently incorporated into Roman law. The manner in which these and the inhabitants of other towns and islands supplanted one another shows on what trifling circumstances the dominion of the eastern basin depended. Meantime. Tyrian seamen stealthily sailed beyond the Pillars of Hercules, visiting the Canaries and Azores, and bringing tin from the British islands. They used every precaution to keep their secret to themselves. The
34 EFFECT OF PHILOSOPHICAL CRITICISM.
adventurous Greeks followed those mysterious navigators step by step, but in the time of Homer they were so restricted to the eastern basin that Italy may be said to have been to them an unknown land. The Phocaeans first explored the western basin; one of their colonies built Marseilles. At length Coleus of Samos passed through the frowning gateway of Hercules into the circumfluous sea, the Atlantic Ocean. No little interest attaches to the first colonial cities; they dotted the shores from Sinope to Saguntum, and were at once trading-depots and foci of wealth. In the earliest times the merchant was his own captain, and sold his commodities by auction at the place to which he came. The primitive and profitable commerce of the Mediterranean was peculiar for slaves, mineral products, and articles of manufacture; for, running coincident with parallels of latitude, its agricultural products were not very varied, and the wants of its populations the same. But tin was brought from the Cassiterides, amber from the Baltic, and dyed goods and worked metals from Syria. Wherever these trades centred the germs of taste and intelligence were developed; thus the Etruscans, in whose hands was the amber trade across Germany, have left many relics of their love of art. Though a mysterious, they were hardly a gloomy race, as a great modern author has supposed, if we may judge from those beautiful remains. Added to the effect of geographical discovery was the development of philosophical criticism. It is observed that soon after the first Olympiad the Greek intellect very rapidly expanded. Whenever man reaches a certain point in his mental progress, he will not be satisfied with less than an application of existing rules to ancient events. Experience has taught him that the course of the world today is the same as it was yesterday; he unhesitatingly believes that this will also hold good for to-morrow. He will not bear to contemplate any break in the mechanism of history; he will not be satisfied with a mere uninquiring faith, but insists upon having the same voucher for an old fact that he requires for one that is new. Before the face of History, Mythology cannot stand. The operation of this principle is seen in all directions throughout Greek literature after the date that has been mentioned, and this the more strikingly as the time is later. The national intellect became more and more ashamed of the fables it had believed in its infancy. Of the legends, some are allegorized, some are modified, some are repudiated. The great tragedians accept the myths in the aggregate, but decline them in particulars; some of the poets transform or allegorize them; some use them ornamentally, as graceful decorations. It is evident that between the educated and the vulgar classes a divergence is taking place, and that the best men of the times see the necessity of either totally abandoning these cherished fictions to
SECESSION OF LITERARY MEN AND PHILOSOPHERS. 35
the lower orders, or of gradually replacing them with something more suitable. Such a frittering away of sacred things was, however, very far from meeting with public approbation in Athens itself, although so many people in that city had reached that state of mental development in which it was impossible for them to continue to accept the national faith. They tried to force themselves to believe that there must be something true in that which had been believed by so many great and pious men of old, which had approved itself by lasting so many centuries, and of which it was by the common people asserted that absolute demonstration could be given. But it was in vain; intellect had outgrown faith. They had come into that condition to which all men are liable-aware of the fallacy of their opinions, yet angry that another should remind them thereof. When the social state no longer permitted them to take the life of a philosophical offender, they found means to put upon him such an invisible pressure as to present him the choice of orthodoxy or beggary. Thus they disapproved of Euripides permitting his characters to indulge in any skeptical reflections, and discountenanced the impiety so obvious in the Prometheus Bound of AEschylus. It was by appealing to this sentiment that Aristophanes added no little to the excitement against Socrates. Those who are doubting themselves are often loudest in public denunciations of a similar state in others. If thus the poets, submitting to common sense, had so rapidly fallen away from the national belief, the philosophers pursued the same course. It soon became the universal impression that there was an intrinsic opposition between philosophy and religion, and herein public opinion was not mistaken; the fact that polytheism furnished a religious explanation for every natural event made it essentially antagonistic to science. It was the uncontrollable advancement of knowledge that overthrew Greek religion. Socrates himself never hesitated to denounce physics for that tendency, and the Athenians extended his principles to his own pursuits, their strong common sense telling them that the philosophical cultivation of ethics must be equally bad. He was not loyal to science, but sought to support his own views by exciting a theological odium against his competitors-a crime that educated men ought never to forgive. In the tragedy that ensued the Athenians only paid him in his own coin. The immoralities imputed to the gods were doubtless strongly calculated to draw the attention of reflecting men, but the essential nature of the pursuit in which the Ionian and Italian schools were engaged bore directly on the doctrine of a providential government of the world. It not only turned into a fiction the time honored dogma of the omnipresence of the Olympian divinities-it even struck at their very existence, by leaving them nothing to do. For those personifications it introduced impersonal nature or the elements.
36 SECESSION OF HISTORIANS.
Instead of uniting scientific interpretations to ancient traditions, it modified and moulded the old traditions to suit the apparent requirements of science. We shall subsequently see what was the necessary issue of this, that the Divinity became excluded from the world he had made, the supernatural merged in natural agency; Zeus was superseded by the air, Poseidon by the water; and, while some of the philosophers received in silence the popular legends, as was the case with Socrates, or, like Plato, regarded it as a patriotic duty to accept the public faith, others, like Xenophanes, denounced the whole as an ancient blunder, converted by time into a national imposture. As I shall have in a detailed manner occasion to speak of Greek philosophy, it is unnecessary to enter into other particulars here. For the present purpose it is enough to understand that it was radically opposed to the national faith in all countries and at all times, from its origin with Thales down to the latest critic of the Alexandrian school. As it was with philosophers, so it was with historians; the rise of true history brought the same result as the rise of true philosophy. In this instance there was added a special circumstance which gave to the movement no little force. Whatever might be the feigned facts of the Grecian foretime, they were altogether outdone in antiquity and wonder by the actual history of Egypt. What was a pious man like Herodotus to think when he found that, at the very period he had supposed a superhuman state of things in his native country, the ordinary passage of affairs was taking place on the banks of the Nile? And so indeed it had been for untold ages. To every one engaged in recording recent events, it must have been obvious that a chronology applied where the actors are superhuman is altogether without basis, and that it is a delusion to transfer the motives and thoughts of men to those who are not men. Under such circumstances there is a strong inducement to decline traditions altogether; for no philosophical mind will ever be satisfied with different tests for the present and the past, but will insist that actions and their sequences were the same in the foretime as now. Thus for many ages stood affairs. One after another, historians, philosophers, critics, poets, had given up the national faith, and lived under a pressure perpetually laid upon them by the public, adopting generally, as their most convenient course, an outward compliance with the religious requirements of the state. Herodotus can not reconcile the inconsistencies of the Trojan War with his knowledge of human actions; Thucydides does not dare to express his disbelief of it; Eratosthenes sees contradictions between the voyage of Odysseus and the truths of geography; Anaxagoras is condemned to death for impiety, and only through the exertions of the chief of the state is his
ATTEMPTS AT A REFORMATION. 37
sentence mercifully commuted to banishment. Plato, seeing things from a very general point of view, thinks it expedient, upon the whole, to prohibit the cultivation of the higher branches of physics. Euripides tries to free himself from the imputation of heresy as best he may. Eschylus is condemned to be stoned to death for blasphemy, and is only saved by his brother Aminias raising his mutilated arm-he had lost his hand in the battle of Salamis. Socrates stands his trial, and has to drink hemlock. Even great statesmen like Pericles had become entangled in the obnoxious opinions. No one has any thing to say in explanation of the marvelous disappearance of demigods and heroes, why miracles are ended, or why human actions alone are now to be seen in the world. An ignorant public demands the instant punishment of every suspected man. In their estimation, to distrust the traditions of the past is to be guilty of treason to the present. But all this confusion and dissent did not arise without an attempt among well-meaning men at a reformation. Some, and they were, perhaps, the most advanced intellectually, wished that the priests should abstain from working any more miracles; that relics should be as little used as was consistent with the psychical demands of the vulgar, and should be gradually abandoned; that philosophy should no longer be outraged with the blasphemous anthropomorphisms of the Olympian deities. Some, less advanced, were disposed to reconcile all difficulties by regarding the myths as allegorical; some wished to transform them so as to bring them in harmony with the existing social state; some would give them altogether new interpretations. With one, though the fact of a Trojan War is not to be denied, it was only the eidolon of Helen whom Paris carried away; with another, expressions, perhaps once intended to represent actual events, are dwindled into mere forms of speech. Unwilling to reject the attributes of the Olympian divinities, their human passions and actions, another asserts that they must once have all existed as men. While one denounces the impudent atheists who find fault with the myths of the Iliad, ignorant of its allegorical meaning, another resolves all its heroes into the elements; and still another, hoping to reconcile to the improved moral sense of the times the indecencies and wickednesses of the gods, imputes them all to demons; an idea which found much favor at first, but became singularly fatal to polytheism in the end. In apparent inconsistency with this declining state of belief in the higher classes, the multitude, without concern, indulged in the most surprising superstitions. With them it was an age of relics, of weeping statues, and winking pictures. The tools with which the Trojan horse was made might still be seen at Metapontum, the sceptre of Pelops was still preserved at Chseroneia, the spear of Achilles at Phaselis, the sword of Memnon at Nicomedia; the Tegeates could still
88 THE DECLINE AND FALL OF POLYTHEISM.
show the hide of the Calydonian boar, very many cities boasted their possession of the true palladium from Troy. There were statues of Athene that could brandish spears, paintings that could blush, images that could sweat, and endless shrines and sanctuaries at which miracle cures were performed. Into the hole through which the deluge of Deucalion receded the Athenians still poured a customary sacrifice of honey and meal. He would have been an adventurous man who risked any observation as to its inadequate size. And, though the sky had been proved to be only space and stars, and not the firm floor of Olympus, he who had occasion to refer to the flight of the gods from mountain tops into heaven would find it to his advantage, make no astronomical remark. No adverse allusions to the poems of Homer, Arctinus, or Lesches were tolerated; he who perpetrated the blasphemy of depersonifying the sun went in peril of death. They would not bear that natural laws should be substituted for Zeus and Poseidon; whoever was suspected of believing that Helios and Selene were not gods, would do well to purge himself to public satisfaction. The people vindicated their superstition in spite of all geographical and physical difficulties, and, far from concerning themselves with those contradictions which had exerted such an influence on the thinking classes, practically asserted the needlessness of any historical evidence. It is altogether erroneous to suppose that polytheism maintained its ground as a living force until the period of Constantine and Julian. Its downfall commenced at the time of the opening of the Egyptian ports. Nearly a thousand years were required for a consummation. The change first occurred among the higher classes, and made its way slowly through the middle ranks of society. For many centuries the two agencies-geographical discovery, arising from increasing commerce and the Macedonian expedition, and philosophical criticism-silently continued their incessant work, and yet it does not appear that they could ever enforce a change on the lowest and most numerous division of the social grade. In process of time, a third influence was added to the preceding two, enabling them to address themselves even to the humblest rank of life; this influence was the rise of the Roman power. It produced a wonderful activity all over the Mediterranean Sea and throughout the adjoining countries. It insured perpetual movements in all directions. Where there had been only a single traveler there were now a thousand legionaries, merchants, government officials, with; their long retinues of dependents and slaves. Where formerly it was only the historian or philosopher in his retirement who compared together the different laws and creeds, habits and customs of different nations incorrectly reported, now the same things were vividly brought under the personal observation of multi-
REPETITION OF THESE EVENTS IN EUROPE. 39
tudes. The crowd of gods and goddesses congregated in Rome served only to bring one another into disrepute and ridicule. Long, therefore, previous to the triumph of Christianity, paganism must be considered as having been irretrievably ruined. Doubtless it was the dreadful social prospect before them-the apparent impossibility of preventing the whole world from falling into a totally godless state, that not only reconciled so many great men to give their support to the ancient system, but even to look without disapprobation on that physical violence to which the uneducated multitude, incapable of judging, were so often willing to resort. They never anticipated that any new system could be introduced which should take the place of the old, worn-out one; they had no idea that relief in this respect was so close at hand; unless, perhaps, it might have been Plato, who, profoundly recognizing that, though it is a hard and tedious process to change radically the ideas of common men, yet that it is easy to persuade them to accept new names if they are permitted to retain old things, proposed that a regenerated system should be introduced, with ideas and forms suited to the existing social state, prophetically asserting that the world would very soon become accustomed to it, and give to it an implicit adhesion. In this description of the origin and decline of Greek religion I have endeavored to bring its essential features into strong relief. Its fall was not sudden, as many have supposed, neither was it accomplished by extraneous violence. There was a slow, and, it must be emphatically added, a spontaneous decline. But, if the affairs of men pass in recurring cycles-if the course of events with one individual has a resemblance to the course of events with another-if there are analogies in the progress of nations, and things reappear after due periods of time, the succession of circumstances thus displayed before us in the intellectual history of Greece may perhaps be recognized again in grander proportions on the theatre of all Europe. If there is for the human mind a predetermined order of development, may we not reasonably expect that the phenomena we have thus been noticing on a small scale in a single nation will reappear on the great scale in a continent; that the philosophical study of this history of the past will not only serve as an interpretation of many circumstances in the history of Europe in the Dark and Middle Ages, but will also be a guide to us in pointing out future events as respects all mankind? For, though it is true that the Greek intellectual movement was anticipated, as respects its completion, by being enveloped and swallowed up in the slower but more gigantic movements of the southern European mind, just as a little expanding circle upon the sea may be obliterated and borne away by more imposing and impetuous waves, so even the movement of a continent may be lost in the movement of a world. It was criti-
40 THE ORGANIZATION OF HYPOCRISY.
cism, and physical discovery, and intellectual activity, arising from political concentration, that so profoundly affected the modes of Grecian thought, and criticism and discovery have within the last four hundred years done the same in all Europe. To one who forms his expectations of the future from the history of the past-who recalls the effect produced by the establishment of the Roman empire, in permitting free personal intercommunication among all the Mediterranean nations, and thereby not only destroying the ancient forms of thought, which for centuries had resisted all other means of attack, and replacing them by a homogeneous idea, it must be apparent that the wonderfully increased facilities for locomotion, the inventions of our own age, are the ominous precursors of a vast philosophical revolution. Between that period during which a nation has been governed by its imagination and that in which it submits to reason, there is a melancholy interval. The constitution of man is such that, for a long time after he has discovered the incorrectness of the ideas prevailing around him, he shrinks from openly emancipating himself from their dominion, and, constrained by the force of circumstances, he lives a hypocrite, publicly applauding what his private judgment condemns. Where a nation is making this passage, so universal do these practices become that it may be truly said that hypocrisy is organized. It is possible that whole communities might be found living in this deplorable state. Such, I conceive, must have been the case in many parts of the Roman empire just previously to the introduction of Christianity. Even after ideas have given way in public opinion, their political power may outlive their intellectual, and produce the disgraceful effect we here consider. It is not to be concealed, however, that, to some extent, this evil is incident to the position of things. Indeed, it would be unfortunate if national hypocrisy could not find a better excuse for itself than individual. In civilized life, society is ever under the imperious necessity of moving onward in legal forms, nor can such forms be avoided without the most serious disasters forthwith ensuing. To absolve communities too abruptly from the restraints of ancient ideas is not to give them liberty, but to throw them into political vagabondism, and hence it is that great statesmen will authorize and even compel observances the essential significance of which has disappeared, and the intellectual basis of which has been undermined. Truth reaches her full action by degrees, and not at once; she first operates upon the reason, the influence being purely intellectual and individual; she then extends her sphere, exerting a moral control, particularly through public opinion; at last she gathers for herself physical and political force. It is in the time consumed in this gradual passage that organized hypocrisy prevails. To bring nations to surrender themselves to new ideas is not the affair of a day.
INDIAN AND EGYPTIAN INFLUENCES. 41
CHAPTER III. DIGRESSION ON HINDU THEOLOGY AND EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION.
Comparative Theology of India; its Phase of Sorcery; its Anthropocentric Phase. VEDAISM the Contemplation of Matter, or Adoration of Nature, set forth in the Vedas and Institutes of Menu. - The Universe is God. - Transmutation of the World. - Doctrine of Emanation. - Transmigration.-Absorption.-Penitential Services.-The Happiness of absolute Quietude. BUDDHISM the Contemplation of Force. - The supreme impersonal Power. - Nature of the World-of Man.- The Passage of every thing to Nonentity.-Development of Buddhism into a vast monastic System marked by intense Selfishness.-Its practical Godlessness. EGYPT a mysterious Country to the old Europeans. Its History, great public Works, and foreign Relations-its Fall.-Antiquity of its Civilization and Art.-Its Philosophy, hieroglyphic Literature, and peculiar Agriculture. Rise of Civilization in rainless Countries. - Geography, Geology, and Topography of Egypt. - The Inundations of the Nile lead to Astronomy. Comparative Theology of Egypt.-Animal Worship, Star Worship.-lmpersonation of Divine Attributes-Pantheism.- The Trinities of Egypt.-Incarnation.-Redemption.-Future Judgment.-Trial of the Dead.-Rituals and Ceremonies.
AT this stage of our investigation of European intellectual development, it will be proper to consider briefly two foreign influences-Indian and Egyptian-which affected it. From the relations existing between the Hindu and European families, as described in the preceding chapter, a comparison of their intellectual progress presents no little interest. The movement of the elder branch indicates the path through which the younger is traveling, and the goal to which it tends. In the advanced condition under which we live we notice Oriental ideas perpetually emerging in a fragmentary way from the obscurities of modern metaphysics-they are the indications of an intellectual phase through which the Indo-European mind must pass. And when we consider the ready manner in which these ideas have been adopted throughout China and the entire East, we may, perhaps, extend our conclusion from the Indo-European family to the entire human race. From hence we may also infer how unphilosophical and vain is the expectation of those who would attempt to restore the aged populations of Asia to our state. Their intellectual condition has passed onward, never more to return. It remains for them only to advance as far as they may in their own line and to die, leaving their place to others of a different constitution and of a renovated blood. In life there is no going back; the morose old man can never resume
42 VEDAISM AND BUDDHISM.
the genial confidence of maturity; the youth can never return to the idle and useless occupations, the frivolous amusements of boyhood; even the boy is parted by a long step from the innocent credulity of the nursery. The earlier stages of the comparative theology of India are now inaccessible. At a time so remote as to be altogether prehistoric the phase of sorcery had been passed through. In the most ancient records remaining the Hindu mind is dealing with anthropocentric conceptions, not, however, so much of the physical as of the moral kind. /Man had come to the conclusion that his chief concern is with himself. "Thou wast alone at the time of thy birth, thou wilt be alone in the moment.of death; alone thou must answer at the bar of the inexorable Judge." ) From this point there are two well-marked steps of advance. The first reaches the consideration of material nature; the second, which is very grandly and severely philosophical contemplates the universe under the conceptions of space and force alone. The former is exemplified in the Vedas and Institutes of Menu, the latter in Buddhism. In neither of these stages do the ideas lie idle as mere abstractions; they introduce a moral plan, and display a constructive power not equaled even by the Italian papal system. They take charge not only of the individual, but regulate society, and show their influence in accomplishing political organizations, commanding our attention from their prodigious extent, and venerable for their antiquity. I shall, therefore, briefly refer, first, to the older, Vedaism, and then to its successor, Buddhism. Among a people possessing many varieties of climate, and familiar with some of the grandest aspects of Nature-mountains the highest upon earth, noble rivers, a vegetation incomparably luxuriant, periodical rains, tempestuous monsoons, it is not surprising that there should have been an admiration for the material, and a tendency to worship of Nature. These spectacles leave an indelible impression on the thoughts of man, and, the more cultivated the mind, the more profoundly are they appreciated. The Vedas, which are the Hindu Scriptures, and of which there are four, the Rig, Yagust, Saman, and Atharvan, are asserted to have been revealed by Brahma. The fourth is, however, rejected by some, and bears internal evidence of a later composition, at a time when hierarchical power had become greatly consolidated. These works are written in an obsolete Sanscrit, the parent of the more recent idiom. They constitute the basis of an extensive literature, Upavedas, Angas, etc., of connected works and commentaries. For the most part they consist of hymns suitable for public and private occasions, prayers,
THE VEDA DOCTRINE OF GOD AND THE WORLD. 43
precepts, legends, and dogmas. The Rig, which is the oldest, is composed chiefly of hymns, the other three of liturgical formulae. They are of different periods and of various authorship, internal evidence seeming to indicate that if the later were composed by priests, the earlier were the production of military chieftains. They answer to a state of society advanced from the nomade to the municipal condition. They are based upon an acknowledgment of a universal Spirit pervading all things. Of this God they therefore necessarily acknowledge the unity: " There is in truth but one Deity, the Supreme Spirit, the Lord of the universe, whose work is the universe." " The God above all gods, who created the earth, the heavens, the waters." The world, thus considered as an emanation of God, is therefore a part of him; it is kept in a manifest state by his energy, and would instantly disappear if that energy were for a moment withdrawn. Even as it is, it is undergoing unceasing transformations, every thing being in a transitory condition. The moment a given phase is reached, it is departed from, or ceases. In these perpetual movements the present can scarcely be said to have any existence, for as the Past is ending the Future has begun. In such a never-ceasing career all material things are urged, their forms continually changing, and returning, as it were, through revolving cycles to similar states. For this reason it is that we may regard our earth, and the various celestial bodies, as having had a moment of birth, a time of continuance, in which they are passing onward to an inevitable destruction, and that after the lapse of countless ages similar progresses will be made, and similar series of events will occur again and again. But in this doctrine of universal transformation there is something more than appears at first. The theology of India is underlaid with Pantheism. " God is One because he is All." The Vedas, in speaking of the relation of nature to God, make use of the expression that he is the Material as well as the Cause of the universe, "the Clay as well as the Potter." They convey the idea that while there is a pervading spirit existing every Where of the same nature as the soul of man, though differing from it infinitely in degree, visible nature is essentially and inseparably connected therewith; that as in man the body is perpetually undergoing changes, perpetually decaying and being renewed, or, as in the case of the whole human species, nations come into existence and pass away, yet still there continues to exist what may be termed the universal human mind, so forever associated and forever connected are the material and the spiritual. And under this aspect we must contemplate the Supreme Being, not merely as a presiding intellect, but as illustrated by the parallel case of man, whose mental principle shows no tokens except through its connection with the body;
44 OF THE SOUL-ABSORPTION AND TRANSMIGRATION.
so matter, or nature, or the visible universe, is to be looked upon as the. corporeal manifestation of God. Secular changes taking place in visible objects, especially those of an astronomical kind, thus stand as the gigantic counterparts both as to space and time of the microscopic changes which we recognize as occurring in the body of man. However, in adopting these views of the relations of material nature and spirit, we must continually bear in mind that matter " has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and perceptibility are convertible terms; that external appearances and sensations are illusory, and would vanish into nothing if the divine energy which alone sustains them were suspended but for a moment." As to the relation between the Supreme Being and man, the soul is a portion or particle of that all-pervading principle, the Universal Intellect or Soul of the World, detached for a while from its primitive source, and placed in connection to the bodily frame, but destined by an inevitable necessity sooner or later to be restored and rejoined-as inevitably as that rivers run back to be lost in the ocean from which they arose. "That Spirit," says Varuna to his son, "from which all created beings proceed, in which, having proceeded, they live, toward which they tend, and in which they are at last absorbed, that Spirit study to know: it is the Great One." Since a multitude of moral considerations assure us of the existence of evil in the world, and since it is not possible for so holy a thing as the spirit of man to be exposed thereto without undergoing contamination, it comes to pass that an unfitness may be contracted for its rejoining the infinitely pure essence from which it was derived, and hence arises the necessity of its undergoing a course of purification. And as the life of man is often too short to afford the needful opportunity, and, indeed, its events, in many instances, tend rather to increase than to diminish the stain, the season of purification is prolonged by perpetuating the connection of the sinful spirit with other forms, and permitting its transmigration to other bodies, in which, by the penance it undergoes, and the trials to which it is exposed, its iniquity may be washed away, making it fit for absorption in the ocean of infinite purity. Considering thus the relation in which all animated nature stands to us, being a mechanism for purification, this doctrine of the transmigration of the soul leads necessarily to other doctrines of a moral kind, more particularly to a profound respect for life under every form, human, animal, or insect. The forms of animal life, therefore, furnish a grand penitential mechanism for man. Such, on these principles, is their teleological explanation. In European philosophy there is no equivalent or counterpart of this view. With us animal life is purpose
OF DEVOTION AND OBJECTS OF ADORATION. 45
less. Hereafter we shall find that in Egypt, though the doctrine of transmigration must of course have tended to similar suggestions, it became disturbed in its practical application by the base fetich notions of the indigenous African population. Hence the doctrine was cherished by the learned for philosophical reasons, and by the multitude for the harmony of its results with their idolatries. From such theological dogmas a religious system obviously springs having for its object to hasten the purification of the soul, that it may the more quickly enter on absolute happiness, which is only to be found in absolute rest. The methods of shortening its wanderings and bringing it to repose are by the exercises of a pious life, penance, and prayer, and more especially by a profound contemplation of the existence and attributes of the Supreme Being. In this profound contemplation many holy men have passed their lives. Such is a brief statement of Vedic theology, as exhibited in the connected doctrines of the Nature of God, Universal Animation, Transmutation of the World, Emanation of the Soul, Manifestation of Visible Things, Transmigration, Absorption, the uses of Penitential Services, and Contemplation for the Attainment of Absolute Happiness in Absolute Rest. The Vedas also recognize a series of creatures superior to man, the gods of the elements and stars; they likewise personify the attributes of the Deity. The three Vedic divinities, Agni, Indra, and Surya, are not to be looked upon as existing independently, for all spirits are comprehended in the Universal Soul. The later Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, is not recognized by them. They do not authorize the worship of deified men, nor of images, nor of any visible forms. They admit the adoration of subordinate spirits, as those of the planets, or of the demigods who inhabit the air, the waters, the woods; these demigods are liable to death. They inculcate universal charity-charity even to an enemy: " The tree doth not withdraw its shade from the woodcutter." Prayers are to be made thrice a day, morning, noon, evening; fasting is ordained, and ablution before meals; the sacrificial offerings consist of flowers, fruits, money. Considered as a whole, their religious tendency is selfish: it puts in prominence the baser motives, and seeks the gratification of the animal appetites, as food, pleasure, good fortune. They suggest no proselyting spirit, but rather adopt the principle that all religions must be equally acceptable to God, since, if it were otherwise, he would have instituted a single one, and, considering his omnipotence, none other could have possibly prevailed. They contain no authorization of the division of castes, which probably had arisen in the necessities of antecedent conquests, but which have imposed a perpetual obstacle to any social progress, keeping each class of society in an immovable state, and concentrating knowledge and power in a hierarchy. Neither in them, nor, it is affirm-
46 THE INSTITUTES OF MENU.
ed, in the whole Indian literature, is there a single passage indicating a love of liberty. The Asiatics can not understand what value there is in it. They have balanced Freedom against Security; they have deliberately preferred the latter, and left the former for Europe to sigh for. Liberty is alone appreciated in a life of action; but the life of Asia is essentially passive, and its desire is for tranquillity. Some have affirmed that this imbecility is due to the fact that that continent has no true' temperate zone, and that thus, for ages, the weak nations have been in contact with the strong, and therefore the hopeless aspirations for personal freedom have become extinct. But nations who are cut off from the sea, or who have accepted the dogma that to travel upon it is unholy, can never comprehend liberty. From the general tenor of the Vedas, it would appear that the condition of women was not so much restrained as it became in later times, and that monogamy was the ordinary state. From the great extent of these works, their various dates and authorship, it is not easy to deduce from them consistent principles, and their parts being without any connection, complete copies are very scarce. They have undergone mutilation and restoration, so that great discordances have arisen. In the Institutes of Menu, a code of civil and religious law, written about the ninth century before Christ, though, like the Vedas, betraying a gradual origin, the doctrine of the Divine unity becomes more distinctly mixed up with Pantheistic ideas. They present a description of creation, of the nature of God and the soul, and contain prescribed rules for the duty of man in every station of life, from the moment of birth to death. Their imperious regulations in all these minute details are a sufficient proof of the great development and paramount power to which the priesthood had now attained, but their morality is discreditable. They indicate a high civilization and demoralization, deal with crimes and a policy such as are incident to an advanced social condition. Their arbitrary and all-reaching spirit reminds one of the papal system; their recommendations to sovereigns, their authorization of immoralities, recall the state of Italian society as reflected in the works of Machiavelli. They hold learning in the most signal esteem, but concede to the prejudices of the illiterate in a worship of the gods with burnt-offerings of clarified butter and libations of the juices of plants. As respects the constitution of man, they make a distinction between the soul and the vital principle, asserting that it is the latter only which expiates sin by transmigration. They divide society into four castes-the priests, the military, the industrial, the servile. They make a Brahman the chief of all created things, and order that his life shall be divided into four parts-one to be spent in abstinence, one in marriage, one as an anchorite, and one in profound meditation; he may then " quit the body as a bird leaves the branch of a tree." They vest
CHANGES IN VEDAISM. 47
the government of society in an absolute monarch, having seven councilors, who directs the internal administration by a chain of officials, the revenue being derived from a share of agricultural products, taxes on commerce, imposts on shopkeepers, and a service of one day in the month from laborers. In their essential principles the Institutes therefore follow the Vedas, though, as must be the case in every system intended for men in the various stages of intellectual progress from the least advanced to the highest, they show a leaning toward popular delusions. Both are pantheistic, for both regard the universe as the manifestation of the Creator; both accept the doctrine of Emanation, teaching that the universe lasts only for a definite period of time, and then, the Divine energy being withdrawn, absorption of every thing, even of the created gods, takes place, and thus, in great cycles of prodigious duration, many such successive emanations and absorptions of universes occur. The changes that have taken place among the orthodox in India since the period of the Institutes are in consequence of the diminution or disappearance of the highly philosophical classes, and of the comparative predominance of the vulgar. They are stated by Mr. Elphinstone as a gradual oblivion of monotheism, the neglect of the worship of some gods and the introduction of others, the worship of deified mortals. The doctrine of human deification is carried to such an extent that Indra and other mythological gods are said to tremble lest they should be supplanted by men. This introduction of polytheism and use of images has probably been connected with the fact that there have been no temples to the Invisible God, and the uneducated mind feels the necessity of some recognizable form. In this manner the Trinitarian conception of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, with fourteen other chief gods, has been introduced. Vishnu and Siva are never mentioned in the Institutes, but they now engross the public devotions; besides these there are angels, genii, penates, and lares, like the Roman. Brahma has only one temple in all India, and has never been much worshiped. Chrishna is the great favorite of the women. The doctrine of incarnation has also become prevalent; the incarnations of Vishnu are innumerable. The opinion has also been spread that faith in a particular god is better than contemplation, ceremonial, or good works. A new ritual, instead of the Vedas, has come into use, these scriptures being the eighteen Puranas, composed between the eighth and sixteenth centuries. They contain theogonies, accounts of the creation, philosophical speculations, fragmentary history, and may be brought to support any sectarian view, having never been intended as one general body, but they are received as incontrovertible authority. In former times great efficacy was attached to sacrifice and religious austerities, but the objects once accomplished
48 THE RISE OF BUDDHISM.
in that way are now compassed by mere faith. In the Baghavat Gita, the text-book of the modern school, the sole essential for salvation is dependence on some particular teacher, which makes up for every thing else. The efficacy which is thus ascribed to faith, and the facility with which sin may be expiated by penance, has led to great mental debility and superstition. It has added force to the doctrine of a material paradise of trees, flowers, banquets, hymns; and to a hell, a dismal place of flames, thirst, torment, and horrid spectres. If such has been the gradual degradation of religion, through the suppression or disappearance of the most highly cultivated minds, the tendency of philosophy is not less strikingly marked. It is said that even in ancient times not less than six distinct philosophical schools may be recognized: 1, the prior Mimansa; 2, the later Mimansa, or Vedanta, founded by Vyasa about 1400 B.C., having a Vedanta literature of prodigious extent; 3, the Logical school, bearing a close resemblance to that of Aristotle, even in its details; 4, the Atomic school of Canade; 5, the Atheistical school of Capila; 6, the Theistical school of Patanjali. This great theological system, enforced by a tyrannical hierarchy, did not maintain itself without a conflict. Buddhism arose as its antagonist. By an inevitable necessity,Vedaism must pass onward to Buddhism. The prophetic foresight of the great founder of this system was justified by its prodigious, its unparalleled, its enduring success - a success that rested on the assertion of the dogma of the absolute equality of all men, and this in a country that for ages had been oppressed by castes. If the Buddhist admits the existence of God, it is not as a Creator, for matter is equally eternal; and since it possesses a property of inherent organization, even if the universe should perish, this quality would quickly restore it, and carry it on to new regenerations and new decays without any external agency. It also is endued with intelligence and consciousness. The Buddhists agree with the Brahmins in the doctrine of Quietism, in the care of animal life, in transmigration. They deny the Vedas and Puranas, have no castes, and, agreeably to their cardinal principle, draw their priests from all classes like the European monks. They live in monasteries, dress in yellow, go barefoot, their heads and beards being shaved; they have constant services in their chapels, chanting, incense, and candles; erect monuments and temples over the relics of holy men. They put an especial merit in celibacy; renounce all the pleasures of sense; eat in one hall; receive alms. To do these things is incident to a certain phase of human progress. Buddhism arose about the tenth century before Christ, its founder being Arddha Chiddi, a native of Capila, near Nepaul. Of his epoch there are, however, many statements. The Avars, Siamese, and Cingalese fix
THE LIFE OF ITS FOUNDER. 49
him B.C. 600; the Cashmerians, B.C. 1332; the Chinese, Mongols, and Japanese, B.C. 1000. The Sanscrit words occurring in Buddhism attest its Hindu origin, Buddha itself being the Sanscrit for intelligence. After the system had spread widely in India, it was carried by missionaries into Ceylon, Tartary, Thibet, China, Japan, Burmah, and is now professed by a greater portion of the human race than any other religion. Until quite recently, the history of Arddha Chiddi and the system he taught have, notwithstanding their singular interest, been very imperfectly known in Europe. He was born in affluence and of a royal family. In his twenty-ninth year he retired from the world, the pleasures of which he had tasted, and of which he had become weary. The spectacle of a gangrened corpse first arrested his thoughts. Leaving his numerous wives, he became a religious mendicant. It is said that he walked about in a shroud, drawn from the body of a female slave. Profoundly impressed with the vanity of all human affairs, he devoted himself to philosophical meditation, by severe self-denial emancipating himself from all worldly hopes and cares. When a man has brought himself to this pass he is able to accomplish great things. For the name by which his parents had called him he substituted that of Gotama, or "he who kills the senses," and subsequently Chakia Mouni, or the Penitent of Chakia. Under the shade of a tree Gotama was born; under the shade of a tree he overcame the love of the world and the fear of death; under the shade of a tree he preached his first sermon in the shroud; under the shade of a tree he died. In four months after he commenced his ministry hemhad five disciples; at the close of the year they had increased to twelve hundred. In the twenty-nine centuries that have passed since that time, they have given rise to sects counting millions of souls, outnumbering the followers of all other religious teachers. The system still seems to retain much of its pristine vigor; yet religions are perishable. There is no country, except India, which has the same religion now that it had at the birth of Christ. Gotama died at the advanced age of eighty years; his corpse was burnt eight days subsequently. But several years before this event his system must be considered as thoroughly established. It shows how little depends upon the nature of a doctrine, and how much upon effective organization, that Buddhism, the principles of which are far above the reach of popular thought, should have been propagated with so much rapidity, for it made its converts by preaching, and not, like Mohammedanism, by the sword. Shortly after Gotama's death, a council of five hundred ecclesiastics assembled for the purpose of settling the religion. A century later a second council met to regulate the monastic institution; and in B.C. 241, a third council, for the expulsion of fire-worshipers. Under the auspices of King Asoka, whose character presents singular points of resemblance to that of
50 CONFLICT OF VEDAISM AND BUDDHISM.
the Roman emperor who summoned the Council of Nicea, for he, too, was the murderer of his own family, and has been handed down to posterity, because of the success of the policy of his party, as a great, a virtuous, and a pious sovereign-under his auspices missionaries were sent out in all directions, and monasteries richly endowed were every where established. The singular efficacy of monastic institutions was rediscovered in Europe many centuries subsequently. In proclaiming the equality of all men in this life, the Buddhists, as we have seen, came into direct collision with the orthodox creed of India, long carried out into practice in the institution of castes-a collision that was embittered by the abhorrence the Buddhists displayed for any distinction between the clergy and laity. To be a Brahman a man must be born one, but a Buddhist priest might voluntarily come from any rank-from the very dregs of society. In the former system marriage was absolutely essential to the ecclesiastical caste; in the latter it was not, for the priestly ranks could be recruited without it. And hence there followed a most important advantage, that celibacy and chastity might be extolled as the greatest of all the virtues. The experience of Europe, as well as of Asia, has shown how powerful is the control obtained by the hierarchy in that way. In India there was, therefore, no other course for the orthodox than to meet the danger with bloody persecutions, and in the end, the Buddhists, expelled from their native seats, were scattered throughout Eastern Asia. Persecution is the mother of proselytes. The fundamental principle of Buddhism*is that there is a supreme power, but no Supreme Being. From this it might be inferred that they who adopt such a creed can not be pantheists, but must be atheists. It is a rejection of the idea of Being, an acknowledgment of that of Force. If it admits the existence of God, it declines him as a Creator. It asserts an impelling power in the universe, a self-existent and plastic principle, but not a self-existent, an eternal, a personal God. It rejects inquiry into first causes as being unphilosophical, and considers that phenomena alone can be dealt with by our finite minds. Not without an air of intellectual majesty, it tolerates the Asiatic time-consecrated idea of a trinity, pointing out one not of a corporeal, but of an impersonal kind. Its trinity is the Past, the Present, the Future. For the sake of aiding our thoughts, it images the Past with his hands folded, since he has attained to rest, but the others with their right hands extended in token of activity. Since he has no God, the Buddhist can not expect absorption; the pantheistic Brahman looks forward to the return of his soul to the Supreme Being as a drop of rain returns to the sea. The Buddhist has no religion, but only a ceremonial. How can there be a religion where there is no God?
ITS IDEAS OF GOD, PROVIDENCE, LAW, THE WORLD, MAN. 51
In all this it is plain that the impersonal and immaterial predominates, and that Gotama is contemplating the existence of pure Force without any association of Substance. He necessarily denies the immediate interposition of any such agency as Providence, maintaining that the system of nature, once arising, must proceed irresistibly according to the laws which brought it into being, and that from this point of view the universe is merely a gigantic engine. To the Brahman priesthood such ideas were particularly obnoxious; they were hostile to any philosophical system founded on the principle that the world is governed by law, for they suspected that its tendency would be to leave them without any mediatory functions, and therefore without any claims on the faithful. Equally does Gotama deny the existence of chance, saying that that which we call chance is nothing but the effect of an unknown, unavoidable cause. As to the external world, we can not tell how far it is a phantasm, how far a reality, for our senses possess no reliable criterion of the truth. They convey to the mind representations of what we consider to be external things, by which it is furnished with materials for its various operations; but, unless it acts in conjunction with the senses, the operation is lost, as in that absence which takes place in deep contemplation. It is owing to our inability to determine what share these internal and external conditions take in producing a result that the absolute or actual state of nature is incomprehensible by us. Nevertheless, conceding to our, mental infirmity the idea of a real existence of visible nature, we may consider it as offering a succession of impermanent forms, and as exhibiting an orderly series of transmutations, innumerable universes in periods of inconceivable time emerging one after another, and creations and extinctions of systems of worlds taking place according to a primordial law. Such are his doctrines of a Supreme Force, and of the origin and history of the visible world. With like ability Gotama deals with his inquiry into the nature of man. With Oriental imagery he bids us consider what becomes of a grain of salt thrown into the sea; but, lest we should be deceived herein, he tells us that there is no such thing as individuality or personality that the Ego is altogether a nonentity. In these profound considerations he brings to bear his conception of force, in the light thereof asserting that all sentient beings are homogeneous. If we fail to follow him in these exalted thoughts, bound down to material ideas by the infirmities of the human constitution, and inquire of him how the spirit of man, which obviously displays so much energy, can be conceived of as being without form, without a past, without a future, he demands of us what has become of the flame of a lamp when it is blown out, or to tell him in what obscure condition it lay before it was kindled. Was it a nonentity? Has it been anni-
52 OF THE PASSAGE TO NIRWANA OR NONENTITY.
hilated? By the aid of such imagery he tries to depict the nature of existence, and to convey a vivid idea of the metamorphoses it undergoes. Outward things are to him phantasms; the impressions they make on the mind are phantasms too. In this sense he receives the doctrine of transmigration, conceiving of it very much as we conceive of the accumulation of heat successively in different things. In one sense it may be the same heat which occupies such objects one after another, but in another, since heat is force and not matter, there can be no such individuality. Viewed, however, in the less profound way, he is not unwilling to adopt the doctrine of the transmigration of the soul through various forms, admitting that there may accumulate upon it the effect of all those influences, whether of merit or demerit, of good or of evil, to which it has been exposed. The vital flame is handed down from one generation to another; it is communicated from one animated form to another. He thinks it may carry with it in these movements the modifications which may have been impressed on it, and require opportunity for shaking them off and regaining its original state. At this point the doctrine of Gotama is assuming the aspect of a moral system, and is beginning to suggest means of deliverance from the accumulated evil and consequent demerit to which the spirit has been exposed. He will not, however, recognize any vicarious action. Each one must work out for himself his own salvation, remembering that death is not necessarily a deliverance from worldly ills, it may be only a passage to new miseries. But yet, as the light of the taper must come at last to an end, so there is at length, though it may be after many transmigrations, an end of life. That end he calls Nirwana, a word that has been for nearly three thousand years of solemn import to countless millions of men. Nirwana, the end of successive existences, that state which has no relation to matter, or space, or time, to which the departing flame of the extinguished taper has gone. It is the supreme end, Nonentity. The attaining of this is the object to which we ought to aspire, and for that purpose we should seek to destroy within ourselves all cleaving to existence, weaning ourselves from every earthly object, from every earthly pursuit. We should resort to monastic life, to penance, to self-denial, self-mortification, and so gradually learn to sink into perfect quietude or apathy, in imitation of that state to which we must come at last, and to which, by such preparation, we may all the more rapidly approach. The pantheistic Brahman expects absorption in God; the Buddhist, having no God, expects extinction. India has thus given to the world two distinct philosophical systems: Vedaism, which takes as its resting-point the existence of matter, and Buddhism, of which the resting-point is force. The philosophical ability displayed in the latter is very great; in-
GRADUAL DEBASEMENT OF BUDDHISM. 53
deed it may be doubted whether Europe has produced its metaphysical equivalent. And yet, if I have correctly presented its principles, it will probably appear that its primary conception is not altogether consistently carried out in the development of the details. Great as was the intellectual ability of its author-so great as to extort our profoundest, though it may be reluctant admiration-there are nevertheless moments in which it appears that his movement is becoming wavering and unsteady-that he is failing to handle his ponderous weapon with self-balanced power. This is particularly the case in that point in which he is passing from the consideration of pure force to the unavoidable consideration of visible nature, the actual existence of which he seems to be obliged to deny. But then I am not sure that I have caught with precision his exact train of thought, or have represented his intention with critical correctness. Considering the extraordinary power he elsewhere displays, it is more probable that I have failed to follow his meaning, than that he has been, on the points in question, incompetent to deal with his task. The works of Gotama, under the title of "Verbal Instructions," are published by the Chinese government in four languages-Thibetan, Mongol, Mantchou, Chinese-from the imperial press at Pekin, in eight hundred large volumes. They are presented to the Lama monasteries-a magnificent gift. In speaking of Vedaism, I have mentioned the manner in which its more elevated conceptions were gradually displaced by those of a base grade coming into prominence; and here it may be useful in like manner to speak of the corresponding debasement of Buddhism. Its practical working was the introduction of an immense monastic system, offering many points of resemblance to the subsequent one of Europe. Since its object was altogether of a personal kind, the attainment of individual happiness, it was not possible that it should do otherwise than engender extreme selfishness. It impressed on each man to secure his own salvation, no matter what became of all others. Of what concern to him were parents, wife, children, friends, country, so long as he attained Nirwana. Long before Buddhism had been expelled from India by the victorious Brahmins, it had been overlaid with popular ornaments. It had its fables, legends, miracles. Its humble devotees implicitly believed that Mahamaia, the mother of Gotama, an immaculate virgin, conceived him through a divine influence, and that thus he was of the nature of God and man conjoined; that he stood upon his feet and spoke at the moment of his birth; that at five months of age he sat unsupported in the air; that at the moment of his conversion he was attacked by a legion of demons, and that in his penance-fasting he reduced himself to the allowance of one pepper-pod a day; that he had been in
54 ITS VAST DIFFUSION OVER EASTERN ASIA.
carnate many times before, and that on his ascension through the air to heaven he left his footprint on a mountain in Ceylon, which is to be worshiped; that there is a paradise of gems, and flowers, and feasts, and music for the good, and a hell of sulphur, and flames, and torment for the wicked; that it is lawful to resort to the worship of images, but that those are in error who deify men, or pay respect to relics; that there are spirits, and goblins, and other superhuman forms; that there is a queen of heaven; that the reading of the Scriptures is in itself an actual merit, whether its precepts are followed or not; that prayer may be offered by saying a formula by rote, or even by turning the handle of a mill from which invocations written on paper issue forth; that the revealer of Buddhism is to be regarded as the religious head of the world. The reader can not fail to remark the resemblance of these ideas to some of those of the Roman Church. When a knowledge of the Oriental forms of religion was first brought into Europe, and their real origin was not understood, it was supposed that this coincidence had arisen in the labors of Nestorian, or other ancient missionaries from the West, and hopes were entertained that the conversion of Eastern Asia would be promoted thereby. But this expectation was disappointed, and that which many good men regarded as a preparation for Christianity proved to be a stumbling-block in its way. It is not improbable that the pseudo-Christianity of the Chinese revolters, of which so much has recently been said, is of the same nature, and will end with the same result. Decorated with these extraneous but popular recommendations, Buddhism has been embraced by four tenths of the human race. It has a prodigious literature, great temples, many monuments. Its monasteries are scattered from the north of Tartary almost to the equinoctial line. In these an education is imparted not unlike that of the European monasteries of the Middle Ages. It has been estimated that in Tartary one third of the population are Lamas. There are single convents containing more than two thousand individuals; the wealth of the country voluntarily pours into them. Elementary education is more widely diffused than in Europe; it is rare to meet with a person who cannot read. Among the priests there are many who are devout, and, as might be expected, many who are impostors. It is a melancholy fact that, in China, Buddhism has led the entire population not only into indifferentism, but into absolute godlessness. They have come to regard religion as merely a fashion, to be followed according to one's own taste; that as professed by the state it is a civil institution necessary for the holding of office, and demanded by society, but not to be regarded as of the smallest philosophical importance; that a man is entitled to indulge his views on these matters just as he is entitled to indulge his taste in the color and fashion of his gar-
EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION. 55
ments; that he has no more right, however, to live without some religious profession than he has a right to go naked. The Chinese cannot comprehend how there should be animosities arising on matters of such doubtful nature and trivial concern. The formula under which they live is: "Religions are many; reason is one; we are brothers." They smile at the credulity of the good-natured Tartars, who believe in the wonders of miracle-workers, for they have miracle-workers who can perform the most supernatural cures, who can lick red-hot iron, who can cut open their bowels, and, by passing their hand over the wound, make themselves whole again-who can raise the dead. In China, these miracles, with all their authentications, have descended to the conjuror, and are performed for the amusement of children. The common expressions of that country betray the materialism and indifferentism of the people, and their consequent immorality. "The prisons," they say, "are locked night and day, but they are always full; the temples are always open, and yet there is nobody in them." Of the dead they say, with an exquisite refinement of politeness, " He has saluted the world." The Lazarist Hue, on whose authority many of these statements are made, testifies that they die, indeed, with incomparable tranquillity, just as animals die; and adds, with a bitter, and yet profoundly true sarcasm, they are what many in Europe are wanting to be. From the theology of India I turn, in the next place, to the civilization of Egypt. The ancient system of isolation which for many thousand years had been the policy of Egypt was overthrown by Psammetichus about B.C. 670. Up to that time the inhabitants of that country had been shut out from all Mediterranean or European contact by a rigorous exclusion exceeding that until recently practiced in China and Japan. As from the inmates of the happy valley, in Rasselas, no tidings escaped to the outer world, so, to the European, the valley of the was a region of mysteries and marvels. At intervals of centuries, individuals, like Cecrops and Danaus, had fled to other countries, and had attached the gratitude of posterity to their memories for the religion, laws, or other institutions of civilization they had conferred. The traditions connected with them served only to magnify those uncertain legends met with all over Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, Sicily, of the prodigies and miracles that adventurous pirates reported they had actually seen in their stealthy visits to the enchanted valley-great pyramids covering acres of land, their tops rising to the heavens, yet each pyramid nothing more than the tomb-stone of a king; colossi sitting on granite thrones, the images of Pharaohs who lived in the morning of the world, still silently looking upon the land which thousands of years before they had ruled; of these, some, obedient to the
56 OPENING OF THE EGYPTIAN PORTS TO EUROPE.
sun, saluted his approach when touched by his morning rays; obelisks of prodigious height, carved by superhuman skill from a single block of stone, and raised by superhuman power erect on their everlasting pedestals, their faces covered with mysterious hieroglyphs, a language unknown to the vulgar, telling by whom and for what they had been constructed; temples, the massive leaning and lowering walls of which were supported by countless ranges of statues; avenues of sphinxes, through the shadows of which, grim and silent, the portals of fanes might be approached; catacombs containing the mortal remains of countless generations, each corpse awaiting, in mysterious embalmment, a future life; labyrinths of many hundred chambers and vaults, into which whoso entered without a clew never again escaped, but in the sameness and solitude of those endless windings found his sepulchre. It is impossible for us to appreciate the sentiment of religious awe with which the Mediterranean people looked upon the enchanted, the hoary, the civilized monarchy on the banks of the Nile. As Bunsen says, "Egypt was to the Greeks a sphinx with an intellectual human countenance." Her solitude, however, had not been altogether unbroken. After a duration of 1076 years, and the reign of thirty-eight kings, illustrated by the production of the most stupendous works ever accomplished by the hand of man, some of which, as the Pyramids, remain to our times, the old empire, which had arisen from the union of the upper and lower countries, had been overthrown by the Hycksos, or shepherd kings, a race of Asiatic invaders. These, in their turn, had held dominion for more than five centuries, when an insurrection put an end to their power, and gave birth to the new empire, some of the monarchs of which, for their great achievements, are still remembered. In the middle period of this new empire those events in early Hebrew history took place-the visit of Abram and the elevation of Joseph-which are related with such simplicity in the Holy Scriptures. With varied prosperity, the new empire continued until the time of Psammetichus, who, in a civil war, having attained supreme power by,the aid of Greek mercenaries, overthrew the time-honored policy of all the old dynasties, and occasioned the first grand impulse in the intellectual life of Europe by opening the ports of Egypt, and making that country accessible to the blue-eyed and red-haired barbarians of the North. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the influence of this event upon the progress of Europe. An immense extension of Greek commerce by the demand for the products of the Euxine as well as of the Mediterranean was the smallest part of the advantage. As to Egypt herself, it entailed a complete change in her policy, domestic and foreign. In the former respect, the employment of the mer-
THE GREAT CANAL AND CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF AFRICA. 57
cenaries was the cause of the entire emigration of the warrior caste, and in the latter it brought things to such a condition that, if Egypt would continue to exist, she must become a maritime state. Her geographical position for the purposes of commerce was excellent; with the Red Sea to the east and the Mediterranean to the north, she was the natural entrepot between Asia and Europe, as was shown by the prosperity of Alexandria in later ages. But there was a serious difficulty in the way of her becoming a naval power; no timber suitable for ship-building grew in the country-indeed, scarcely enough was to be found to satisfy the demands for the construction of houses and coffins for the dead. The early Egyptians, like the Hindus, had a religious dread of the sea, but their exclusiveness was, perhaps, not a little dependent on their want of material for ship-building. Egypt was therefore compelled to enter on a career of foreign conquest, and at all hazards possess herself of the timber-growing districts of Syria. It was this urgent necessity which led to her collisions with the Mesopotamian kings, and drew and in its train of consequences the sieges, sacks, and captivities of Jerusalem, the metropolis of a little state lying directly between the contending powers, and alternately disturbed by each. Of the necessity of this course of policy in the opinion of the Egyptian kings, we can have no better proof than the fact that Psammetichus himself continued the siege of Azotus for twenty-nine years; that his son Necho reopened the canal between the Nile at Bubastes and the Red Sea at Suez-it was wide enough for two ships to pass-and on being resisted therein by the priests, who feared that it might weaken the country strategically, attempted the circumnavigation of Africa, and actually succeeded in it. In those times such expeditions were not undertaken as mere matters of curiosity. Though this monarch also dispatched investigators to ascertain the sources of the Nile, and determine the causes of its rise, it was doubtless in the hope of making such knowledge of use in a material or economical point of view, and therefore it may be supposed that the circumnavigation of Africa was undertaken upon the anticipated or experienced failure of the advantages expected to arise from the reopening of the canal; for the great fleets which Necho and his father had built could not be advantageously handled unless they could be transferred as circumstances required, either by the circumnavigation or by the canal, from one sea to the other. The time occupied in passing round the continent, which appears to have been three years, rendered the former method of little practical use. But the failure experienced, so far from detracting from the estimation in which we must hold those kings who could thus display such a breadth of conception and vigor of execution, must even enhance it. They resumed the policy of the conqueror Rameses II., who had many centuries before possessed the timber-growing countries, and
58 THE FALL OF EGYPT.
whose engineers originally cut the canal from the Nile to the Red Sea, though the work cost 120,000 lives and countless treasuries of money. The canal of Rameses, which, in the course of so many centuries, had become filled up with sand, was thus cleaned out, as it was again in the reign of the Ptolemies, and again under the khalifs, and galleys passed from sea to sea. The Persians, under Darius Hystaspes, also either repaired it, or, as some say, attempted a new work of the kind; but their engineering must have been very defective, for they were obliged to abandon their enterprise after carrying it as far as the bitter lakes, finding that salt water would be introduced into the Delta. The Suez mouth of the canal of Rameses was protected by a system of hydraulic works, to meet difficulties arising from the variable levels both of the Nile and the Red Sea. Well might the Egyptians, whose country was the scene of such prodigious works of civil engineering, smile when the conceited Greeks boasted that Thales had taught them to measure the height of their own Pyramids. The Egyptian policy continued by Pharaoh Hophra, who succeeded in the capture of Sidon, brought on hostilities with the Babylonian kings, now become thoroughly awakened to what was going on in Egypt-a collision which occasioned the expulsion of the Egyptians from Syria, and the seizure of the lower country by Nebuchadnezzar, who also took vengeance on King Zedekiah for the assistance Jerusalem had rendered to the Africans in their projects: that city was razed to the ground, the eyes of the king put out, and the people carried captive to Babylon, B.C. 568. It is a striking exemplification of the manner in which national policy will endure through changes of dynasties, that after the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes, and the transference of power to the Persians, the policy of controlling the Mediterranean was never for an instant lost sight of. Attempts were continually made, by operating alternately on the southern and northern shores, to push to the westward. The subsequent history of Rome shows what would have been the consequences of an uncontrolled possession of the Mediterranean by a great maritime power. On the occasion of a revolt of Egypt, the Persian King Cambyses so utterly crushed and desolated it, that from that day to this, though twenty-four centuries have intervened, it has never been able to recover its independence. The Persian advance on the south shore toward Carthage failed because of the indisposition of the Phoenicians to assist in any operations against that city. We must particularly remark that the ravaging of Egypt by Cambyses was contemporaneous with the cultivation of philosophy in the southern Italian towns-somewhat more than five hundred years before Christ. Among the incidents occurring during these struggles between the
THE FALL OF TYRE. 59
Egyptian and Babylonian kings there is one deserving to be brought into conspicuous prominence, from the importance of its consequences in European history. It was the taking of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. So long as that city dominated in the Mediterranean, it was altogether impossible for Greek maritime power to be developed. The strength of Tyre is demonstrated by her resistance to the whole Babylonian power for thirteen years, until " every head was bald and every shoulder peeled." The place was, in the end, utterly destroyed. It was made as bare as the top of a rock on which the fisherman spreads his nets. The blow thus struck at the heart of Tyrian commerce could not but be felt at the utmost extremities. Well might it be said that " the isles of the sea were troubled at her departure." It was during this time that Greece fairly emerged as a Mediterranean naval power. Nor did the inhabitants of New Tyre ever recover the ancient position. Their misfortunes had given them a rival. A re-establishment in an island on the coast was not a restoration of their supremacy. Carrying out what Greece instinctively felt to be her national policy, one of the first acts of Alexander's Asiatic campaign, two hundred and fifty years subsequently, was the siege of the new city, and, after almost superhuman exertions, its capture, by building a mole from the main land. He literally leveled the place to the ground, a countless multitude was massacred, two thousand persons were crucified, and Tyrian influence disappeared forever from the Mediterranean. In early Greek history there are, therefore, two leading foreign events: 1st, the opening of the Egyptian ports, B.C. 670; 2d, the downfall of old Tyre, B.C. 573. The effect of the first was chiefly intellectual; that of the second was to permit the commencement of commercial prosperity and give life to Athens. At the dawn of European civilization, Egypt was, therefore, in process of decadence, gradually becoming less and less able to resist its own interior causes of destruction, or the attempts of its Asiatic rivals, who eventually brought it to ruin. At the first historical appearance of the country of the Nile it is hoary and venerable with age. The beautiful Scripture pictures of the journey of Abram and Sarai in the famine, the going down of Joseph, the exodus of the Israelites, all point to a long-settled system, a tranquil and prosperous state. Do we ask any proof of the condition of art to which the Egyptians had attained at the time of their earliest monuments, the masonry of the Great Pyramid, built thirty-four hundred years before Christ, has never yet been surpassed. So accurately was that wonder of the world laid down and constructed, that at this day the variation of the compass may actually be determined by the position of its sides; yet, when Jacob went into Egypt, that pyramid had been built as many centuries as have intervened from the birth of Christ to the present day. If we
60 INFLUENCE OF EGYPT ON EUROPE.
turn from the monuments to their inscriptions, there are renewed evidences of antiquity. The hieroglyphic writing had passed through all its stages of formation; its principles had become ascertained and settled long before we gain the first glimpse of it; the decimal and duodecimal systems of arithmetic were in use; the arts necessary in hydraulic engineering, massive architecture, and the ascertainment of the boundaries of land, had reached no insignificant degree of perfection. Indeed, there would be but very little exaggeration in affirming that we are practically as near the early Egyptian ages as was Herodotus himself. Well might the Egyptian priests say to the earliest Greek philosophers, "You Greeks are mere children, talkative and vain; you know nothing at all of the past." Traces of the prehistoric, premonumental life of Egypt are still preserved in the relics of its language, and the well-known principles of its religion. Of the former, many of the words are referable to Indo-Germanic roots, an indication that the country at an early period must have been conquered from its indigenous African possessors by intrusive expeditions from Asia, and this is supported by the remarkable principles of Egyptian religion. The races of Central Asia had at a very early time attained to the psychical stage of monotheism. Africa is only now emerging from the basest fetichism; the negro priest is still a sorcerer and rain-maker. The Egyptian religion, as is well known, provided for the vulgar a suitable worship of complex idolatry, but for those emancipated from superstition it offered true and even noble conceptions. The coexistence of these apparent incompatibilities in the same faith seems incapable of any other explanation than that of an amalgamation of two distinct systems, just as occurred again many ages subsequently under Ptolemy Soter. As a critical attention is being bestowed by modern scholars upon Egyptian remains, we learn more truly what is the place in history of that venerable country. It is their boast that the day is not distant when there will be no more difficulty in translating a page of hieroglyphics than in translating one of Latin or Greek. Even now, what a light has been thrown on all branches of ancient literature, science, art, mythology, domestic life, by researches which it may be said commenced only yesterday! From Egypt, it now appears, were derived the prototypes of the Greek architectural orders, and even their ornaments and conventional designs; thence came the models of the Greek and Etruscan vases; thence came many of the ante-Homeric legends-the accusation of the dead, the trial before the judges of hell; the reward and punishment of every man, from the Pharaoh who had descended from his throne to the slave who had escaped from his chain; the dog Cerberus, the Stygian stream, the Lake of Oblivion, the piece of money, Charon and his boat, the fields of Aahlu or Elysium, and the
THE HIEROGLYPHICS. 61
islands of the blessed; thence came the first ritual for the dead, litanies to the sun, and painted or illuminated missals; thence came the dogma of a queen of heaven. What other country can offer such noble and enduring edifices to the gods; temples with avenues of sphinxes; massive pylons adorned with obelisks in front, which even imperial Rome and modern Paris have not thought it beneath them to appropriate; porticoes and halls of columns, on which were carved the portraits of kings and effigies of the gods? On the walls of the tombs still remain Pthah, the creator, and Neph, the divine spirit, sitting at the potter's wheel, turning clay to form men; and Athor, who receives the setting sun into her arms; and Osiris, the judge of the dead. The granite statues have outlived the gods! Moreover, the hieroglyphics furnish us with intrinsic evidence that among this people arose the earliest attempts at the perpetuation and imparting of ideas by writing. Though doubtless it was in the beginning a mere picture-writing, like that of the Mexicans of our continent, it had already, at the first moment we meet with it, undergone a twofold development-ideographic and phonetic; the one expressing ideas, the other sounds. Under the Macedonian kings the hieroglyphics had become restricted to religious uses, showing conclusively that the old priesthood had never recovered the terrible blows struck against it by Cambyses and Ochus. From that time forth they were less and less known. It is said that one of the Roman emperors was obliged to offer a reward for the translation of an obelisk. To the early Christian the hieroglyphic inscription was an abomination, as full of the relics of idolatry, and indicating an inspiration of the devil. He defaced the monuments wherever he could make them yield; and we are indebted to the excess of his zeal for hiding the diabolical records on temples consecrated to his use by plastering them over, which has preserved them for us. In those enigmatical characters an extensive literature once existed, of which the celebrated books of Hermes were perhaps a corruption or a relic; a literature embracing compositions on music, astronomy, cosmpgony, geography, medicine, anatomy, chemistry, magic, and many other subjects that have amused the curiosity of man. Yet of those characters the most singular misconceptions have been entertained almost to our own times. Thus, in 1802, Palin thought that the papyri were the Psalms of David done into Chinese, Lenoir that they were Hebrew documents; it was even asserted that the inscriptions in the temple of Denderah were the 100th Psalm, a pleasant ecclesiastical conceit, reminding him who has seen in Egyptian museums old articles of brass and glass, of the story delivered down from hand to hand, that brass was first made at the burning of Corinth, and glass first discovered by shipwrecked mariners, who propped their kettle, while it boiled, on pieces of nitre.
62 ANTIQUITY OF EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION.
Thousands of years have passed since the foundation of the first Egyptian dynasty. The Pyramids have seen the old empire, the Hycksos monarchs, the New Empire, the Persian, the Macedonian, the Roman, the Mohammedan. They have stood while the heavens themselves have changed. They were already " five hundred years old when the Southern Cross disappeared from the horizon of the countries of the Baltic." The pole-star itself is a new-comer to them. Well* may Humboldt, referring to these incidents, remark, that "the past seems to be visibly nearer to us when we thus connect its measurement with great and memorable events." No country has had such a varied history as this birthplace of European civilization. Through the darkness of fifty centuries we may not be able to discern the motives of men, but through periods very much longer we can demonstrate the conditions of Nature. If nations, in one sense, depend on the former, in a higher sense they depend on the latter. It was not without reason that the Egyptians took the lead in Mediterranean civilization. The geographical structure of their country surpasses even its hoary monuments in teaching us the conditions under which that people were placed. Nature is a surer guide than the traces of man, whose works are necessarily transitory. The aspect of Egypt has changed again and again; its structure, since man has inhabited it, never. The fields have disappeared, but the land remains. Why was it that civilization thus rose on the banks of the Nile, and not upon those of the Danube or Mississippi? Civilization depends on climate and agriculture. In Egypt the harvests may ordinarily be foretold and controlled. Of few other parts of the world can the same be said. In most countries the cultivation of the soil is uncertain. From seed-time to harvest, the meteorological variations are so numerous and great, that no skill can predict the amount of yearly produce. Without any premonition, the crops may be cut off by long-continued droughts, or destroyed by too much rain. Nor is it sufficient that a requisite amount of water should fall; to produce the proper effect, it must fall at particular periods. The labor of the farmer is at the mercy of the winds and clouds. With difficulty, therefore, could a civilized state originate under such circumstances. So long as life is a scene of uncertainty, the hope of yesterday blighted by the realities of today, man is the maker of expedients, but not of laws. In his solicitude as to his approaching lot, he has neither time nor desire to raise his eyes to the heavens to watch and record their phenomena; no leisure to look upon himself, and consider what and where he is. In the imperious demand for a present support, he dare not venture on speculative attempts at ameliorating his state; he is doomed to be a helpless, isolated, spell-bound savage, or, if not isolated, the companion of other savages as care-worn as himself. Under
BEGINNING OF CIVILIZATION IN RAINLESS COUNTRIES. 63
such circumstances, if, however, once the preliminary conditions and momentum of civilization be imparted to him, the very things which have hitherto tended to depress him produce an opposite effect. Instead of remaining in sameness and apathy, the vicissitudes to which he is now exposed urge him onward; and thus it is that, though the civilization of Europe depended for its commencement on the sameness and stability of an African climate, the conquests of Nature which mark its more advanced stage have been made in the trying life of the temperate zone. There is a country in which man is not the sport of the seasons, in which he need have no anxieties for his future well-being- a country in which the sunshines and heats vary very little from year to year. In the Thebaid heavy rain is said to be a prodigy. But, at the time when the Dog-star rises with the sun, the river begins to swell; a tranquil inundation by degrees covering the land, at once watering and enriching it. If the Nilometer which measures the height of the flood indicates eight cubits, the crops will be scanty; but if it reaches fourteen cubits, there will be a plentiful harvest. In the spring of the year it may be known how the fields will be in the autumn. Agriculture is certain in Egypt, and there man first became civilized. The date, moreover, furnishes to Africa a food almost without expense. The climate renders it necessary to use, for the most part, vegetable diet, and but little clothing is required. It is said that it costs less than three dollars to raise a child to maturity. The American counterpart of Egypt in this physical condition is Peru, the coast of which is also a rainless district. Peru is the Egypt of civilization of the Western continent. There is also a rainless strand on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is an incident full of meaning in the history of human progress, that, in regions far apart, civilization thus commenced in rainless countries. It is the hydrographic state of Upper Egypt, the cradle of civilization, that interests us. Here the influence of atmospheric water is altogether obliterated, for, in an agricultural point of view, the country is rainless. Variable meteorological conditions are here eliminated. Where the Nile breaks through the mountain gate at Essouan, it is observed that its waters begin to rise about the end of month of May, and in eight or nine weeks the inundation is at its height. This flood in the river is due to the great rains which have fallen in the mountainous countries among which the Nile takes its rise, and which have been precipitated from the trade-winds that blow, except where disturbed by the monsoons, over the vast expanse of the tropical Indian Ocean. Thus dried, the east wind pursues its solemn course over the solitudes of Central Africa, a cloudless and a rainless wind, its track marked by desolation and deserts. At first the river becomes red, and then green, because the flood of its great Abyssinian
64 GEOLOGICAL AGE OF EGYPT.
branch, the Blue Nile, arrives first; but, soon after, that of the White Nile makes its appearance, and from the overflowing banks not only water, but a rich and fertilizing mud, is discharged. It is owing to the solid material thus brought down that the river has raised its own bed in countless ages, and has embanked itself with shelving deposits that descend on either side toward the desert. For this reason it is that the inundation is seen on the edge of the desert first, and, as the flood rises, the whole country up to the river itself is laid under water. By the middle of September the supply begins to fail and the waters abate; by the end of October the stream has returned to its usual limits. The fields are left covered with a fertile deposit, the maximum quantity of which is about six inches thick in a hundred years. It is thought that the bed of the river rises four feet in a thousand years, and the fertilized land in its width continually encroaches on the desert. Since the reign of Amenophis III. it has increased by one third. He lived B.C. 1430. There have accumulated round the pedestal of his Colossus seven feet of mud. In the recent examinations made by the orders of the Viceroy of Egypt, close by the fallen statue of Rameses II., at Memphis, who reigned, according to Lepsius, from B.C. 1394 to B.C. 1328, a shaft was sunk to more than 24 feet. The water which then infiltrated compelled a resort to boring, which was continued until 41 feet 4~ inches were reached. The whole consisted of Nile deposits, alternate layers of loam and sand of the same composition throughout. From the greatest depth a fragment of pottery was obtained. Ninety-five of these borings were made in various places, but on no occasion was solid rock reached. The organic remains were all recent; not a trace of an extinct fossil occurred, but an abundance of the residues of burnt bricks and pottery. In their examination from Essouan to Cairo, the French estimated the mud deposit to be five inches for each century. From an examination of the results at Heliopolis, Mr. Horner makes it 3.18 inches. The Colossus of Rameses II. is surrounded by a sediment nine feet four inches deep, fairly estimated. Its date of erection was about 3215 years ago, which gives 3- inches per century. But beneath it similar layers continue to the depth of 30 feet, which, at the same rate, would give 13,500 years, to A.D. 1854, at which time the examination was made. Every precaution seems to have been taken to obtain accurate results. The extent of surface affected by the inundations of the Nile is, in a geographical point of view, altogether insignificant; yet, such as it was, it constituted Egypt. Commencing at the Cataract of Essouan, at the sacred island of Philae, on which to this day here and there the solitary palm-tree looks down, it reached to the Mediterranean Sea, from 24~ 3' N. to 31~ 37' N. The river runs in a valley,
THE NILE. 65
bounded on one side by the eastern and on the other by the Libyan chain of mountains, and of which the average breadth is about seven miles, the arable land, however, not averaging more than five and a half. At the widest place it is ten and three quarters, at the narrowest two. The entire surface of irrigated and fertile land in the Delta is 4500 square miles; the arable land of Egypt, 2255 square miles; and in the Fyoom, 340-a surface quite insignificant, if measured by the American standard, yet it supported seven millions of people. Here agriculture was so precise that it might almost be pronounced a mathematical art. The disturbances arising from atmospheric conditions were eliminated, and the variations, as connected with the supply of river-water, ascertained in advance. The priests proclaimed how the flood stood on the Nilometer, and the husbandman made corresponding preparations for a scanty or an abundant harvest. In such a state of things, it was an obvious step to improve upon the natural conditions by artificial means; dikes, and canals, and floodgates, with other hydraulic apparatus, would, even in the beginning of society, unavoidably be suggested, that in one locality the water might be detained longer; in another, shut off when there was danger of excess; in another, more abundantly introduced. There followed, as a consequence of this condition of things, the establishment of a strong government, having a direct control over the agriculture of the state by undertaking and supporting these artificial improvements, and sustaining itself by a tax cheerfully paid, and regulated in amount by the quantity of water supplied from the river to each estate. Such, indeed, was the fundamental political system of the country. The first king of the old empire undertook to turn the river into a new channel he made for it, a task which might seem to demand very able engineering, and actually accomplished it. It is more than five thousand years since Menes lived. There must have preceded his times many centuries, during which knowledge and skill had been increasing, before such a work could even have been contemplated. I shall not indulge in any imaginary description of the manner in which, under such favorable circumstances, the powers of the human mind were developed and civilization arose. In inaccessible security, the inhabitants of this valley were protected on the west by a burning sandy desert, on the east by the Red Sea. Nor shall I say any thing more of those remote geological times when the newly-made river first flowed over a rocky and barren desert on its way to the Mediterranean Sea; nor how, in the course of ages, it had by degrees laid down a fertile stratum, embanking itself in the: rich soil it had borne from the tropical mountains. Yet it is none the less true that such was the slow construction of Egypt as a habitable country; E
66 ITS INUNDATIONS LEAD TO STAR-WORSHIP.
such were the gradual steps by which it was fitted to become the seat of man. The pulse of its life-giving artery makes but one beat in a year; what, then, are a few hundreds of centuries in such a process? The Egyptians had, at an early period, observed that the rising of the Nile coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dogstar, and hence they very plausibly referred it to celestial agencies. Men are ever prone to mistake coincidences for causes; and thus it came to pass that the appearance of that star on the horizon at the rising of the sun was not only viewed as the signal, but as the cause of the inundations. Its coming to the desired position might, therefore, be well expected, and it was soon observed that this took place with regularity at periods of about 360 days. This was the first determination of the length of the year. It is worthy of remark, as showing how astronomy and religious rites were in the beginning connected together, that the priests of the mysterious temple of Phile placed before the tomb of Osiris every morning 360 vases of milk, each one commemorating one day, thus showing that the origin of that rite was in those remote ages when it was thought that the year was 360 days long. It was doubtless such circumstances that led the Egyptians to the cultivation of historical habits. In this they differed from the Hindus, who kept no records of occurrences. The Dog-star Sirius is the most splendid star in the heavens; to the Egyptian the inundation was the most important event upon earth. Mistaking a coincidence for a cause, he was led to the belief that when that brilliant star emerged in the morning from the rays of the sun, and began to assert its own inherent power, the sympathetic river, moved thereby, commenced to rise. A false inference like this soon dilated into a general doctrine; for if one star could in this way manifest a direct control over the course of terrestrial affairs, why should not another-indeed, why should not all? Moreover, it could not have escaped notice that the daily tides of the Red Sea are connected with the movements and position of the sun and moon, following those luminaries in the time of their occurrence, and being determined by their respective position for amount at spring and at neap. But the necessary result of such a view is no other than the admission of the astrological influence of the heavenly bodies; first, as respects inanimate nature, and then as respects the fortune and fate of men. It is not until the vast distance of the starry bodies is suspected that man begins to feel the necessity of a mediator between him and them, and star-worship passes to its second phase. To what part of the world could the Egyptian travel without seeing in the skies the same constellations? Far from the banks of the Nile, in the western deserts, in Syria, in Arabia, the stars are the same. They are omnipresent; for we may lose sight of the things of the earth, but
EGYPTIAN THEOLOGY AND RELIGION. 67
not of those of the heavens. The air of fate-like precision with which their appointed movements are accomplished, their solemn silence, their incomprehensible distances, might satisfy an observer that they are far removed from the influences of all human power, though, perhaps, they may be invoked by human prayer. Thus star-worship found for itself a plausible justification. The Egyptian system, at its highest development, combined the adoration of the heavenly bodies-the sun, the moon,Venus, etc., with the deified attributes of God. The great and venerable tin divinities, as Osiris, Pthah, Amun, were impersonations of such attributes, just as we speak of the Creator, the Almighty. It was held that not only has God never appeared upon earth in the human form, but that such is altogether an impossibility, since he is the animating principle of the entire universe, visible nature being only a manifestation of him. These impersonated attributes were arranged in various trinities, in each of which the third member is a procession from the doctrine and even expressions in this respect being full of interest to one who studies the gradual development of comparative theology in Europe. Thus from Amun by Maut proceeds Khonso, from Osiris by Isis proceeds Horus, from Neph by Sate proceeds Anouke. While, therefore, it was considered unlawful to represent God except by his attributes, these trinities and their persons offered abundant means of idolatrous worship for the vulgar. It was admitted that there had been terrestrial manifestations of these divine attributes for the salvation of men. Thus Osiris was incarnate in the flesh: he fell a sacrifice to the evil principle, and, after his death and resurrection, became the appointed judge of the dead. In his capacity of President of the West, or of the region of the setting stars, he dwells in the under world, which is traversed by the sun at night. The Egyptian priests affirmed that nothing is ever annihilated; to die is therefore only to assume a new form. Herodotus says that they were the first to discover that the soul is immortal, their conception of it being that it is an emanation from or a particle of the universal soul, which in a less degree animates all animals and plants, and even inorganic things. Their dogma that there had been divine incarnations obliged them to assert that there had been a fall of man, this seeming to be necessary to obtain a logical argument in justification of prodigies so great. For the relief of the guilty soul, they prescribed in this life fasts and penances, and in the future a transmigration through animals for purification. At death, the merits of the soul were ascertained by a formal trial before Osiris in the shadowy region of Amenti-the under world-in presence of the four genii of that realm, and of forty-two assessors. To this judgment the shade was con
68 THE TRIAL OF THE DEAD-CEREMONIES.
ducted by Horus, who carried him.past Cerberus, a hippopotamus, the gaunt guardian of the gate. He stood by in silence while Anubis weighed his heart in the scales of justice. If his good works preponderated, he was dismissed to the fields of Aahlu-the Elysian Fields; if his evil, he was condemned to transmigration. But that this doctrine of a judgment in another world might not decline into an idle legend, it was enforced by a preparatory trial in this -a trial of fearful and living import. From the sovereign to the meanest subject, every man underwent a sepulchral inquisition. As soon as any one died, his body was sent to the embalmer's, who kept it for forty days, and for thirty-two in addition the family mourned; the mummy, in its coffin, was placed erect in an inner chamber of the house. Notice was then sent to the forty-two assessors of the district; and on an appointed day, the corpse was carried to the sacred lake, of which every nome, and, indeed, every large town, had one toward the west. Arrived on its shore, the trial commenced; any person might bring charges against the deceased, or speak in his behalf; but woe to the false accuser. The assessors then passed sentence according to the evidence before them; if they found an evil life, sepulture was denied, and, in the midst of social disgrace, the friends bore back the mummy to their home, to be redeemed by their own good works in future years; or, if too poor to give it a place of refuge, it was buried on origin of the margin of the lake, the culprit ghost waiting and wandering for a hundred years. On these Stygian shores the bones of some are still dug up in our day; they have remained unsepulchred for more than thirty times their predestined century. Even to wicked kings a burial had thus been denied. But, if the verdict of the assessors was favorable, a penny was paid to the boatman Charon for ferriage; a cake was provided for the hippopotamus Cerberus; they rowed across the lake in the baris, or death-boat, the priest announcing to Osiris and the unearthly assessors the good deeds of the deceased. Arriving on the opposite shore, the procession walked in solemn silence, and the mummy was then deposited in its final resting-place-the catacombs. From this it may be gathered that the Egyptian religion did not remain a mere speculative subject, but was enforced on the people by the most solemn ceremonies. Moreover, in the great temples, grand processional services were celebrated, the precursors of some that still endure. There were sacrifices of meat-offerings, libations, incense. The national double creed, adapted in one branch to the vulgar, in the other to the learned, necessarily implied mysteries; some of these were avowedly transported to Greece. The machinery of oracles was resorted to. The Greek oracles were of Egyptian origin. So profound was the respect paid to their commands that
GREEK AGE OF INQUIRY. 69
even the sovereigns were obliged to obey them. It was thus that a warning from the oracle of Amun caused Necho to stop the construction of his canal. For the determination of future events, omens were studied, entrails inspected, and nativities were cast.
CHAPTER IV. GREEK AGE OF INQUIRY. RISE AND DECLINE OF PHYSICAL SPECULATION. IONIAN PHILOSOPHY, commencing from Egyptian Ideas, identifies in Water, or Air, or Fire, the First Principle.-Emerging from the Stage of Sorcery, it founds Psychology, Biology, Cosmogony, Astronomy, and ends in doubting whether there is any Criterion of Truth. ITALIAN PHILOSOPHY depends on Numbers and Harmonies. It reproduces the Egyptian and Hindu Doctrine of Transmigration. ELEATIC PHILOSOPHY presents a great Advance, indicating a rapid Approach to Oriental Ideas. -It assumes a Pantheistic Aspect. RISE OF PHILOSOPHY IN EUROPEAN GREECE -Relations and Influence of the Mediterranean Commercial and Colonial System.- Athens attains to commercial Supremacy.-Her vast Progress in Intelligence and Art. Her Demoralization.-She becomes the Intellectual Centre of the Mediterranean. Commencement of the Athenian higher Analysis.-It is conducted by THE SOPHISTS, who reject Philosophy, Religion, and even Morality, and end in Atheism. Political Dangers of the higher Analysis.-Illustration from the Middle Ages. IN Chapter II. I have described the origin and decline of Greek Mythology; in this, I am to relate the first European attempt at philosophizing. The Ionian systems spring directly out of the contemporary religious opinions, and appear as a phase in Greek comparative theology. Contrasted with the psychical condition of India, we can not but be struck with the feebleness of these first European efforts. They correspond to that moment in which the mind has shaken off its ideas of sorcery, but has not advanced beyond geocentral and anthropocentral conceptions. As is uniformly observed, as soon as man has collected what he considers to be reliable data, he forthwith applies them to a cosmogony, and develops pseudo-scientific systems. It is not until a later period that he awakens to the suspicion that we have no absolute knowledge of truth. The reader, who might, perhaps, be repelled by the apparent worthlessness of the succession of Greek opinions now to be described, will find them assume an interest, if considered in the aggregate, or viewed as a series of steps or stages of European approach to conclusions long before arrived at in Egypt and India. Far in advance of any thing that Greece can offer, the intellectual history of India furnishes systems
70 THE PHILOSOPHY OF THALES.
at once consistent and imposing-systems not remaining useless speculations, but becoming inwoven in social life. Greek philosophy is considered as having originated with Thales, who, though of Phoenician descent, was born at Miletus, a Greek colony in Asia Minor, about B.C. 640. At that time, as related in the last chapter, the Egyptian ports had been opened to foreigners by Psammetichus. In the civil war which that monarch had been waging with his colleagues, he owed his success to the Ionian and other Greek mercenaries whom he had employed; but, though proving victor in the contest, his political position was such as to compel him to depart from the maxims followed in his country for so many thousand years, and to permit foreigners to have access to it. Hitherto the Europeans had been only known to the Egyptians as pirates and cannibals. From the doctrine of Thales, it may be inferred that, though he had visited Egypt, he had never been in communication with its sources of learning, but had merely mingled among the vulgar, from whom he had gathered the popular notion that the first principle is water. The state of things in Egypt suggests that this primitive dogma of European philosophy was a popular notion in that country. With but little care on the part of men, the fertilizing Nile-water yielded those abundant crops which made Egypt the granary of the Old World. It might therefore be said, both philosophically and facetiously, that the first principle of all things is water. The harvests depended on it, and, through them, animals and man. The government of the country was supported by it, for the financial system was founded on a tax paid by the proprietors of the land for the use of the public sluices and aqueducts. There was not a peasant to whom it was not apparent that water is the first principle of all things, even of taxation; and, since it was not only necessary to survey lands to ascertain the surface that had been irrigated, but to redetermine their boundaries after the subsidence of the flood, even the scribes and surveyors might concede that geometry itself was indebted for its origin to water. If, therefore, in any part of the Old World, this doctrine had both a vulgar and a philosophical significance, that country was Egypt. We may picture to ourselves the inquisitive but ill-instructed Thales carried in some pirate-ship or trading-bark to the mysterious Nile, respecting which Ionia was full of legends and myths. He saw the aqueducts, canals, flood-gates, the great Lake Mceris, dug by the hand of man as many ages before his day as have elapsed from his day to ours; he saw on all sides the adoration paid to the river, for it had actually become deified; he learned from the vulgar, with whom he alone came in contact, their universal belief that all things arise from water, from the vulgar alone, for, had he ever been taught by the
IT IS DERIVED FROM EGYPT. 71
priests, we should have found traces in his system of the doctrines of emanation, transmigration, and absorption, imported into Greece in later times. We may interpret the story of Thales on the principles which would- apply in the case of some intelligent Indian who should find his way to the outposts of a civilized country. Imperfectly acquainted with the language, and coming in contact with the lower class alone, he might learn their vulgar philosophy, and carry back the fancied treasure to his home. As to the profound meaning some have been disposed to extract from the dogma of Thales, we shall, perhaps, be warranted in rejecting it altogether. It has been affirmed that he attempted to concentrate all supernatural powers in one; to reduce all possible agents to unity; in short, out of polytheism to bring forth monotheism; to determine the invariable in the variable; and to ascertain the beginning of things: that he observed how infinite is the sea; how necessary moisture is to growth; nay, even how essential it was to the well-being of himself; "that without moisture his own body would not have been what it was, but a dry husk falling to pieces." Nor can we adopt the opinion that the intention of Thales was to establish a coincidence between philosophy and the popular theology as delivered by Hesiod, who affirms that Oceanus is one of the parent-gods of Nature. The imputation of irreligion made against him shows at what an early period the antagonism of polytheism and scientific inquiry was recognized. But it is possible to believe that all things are formed out of one primordial substance, without denying the existence of a creative power. Or, to use the Indian illustration, the clay is not the potter. Thales is said to have predicted the solar eclipse which terminated a battle between the Medes and Lydians, but it has been suggestively remarked that it is not stated that he predicted the day on which it should occur. He had an idea that warmth originates from or is nourished by humidity, and that even the sun and stars derived their aliment out of the sea at the time of their rising and setting. Indeed, he regarded them as living beings; obtaining an argument from the phenomena of amber and the magnet, supposed by him to possess a living soul, because they have a moving force. Moreover, he taught that the whole world is an insouled thing, and that it is full of demons. Thales had, therefore, not completely passed out of the stage of sorcery. His system obtained importance not only from its own plausibility, but because it was. introduced under favorable auspices and at a favorable time. It came into Asia Minor as a portion of the wisdom of Egypt, and therefore with a prestige sufficient to assure for it an attentive reception. But this would have been of little avail had not the mental culture of Ionia been advanced to a degree suitable for offering to it conditions of development. Under such circumstances the Egyptian dogma formed the starting-point for a special method of philosophizing.
72 THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANAXIMENES.
The manner in which that development took place illustrates the vigor of the Grecian mind. In Egypt a doctrine might exist for thousands of years, protected by its mere antiquity from controversy or even examination, and hence sink with the lapse of time into an ineffectual and lifeless state; but the same doctrine brought into a young community full of activity would quickly be made productive and yield new results. As seeds taken from the coffins of mummies, wherein they have been shut up for thousands of years, when placed under circumstances favorable for development in a rich soil, and supplied with moisture, have forthwith, even in our own times, germinated, borne flowers, and matured new seeds, so the rude philosophy of Thales passed through a like development. Its tendency is shown in the attempt it at once made to describe the universe, even before the parts thereof had been determined. But it is not alone the water or ocean that seems to be infinite, and capable of furnishing a supply for the origin of all other things. The air, also, appears to reach as far as the stars. On it, as Anaximenes of Miletus remarks, "the very earth itself floats like a broad leaf." Accordingly, this Ionian, stimulated doubtless by the hope of sharing in or succeeding to the celebrity that Thales had enjoyed for a century, proposed to substitute for water, as the primitive source of things, atmospheric air. And, in truth, there seem to be reasons for bestowing upon it such a pre-eminence. To those who have not looked closely into the matter, it would appear that water itself is generated from it, as when clouds are formed, and from them rain-drops, and springs, and fountains, and rivers, and even the sea. He also attributes infinity to it, a dogma scarcely requiring any exercise of the imagination, but being rather the expression of an ostensible fact; for who, when he looks upward, can discern the boundary of the atmosphere. Anaximenes also held that even the human soul itself is nothing but air, since life consists in inhaling and exhaling it, and ceases as soon as that process stops. He taught also that warmth and cold arise from mere rarefaction and condensation, and gave as a proof the fact that when we breathe with the lips drawn together the air is cold, but it becomes warm when we breathe through the widely opened mouth. Hence he concluded that, with a sufficient rarefaction, air might turn into fire, and that this probably was the origin of the sun and stars, blazing comets, and other meteors; but if by chance it should undergo condensation, it would turn into wind and clouds, or, if that operation should be still more increased, into water, snow, hail, and, at last, even into earth itself. And since it is seen from the results of breathing that the air is a life-giving principle to man, nay, even is actually his soul, it would appear to be a just inference that the infinite air is God, and that the gods and goddesses have sprung from it.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF DIOGENES OF APOLLONIA. 73
Such was the philosophy of Anaximenes. It was the beginning of that stimulation of activity by rival schools which played so distinguished a part in the Greek intellectual movement. Its superiority over the doctrine of Thales evidently consists in this, that it not only assigns a primitive substance, but even undertakes to show by observation and experiment how others arise from it, and transformations occur. As to the discovery of the obliquity of the ecliptic by the aid of a gnomon imputed to Anaximenes, it was merely a boast of his vainglorious countrymen. It was altogether beyond the scientific grasp of one who had no more exact idea of the nature of the earth than that it was "like a broad leaf floating in the air." The doctrines of Anaximenes received a very important development in the hands of Diogenes of Apollonia, who asserted that all things originate from one essence, which, undergoing continual changes, becoming different at different times, turns back again to the same state. He regarded the entire world as a living being, spontaneously evolving and transforming itself, and agreed with Anaximenes that the soul of man is nothing but air, as is also the soul of the world. From this it follows that the air must be eternal, imperishable, and endowed with consciousness. "It knows much; for without reason it would be impossible for all to be arranged so duly and proportionately as that all should maintain its fitting measure, winter and summer, night and day, the rain, the wind, and fair weather; and whatever object we consider will be found to have been ordered in the best and most beautiful manner possible." " But that which has knowledge is that which men call air; it is it that regulates and governs all, and hence it is the use of air to pervade all, and to dispose all, and to be in all, for there is nothing that has not part in it." The early cultivator of philosophy emerges with difficulty from fetichism. The harmony observed among the parts of the rising world is easily explained on the hypothesis of a spiritual principle residing in things, and arranging them by its intelligent volition. It is not at once that he rises to the conception that all this beauty and harmony are due to the operation of law. We are so prone to judge of the process of external things from the modes of our own personal experience, our acts being determined by the exercise of our will, that it is with difficulty we disentangle ourselves from such notions in the explanation of natural phenomena. Fetichism may be observed in the infancy of many of the natural sciences. Thus the electrical power of amber was imputed to a soul residing in that substance, a similar explanation being also given of the control of the magnet over iron. The movements of the planetary bodies, Mercury, Venus, Mars, were attributed to an intelligent principle residing in each, guiding and controlling the motions, and ordering all things for the best. It was an epoch in
74 ORIGIN OF PSYCHOLOGY
the history of the human mind when astronomy set an example to all other sciences of shaking off its fetichism, and showing that the intricate movements of the heavenly bodies were all capable not only of being explained, but even foretold, if once was admitted the existence of a simple, yet universal, invariable, and eternal law. Not without difficulty do men perceive that there is nothing inconsistent between invariable law and endlessly varying phenomena, and that it is a more noble view of the government of this world to impute its order to a penetrating primitive wisdom, which could foresee consequences throughout a future eternity, and provide for them in the original plan at the outset, than to invoke the perpetual intervention of an ever-acting spiritual agency for the purpose of warding off misfortunes that might happen, and setting things to rights. Chemistry, in like manner, furnishes us with a striking example-an example very opportune in the case we are considering-of the doctrine of Diogenes of Apollonia, that the air is actually a spiritual being; for, on the discovery of several of the gases by the earlier experimenters, they were not only regarded as of a spiritual nature, but actually received the name under which they pass to this day, gheist or gas, from a belief that they were ghosts. If a laborer descended into a well and was suffocated, as if struck dead by some invisible hand; if a lamp lowered down burnt for a few moments with a lurid flame, and was then extinguished; if, in a coal mine, when the unwary workman exposed a light, on a sudden the place was filled with flashing flames and thundering explosions, tearing down the rocks and destroying every living thing in the way, often, too, without leaving on the dead any marks of violence; what better explanation could be given of such catastrophes than to impute them to some supernatural agent? Nor was there any want, in those times, of well-authenticated stories of unearthly faces and forms seen in such solitudes. The modification made by Diogenes in the theory of Anaximenes, by converting it from a physical into a psychological system, is important, as marking the beginning of the special philosophy of Greece. The investigation of the intellectual development of the universe led Greeks to the study of the intellect itself. In his special doctrine, Diogenes imputed the changeability of the air to its mobility; a property in which he thought it excelled all other substances, because it is among the rarest or thinnest of the elements. It is, however, said by some, who are disposed to transcendentalize his doctrine, that he did not mean the common atmospheric air, but something more attenuated and warm; and since, in its purest state, it constitutes the most perfect intellect, inferior degrees of reason must be owing to an increase of its density and moisture. Upon such a principle, the whole earth is ani-
THE PHYSIOLOGICAL RELATIONS OF THE AIR. 75
nated by the breath of life; the souls of the brutes, which differ from one another so much in intelligence, are only air in its various conditions of moisture and warmth. He explained the production of the world through condensation of the earth by cold from air, the warmth rising upward and forming the sun; in the stars he thought he recognized the respiratory organs of the world. From the preponderance of moist air in the, constitution of brutes, he inferred that they were, like the insane, incapable of thought, for thickness of the air impedes respiration, and therefore quick apprehension. From the fact that plants have no cavities wherein to receive the air, and are altogether unintelligent, he was led to the principle that the thinking power of man arises from the flowing of that substance throughout the body in the blood. He also explained the superior intelligence of men from their breathing a purer air than, the beasts, which carry their nostrils near the ground. In these crude and puerile speculations we have the beginning of mental philosophy. I cannot dismiss the system of the Apollonian without setting in contrast with it the discoveries of modern science respect- the relations of the air. Toward the world of life it stands in a position of wonderful interest. Decomposed into its constituents by the skill of chemistry, it is no longer looked upon as a homogeneous body; its ingredients have not only been separated, but the functions they discharge have been ascertained. From one of these, carbonic acid, all the various forms of plants arise; that substance being decomposed by the rays of the sun, and furnishing to vegetables carbon, their chief solid ingredient. For this it may be said, that all those beautifully diversified organic productions, from the mosses of the icy regions to the characteristic palms of the landscapes of the tropics-all those we cast away as worthless weeds, and those for the obtaining of which we expend the sweat of our brow - all, without any exception, are obtained from the atmosphere by the influence of the sun. And since without plants the life of animals could not be maintained, they constitute the means by which the aerial material, vivified, as it may be said, by the rays of the sun, is conveyed even into the composition of man himself. As food, they serve to repair the wastes of the body necessarily occasioned in the acts of moving and thinking. For a time, therefore, these ingredients, once a part of the structure of plants, enter as essential constituents in the structure of animals. Yet it is only in a momentary way, for the essential condition of animal activity is that there shall be unceasing interstitial death; not a finger can be lifted without the waste of muscular material; not a thought arise without the destruction of cerebral substance. From the animal system the products of decay are forthwith removed, often by mechanisms of the most exquisite construction; but their uses are not
76 THE PHILOSOPHY OF HERACLITUS.
ended, for sooner or later they find their way back again into the air, and again serve for the origination of plants. It is needless to trace these changes in all their details; the same order or cycle of progress holds good for the water, the ammonia; they pass from the inorganic to theliving state, and back to the inorganic again; now the same particle is found in the air, next aiding in the composition of a plant, then in the body of an animal, and back in the air once more. In this perpetual revolution material particles run, the dominating influence determining and controlling their movement being in that great centre of our system, the sun. From him, in the summer days, plants receive, and, as it were, store up that warmth which, at a subsequent time, is to reappear in the glow of health of man, or to be rekindled in the blush of shame, or to consume in the burning fever. Nor is there any limit of time. The heat we derive from the combustion of stubble came from the sun as it were only yesterday; but that with which we moderate the rigor of winter when we burn anthracite or bituminous coal was also derived from the same source in the ultra-tropical climate of the secondary times, perhaps a thousand centuries ago. In such perpetually recurring cycles are the movements of material things accomplished, and all takes place under the dominion of invariable law. The air is the source whence all organisms have come; it is the receptacle to which they all return. Its parts are awakened into life, riot by the influence of any terrestrial agency or principle concealed in itself, as Diogenes supposed, but by a star which is a hundred millions of miles distant, the source direct or indirect of every terrestrial movement, and the dispenser of light and life. To Thales and Diogenes, whose primordial elements were water and air respectively, we must add Heraclitus of Ephesus, who maintained that the first principle is fire. He illustrated the tendency which Greek philosophy had already assumed of opposition to Polytheism and the idolatrous practices of the age. It is said that in his work, ethical, political, physical, and theological subjects were so confused, and so great was the difficulty of understanding his meaning, that he obtained the surname of "the Obscure." In this respect he has had among modern metaphysicians many successors. He founds his system, however, upon the simple axiom that " all is convertible into fire, and fire into all." Perhaps by the term fire he understood what is at present meant by heat, for he expressly says that he does not mean flame, but something merely dry and warm. He considered that this principle is in a state of perpetual activity, forming and absorbing every individual thing. He says, " All is and is not; for, though it does in truth come into being, yet it forthwith ceases to be." "No one has ever been twice on the same stream, for different waters are constantly flowing down. It dissipates its waters and gath-
HIS PHYSIOLOGICAL DOCTRINES. 77
ers them again, it approaches and recedes, overflows and fails." And to teach us that we ourselves are changing and have changed, he says, "On the same stream we embark and embark not, we are and we are not." By such illustrations he implies that life is only an unceasing motion, and we cannot fail to remark that the Greek turn of thought is fist following that of the Hindu. But Heraclitus totally fails to free himself from local conceptions. He speaks of the motion of the primordial principle in the upward and downward directions, in the higher and lower regions. He says that the chief accumulation thereof is above, and the chief deficiency below; and hence he regards the soul of man as a portion of fire migrated from heaven. He carries his ideas of the transitory nature of all phenomena to their last consequences, and illustrates the noble doctrine that all which appears to us to be permanent is only a regulated and self-renewing concurrence of similar and opposite motions by such extravagances as that the sun is daily destroyed and renewed. In the midst of many wild physical statements many true axioms are delivered. "All is ordered by reason and intelligence, though Physical and all is subject to Fate." Already he perceived what the meta-physicians of our own times are illustrating, that "man's mind can produce no certain knowledge from its own interior resources alone." He regarded the organs of sense as being the channels through which the outer life of the world, and therewith truth, enters into the mind, and that in sleep, when the organs of sense are closed, we are shut out from all communion with the surrounding universal spirit. In his view every thing is animated and insouled, but to different degrees, organic objects being most completely or perfectly. His astronomy may be anticipated from what has been said respecting the sun, which he moreover regarded as being scarcely more than a foot in diameter, and, like all other celestial objects, a mere meteor. His moral system was altogether based upon the physical, the fundamental dogma being the excellence of fire. Thus he accounted for the imbecility of the drunkard by his having a moist soul, and drew the inference that a warm or dry soul is the wisest and best; with a justifiable patriotism asserting that the noblest souls must belong to a climate that is dry, intending thereby to indicate that Greece is man's fittest and truest country. There can be no doubt that in Heraclitus there is a strong tendency to the doctrine of a soul of the world. If the divinity is undistinguishable from heat, whither can we go to escape its influences? And in the restless activity and incessant changes it produces in every thing within our reach, do we not recognize the tokens of the illimitable and unshackled? I have lingered on the chief features of the early Greek philosophy as exhibited in the physical school of Ionia. They serve to impress upon us its intrinsic imperfection. It is a mixture of the physical, met-
78 THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANAXIMANDER.
Meta-physical, and mystical, which, upon the whole, has no other value to us than this, that it shows us how feeble were the beginnings via philosophy of our knowledge-that we commenced with the importation of a few vulgar errors from Egypt. In presence of the utilitarian philosophy of that country and the theology of India, how vain and even childish are these germs of science in Greece! Yet this very imperfection is not without its use, since it warns us of the inferior position in which we stand as respects the time of our civilization when compared with those ancient states, and teaches us to reject the doctrine which so many European scholars have wearied themselves in establishing, that Greece led the way to all human knowledge of any value. Above all, it impresses upon us more appropriate, because more humble views of our present attainments and position, and gives us to understand that other races of men not only preceded us in intellectual culture, but have equaled, and perhaps surpassed every thing that we have yet done in mental philosophy. Of the other founders of Ionic sects it may be observed that, though they gave to their doctrines different forms, the method of reasoning was essentially the same in them all. Of this a better illustration could not be given than in the philosophy of Anaximander of Miletus, who was contemporary with Thales. He started with the postulate that things arose by separation from a universal mixture of all: his primordial principle was therefore chaos, though he veiled it in the metaphysically obscure designation "The Infinite." The want of precision in this respect gave rise to much difference of opinion as to his tenets. TQ his chaos he imputed an internal energy, by which its parts spontaneously separated from each other; to those parts he imputed absolute unchangeability. He taught that the earth is of a cylindrical form, its base being one third of its altitude; it is retained in the centre of the world by the air in an equality of distance from all the boundaries of the universe; that the fixed stars and planets revolved round it, each being fastened to a crystalline ring; and beyond them, in like manner, the moon, and, still farther off, the sun. He conceived of an opposition between the central and circumferential regions, the former being naturally cold, and the latter hot; indeed, in his opinion, the settling of the cold parts to the centre, and the ascending of the hot, gave origin, respectively, to the formation of the earth and shining celestial bodies; the latter first existing as a complete shell or sphere, which, undergoing destruction, broke up into stars. Already we perceive the tendency of Greek philosophy to shape itself into systems of cosmogony, founded upon the disturbance of the chaotic matter by heat and cold. Nay, more, Anaximander explained the origin of living creatures on like principles, for the sun's heat, acting upon the primal miry earth, produced filmy bladders
THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANAXAGORAS. 79
or bubbles, and these, becoming surrounded with a prickly rind, at length burst open, and, as from an egg, animals came forth. At first they were ill formed and imperfect, but subsequently elaborated and developed. As to man, so far from being produced in his perfect shape, he was ejected as a fish, and under that form continued in the muddy water until he was capable of supporting himself on dry land. Besides "the Infinite" being thus the cause of generation, it was also the cause of destruction: " things must all return whence they came, according to destiny, for they must all, in order of time, undergo due penalties and expiations of wrong-doing." This expression obviously contains a moral consideration, and is an exemplification of the commencing feeble interconnection between physical and moral philosophy. As to the more solid discoveries attributed to this philosopher, we may dispose of them in the same manner that we have dealt with the like facts in the biographies of his predecessors-they are idle inventions of his vainglorious countrymen. That he was the first to make maps is scarcely consistent with the well-known fact that the Egyptians had cultivated geometry for that express purpose thirty centuries before he was born. As to his inventing sun-dials, the shadow had gone back on that of Ahaz a long time before. In reality, the sun-dial was a very ancient Oriental invention. And as to his being the first to make an exact calculation of the size and distance of the heavenly bodies, it need only be remarked that those who have so greatly extolled his labors must have overlooked how incompatible such discoveries are with a system which assumes that the earth is cylindrical in shape, and kept in the midst of the heavens by the atmosphere; that the sun is farther off than the fixed stars; and that each of the heavenly bodies is made to revolve by means of a crystalline wheel. The philosopher whose views we have next to consider is Anaxagoras of Clazomene, the friend and master of Pericles, Euripides, and Socrates. Like several of his predecessors, he had visited Egypt. Among his disciples were numbered some of the most eminent men of those times. The fundamental principle of his philosophy was the recognition of the unchangeability of the universe as a whole, the variety of forms that we see being produced by new arrangements of its constituent parts. Such a doctrine includes, of course, the idea of the eternity of matter. Anaxagoras says, " Wrongly do the Greeks suppose that aught begins or ceases to be, for nothing comes into being or is destroyed, but all is an aggregation or secretion of pre-existent things, so that all-becoming might more correctly be called becoming-mixed, and all corruption becoming-separate." In such a statement we cannot fail to remark that the Greek is fast passing into the track of the Egyptian and the Hindu. In some respects his views re-
80 COSMOGONY OF ANAXAGORA.
call those of the chaos of Anaximander, as when he says, "Together were all things infinite in number and smallness; nothing was distinguishable. Before they were sorted, while all was together, there was no quality noticeable." To the first moving force which arranged the parts of things out of the chaos, he gave the designation of " the Intellect," rejecting Fate as an empty name, and imputing all things to Reason. He made no distinction between the Soul and Intellect. His tenets evidently include a dualism indicated by the moving force and the moved mass, an opposition between the corporeal and mental. This indicated that for philosophy there are two separate routes, the physical and intellectual. While Reason is thus the prime mover in his philosophy, he likewise employed many subordinate agents in the government of things-for instance, air, water, and fire, being evidently unable to explain the state of nature in a satisfactory way by the operation of the Intellect alone. We recognize in the details of his system ideas derived from former ones, such as the settling of the cold and dense below, and the rising of the warm and light above. In the beginning the action of Intellect was only partial; that which was primarily moved was only imperfectly sorted, and contained in itself the capability of many separations. From this point his system became a cosmogony, showing how the elements and fogs, stones, stars, and the sea, were produced. These explanations, as might be anticipated, have no exactness. Among his primary elements are many incongruous things, such as cold, color, fire, gold, lead, corn, marrow, blood, etc. This doctrine implied that in compound things there was not a formation, but an arrangement. It required, therefore, many elements instead of a single one. Flesh is made of fleshy particles, bones of bony, gold of golden, lead of leaden, wood of wooden, etc. These analogous constituents are homceomeriae. Of an infinite number of kinds, they composed the infinite all, which is a mixture of them. From such conditions Anaxagoras proves that all the parts of an animal body pre-exist in the food, and are merely collected therefrom. As to the phenomena of life, he explains it on his doctrine of dualism between mind and matter; he teaches that sleep is produced by the reaction of the latter on the former. Even plants he regards as only rooted animals, motionless, but having sensations and desires; he imputes the superiority of man to the mere fact of his having hands. He explains our mental perceptions upon the hypothesis that we have naturally within us the contraries of all the qualities of external things; and that, when we consider an object, we become aware of the preponderance of those qualities in our mind which are deficient in them. Hence all sensation is attended with pain. His doctrine of the production of animals was founded on the action of the sunlight on the miry earth. The earth he places in the centre of the world, whither it was carried
PERSECUTION OF ANAXAGORAS. 81
by a whirlwind, the pole being originally in the zenith; but, when animals issued from the mud, its position was changed by the Intellect, so that there might be suitable climates. In some particulars his crude guesses present amusing anticipations of subsequent discoveries. Thus he maintained that the moon has mountains, valleys, and inhabitants like the earth; that there have been grand epochs in the history of our globe, in which it has been successively modified by fire and water; that the hills of Lampsacus would one day be under the sea, if time did not too soon fail. As to the nature of human knowledge, Anaxagoras asserted that by the Intellect alone do we become acquainted with the truth, the senses being altogether unreliable. He illustrated this by putting a drop of colored liquid into a quantity of clear water, the eye being unable to recognize any change. Upon such principles also he asserted that snow is not white, but black, since it is composed of water, of which the color is black; and hence he drew such conclusions as that "things are to each man according as they seem to him." It was doubtless the recognition of the unreliability of the senses that extorted from him the well-known complaint: "Nothing can be known; nothing can be learned; nothing can be certain; sense is limited; intellect is weak; life is short." The biography of Anaxagoras is not without interest. Born in affluence, he devoted all his means to philosophy, and in his old age encountered poverty and want. He was accused by the superstitious Athenian populace of Atheism and impiety to the gods, since he asserted that the sun and moon consist of earth and stone, and that the so-called divine miracles of the times were nothing more than common natural effects. For these reasons, and also because of the Magianism of his doctrine-for he taught the antagonism of mind and matter, a dogma of the detested Persians-he was thrown into prison, condemned to death, and barely escaped through the influence of Pericles. He fled to Lampsacus, where he ended his days in exile. His vainglorious countrymen, however, conferred honor upon his memory in their customary exaggerated way, boasting that he was the first to explain the phases of the moon, the nature of solar and lunar eclipses, that he had the power of foretelling future events, and had even predicted the fall of a meteoric stone. From the biography of Anaxagoras, as well as of several of his contemporaries and successors, we may learn that a popular opposition was springing up against philosophy, not limited to a mere social protest, but carried out into political injustice. The antagonism between learning and Polytheism was becoming every day more distinct. Of the philosophers, some were obliged to fly into exile, some suffered death. The natural result of such a state of things was to force them to practice con-
82 THE PHILOSOPHY OF PYTHAGORAS.
cealment and mystification, as is strikingly shown in the history of the Pythagoreans. Of Pythagoras, the founder of this sect, but little is known with certainty; even the date of his birth is contested. Probably he was born at Samos about B.C. 540. If we were not expressly told so, we should recognize from his doctrines that he had been in Egypt and India. Some eminent scholars, who desire on all occasions to magnify the learning of ancient Europe, depreciate as far as they can the universal testimony of antiquity that such was the origin of the knowledge of Pythagoras, asserting that the constitution of the Egyptian priesthood rendered it impossible for a foreigner to become initiated. They forget that the ancient system of that country had been totally destroyed in the great revolution which took place more than a century before those times. If it were not explicitly stated by the ancients that Pythagoras lived for twenty-two years in Egypt, there is sufficient internal evidence in his story to prove that he had been there for a long time. Just as a connoisseur can detect the hand of a master by the style of a painting, so one who has devoted attention to the old systems of thought sees the Egyptian in the philosophy of Pythagoras at a glance. He passed into Italy during the reign of Tarquin the Proud, and settled at Crotona, a Greek colonial city on the Bay of Tarentum. At first he established a school, but, favored by local dissensions, he gradually organized from the youth who availed themselves of his instructions a secret political society. Already it had passed into a maxim among the learned Greeks that it is not advantageous to communicate knowledge too freely to the people-a bitter experience in persecutions seemed to demonstrate that the maxim was founded in truth. The step from a secret philosophical society to a political conspiracy is but short. Pythagoras appears to have taken it. The disciples who were admitted to his scientific secrets after a period of probation and process of examination constituted a ready instrument of intrigue against the state, the issue of which, after a time, appeared in the supplanting of the ancient senate and the exaltation of Pythagoras and his club to the administration of government. The actions of men in all times are determined by similar principles; and as it would be now with such a conspiracy, so it was then; for, though the Pythagorean influence spread from Crotona to other Italian towns, an overwhelming reaction soon set in, the innovators were driven into exile, their institutions destroyed, and their founder fell a victim to his enemies. The organization attempted by the Pythagoreans is an exception to the general policy of the Greeks. The philosophical schools had been merely points of reunion for those entertaining similar opinions; but in the state they can hardly be regarded as having had any political existence.
CHARACTER OF PYTHAGORAS. 83
It is difficult, when the political or religious feelings of men have been engaged, to ascertain the truth of events in which they have been concerned; deception, and even falsehood, seem to be licensed. In the midst of the troubles befalling Italy as the consequence of these Pythagorean machinations, it is impossible to ascertain facts with certainty. One party exalts Pythagoras to a superhuman state; it pictures him majestic and impassive, clothed in robes of white, with a golden coronet around his brows, listening to the music of the spheres, or seeking relaxation in the more humble hymns of Homer, Hesiod, and Thales; lost in the contemplation of Nature, or rapt in ecstasy in his meditations on God; manifesting his descent from Apollo or Hermes by the working of miracles, predicting of future events, and conversing with genii in the solitude of a dark cavern, and even surpassing the wonder of speaking simultaneously in different tongues, since it was established, by the most indisputable testimony, that he had accomplished the prodigy of being present with and addressing the people in several different places at the same time. It seems not to have occurred to his disciples that such preposterous assertions can not be sustained by any evidence whatsoever; and that the stronger and clearer such evidence is, instead of supporting the fact for which it is brought forward, it only serves to shake our confidence in the truth of man, or impresses on us the conclusion that he is easily led to the adoption of falsehood, and is readily deceived by imposture. By his opponents he was denounced as a quack, or, at the best, a visionary mystic, who had deluded the young with the mummeries of a free-masonry; had turned the weak-minded into shallow enthusiasts and grim ascetics; that he had conspired against a state which had given him an honorable refuge, and had brought disorder and bloodshed upon it. Between such contradictory statements, it is difficult to determine how much we should impute to the philosopher and how much to the trickster. In this uncertainty, the Pythagoreans reap the fruit of one of their favorite maxims, " Not unto all should all be made known." Perhaps at the bottom of these political movements lay the hope of establishing a central point of union for the numerous Greek colonies of Italy, which, though they were rich and highly civilized, were, by reason of their isolation and antagonism, essentially weak. Could they have been united together in a powerful federation by the aid of some political or religious bond, they might have exerted a singular influence on the rising fortunes of Rome, and thereby on humanity. Pythagorism did indeed exert an influence on Rome, but it was in a different way, through Numa, the second king, who was of this sect, and who introduced into the Roman system many Pythagorean rites. The fundamental dogma of the Pythagoreans was that "number is
84 THE PYTHAGOREANS ASSERT THE POWER OF NUMBER.
the essence or first principle of things." It led them at once to the study of the mysteries of figures and of arithmetical relations, and plunged them into the wildest fantasies when it took the absurd form that numbers are actually things. The approval so generally expressed for the doctrines of Pythagoras was doubtless very much due to the fact that they supplied an intellectual void. Those who had been in the foremost ranks of philosophy had come to the conclusion that, as regards external things, and even ourselves, we have no criterion of truth; but in the properties of numbers and their relations, such a criterion does exist. It would scarcely repay the reader to pursue this system in its details; a very superficial representation of it is all that is necessary for our purpose. It recognizes two species of numbers, the odd and even; and since one, or unity, must be at once both odd and even, it must be the very essence of number, and the ground of all other numbers; hence the meaning of the Pythagorean expression, "All comes from one;" which also took form in the mystical allusion, " God embraces all and actuates all, and is but one." To the number ten extraordinary importance was imputed, since it contains in itself, or arises from the addition of, 1, 2, 3, 4-that is, of even and odd numbers together; hence it received the name of the grand tetractys, because it so contains the first four numbers. Some, however, assert that that designation was imposed Pythagorean on the number thirty-six. To the triad the likewise attached much significance, since it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. To unity, or one, they gave the designation of the even-odd, asserting that it contained the property both of the even and odd, as is plain from the fact that if one is added to an even number it becomes odd, but if to an odd number it becomes even. They arranged the primary elements of nature in a table of ten contraries, of which the odd and even are one, and light and darkness another. They say that "the nature and energy of number may be traced not only in divine and demonish things, but in human works and words every where, and in all works of art and in music." They even linked their arithmetical views to morality, through the observation that numbers never lie; that they are hostile to falsehood; and that, therefore, truth belongs to their family: their fanciful speculations led them to infer that in the limitless or infinite, falsehood and envy must reign. From similar reasoning, they concluded that the number one contained not only the perfect, but also the imperfect; hence it follows that the most good, most beautiful, and most true are not at the beginning, but that they are in the process of time evolved. They held that whatever we know must have had a beginning, a middle, and an end, of which the beginning and end are the boundaries or limits; but the middle is unlimited, and, as a consequence, may be subdivided ad infinitum. They therefore
PYTHAGOREAN COSMOGONY. 85
resolved corporeal existence into points, as is set forth in their maxim that "all is composed of points or spacial units, which, taken together, constitute a number." Such being their ideas of the limiting which constitutes the extreme, they understood by the unlimited the intermediate space or interval. By the aid of these intervals they obtained a conception of space; for, since the units, or monads, as they were also called, are merely geometrical points, no number of them could produce a line, but by the union of monads and intervals conjointly a line can arise, and also a surface, and also a solid. As to the interval thus existing between monads, some considered it as being mere aerial breath, but the orthodox regarded it as a vacuum; hence we perceive the meaning of their absurd affirmation that all things are produced by a vacuum. As it is not to be overlooked that the monads are merely mathematical points, and have no dimensions or size, substances actually contain no matter, and are nothing more than forms. The Pythagoreans applied these principles to account for the origin of the world, saying that, since its very existence is an illusion, it could not have any origin in time, but only seemingly so to human thought. As to time itself, they regarded it as "existing only by the distinction of a series of different moments, which, however, are again restored to unity by the limiting moments." The diversity of relations we find in the world they supposed to be occasioned by the bond of harmony. "Since the principles of things are neither similar nor congenerous, it is impossible for them to be brought into order except by the intervention of harmony, whatever may have been the manner in which it took place. Like and homogeneous things, indeed, would not have required harmony; but, as to the dissimilar and unsymmetrical, such must necessarily be held together by harmony if they are to be contained in a world of order." In this manner they confused together the ideas of number and harmony, regarding the world not only as a combination of contraries, but as an orderly and harmonical combination thereof. To particular numbers they therefore imputed great significance, asserting that " there are seven chords or harmonies, seven pleiads, seven vowels, and that certain parts of the bodies of animals change in the course of seven years." They carried to an extreme the numerical doctrine, assigning certain numbers as the representatives of a bird, a horse, a man. This doctrine may be illustrated by facts familiar to chemists, who, in like manner, attach significant numbers to the names of things. Taking hydrogen as unity, 6 belongs to carbon, 8 to oxygen, 16 to sulphur. Carrying these principles out, there is no substance, elementary or compound, inorganic or organic, to which an expressive number does not belong. Nay, even archetypal forms, as of man or any other such composite structure, may thus possess a typical number, the sum of the numbers of its constituent parts.
86 PYTHAGOREAN PHYSICS AND PSYCHOLOGY.
It signifies nothing what interpretation we give to these numbers, whether we regard them as atomic weights, or, declining the idea of atoms, consider them as the representatives of force. As in the ancient philosophical doctrine, so in the modern science, the number is invariably connected with the name of a thing, of whatever description the thing may be. The grand standard of harmonical relation among the Pythagoreans was the musical octave. Physical qualities, such as color and tone, were supposed to appertain to the surface of bodies. Of the elements they enumerated five-earth, air, fire, water, and ether, connecting therewith the fact that man has five organs of sense. Of the planets they numbered five, which, together with the sun, moon, and earth, are placed apart at distances determined by a musical law, and in their movements through space give rise to a sound, the harmony of the spheres, unnoticed by us because we habitually hear it. They place the sun in the centre of the system, round which, with the other planets, the earth revolves. At this point the geocentric doctrine is being abandoned and the heliocentric taking its place. As the circle is the most perfect of forms, the movements of the planets are circular. They maintained that the moon is inhabited, and like the earth, but the people there are taller than men, in the proportion as the moon's periodic rotation is greater than that of the earth. They explained the Milky Way as having been occasioned by the fall of a star, or that it was formerly the path of the sun. They asserted that the world is eternal, but the earth is transitory and liable to change, the universe being in the shape of a sphere. They held that the soul of man is merely an efflux of the universal soul, and that it comes into the body from without. From dreams and the events of sickness they inferred the existence of good and evil demons. They supposed that souls can exist without the body, leading a kind of dream-life, and identified the motes in the sunbeam with them. Their heroes and demons were souls not yet become imbodied, or who had ceased to be so. The doctrine of transmigration which they had adopted was in unison with such views, and, if it does not imply the absolute immortality of the soul, at least asserts its existence after the death of the body, for the disembodied spirit becomes incarnate again as soon as it finds a tenement which fits it. To their life after death the Pythagoreans added a doctrine of retributive rewards and punishments, and, in this respect, what has been said of the animated world forming a penitential mechanism in the theology of India and Egypt, holds good for the Pythagoreans too. Of their system of politics nothing can now with certainty be affirmed beyond the fact that its prime element was an aristocracy. Of their rule of private life, but little beyond its including a recommendation of moderation in all things, the cultivation of friendship, the observance
THE ELEATIC PHILOSOPHY. 87
of faith, and the practice of self-denial, promoted by ascetical exercises. It was a maxim with them that a right education is not only of importance to the individual, but also to the interests of the state. Pythagoras himself, as is well known, paid much attention to the determination of extension and gravity, the ratios of musical tones, astronomy, and medicine. He inculcated on his disciples, in their orgies or secret worship, to practice gymnastics, dancing, music. In correspondence with his principle of imparting to men only such knowledge as they were fitted to receive, he communicated to those who were less perfectly prepared only exoteric doctrines, reserving the esoteric for the privileged few who had passed five years in silence, had endured humiliation, and been purged by self-denial and sacrifice. We have reached now the consideration of the Eleatic philosophy. It differs from the preceding in its neglect of material things, and its devotion to the supra-sensible. It derives its name from Elea, a Greek colonial city of Italy, its chief authors being Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno. Xenophanes was a native of Ionia, from which having been exiled, he appears to have settled at last in Elea, after leading for many years the life of a wandering rhapsodist. He gave his doctrines a poetical form for the purpose of more easily diffusing them. To the multitude he became conspicuous from his opposition to Homer, Hesiod, and other popular poets, whom he denounced for promoting the base polytheism of the times, and degrading the idea of the divine by the immoralities they attributed to the gods. He proclaimed God as an all-powerful Being, existing from eternity, and without any likeness to man. A strict monotheist, he denounced the plurality of gods as an inconceivable error, asserting that of the all-powerful and all-perfect there could not, in the nature of things, be more than one; for, if there were only so many as two, those attributes could not apply to one of them, much less, then, if there were many. This one principle or power was to him the same as the universe, the substance of which, having existed from all eternity, must necessarily be identical with God; for, since it is impossible that there should be two Omnipresents, so also it is impossible that there should be two Eternals. Well, therefore, may it be said that there is a tincture of Orientalism in his ideas, since it would scarcely be possible to offer a more succinct and luminous exposition of the pantheism of India. The reader who has been wearied with the frivolities of the Ionian philosophy, and lost in the mysticisms of Pythagoras, cannot fail to recognize that here we have something of a very different kind. To an Oriental dignity of conception is added an extraordinary clearness and precision of reasoning. To Xenophanes all revelation is a pure fiction; the discovery of the
88 THE PHILOSOPHY OF XENOPHANE.
invisible is to be made by the intellect of man alone. The vulgar belief which imputes to the Deity the sentiments, passions, and crimes of man, is blasphemous and accursed. He exposes the impiety of those who would figure the Great Supreme under the form of a man, telling them that if the ox or the lion could rise to the conception of the Deity, they might as well embody him under their own shape; that the negro represents him with a flat nose and black face; the Thracian with blue eyes and a ruddy'complexion. "There is but one God; he has no resemblance to the bodily form of man, nor are his thoughts like ours." He taught that God is without parts, and throughout alike; for, if he had parts, some would be ruled by others, and others would rule, which is impossible, for the very notion of God implies his perfect and thorough sovereignty. Throughout he must be Reason, and Intelligence, and Omnipotence, "ruling the universe without trouble by Reason and Insight." He conceived that the Supreme understands by a sensual perception, and not only thinks, but sees and hears throughout. In a symbolical manner he represented God as a sphere, like the heavens, which encompass man and all earthly things. In his natural philosophy it is said that he adopted the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water; though by some it is asserted that, from observing fossil fish on the tops of mountains, he was led to the belief that the earth itself arose from water; and, generally, that the phenomena of nature originate in combinations of the primary elements. From such views he inferred that all things are necessarily transitory, and that men, and even the earth itself, must pass away. As to the latter, he regarded it as a flat surface, the inferior region of which extends indefinitely downward, and so gives a solid foundation. His physical views he, however, held with a doubt almost bordering on skepticism: "No mortal man ever did, or ever shall know God and the universe thoroughly; for, since error is so spread over all things, it is impossible for us to be certain even when we utter the true and the perfect." It seemed to him hopeless that man could ever ascertain the truth, since he has no other aid than truthless appearances. I can not dismiss this imperfect account of Xenophanes, who was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest of the Greek philosophers, without an allusion to his denunciation of Homer, and other poets of his country, because they had aided in degrading the idea of the Divinity; and also to his faith in human nature, his rejection of the principle of concealing truth from the multitude, and his self-devotion in diffusing it among all at a risk of liberty and life. He wandered from country to country, withstanding polytheism to its face, and imparting wisdom in rhapsodies and hymns, the form, of all others, calculated most quickly in those times to spread knowledge abroad. To those who are disposed to depreciate his philosophical conclusions, it may be remarked that in some
THE PHILOSOPHY OF PARMENIDES, 89
of their most striking features they have been reproduced in modern times, and I would offer to them a quotation from the General Scholium at the end of the third book of the Principia of Newton: " The Supreme God exists necessarily, and by the same necessity he exists always and every where. Whence, also, he is all similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power to perceive, to understand, and to act, but in a manner not at all human, not at all corporeal; in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colors, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched, nor ought to be worshiped under the representation of any corporeal thing. We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not." To the Eleatic system thus originating with Xenophanes is to be attributed the dialectic phase henceforward so prominently exhibited by Greek philosophy. It abandoned, for the most part, the pursuits which had occupied the Ionians the investigation of visible nature, the phenomena of material things, and the laws presiding over them; conceiving such to be merely deceptive, and attaching itself to what seemed to be the only true knowledge-an investigation of Being and of God.' By the Eleats, since all change appeared to be an impossibility, the phenomena of succession presented by the world were regarded as a pure illusion, and they asserted that Time, and Motion, and Space are phantasms of the imagination, or vain deceptions of the senses. They therefore separated reason from opinion, attributing to the former conceptions of absolute truth, and to the latter impefections arising from the fictions of sense. It was on this principle that Parmenides divided his work on " Nature" into two books, the first on Reason, the second on Opinion. Starting from the nature of Being, the uncreated and unchangeable, he denied altogether the idea of succession in time, and also the relations of space, and pronounced change and motion, of whatever kind they are to be, mere illusions of opinion. His pantheism appears in the declaration that the All is thought and intelligence; and this, indeed, constitutes the essential feature of his doctrine; for, by thus placing thought and being in parallelism with each other, and interconnecting them by the conception that it is for the sake of being that thought exists, he showed that they must necessarily be conceived of as one. Such profound doctrines occupied the first book of the poem of Parmenides; in the second he treated of opinion, which, as we have said, is altogether dependent on the senses, and therefore unreliable, not, however, that it must necessarily be absolutely false. It is scarcely possible for us to reconstruct from the remains of his works the details of
90 THE PHILOSOPHY OF ZENO THE ELEAT.
his theory, or to show his approach to the Ionian doctrines by the assumption of the existence in nature of two opposite species-ethereal fire and heavy night; of an equal proportion of which all things consist, fire being the true, and night the phenomenal. From such an unsubstantial and delusive basis it would not repay us, even if we had the means of accomplishing it, to give an exposition of his physical system. In many respects it degenerated into a wild vagary; as, for example, when he placed an overruling demon in the centre of the phenomenal world. Nor need we be detained by his extravagant reproduction of the old doctrine of the generation of animals from miry clay, nor follow his explanation of the nature of man, who, since he is composed of light and darkness, participates in both, and can never ascertain absolute truth. By other routes, and upon far less fanciful principles, modern philosophy has at last come to the same melancholy conclusion. The doctrines of Parmenides were carried out by Zeno the Eleatic, who is said to have been his adopted son. He brought into use the method of refuting error by the reductio ad absurdum. His compositions were in prose, and not in poetry, as were those of his predecessors. As it had been the object of Parmenides to establish the existence of "the One," it was the object of Zeno to establish the non-existence of "the Many." Agreeably to such principles, he started from the position that only one thing really exists, and that all others are mere modifications or appearances of it. He denied motion, but admitted the appearance of it; regarding it as a name given to a series of conditions, each of which is necessarily rest. This dogma against the possibility of motion he maintained by four arguments; the second of them is the celebrated Achilles puzzle. It is thus stated: " Suppose Achilles to run ten times as fast as a tortoise, yet, if the tortoise has the start, Achilles can never overtake him; for, if they are separated at first by an interval of a thousand feet, when Achilles has run these thousand feet the tortoise will have run a hundred, and when Achilles has run these hundred the tortoise will have got on ten, and so on forever; therefore Achilles may run forever without overtaking the tortoise." Such were his arguments against the existence of motion; his proof of the existence of One, the indivisible and infinite, may thus be stated: " To suppose that the One is divisible is to suppose it finite. If divisible, it must be infinitely divisible. But suppose two things to exist, then there must necessarily be an interval between those two something separating and limiting them. What is that something? It is some other thing. But then if not the same thing, it also must be separated and limited, and so on ad infinitum. Thus only one thing can exist as the substratum for all manifold appearances." Zeno furnishes us with an illustration of the unreliability of the indications of sense in his argument against Protagoras. It may be here introduced as a speci-
THE PHILOSOPHY OF MELISSUS AND OF EMPEDOCLES. 91
men of his method:'" He asked if a grain of corn, or the ten thousandth part of a grain would, when it fell to the ground, make a noise. Being answered in the negative, he farther asked whether, then, would a measure of corn. This being necessarily affirmed, he then demanded whether the measure was not in some determinate ratio to the single grain; as this could not be denied, he was able to conclude, either, then, the bushel of corn makes no noise on falling, or else the very smallest portion of a grain does the same." To the names already given as belonging to the Eleatic school may be added that of Melissus of Samos, who also founded his argument on the nature of Being, deducing its unity, un-changeability, and indivisibility. He denied, like the rest of his school, all change and motion, regarding them as mere illusions of the senses. From the indivisibility of being he inferred its incorporeality, and therefore denied all bodily existence. The list of Eleatic philosophers is doubtfully closed by the name of Empedocles of Agrigentum, who in legend almost rivals Pythagoras. In the East he learned medicine and magic, the art of working miracles, of producing rain and wind. He decked himself in priestly garments, a golden girdle, and a crown, proclaiming himself to be a god. It is said by some that he never died, but ascended to the skies in the midst of a supernatural glory. By some it is related that he leaped into the crater of Etna, that, the manner of his death being unknown, he might still continue to pass for a god-an expectation disappointed by an eruption which cast out one of his brazen sandals. Agreeably to the school to which he belonged, he looked to Reason and distrusted the Senses. From his fragments it has been inferred that he was skeptical of the guidance of the former as well as of the latter, founding his distrust on the imperfection the soul has contracted, and for which it has been condemned to existence in this world, and even to transmigration from body to body. Adopting the Eleatic doctrine that like can be only known by like, fire by fire, love by love, the recognition of the divine by man is sufficient proof that the Divine exists. His primary elements were four-Earth, Air, Fire, and Water; to these he added two principles, Love and Hate. The four elements he regarded as four gods, or divine eternal forces, since out of them all things are made. Love he regards as the creative power, the destroyer or modifier being Hate. It is obvious, therefore, that in him the strictly philosophical system of Xenophanes had degenerated into a mixed and mystical view, in which the physical, the metaphysical, and the moral were confounded together; and that, as the necessary consequence of such a state, the principles of knowledge were becoming unsettled, a suspicion arising that all philosophical systems were unreliable, and a general skepticism was already setting in.
92 THE PHILOSOPHY OF DEMOCRITU.
To this result, in no small degree, the labors of Democritus of Abdera also tended. He had had the advantages derived from wealth in the procurement of knowledge, for it is said that his father was rich enough to be able to entertain the Persian King Xerxes, who was so gratified thereby that he left several Magi and Chaldeans to complete the education of the youth. On their father's death, Democritus, dividing with his brothers the estate, took as his portion the share consisting of money, leaving to them the lands, that he might be better able to devote himself to traveling. He passed into Egypt, Ethiopia, Persia, and India, gathering knowledge from all those sources. According to Democritus, " Nothing is true, or, if so, is not certain to us."' Nevertheless, as in his system sensation constitutes the unreliability of thought, and, at the same time, is but a change in the sentient being, "sensations are of necessity true;" from which somewhat obscure passage we may infer that, in the view of Democritus, though sensation is true subjectively, it is not true objectively. The sweet, the bitter, the hot, the cold, are simply creations of the mind; but in the outer object to which we append them, atoms and space alone exist, and our opinion of the properties of such objects is founded upon images emitted by them falling upon the senses. Confounding in this manner sensation with thought, and making them identical, he, moreover, included Reflection as necessary for true knowledge, Sensation by itself being unreliable. Thus, though Sensation may indicate to us that sweet, bitter, hot, cold, occur in bodies, Reflection teaches us that this is altogether an illusion, and that, in reality, atoms and space alone exist. Devoting his attention, then, to the problem of perception-how the mind becomes aware of the existence of external things-he resorted to the hypothesis that they constantly throw off images of themselves, which are assimilated by the air through which they have to pass, and enter the soul by pores in its sensitive organs. Hence such images, being merely of the superficial form, are necessarily imperfect and untrue, and so, therefore, must be the knowledge yielded by them. Democritus rejected the one element of the Eleatics, affirming that there must be many; but he did not receive the four of Empedocles, nor his principles of Love and Hate, nor the homeeomerise of Anaxagoras. He also denied that the primary elements had any sensible qualities whatever. He conceived of all things as being composed of invisible, intangible, and indivisible particles or atoms, which, by reason of variation in their configuration, combination, or position, give rise to the varieties of forms: to the atom he imputed self-existence and eternal duration. His doctrine, therefore, explains how it is that the many can arise from the one, and in this particular he reconciled the apparent contradictions of the Ionians and Eleatics. The theory of chemistry, as it now exists, essentially includes his views. The
PHILOSOPHICAL ACTION OF EUROPEAN GREECE. 93
general formative principle of Nature he regarded as being Destiny or Fate; but there are indications that by this he meant nothing more than irreversible law. A system thus based upon severe mathematical considerations, and taking as its starting-point a vacuum and atoms-the former actionless and passionless; which considers the production of new things as only new aggregations, and the decay of the old as separations; which recognizes in compound bodies specific arrangements of atoms to one another; which can rise to the conception that even a single atom may constitute a world-such a system may commend itself to our attention for its results, but surely not to our approval, when we find it carrying us to the conclusions that even mathematical cognition is a mere semblance; that the soul is only a finely-constituted form fitted into the grosser bodily frame; that even to reason itself there is an absolute impossibility of all certainty; that skepticism is to be indulged in to that degree that we may doubt whether, when a cone has been cut asunder, its two surfaces are alike; that the final result of human inquiry is the absolute demonstration that man is incapable of knowledge; that, even if the truth is in his possession, he can never be certain of it; that the world is an illusive phantasm, and that there is no God. I need scarcely refer to the legendary stories related of Democritus, as that he put out his eyes with a burning-glass that he might no longer be deluded with their false indications, and more tranquilly exercise his reason-a fiction bearing upon its face the contemptuous accusation of his antagonists, but, by the stolidity of subsequent ages, received as an actual fact instead of a sarcasm. As to his habit of so constantly deriding the knowledge and follies of men that he universally acquired the epithet of the laughing philosopher, we may receive the opinion of the great physician Hippocrates, who, being requested by the people of Abdera to cure him of his madness, after long discoursing with him, expressed himself penetrated with admiration, and even with the most profound veneration for him, and rebuked those who had sent him with the remark that they themselves were the more distempered of the two. Thus far European Greece had done but little in the cause of philosophy. The chief schools were in Asia Minor, or among the Greek colonies of Italy. But the time had now arrived when the mother country was to enter upon a distinguished career, though, it must be confessed, from a most unfavorable beginning. This was by no means the only occasion on which the intellectual activity of the Greek colonies made itself felt in the destinies of Europe. The mercantile character in a community has ever been found conducive to mental activity and physical adventure; it holds in light esteem prescriptive opinion, and puts things at the actual value they at the time
94 INFLUENCE OF THE GREEK COLONIES.
possess. If the Greek colonies thus discharged the important function of introducing and disseminating speculative philosophy, we shall find them again, five hundred years later, occupied with a similar task on the advent of that period in which philosophical speculation was about to be supplanted by religious faith. For there can be no doubt that, humanly speaking, the cause of the rapid propagation of Christianity, in its first ages, lay in the extraordinary facilities existing among the commercial communities scattered all around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, from the ports of the Levant to those of France and Spain. An incessant intercourse was kept up among them during the five centuries before Christ; it became, under Roman influence, more and more active, and of increasing political importance. Such a state of things is in the highest degree conducive to the propagation of thought, and, indeed, to its origination, through the constant excitement it furnishes to intellectual activity. Commercial communities, in this respect, present a striking contrast to agricultural. By their aid speculative philosophy was rapidly disseminated every where, as was subsequently Christianity. But the agriculturists steadfastly adhered with marvelous stolidity to their ancestral traditions and polytheistic absurdities, until the very designation paganism-under which their system passes was given as a nickname derived from themselves. The intellectual condition of the Greek colonies of Italy and Sicily has not attracted the attention of critics in the manner it deserves. For, though its political result may appear to those whose attention is fixed by mere material aggrandizement to have been totally eclipsed by the subsequent power of the Roman republic, to one who looks at things in a more general way it may be a probable inquiry whether the philosophy cultivated in those towns has not, in the course of ages, produced as solid and lasting results as the military achievements of the Eternal City. The relations of the Italian peninsula to the career of European civilization are to be classified under three epochs, the first corresponding to the philosophy generated in the southern Greek towns: this would have attained the elevation long before reached in the advanced systems of India had it not been prevented by the rapid development of Roman power; the second presents the military influence of republican and imperial Rome; to the third belongs the agency of ecclesiastical Rome; for the production of the last we shall find hereafter that the two preceding conspire. The Italian effect upon the whole has therefore been philosophical, material, and mixed. We are greatly in want of a history of the first, for which doubtless many facts still remain to a painstaking and enlightened inquirer. It was on account of her small territory and her numerous population that Greece was obliged-to colonize. To these motives must be added
THE GREEK COLONIAL SYSTEM. 95
internal dissensions, and particularly the consequences of unequal marriages. So numerous did these colonies and their offshoots become, that a great Greek influence pervaded all the Mediterranean shores and many of the most important islands, attention more particularly being paid to the latter, from their supposed strategical value; thus, in the opinion of Alexander the Great, the command of the Mediterranean lay in the possession of Cyprus. The Greek colonists were filibusters; they seized by force the women wherever they settled, but their children were taught to speak the paternal language, as has been the case in more recent times with the descendants of the Spaniards in America. The wealth of some of these Greek colonial towns is said to have been incredible. Croton was more than twelve miles in circumference; and Sybaris, another of the Italiot cities, was so luxurious and dissipated as even to give rise to a proverb. The prosperity of these places was due to two causes: they were not only the centres of great agricultural districts, but carried on an active commerce in all directions, the dense population of the mother country offering them a steady and profitable market; they also maintained an active traffic with all the Mediterranean cities; thus, if they furnished Athens with corn, they also furnished Carthage with oil. In the Greek cities connected with this colonial system, especially in Athens, the business of ship-building and navigation were so extensively prosecuted as to give a special character to public life. In other parts of Greece, as in Sparta, it was altogether different. In that state the laws of Lycurgus had abolished private property; all things were held in common; it was savage life reduced to a system, and therefore there was no object in commerce. But in Athens, so' far from being dishonorable was commerce regarded, that some of the most illustrious men, whose names have descended to us as philosophers, were occupied with mercantile pursuits. Aristotle kept a druggist's shop in Athens, and Plato sold oil in Egypt. It was the intention of Athens, had she succeeded in the conquest of Sicily, to make an attempt upon Carthage, foreseeing therein the dominion of the Mediterranean, as was actually realized subsequently by Rome. The destruction of that city constituted the point of ascendency in the history of the Great Republic. Carthage stood upon a peninsula forty-five miles round, with a neck only three miles across. Her territory has been estimated as having a sea-line of not less than 1400 miles, and containing 300 towns; she had also possessions in Spain, in Sicily, and other Mediterranean islands, acquired, not by conquest, but by colonization. In the silver mines of Spain she employed not less than forty thousand men. In these respects she was guided by the maxims of her Phoenician ancestry, for the Tyrians bad colonized for depots, and had forty stations of that kind in the Mediterranean. Indeed, Carthage
96 THE PERSIAN WAR.
herself originated in that way, owing her development to the position she held at the juncture of the east and west basins. The Carthaginian merchants did not carry for hire, but dealt in their commodities. This implied an extensive system of depots and bonding. They had anticipated many of the devices of modern commerce. They effected insurances, made loans on bottomry, and it has been supposed that their leathern money may have been of the nature of our bank notes. In the preceding chapter we have spoken of the attempts of the Asiatics on Egypt and the south shore of the Mediterranean; we have now to turn to their operations on the north shore, the consequences of which are of the utmost interest in the history of philosophy. It appears that the cities of Asia Minor, after their contest with the Lydian kings, had fallen an easy prey to the Persian power. It remained, therefore, only for that power to pass to the European continent. A pretext is easily found where the policy is so clear. So far as the internal condition of Greece was concerned, nothing could be more tempting to an invader. There seemed to be no bond of union between the different towns, and, indeed, the more prominent ones might be regarded as in a state of chronic revolution. In Athens, since B.C. 622, the laws of Draco had been supplanted by those of Solon; and again and again the government had been seized by violence or gained through intrigue by one adventurer after another. Under these circumstances the Persian king passed an army into Europe. The military events of both this and the succeeding invasion under Xerxes have been more than sufficiently illustrated by the brilliant imagination of the lively Greeks. It was needless, however, to devise such fictions as the million of men who crossed into Europe, or the two hundred thousand who lay dead upon the field after the battle of Platsea. If there were not such stubborn facts as the capture and burning of Athens, the circumstance that these wars lasted for fifty years would be sufficient to inform us that all the advantages were not on one side. Wars do not last so long without bringing upon both parties disasters as well as conferring glories; and had these been so exterminating and overwhelming as classical authors have supposed, our surprise may well be excited that the Persian annals have preserved so little memory thereof. Greece did not perceive that, if posterity must take her accounts as true, they must give the palm of glory to Persia, who could, with unfaltering perseverance, persist in attacks illustrated by such unparalleled catastrophes. She did not perceive that the annals of a nation may be more splendid from their exhibiting a courage which could bear up for half a century against continual disasters, and extract victory at last from defeat.
RESULTS OF THE PERSIAN WAR. 97
In pursuance of their policy, the Persians extended their dominion to Cyrene and Barca on the south, as well as to Thrace and Macedonia on the north. The Persian wars gave rise to that wonderful development in Greek art which has so worthily excited the admiration of subsequent ages. The assertion is quite true that after those wars the Greeks could form in sculpture living men. On the part of the Persians, these military undertakings were not of the base kind so common in antiquity; they were the carrying out of a policy conceived with great ability, their object being to obtain countries for tribute and not for devastation. The great critic Niebuhr, by whose opinions I am guided in the views I express of these events, admits that the Greek accounts, when examined, present little that was possible. The Persian empire does not seem to have suffered at all; and Plato, whose opinion must be considered as of very great authority, says that, on the whole, the Persian wars reflect extremely little honor on the Greeks. It was asserted that only thirty-one towns, and most of them small ones, were faithful to Greece. Treason to her seems for years in succession to have infected all her ablest men. It was not Pausanias alone who wanted to be king under the supremacy of Persia. Such a satrap would have borne about the same relation to the great king as the modern pacha does to the grand seignior. However, we must do justice to those able men. A king was what Greece in reality required; had she secured one at this time strong enough to have held her conflicting interests in check, she would have become the mistress of the world. Her leading men saw this. The elevating effect of the Persian wars was chiefly felt in Athens. It was there that the grand development of pure art, literature, and science took place. As to Sparta, she remained barbarous as she had ever been; the Spartans continuing robbers and impostors, in their national life exhibiting not a single feature that can be commended. Mechanical art reached its perfection at Corinth; real art at Athens, finding a multitude not only of true, but also of new expressions. Before Pericles the only style of architecture was the Doric; his became at once the age of perfect beauty. It also became the age of freedom in thinking and departure from the national faith. In this respect the history of Pericles and of Aspasia is very significant. His, also, was the great age of oratory, but of oratory leading to delusion, the democratical forms of Athens being altogether deceptive, power ever remaining in the hands of a few leading men, who did every thing. The true popular sentiment, as was almost always the case under those ancient republican institutions, could find for itself no means of expression. The great men were only too prone to regard their fellow-citizens as a rabble, mere things to be played off against one another, and to consider that the objects of life are dominion and lust,
98 SUPREMACY OF ATHENS.
that love, self-sacrifice, and devotion are fictions; that oaths are only good for deception. Though the standard of statesmanship, at the period of the Persian wars, was very low, there can be no doubt that among the Greek leaders were those who clearly understood the causes of the Asiatic attack, and hence, with an instinct of self-preservation, defensive alliances were continually maintained with Egypt. When their valor and endurance with had given to the Greeks a glorious issue to the war, the articles contained in the final treaty manifest clearly the motives and understandings of both parties. No Persian vessel was to appear between the Cyanean Rocks and Chelidonian Islands; no Persian army to approach within three days' journey of the Mediterranean Sea, B.C. 449. To Athens herself the war had given political supremacy. We need only look at her condition fifty years after the battle of Platsea. She was the mistress along Asia Minor of more than a thousand miles of coast; she held as dependencies more than forty islands; she controlled the straits between Europe and Asia; her fleets ranged the Mediterranean and the Black Seas uncontrolled; she had monopolized the trade of all the adjoining countries; her magazines were full of the most valuable objects of commerce. From the ashes of the Persian fire she had risen up so supremely beautiful that her temples, her statues, her works of art, in their exquisite perfection, have since had no parallel in the world. Her intellectual supremacy equaled her political. To her, as to a focal point, the rays of light from every direction converged. The philosophers of Italy and Asia Minor directed their steps to her as to the acknowledged centre of mental activity. As to Egypt, an utter ruin had befallen her since she was desolated by the Persian arms. Yet we must not therefore infer that though, as conquerors, the Persians had trodden out the most aged civilization on the globe, as sovereigns they were haters of knowledge, or merciless as kings. We must not forget that the Greeks of Asia Minor were satisfied with their rule, or, at all events, preferred rather to remain their subjects than to contract any permanent political connections with the conquering Greeks of Europe. In this condition of political glory, Athens became not only the birthplace of new and beautiful productions of art, founded on a more just appreciation of the true than had yet been attained to in any previous age of the world, and which, it may be added, have never been surpassed, if, indeed, they have been equaled since, but she also became the receptacle for every philosophical opinion, new and old. Ionian, Italian, Egyptian, Persian, all were brought to her, and contrasted and compgred together. Indeed, the philosophical celebrity of Greece is altogether due to Athens. The rest of the country participated but little
CHARACTER OF HER PHILOSOPHY. 99
in the cultivation of learning. It is a popular error that Greece, in the aggregate, was a learned country. We have already seen how the researches of individual inquirers, passing from point to point, had conducted them, in many instances, to a suspicion of the futility of human knowledge; and looking at the results reached by the successive philosophical schools, we can not fail to remark that there was a general tendency to skepticism. We have seen how, from the material and tangible beginnings of the Ionians, the Eleatics land us not only in a blank atheism, but in a disbelief of the existence of the world. And though it may be said that these were only the isolated results of special schools, it is not to be forgotten that they were of schools the most advanced. The time had now arrived when the name of a master was no more to usurp the place of reason, as had been hitherto the case; when these last results of the different methods of philosophizing were to be brought together, a criticism of a higher order established, and conclusions of a higher order deduced. Thus it will ever be with all human investigation. The primitive philosophical elements from which we start are examined, first by one and then by another, each drawing his own special conclusions and deductions, and each firmly believing in the truth of his inferences. Each analyst has seen the whole subject from a particular point of view, without concerning himself with the discordances, contradictions, and incompatibilities obvious enough when his conclusions come to be compared with those of other analysts as skillful as himself. In process of time, it needs must be that a new school of examiners will arise, who, taking the results at which their predecessors have arrived from an examination of the primary elements, will institute a secondary comparison; a comparison of results with results; a comparison of a higher order, and more likely to lead to absolute truth. Perhaps I cannot better convey what I here mean by this secondary and higher analysis of philosophical questions than by introducing, as an illustration, what took place subsequently in Rome through her policy of universal religious toleration. The priests and followers of every god and of every faith were permitted to pursue without molestation their special forms of worship. Of these, it may be supposed that nearly all were perfectly sincere in their adhesion to their special divinity, and, if the occasion had arisen, could have furnished unanswerable arguments in behalf of his supremacy and of the truth of his doctrines. Yet it is very clear that, by thus bringing these several primary systems into contact, a comparison of a secondary and of a higher order, and therefore far more likely to approach to absolute truth, must needs be established between them. It is very well known that the popular result of this secondary examination was the philosophical rejection of polytheism.
100 THE SOPHISTS-THEIR DOCTRINE.
So, in Athens, the result of the secondary examination of philosophical systems and deductions was skepticism as regards them all, and the rise of a new order of men-the Sophists-who not only rejected the validity of all former philosophical methods, but carried their infidelity to a degree plainly not warranted by the facts of the case, in this, that they not only denied that human reason had thus far succeeded in ascertaining any thing, but even affirmed that it is incapable, from its very nature, as dependent on human organization, or the condition under which it acts, of determining the truth at all; nay, that even if the truth is actually in its possession, since it has no criterion by which to recognize it, it can not so much as be certain that it is in such possession of it. From these principles it follows that, since we have no standard of the true, neither can we have any standard of the good, and that our ideas of what is good and what is evil are altogether produced by education or by convention. Or, to use the phrase adopted by the Sophists, "it is might that makes right." Right and wrong are hence seen to be mere fictions created by society, having no eternal or absolute existence in nature. The will of a monarch, or of a majority in a community, declares what the law shall be; the law defines what is right and what is wrong; and these, therefore, instead of having an actual existence, are mere illusions, owing their birth to the exercise of force. It is might that has determined and defined what is right. And hence it follows that it is needless for a man to trouble himself with the premonitions of conscience, or to be troubled thereby, for conscience, instead of being any thing real, is an imaginary fiction, or, at the best, owes its origin to education, and is the creation of our social state. Hence the wise will give himself no concern as to a meritorious act or a crime, seeing that the one is intrinsically neither better nor worse than the other; but he will give himself sedulous concern as respects his outer or external relations-his position in society; conforming his acts to that standard which they in their wisdom or folly, but in the exercise of their might, have declared shall be regarded as right. Or, if his occasions are such as to make it for his interest to depart from the social rule, let him do it in secrecy; or, what is far better, let him cultivate rhetoric, that noble art by which the wrong may be made to appear the right; by which he who has committed a crime may so mystify society as to delude it into the belief that he is worthy of praise; and by which he may prove that his enemy, who has really performed some meritorious deed, has been guilty of a crime. Animated by such considerations, the Sophists passed from place to place, offering to sell, for a sum of money, a knowledge of the rhetorical art, and disposed of their services in the instruction of the youth of wealthy and noble families. What shall we say of such a system and of such a state of things? Simply this: that it indicated a complete mental and social demoraliza-
IMPIETY AND IMMORALITY OF THE SOPHISAS. 101
tion-mental demoralization, for the principles of knowledge were sapped, and man persuaded that his reason was no guide; social demoralization, for he was taught that right and wrong, virtue and vice, conscience, and law, and God, are imaginary fictions; that there is no harm in the commission of sin, though there may be harm, as assuredly there is folly, in being detected therein; that it is excellent for a man to sell his country to the Persian king, provided that the sum of money he receives is large enough, and that the transaction is so darkly conducted that the public, and particularly his enemies, can never find it out. Let him never forget that patriotism is the first delusion of a simpleton, and the last refuge of a knave. Such were the results of the first attempt to correct the partial philosophies, by submitting them to the measure of a more universal one; such the manner in which, instead of only losing their exclusiveness and imperfections by their contact with one another, they were wrested from their proper object, and made subservient to the purpose of deception. Nor was it alone science that was affected; already might be discerned the foreshadowings of that conviction which many centuries later occasioned the final destruction of polytheism in Rome. Already, in Athens, the voice of philosophers was heard, that among so many gods and so many different worships it was impossible for a man to certain what was true. Already, many even of the educated were overwhelmed with the ominous suggestion that, if ever it had been the will of heaven to reveal any form of faith to the world, such a revelation, considering its origin, must necessarily have come with such power as to override all opposition; that if there existed only so many as two forms of faith synchronous and successful in the world, that fact would of itself demonstrate that neither of them are true, and that there never had been any revelation from an all-wise and omnipotent God. Nor was it merely among the speculative men that these infidelities were cherished; the leading politicians and statesmen had become deeply infected with them. It was not Anaxagoras atone who was convicted of atheism; the same charge was made against Pericles, the head of the republic-he who had done so much for the glory of Athens-the man who, in practical life, was, beyond all question, the first of his age. With difficulty he succeeded, by the use of what influence remained to him, in saving the life of the guilty philosopher his friend, but in the public estimation he was universally viewed as a participator in his crime. If the foundations of philosophy and those of religion were thus sapped, the foundations of law experienced no better fate. The Sophists, who were wandering all over the world, saw that each nation had its own ideas of merit and demerit, and therefore its own system of law; that even in different towns there were contrary conceptions of right and wrong, and therefore op-
102 CONDEMNATION OF THEIR DOCTRINE.
posing codes. It is evident that in such examinations they applied the same principles which had guided them in their analysis of philosophy and religion, and that the result could be no otherwise than it was, to bring them to the conclusion that there is nothing absolute in justice or in law. To what an appalling condition has society arrived, when it reaches the positive conclusion that there is no truth, no religion, no justice, no virtue in the: world; that the only object of human exertion is unrestrained physical enjoyment; the only standard of a man's position, wealth; that, since there is no possibility of truth, whose eternal principles might serve for an uncontrovertible and common guide, we should resort to deception and the arts of persuasion, that we may dupe others to our purposes; that there is no sin in undermining the social contract; no crime in blasphemy, or rather there is no blasphemy at all, since there are no gods; that'" man is the measure of all things," as Protagoras teaches, and that "he is the criterion of existence;" that "thought is only the relation of the thinking subject to the object thought of, and that the thinking subject, the soul, is nothing more than the sum of the different moments of thinking." It is no wonder that that Sophist who was the author of such doctrines should be condemned to death to satisfy the clamors of a populace who had not advanced sufficiently into the depths of this secondary, this higher philosphy, and that it was only by flight that he could save himself from the punishment awaiting the opening sentiment of his book:' Of the gods I can not tell whether they are or not, for much hinders us from knowing this-both the obscurity of the subject and the shortness of life." It is no wonder that the social demoralization spread apace, when men like Gorgias, the disciple of Empedocles, were to be found, who laughed at virtue, made an open derision of morality, and proved, by metaphysical demonstration, that.nothing at all exists. From these statements respecting the crisis to which ancient philosophy had arrived, we might be disposed to believe that the result was unmitigated evil, for it scarcely deserves mention that the quibbles and disputes of the Sophists occasioned an extraordinary improvement of the Greek language, introducing a precision into its terms, and a wonderful dialectical skill in its use. For us there may be extracted from these melancholy conclusions at least one instructive lesson-that it is not during the process of decomposition of philosophies, and especially of religions, that social changes occur, for such breakings up commonly go on in an isolated, and therefore innocuous way; but if by chance the fragments and decomposed portions are brought together, and attempts are made by fusion to incorporate them anew, or to extract from them, by a secondary analysis, what truth they contain, a crisis is at once brought on, and-such is the course of events -in the catastrophe that ensues they are commonly all absolutely de-
ILLUSTRATION FROM THE MIDDLE AGES. 103
stroyed. It was doubtless their foresight of such consequences that inspired the Italian statesmen of the Middle Ages with a resolute purpose of crushing in the bud every encroachment on ecclesiastical authority, and every attempt at individual interpretation of religious doctrines. For it is not to be supposed that men of clear intellect should be insensible to the obvious unreasonableness of many of the dogmas that had been consecrated by authority. But if once permission was accorded to human criticism and human interpretation, what other issue could there be than that doctrine upon doctrine, and sect upon sect should arise; that theological principles should undergo a total decomposition, until scarcely two men could be found whose views coincided; nay, even more than that, that the same man should change his opinion with the changing incidents of the different periods of his life. No matter what might be the plausible guise of the beginning, and the ostensibly cogent arguments for its necessity, once let the decomposition commence, and no human power could arrest it until it had become thorough and complete. Considering the prestige, the authority, and the mass of fact to be dealt with, it might take many centuries for this process to be finished, but that that result would at length be accomplished no enlightened man could doubt. The experience of the ancient European world had shown that in the act of such decompositions there is but little danger, since, for the time being, each sect, and, indeed, each individual, has a guiding rule of life. But as soon as the period of secondary analysis is reached a crisis must inevitably ensue, in all probability involving not only religion, but also the social contract. And though, by the exercise of force on the part of the interests that are disturbed, aided by that popular sentiment which is abhorrent of anarchy, the crisis might, for a time, be put off, it could not be otherwise than, that Europe should be left in that deplorable state which must be the result when the intellect of a people has outgrown its formulas of faith. A fearful condition to contemplate, for such a dislocation must also affect political relations, and necessarily implies revolt against existing law. Nations plunged in the abyss of irreligion must necessarily be nations in anarchy. For a time their tendency to explosion may be kept down by the firm application of.the hand of power; but this is simply an antagonism, it is no cure. The social putrefaction proceeds, working its way downward into classes that are lower and lower, until at length it involves the institutions that are relied on for its arrest. Armies, the machinery of compression, once infected, the end is at-hand, but no human foresight can predict what the event shall be, especially if the contemporaneous ruling powers have either ignorantly or willfully neglected to prepare society for the inevitable trial it is about to undergo. It is the most solemn of all the duties of govern
104 SUMMARY OF THE GREEK PHILOSOPHIES.
ments, when once they have become aware of such a momentous condition, to prepare the nations for its fearful consequences. For this it may, perhaps, be lawful for them to dissemble in a temporary manner, as it is sometimes proper for a physician to dissemble with his patient; it may be lawful for them even to resort to the use of force, but never should such measures of doubtful correctness be adopted without others directed to a preparation of the mass of society for the trials through which it is about to pass. Such, doubtless, were the profound views of the great Italian statesmen of the Middle Ages; such, doubtless, were the arguments by which they justified to themselves resistance against the beginning of the evil-a course for which Europe has too often and unfairly condemned them. It remains for us now to review the details presented in the foregoing pages for the purpose of determining the successive phases preceding theories of development through which the Greek mind passed. It is not with the truth or fallacy of these details that we have to do, but with their order of occurrence. They are points enabling us to describe graphically the curve of Grecian intellectual advance. The starting-point of Greek philosophy is physical and geocentral. The earth is the grand object of the universe, and, as the necessary result, erroneous ideas are entertained as to the relations and dimensions of the sea and air. This philosophy was hardly a century old before it commenced to cosmogonize, using the principles it considered itself sure of. Long before it was able to get rid of local ideas, such as upward and downward in space, it undertook to explain the origin of the world. But, as advances were made, it was recognized that creation, in its various parts, displays intention and design, the adaptation of means to secure proposed ends. This suggested a reasoning and voluntary agency, like that of man, in the government of the world; and from a continual reference to human habits and acts, Greek philosophy passed through its stage of anthropoid conceptions. A little farther progress awakened suspicions that the mind of man can obtain no certain knowledge; and the opinion at last prevailed that we have no reliable criterion of truth. In the skepticism thus setting in, the approach to Oriental ideas is each successive instant more and more distinct. This period of doubt was the immediate forerunner of more correct cosmical opinions. The heliocentric mechanism of the planetary system was introduced, the earth deposed to a subordinate position. The doctrines, both physical and intellectual, founded on geocentric ideas, were necessarily endangered, and, since these had connected themselves with the prevailing religious views, and were represented by important material interests, the public commenced to practice persecution and the
THE MODE OF PROGRESS. 105
philosophers hypocrisy. Pantheistic notions of the nature of the world became more distinct, and, as their necessary consequence, ithe doctrines of Emanation, Transmigration, and Absorption were entertained. From this it is but a step to the suspicion that matter, and motion, and time are phantasms of the imagination-opinions embodied in the atomic theory, which asserts that atoms and space alone exist; and which became more refined when it recognized that atoms are only mathematical points; and still more so when it considered them as mere centres of force. The brink of Buddhism was here approached. As must necessarily ever be the case where men are coexisting in different psychical stages of advance, some having made a less, some a greater intellectual progress, all these, which we have described successively, were at last contemporaneously entertained. At this point commenced the action of the Sophists, who, by setting the doctrines of one school in opposition to those of another, and representing them all as of equal value, occasioned the destruction of them all, and the philosophy founded on physical speculation came to an end. Of this phase of Greek intellectual life, if we may compare the beginning with the close, we cannot fail to observe how great is improvement. The thoughts dealt with at the later period are intrinsically of a higher order than those at the outset. From the puerilities and errors with which we have thus been occupied, we learn that there is a definite mode of progress for the mind of man; from the history of later times we shall find that it is ever in the same direction.
106 THE PHILOSOPHY OF SOCRATES.
CHAPTER V. THE GREEK AGE OF FAITH. RISE AND DECLINE OF ETHICAL PHILOSOPHY.
SOCRATES rejects Physical and Mathematical Speculations, and asserts the Importance of Virtue and Morality, thereby inaugurating an Age of Faith. - His Life and Death. The Schools originating from his Movement teach the Pursuit of Pleasure and Gratification of Self PLATO founds the Academy.-His three primal Principles.- The Existence of a personal God. -Nature of the World and the Soul.-The ideal Theory, Generals or Types.-Reminiscence. -Transmigration. - Plato's political Institutions. - His Republic. - His Proofs of the Immortality of the Soul.-Criticism on his Doctrines. RISE OF THE SKEPTICS, who conduct the higher Analysis of Ethical Philosophy.-Pyrrho demonstrates the Uncertainty of Knowledge. -Inevitable Passage into tranquil Indifference, Quietude, and Irreligion, as recommended by Epicurus. - Decomposition of the Socratic and Platonic' Systems in the later Academies. Their Errors and Duplicities. End of the Greek Age of Faith. THE Sophists had brought on an intellectual anarchy. It is not in the nature of humanity to be contented with such a state. Thwarted in its expectations from physics, the Greek mind turned its attention to morals. In the progress of life, it is but a step from the age of Inquiry to the age of Faith. Socrates, who led the way in this movement, was born B.C. 469. He has exercised an influence in some respects felt to our times. Having experienced the unprofitable results arising from physical speculation, he set in contrast therewith the solid advantages to be enjoyed from the cultivation of virtue and morality. His life was one perpetual combat with the Sophists. His manner of instruction was by conversation, in which, according to the uniform testimony of all who heard him, he singularly excelled. He resorted to definitions, and therefrom drew deductions, conveying his argument under the form of a dialogue. Unlike his predecessors, who sought for truth in the investigation of outward things, he turned his attention inward, asserting the supremacy of virtue and its identity with knowledge, and the necessity of an adherence to the strict principles of justice. Considering the depraved condition to which the Sophists had reduced society, he insisted on a change in the manner of education of youth, so as to bring it in accordance with the principle that happiness is only to be found in the pursuit of virtue and goodness. Thus, therefore, he completely substituted the moral for the physical, and in this essentially consists the philosophical revolution he effected. He had no school, properly speaking,
HIS ETHICAL SYSTEM. 107
nor did he elaborate any special ethical system; for to those who inquired how they should know good from evil and right from wrong, he recommended the decisions of the laws of their country. It does not appear that he ever entered on any inquiry respecting the nature of God, simply viewing his existence as a fact of which there was abundant and incontrovertible proof. Though rejecting the crude religious ideas of his nation, and totally opposed to anthropomorphism, he carefully avoided the giving of public offense by improper allusions to the prevailing superstition; nay, even as a good citizen, he set an example of conforming to its requirements. In his judgment, the fault of the Sophists consisted in this, that they had subverted useless speculation, but had substituted no scientific convictions for it. Nevertheless, if man did not know, he might believe, and demonstration might be profitably supplanted by faith. He therefore insisted on the great doctrines of the immortality of the soul and the government of the world by Providence; but it is not to be denied that there are plain indications, in some of his sentiments, that the Supreme Being is the soul of the world. He professed that his own chief wisdom consisted in the knowledge of his own ignorance, and dissuaded his friends from the cultivation of mathematics and physics, since he affirmed that the former lead to vain conclusions, the latter to atheism. In his system every thing turns on the explanation of terms; but his processes of reasoning are often imperfect, his conclusions, therefore, liable to be incorrect. In this way, he maintained that no one would knowingly commit a wrong act, because he that knew a thing to be good would do it; that it is only involuntarily that the bad are bad; that he who knowingly tells a lie is a better man than he who tells a lie in ignorance; and that it is right to injure one's enemies. From such a statement of the philosophy of Socrates, we can not fail to remark how superficial it must have been; it perpetually mistakes differences of words for distinctions of things; it also possessed little novelty. The enforcement of morality can not be regarded as any thing new, since probably there has never been an age in which good men were not to be found, who observed, as their rule of life, the maxims taught by Socrates; and hence we may reasonably inquire what it was that has spread over the name of this great man such an unfading lustre, and why he stands out in such extraordinary prominence among the benefactors of his race. Socrates was happy in two things: happy in those who recorded his life, and happy in the circumstances of his death. It is not given to every great man to have Xenophon and Plato for his biographers; it is not given to every one who has overpassed the limit of life, and, in the natural course of events, has but a little longer to continue, to attain the crown of martyrdom in behalf of
108 THE DEATH OF SOCRATES.
virtue and morality. In an evil hour for the glory of Athens, his countrymen put him to death. It was too late when they awoke and saw that they could give no answer to the voice of posterity, demanding why they had perpetrated this crime. With truth Socrates said, at the close of his noble speech to the judges who had condemned him, "It is now time that we depart-I to die, you to live; but which has the better destiny is unknown to all except God." The future has resolved that doubt. For Socrates there was reserved the happier lot. No little obscurity still remains upon the true nature of this dark transaction. The articles of accusation were three: he rejects the gods ostensible of his country; he introduces new ones; he perverts the education of youth. With truth might his friends say that it was wonderful that he should be accused of impiety, the whole tenor of whose life was reverence for God-a recognition not only of the divine existence, but of the divine superintendence. "It is only a madman," he would say, "who imputes success in life to human prudence;" and as to the necessity of a right education for the young, "It is only the wise who are fit to govern men." We must conclude that the accusations were only ostensible or fictitious, and that beneath them lay some reality which could reconcile the Athenians to the perpetration of so great a crime. Shall we find in his private life any explanation of this mystery? Unfortunately, the fragments which have descended to us are few. To the investigations of classical criticism we can scarcely look with any hope, for classical criticism has hitherto been in a state of singular innocence, so far as the actual affairs of life are concerned. It regards Athenians and Romans not as men and women like ourselves, but as the personages presented by fictitious literature, whose lives are exceptions to the common laws of human nature; who live in the midst of scenes of endless surprises and occurrences ever bordering on the marvelous. If we examine the case according to every-day principles, we can not The character fail to remark that the Socrates of our imagination is a very different man from the Socrates of contemporaneous Athenians. To us he appears a transcendent genius, to whom the great names of antiquity render their profound homage; a martyr in behalf of principles, of which, if society is devoid, life itself is scarcely of any worth, and for the defense of which it is the highest glory that a man should be called upon to die. To them Socrates was no more than an idle lounger in the public places and corners of the streets; grotesque, and even repulsive in his person-; affecting in the oddities of his walking and in his appearance many of the manners of the mountebank. Neglecting the pursuit of an honest calling, for his trade seems to have been that of a stone-cutter, he wasted his time in discoursing with such youths as his lecherous countenance and satyr-like person could gather
HIS CHARACTER. 109
around him, leading them astray from the gods of his country, the flimsy veil of his hypocrisy being too transparent to conceal his infidelity. Nevertheless, he was a very brave soldier, as those who served with him testify. It does not appear that he was observant of those cares which by most men are properly considered as paramount, giving himself but little concern for the support of his children and wife. The good woman Xantippe is, to all appearance, one of those characters who are unfairly judged of by the world. Socrates married her because of her singular conversational powers; and though he himself, according to universal testimony, possessed extraordinary merits in that respect, he found to his cost, when too late, that so commanding were her excellencies that he was altogether her inferior. Among the amusing instances related of his domestic difficulties were the consequences of his invitations to persons to dine with him when there was nothing in the house wherewith to entertain them, a proceeding severely trying to the temper of Xantippe, whose cause would unquestionably be defended by the matrons of any nation. It was nothing but the mortification of a high-spirited woman at the acts of a man who was too shiftless to have any concern for his domestic honor. He would not gratify her urgent entreaties by accepting from those upon whom he lavished his time the money that was so greatly needed at home. After his condemnation, she carried her children with her to his prison, and was dismissed by him, as he told his friends, from his apprehension of her deep distress. To the last we see her bearing herself in a manner honorable to a woman and a wife. There is surely something wrong in a man's life when the mother of his children is protesting against his conduct, and her complaints are countenanced by the community. In view of all the incidents of the history of Socrates, we can come to no other conclusion than that the Athenians regarded him as an unworthy, and perhaps troublesome member of society. There can be no doubt that his trial and condemnation were connected with political measures. He himself said that he should have suffered death previously, in the affair of Leon of Salamis, had not the government been broken up. His bias was toward aristocracy, not toward democracy. In common with his party, he had been engaged in undertakings that could not do otherwise than entail mortal animosities; and it is not to be overlooked that his indictment was brought forward by Anytus, who was conspicuous in restoring the old order of things. The mistake made by the Athenians was in applying a punishment altogether beyond the real offense, and in adding thereto the persecution of those who had embraced the tenets of Socrates by driving them into exile. Not alone admiration for the memory of their master, but a recollection of their own wrongs, made these men eloquent eulogists. Had Socrates appeared to the Athenians as he appears to us, it is not consistent with
110 THE MEGARIC, CYRENAIC, AND CYNICAL SCHOOL.
human proceedings that they should have acted in so barbarous and totally indefensible a manner. If by the Daemon to whose suggestions Socrates is said to have listened any thing more was meant than conscience, we must infer that he labored under that mental malady to which those are liable who, either through penury or designedly, submit to extreme abstinence, and, thereby injuring the brain, fall into hallucination. Such cases are by no means of infrequent occurrence. Mohammed was affected in that manner. After the death of Socrates there arose several schools professing to be founded upon his principles. The divergences they exhibited when compared with one another prove how little there was of precision in those principles. Among these imitators is numbered Euclid of Megara, who had been in the habit of incurring considerable personal risk for the sake of listening to the great teacher, it being a capital offense for a native of Megara to be found in Athens. Upon their persecution, Plato and other disciples of Socrates fled to Euclid, and were well received by him. His system was a mixture of the Eleatic and Socratic, the ethical preponderating in his doctrine. He maintained the existence of one Being, the Good, having various aspects-Wisdom, God, Reason, and showed an inclination to the tendency afterward fully developed by the Cynical school in his dogma that the wise man should be insensible to pain. With the Megaric school is usually classified the Cyrenaic, founded by Aristippus. Like Socrates, he held in disdain physical speculations, and directed his attention to the moral. In his opinion, happiness consists in pleasure; and, indeed, he recognized in pleasure and pain the criteria of external things. He denied that we can know any thing with certainty, our senses being so liable to deceive us; but, though we may not perceive things truly, it is true that we perceive. With the Cyrenaic school, pleasure is the great end and object of life. To these may be added the Cynical school, founded by Antisthenes, whose system is personal and ferocious: it is a battle of the mind against the body; it is a pursuit of pleasure of self, a mental kind, corporal enjoyment being utterly unworthy of a man. Its nature is very well shown in the character of its founder, who abandoned all the conveniences and comforts of life, voluntarily encountering poverty and exposure to the inclemency of the seasons. His garments were of the meanest kind, his beard neglected, his person filthy, his diet bordering on starvation. To the passers-by this ragged misanthrope indulged in contemptuous language, and offended them with the indecency of his gestures. Abandoned at last by every one except Diogenes of Sinope, he expired in the extreme of
THE DOCTRINES OF CYNICISM. 111
wretchedness. It had been a favorite doctrine with him that friendship and patriotism are altogether worthless; and in his last agony, Diogenes asking him whether he needed a friend, " Will a friend release me from this pain?" he inquired. Diogenes handed him a dagger saying, "This will." "I want to be free from pain, but not from life. Into such degradation had philosophy fallen, as represented by the Cynical school, that it may be doubted whether it is right to include a man like Antisthenes among those who derive their title from their love of wisdom-a man who condemned the knowledge of reading and writing, who depreciated the institution of marriage, and professed that he saw no other advantage from philosophy than that it enabled him to keep company with himself. The wretched doctrines of Cynicism were carried to their utmost application by Diogenes of Sinope. In early life he had been accustomed to luxury and ease; but his father, who was a wealthy banker, having been convicted of debasing the coinage, Diogenes, who in some manner shared in the disgrace, was in a very fit state of mind to embrace doctrines implying a contempt for the goods of the world and for the opinions of men. He may be considered as the prototype of the hermits of a later period in his attempts at the subjugation of the natural appetites by means of starvation. Looking upon the body as a mere clog to the soul, he mortified it in every possible manner, feeding it on raw meat and leaves, and making it dwell in a tub. He professed that the nearer a man approached to suicide the nearer he approached to virtue. He wore no other dress than a scanty cloak; a wallet, a stick, and a drinking-cup completed his equipment: the cup he threw away as useless on seeing a boy take water in the hollow of his hand. It was his delight to offend every idea of social decency by performing all the acts of life publicly, asserting that whatever is not improper in itself ought to be done openly. It is said that his death, which occurred in his ninetieth year, was in consequence of devouring a neat's foot raw. From his carrying the Socratic notions to an extreme, he merits the designation applied to him, "the mad Socrates." His contempt for the opinions of others, and his religious disbelief, are illustrated by an incident related of him, that, having in a moment of weakness made a promise to some friends that he would offer a sacrifice to Diana, he repaired the next day to her temple, and, taking a louse from his head, cracked it upon her altar. What a melancholy illustration of the tendency of the human mind do these facts offer. What a quick, yet inevitable descent from morality of Socrates. Selfishness is enthroned; friendship and patriotism are looked upon as the affairs of a fool: happy is the man who stands in no need of a friend; still happier he who has not one. No action is intrinsically bad; even robbery, adultery, sacrilege,
are only crimes by public agreement. The sage will take care how he indulges in the weakness of gratitude or benevolence, or any other such sickly sentiment. If he can find pleasure, let him enjoy it; if pain is inflicted on him, let him bear it; but, above all, let him remember that death is just as desirable as life. If the physical speculations of Greece had ended in sophistry and atheism, ethical investigations, it thus appears, had borne no better fruit. Both systems, when carried to their consequences, had been found to be not only useless to society, but actually prejudicial to its best interests. As far as could be seen, in the times of which we are speaking, the prospects for civilization were dark and discouraging; nor did it appear possible that any successful attempts could be made to extract from philosophy any thing completely suitable to the wants of man. Yet, in the midst of these discreditable delusions, one of the friends and disciples of Socrates-indeed, it may be said, his chief disciple, Plato, was laying the foundation of another system, which, though it contained much that was false and more that was vain, contained also some things vigorous enough to descend to our times. Plato was born about B.C. 426. Antiquity has often delighted to cast a halo of mythical glory around its illustrious names. The immortal works of its great philosopher seemed to entitle him to more than mortal honors. A legend, into the authenticity of which we will abstain from inquiring, asserted that his mother Perictione, a pure virgin, suffered an immaculate conception through the influences of Apollo. The god declared to Ariston, to whom she was about to be married, the parentage of the child. The wisdom of this great writer may justify such a noble descent, and, in some degree, excuse the credulity of his admiring and affectionate disciples, who gave a ready ear to the stupendous and idle story. To the knowledge acquired by Plato during the eight or ten years he had spent with Socrates, he added all that could be obtained from the philosophers of Egypt, Cyrene, Persia, and Tarentum. With every advantage arising from wealth and an illustrious parentage, if even it was only of an earthly kind, for he numbered Solon among his ancestors, he availed himself of the teaching of the chief philosophers of the age, and at length, returning to his native country, founded a school in the grove of Hecademus. Thrice during his career as a teacher he visited Sicily, on each occasion returning to the retirement of his academy. He attained the advanced age of eighty-three years. It has been given to few men to exercise so profound an influence on the opinions of posterity, and yet it is said that during his lifetime Plato had no friends. He quarreled with most of those who had been his fellow-disciples of Socrates; and, as might be anticipated from the venerable age to which he attained, and the uncertain foundation upon which his doc-
PLATO'S DOCTRINES, THE PRIMAL PRINCIPLES, GOD, THE SOUL. 113.
trines reposed, his opinions were very often contradictory, and his philosophy exhibited many variations. To his doctrines we must now attend. It was the belief of Plato that matter is coeternal with God, and that, indeed, there are three primary principles-God, Matter, The Ideas; all animate and inanimate things being fashioned by God from matter, which, being capable of receiving any impress, may be designated with propriety the Mother of Forms. He held that intellect existed before such forms were produced, but not antecedently to matter. To matter he imputed a refractory or resisting quality, the origin of the disorders and disturbances occurring in the world; he also regarded it as the cause of evil, accounting thereby for the preponderance of evil, which must exceed the good in proportion as matter exceeds ideas. It is not without reason, therefore, that Plato has been accused of Magianism. These doctrines are of an Oriental cast. The existence of God, an independent and personal maker of the world, he inferred from proofs of intelligence and design presented by natural objects. "All in the world is for the sake of the rest, and the places of the single parts are so ordered as to subserve to the preservation and excellency of the whole; hence all things are derived from the operation of a Divine intellectual cause." From the marks of unity in that design he deduced the unity of God, whom he regarded as the Supreme Intelligence, incorporeal, without beginning, end, or change. His god is the fashioner and father of the universe, in contradistinction to impersonal Nature. In one sense, he taught that the soul is immortal and imperishable; in another, he denied that each individual soul either has had or will continue to have an everlasting duration. From what has been said on a former
Page, it will be understood that this psychological doctrine is essentially Indian. His views of the ancient condition and former relations of the soul enabled Plato to introduce the celebrated doctrine of Reminiscence, and to account for what have otherwise been termed innate ideas. They are the recollections of things with which the soul was once familiar. The reason of God contemplates and comprehends the exemplars or original models of all natural forms, whatever they may be; for visible things are only fleeting shadows, quickly passing away; ideas or exemplars are everlasting. With so much power did he set forth this theory of ideas, and, it must be added, with so much obscurity, that some have asserted an extramundane space in which exist incorporeal beings, the ideas or original exemplars of all organic and inorganic forms. An illustration may remove some of the obscurity of these views. Thus all men, though they may present different appearances when compared with each other, are obviously fashioned upon the
114 THE IDEAL THEORY.
same model, to which they all more or less perfectly conform. All trees of the same kind, though they may differ from one another, are, in like manner, fashioned upon a common model, to which they more or less perfectly conform. To such models, exemplars or types, Plato gave the designation of Ideas. Our knowledge thereof is clearly not obtained from the senses, but from reflection. Now Plato asserted that these ideas are not only conceptions of the mind, but actually perceptions or entities having a real existence; nay, more, that they are the only real existences. Objects are thus only material embodiments of ideas, and in representation are not exact; for correspondence between an object and its model is only so far as circumstances will permit. Hence we can never determine all the properties or functions of the idea from an examination of its imperfect material representation, any more than we could discover the character or qualities of a man from pictures of him, no matter how excellent those pictures might be. The Ideal theory of Plato, therefore, teaches that, beyond this world of delusive appearances, this world of material objects, there is another world, invisible, eternal, and essentially true; that, though we can not trust our senses for the correctness of the indications they yield, there are other impressions upon which we may fall back to aid us in coming to the truth, the reminiscences or recollections still abiding in the soul of the things it formerly knew, either in the realm of pure ideas, or in the states of former life through which it has passed. For Plato says that there are souls which, in periods of many thousand years, have successively transmigrated through bodies of various kinds. Of these various conditions they retain a recollection more faintly or vividly, as the case may be. Ideas seeming to be implanted in the human mind, but certainly never communicated to us by the senses, are derived from those former states. If this recollection of ancient events and conditions were absolutely precise and correct, then man would have an innate means for determining the truth. But such reminiscences being, in their nature, imperfect and uncertain, we never can attain to absolute truth. With Plato, the Beautiful is the perfect image of the true. Love is the longing of the soul for beauty, the attraction of like for like, the longing of the divinity within us for the divinity beyond us; and the Good, which is beauty, truth, justice, is God-God in his abstract state. From the Platonic system it therefore followed that science is impossible to man, and possible only to God; that, however, recollecting our origin, we ought not to despair, but elevate our intellectual aim as far as we may; that all knowledge is not attributable to our present senses; for, if that were the case, all men would be equally wise, their senses being equal in acuteness; but a very large portion, and by far the surest
THE NATURE OF THE GODS AND OF THINGS. 115
portion, is derived from reminiscence of our former states; that each individual soul is an idea; and that, of ideas generally, the lower are held together by the higher, and hence, finally, by one of ideas which is supreme; that God is the sum of ideas, and is therefore eternal and unchangeable, the sensuous conditions of time and space having no relation to him, and inapplicable in any conception of his attributes; that he is the measure of all things, and not man, as Protagoras supposed; that the universe is a type of him; that matter itself is an absolute negation, and is the same as space; that the forms presented by our senses are unsubstantial shadows, and no reality; that, so far from there being an infinity of worlds, there is but one, which, as the work of God is neither subject to age nor decay, and that it consists of a body and a soul; in another respect it may be said to be composed of fire and earth, which can only be made to cohere through the intermedium of air and water, and hence the necessity of the existence of the four elements; that, of geometrical forms, the pyramid corresponds to fire, the cube to earth, the octahedron to air, these forms being produced from triangles connected by certain numerical ratios; that the entire sum of vitality is divided by God into seven parts, answering to the divisions of the musical octave, or to the seven planets; that the world is an animal having within it a soul; for man is warm, and so is the world; man is made of various elements, and so is the world; and, as the body of man has a soul, so too must the world have one; that there is a race of created, generated, and visible gods, who must be distinguished from the eternal, their bodies being composed for the most part of fire, and in shape spherical; that the earth is the oldest and first of the starry bodies, its place being in the centre of the universe, or in the axis thereof, where it remains, balanced by its own equilibrium; perhaps it is an ensouled being and a generated god; that the mortal races are three, answering to Earth, Air, and Water; that the male man was the first made of mortals, and that from him the female, and beasts, and birds, and fishes issued forth; that the superiority of man depends upon his being a religious animal; that each mortal consists of two portions, a soul and a body-their separation constitutes death; that of the soul there are two primitive component parts, a mortal and an immortal, the one being made by the created gods, and the other by the Supreme; that for the purpose of uniting these parts together it is necessary that there should be an intermedium, and that this is the demonic portion or spirit; that our mental struggles arise from this triple constitution of Appetite, Spirit, and Reason; that Reason alone is immortal, and the others die; that the number of souls in the universe is invariable or constant; that the sentiment of pre-existence proves the soul to have existed before the body; that, since the soul is the cause of motion, it.can neither be pro-
116 PHYSIOLOGY OF PLATO.
duced nor decay, else all motion must eventually cease; that, as to the condition of departed souls, they hover as shades around the graves, pining for restoration to their lifeless bodies, or migrating through various human or brute shapes, but that an unembodied life in God is reserved for the virtuous philosopher; that valor is nothing but knowledge, and virtue a knowledge of good; that the soul, on entering the body, is irrational or in a trance, and that the god, the star who formed its created part, influences its career, and hence its fortunes may be predicted by astrological computations; that there are future rewards and punishments, a residence being appointed for the righteous in his kindred star; for those whose lives have been less pure there is a second birth under the form of a woman, and, if evil courses are still persisted in, successive transmigrations through various brutes are in reserve-the frivolous passing into birds, the unphilosophical into beasts, the ignorant into fishes; that the world undergoes periodical revolutions by fire and water, its destructions and reproductions depending upon the coincidences of the stars. Of Plato's views of human physiology I can offer no better statement than the following from Ritter: "All in the human body is formed for the sake of the Reason, after certain determinate ends. Accordingly, first of all, a seat must be provided for the god-like portion of the soul, the head, viz., which is round, and similar to the perfect shape of the whole, furnished with the organs of cognition, slightly covered with flesh, which impedes the senses. To the head is given the direction of the whole frame, hence its position at the top; and, since the mortal creation possesses all the six irregular motions, and the head ought not to roll upon the ground, the human form is long in its form, with legs for walking and arms for serving the body, and the anterior part is fashioned differently from the posterior. Now, the reason being seated in the head, the spirit or irascible soul has its seat in the breast, under the head, in order that it may be within call and command of the Reason, but yet separated from the head by the neck, that it might not mix with it. The concupiscible has likewise its particular seat in the lower part of the trunk, the abdomen, separated by the diaphragm from that of the irascible, since it is destined, being separate from both, to be governed and held in order both by the spirit and the Reason. For this end God has given it a watch, the liver, which is dense, smooth, and shining, and, containing in combination both bitter and sweet, is fitted to receive and reflect, as in a mirror, the images of thoughts. Whenever the Reason disapproves, it checks inordinate desires by its bitterness, and, on the other hand, when it approves, all is soothed into gentle repose by its sweetness; moreover, in sleep, or sickness, or in inspiration it becomes prophetic, so that even the, vilest portion of the body is in a certain degree participant of truth. In other respects the lower
THE REPUBLIC OF PLATO. 117
portion of the trunk is fashioned with equal adaptation for the ends it has to serve. The spleen is placed on the left side of the liver, in order to secrete and carry off the impurities which the diseases of the body might produce and accumulate. The intestines are coiled many times, in order that the food may not pass too quickly through the body, and so occasion again an immoderate desire for more; for such a constant appetite would render the pursuit of philosophy impossible, and make man disobedient to the commands of the divinity within him." The reader will gather from the preceding paragraph how much of wisdom and of folly, of knowledge and of ignorance, the doctrines of Plato present. I may be permitted to continue this analysis of his writings a little farther, with the intention of exhibiting the manner in which he carried his views into practice; for Plato asserted that, though the supreme good is unattainable by our reason, we must try to resemble God as far as it is possible for the changeable to copy ideas the eternal; remembering that pleasure is not the end of man, and, though the sensual part of the soul dwells on eating and drinking, riches and pleasure, and the spiritual on worldly honors and distinctions, the reason is devoted to knowledge. Pleasure, therefore, cannot be attributed to the gods, though knowledge may; pleasure, which is not a good in itself, but only a means thereto. Each of the three parts of the soul has its own appropriate virtue, that of reason being wisdom; that of the spirit, courage; that of the appetite, temperance; and, for the sake of perfection, justice is added for the mutual regulation of the other three. In carrying his ethical conceptions into practice, Plato insists that the state is every thing, and that what is in opposition to it ought to be destroyed. He denies the right of property; strikes at the very existence of the family, pressing his doctrines to such an extreme as to consider women as public property, to be used for the purposes of the state; he teaches that education should be a governmental duty, and that religion must be absolutely subjected to the politician; that children do not belong to their parents, but to the state; that the aim of government should not be the happiness of the individual, but that of the whole; and that men are to be considered not as men, but as elements of the state, a perfect subject differing from a slave only in this, that he has the state for his master. He recommends the exposure of deformed and sickly infants, and requires every citizen to be initiated into every species of falsehood and fraud. Distinguishing between mere social unions and true polities, and insisting that there shall be an analogy between the state and the soul as respects triple constitution, he establishes a division of ruler, warriors, and laborers, preferring, therefore, a monarchy reposing on aristocracy, particularly of talent. Though he considers music essential to education, his opinion of the fine arts is
118 CRITICISM ON IIS DOCTRINE.
so low that he would admit into his state painters and musicians only under severe restrictions, or not at all. It was for the sake of having this chimerical republic realized in Sicily that he made a journey to Dionysius; and it may be added that it was well for those whom he hoped to have subjected to the experiment that his wild and visionary scheme was never permitted to be carried into effect. In our times, extravagant social plans have been proposed, and some have been attempted; but we have witnessed nothing so absurd as this vaunted republic of Plato. It shows a surprising ignorance of the acts and wants of man in his social condition. Some of the more important doctrines of Plato are worthy of farther reflection. I shall therefore detain the reader for a short time to offer a few remarks upon them. It was a beautiful conception of this philosophy that ideas are connected together by others of a higher order, and these, in their turn, by others still higher, their generality and power increasing as we ascend, until finally a culminating point is reached -a last, a supreme, an all-ruling Idea, which is God. Approaching in this elevated manner to the doctrine of an Almighty Being, we are free from those fallacies we are otherwise liable to fall into when we mingle notions derived from time and Space with the attributes of God; we also avoid those obscurities necessarily encountered when we attempt the consideration of the illimitable and eternal. Plato's views of the immortality of the soul offer a striking contrast to those of the popular philosophy and superstition of his time. They recall, in many respects, the doctrines of India. In Greece, those who held the most enlarged views entertained what might be termed a doctrine of semi-immortality. They looked for a continuance of the soul in an endless futurity, but gave themselves no concern about the eternity which is past. But Plato considered the soul as having already eternally existed, the present life being only a moment in our career; he looked forward, with an undoubting faith, to the changes through which we must hereafter go. As sparks issue forth from a flame, so doubtless to his imagination did the soul of man issue forth from the soul of the world. Innate ideas and the sentiment of pre-existence indicate our past life. By the latter is meant that on some occasion perhaps of trivial concern, or perhaps in some momentous event, it suddenly occurs to us that we have been in like circumstances, and surrounded by the things at that instant present on some other occasion before; but the recollection, though forcibly impressing us with surprise, is misty and confused. With Plato shall we say it was in one of our prior states of existence, and the long-forgotten transactions are now suddenly flashing upon us? But Plato did not know the double structure and the double action
DOUBLE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL. 119
of the brain of man; he did not remember that the mind may lose all recognition of the lapse of time, and, with equal facility, compress into the twinkling of an eye events so numerous that for their occurrence days and even years would seem to be required; or, conversely, that it can take a single, a simple idea, which one would suppose might be disposed of in a moment, and dwell upon it, dilating or swelling it out, until all the hours of a long night are consumed. Of the truth of these singular effects we have not only such testimony as that offered by those who have been restored from death by drowning, who describe the flood of memory rushing upon them in the last moment of their mortal agony, the long train of all the affairs in which they have borne a part seen in an instant, as we see the landscape, with all its various objects, by a flash of lightning at night, and that with appalling distinctness, but also from our own experience in our dreams. It is shown in my Physiology how the phenomena of the sentiment of pre-existence may, upon these principles, be explained, each hemisphere of the brain thinking for itself, and the mind deluded as respects the lapse of time, mistaking these simultaneous actions for successive ones, and referring one of the two impressions to an indistinct and misty past. To Plato such facts as these afforded copious proofs of the prior existence of the soul, and strong foundations for a faith in its future life. Thus Plato's doctrine of the immortality of the soul implies a double immortality; the past eternity, as well as that to come, falls within its scope. In the national superstition of his time, the spiritual principle seemed to arise without author or generator, finding its chance residence in the tabernacle of the body, growing with its growth and strengthening with its strength, acquiring for each period of life a correspondence of form and of feature with its companion the body, successively assuming the appearance of the infant, the youth, the adult, the white-bearded patriarch. The shade who wandered in the Stygian fields, or stood before the tribunal of Minos to receive his doom, was thought to correspond in aspect with the aspect of the body at death. It was thus that Ulysses recognized the forms of Patroclus and Achilles, and other heroes of the ten years' siege; it was thus that the peasant recognized the ghost of his enemy or friend. As a matter of superstition, these notions had their use, but in a philosophical sense it is impossible to conceive any thing more defective. The state of man differs from that of a lifeless body or a brute in this, that it is not alone with the present moment that he has to Relations of the past and future deal, or that the past, when gone, is clean gone forever, and to an. that the future, before it approaches, is as if it was never to be. Man, by his recollection, makes the past a part of the present, and his foreknowledge adds the future thereto, thereby coalescing the three in one.
120 CRITICISM ON THE IDEAL THEORY.
Some of the illustrations commonly given of Plato's Ideal theory may also be instructively used for showing the manner in which his facts are dealt with by the methods of modern science. Thus Plato would say that there is contained in every acorn the ideal type of an oak, in accordance with which, as soon as suitable circumstances occur, the acorn will develop itself into an oak, and into no other tree. In that act of development of such a seed into its final growth there are, therefore, two things demanding attention, the intrinsic character of the seed and the external forces acting upon it. The Platonic doctrine draws such a distinction emphatically; its essential purpose is to assert the absolute existence and independence of that innate type and its imperishability. Though it requires the agency of external circumstances for its complete realization, its being is altogether irrespective of them. There are, therefore, in such a case, two elements concerned-an internal and an external. A like duality is perceived in many other physiological instances, as in the relationship of mind and matter, thought and sensation. It is the aim of the Platonic philosophy to magnify the internal at the expense of the external in the case of man, thereby asserting the absolute supremacy of intellect; this being the particular in which man is distinguished from the brutes and lower organisms, in whom the external relatively predominates. The development of any such organism, be it plant or animal, is therefore nothing but a manifestation of the Divine idea of Platonism. Many instances of natural history offer striking illustrations, as when that which might have been a branch is developed into a flower, the parts thereof showing a disposition to arrange themselves by fives or by threes. The persistency with which this occurs in organisms of the same species is, in the Platonic interpretation, a proof that, though individuals may perish, the idea is immortal. How else, in this manner, could the like extricate itself from the unlike; the one deliver itself from, and make itself manifest among the many? Such is an instance of Plato's views; but the very illustration, thus serving to bring them so explicitly before us, may teach us another, and, perhaps, a more correct doctrine. For, considering the duality presented by such cases, the internal and external, the immortal hidden type and the power acting upon it without, the character and the circumstances, may we not pertinently inquire by what authority does Plato diminish the influence of the latter and enhance the value of the former? Why are facts to be burdened with such hypothetical creations, when it is obvious that a much simpler explanation is sufficient? Let us admit, as our best physiological views direct, that the starting-point of every organism, low or high, vegetable or animal, or whatever else, is a simple cell, the manner of development of which depends altogether on the circumstances and influences to which it is exposed; that, so
THE IDEAL THEORY COMPARED WITH THE DOCTRINE OF LAW. 121
long as those circumstances are the same the resulting form will be the same, and that as soon as those circumstances differ the resulting form differs too. The offspring is like its parent, not because it includes an immortal typical form, but because it is exposed in development to the same conditions as was its parent. Elsewhere I have endeavored to show that we must acknowledge this absolute dominion of physical agents over organic forms as the fundamental principle in all the sciences of organization; indeed, the main object of my work on Physiology was to enforce this very doctrine. But such a doctrine is altogether inconsistent with the Ideal theory of Platonism. It is no latent imperishable type existing from eternity that is dominating in such developments, but they take place as the issue of a resistless law, variety being possible under variation of circumstances. Hence we may perhaps excuse ourselves from that suprasensual world in which reside typical forms, universals, ideas of created things, declining this complex machinery of Platonism, and substituting for it a simple notion of law. Nor shall we find, if from this starting-point we direct our thoughts upward, as Plato did from subordinate ideas to the First Idea, any thing incompatible with the noble conclusion to which he eventually came, any thing incompatible with the majesty of God, whose existence and attributes may be asserted with more precision and distinctness from considerations of the operation of immutable law than they can be from the starting-point of fantastic, imaginary, ideal forms. Ve have seen how the pre-Socratic philosophy ended in the Sophists; we have now to see how the post-Socratic ended in the Skeptics. Again was repeated the same result exhibited in former times, that the doctrines of the different schools, even those supposed to be matters of absolute demonstration, were not only essentially different, but in contradiction to one another. Again, therefore, the opinion was resumed that the intellect of man possesses no criterion of the truth, being neither able to distinguish among the contradictions of the impressions of the senses, nor to judge of the correctness of philosophical deductions, nor even to determine the intrinsic morality of acts. And, if there be no criterion of truth, there can be no certain ground of science, and there remains nothing for us but doubt. Such was the conclusion to which Pyrrho, the founder of the Skeptics, came. He lived about B.C. 300. His philosophical doctrine of the necessity of suspending or refusing our assent from want of a criterion of judgment led by a natural transition to the moral doctrine that virtue and happiness consist in perfect quiescence or freedom from all mental perturbation. This doctrine, it is said, he had learned in India from the Brahmans, whither he had been in the expedition of Alexander. On his return to Europe he taught these views in his school at Elis; but Greek philosophy, in its own order of advancement, was verging on the discovery of these conclusions.
122. THE PHILOSOPHY OF PYRRHO.
The Skeptical school was thus founded on the assertion that man can never ascertain the true among phenomena, and therefore can never know whether things are in accordance or discordance with their appearances, for the same object appears differently to us in different positions and at different times. Doubtless it also appears differently to various individuals. Among such appearances, how shall we select the true one, and, if we make a selection, how shall we be absolutely certain that we are right? Moreover, the properties we impute to things, such as color, smell, taste, hardness, and the like, are dependent upon our senses; but we very well know that our senses are perpetually yielding to us contradictory indications, and it is in vain that we expect Reason to enable us to distinguish with correctness, or furnish us a criterion of the truth. The Skeptical school thus made use of the weapons which the Sophists had so destructively employed, directing it, however, chiefly against ethics. But let us ascend a step higher. If we rely upon Reason, how do we know that Reason itself is reliable? Do we not want some criterion for it? And, even if such a criterion existed, must we not have for it, in its turn, some higher criterion? The Skeptic thus justified his assertion that to man there is no criterion of truth. In accordance with these principles, the Skeptics denied that we can ever attain to a knowledge of existence from a knowledge of phenomena. They carried their doubt to such an extreme as to assert that we can never know the truth of any thing that we have asserted, no, not even the truth of this very assertion itself. "We assert nothing," say they; "no, not even that we assert nothing." They declare that the system of induction is at best only a system of probability, for an induction can only be certain when every one and all of the individual things have been examined and demonstrated to agree with the universal. If one single exception among myriads of examples be discovered, the induction is destroyed. But how shall we be sure, in any one case, that we have examined all the individuals? therefore we must ever doubt. As to the method of definitions, it is clear that it is altogether useless; for, if we are ignorant of a thing, we cannot define it, and if we know a thing, a definition adds nothing to our knowledge. In thus destroying definitions and inductions they destroyed all philosophical method. But if there be this impossibility of attaining knowledge, what is the use of man giving himself any trouble about the matter? Is it not best to accept life as it comes, and enjoy pleasure while he may? And this is what Epicurus, B.C. 342, had already advised men to do. Like Socrates, he disparages science, and looks upon pleasure as the main object of life and the criterion of virtue. Asserting that truth cannot be determined by Reason alone, he gives up philosophy in despair, or regards
THE PHILOSOPHY OF EPICURUS. 123.
it as an inferior or ineffectual means for contributing to happiness. In his view the proper division of philosophy is into Ethics, Canonic, and Physics, the two latter being of very little importance compared with the first. The wise man or sage must seek in an Oriental quietism for the chief happiness of life, indulging himself in a temperate manner as respects his present appetite, and adding thereto the recollection of similar sensual pleasures that are past, and the expectation of new ones reserved for the future. He must look on philosophy as the art of enjoying life. He should give himself no concern as to death or the power of the gods, who are only a delusion; none as respects a future state, remembering that the soul, which is nothing more than a congeries of atoms, is resolved into those constituents at death. There can be no doubt that such doctrines were very well suited to the times in which they were introduced; for so great was the social and political disturbance, so great the uncertainty of the tenure of property, that it might well be suggested what better could a man do than enjoy his own while it was yet in his possession? nor was the inducement to such a course lessened by the extravagant dissipations when courtesans and cooks, jesters and buffoons, splendid attire and magnificent appointments had become essential to life. Demetrius Poliorcetes, who understood the condition of things thoroughly, says, "There was not, in my time, in Athens, one great or noble mind." In such a social state, it is not at all surprising that Epicurus had many followers, and that there were many who agreed with him in thinking that happiness is best found in a tranquil indifference, and in believing that there is nothing in reality good or bad; that it is best to decide upon nothing, but to leave affairs to chance; that there is, after all, little or no difference between life and death; that a wise man will regard philosophy as an activity of ideas and arguments which may tend to happiness; that its physical branch is of no other use than to correct superstitious fancies as to death, and remove the fear of meteors, prodigies, and other phenomena by explaining their nature; that the views of Democritus and Aristotle may be made to some extent available for the procurement of pleasure; and that we may learn from the brutes, who pursue pleasure and avoid pain, what ought to be our course. Upon the whole, it will be found that there is a connection between pleasure and virtue, especially if we enlarge our views and seek for pleasure, not in the gratification of the present moment, but in the aggregate offered by existence. The pleasures of the soul all originate in the pleasures of the flesh; not only those of the time being, but also those recollected in the past and anticipated in the future. The sage will therefore provide for all these, and, remembering that pain is in its nature transient, but pleasure is enduring, he will not hesitate to encounter the former if he can be certain that it will procure him the latter;
124 ITS CONTRADICTIONS AND IMMORALITIES.
he will dismiss from his mind all idle fears of the gods and of destiny, for these are only fictions beneficial to women and the vulgar; yet, since they are the objects of the national superstition, it is needless to procure one's self disfavor by openly deriding them. It will therefore be better for the sage to treat them with apparent solemnity, or at least outward respect, though he may laugh at the imposition in his heart. As to the fear of death, he will be especially careful to rid himself therefrom, remembering that death is only a deliverer from the miseries of life. Under the title of Canonic Epicurus delivers his philosophical views; Imperfections they are, however, of a very superficial kind. He insists that of the our sensuous impressions are the criterion of truth, and that even the sensations of a lunatic and dreamer are true. But, besides the impressions of the moment, memory is also to be looked upon as a criterion-memory, which is the basis of experience. In his Physics he adopts the Atomic theory of Democritus, though in many respects it ill accords with his Ethics or Canonic; but so low is his esteem of its value that he cares nothing for that. Though atoms and a void are in their nature imperceptible to the senses, he acknowledges their existence, asserting the occurrence of an infinite number of atoms of different kinds in the infinite void, which, because of their weight, precipitate themselves perpendicularly downward with an equable motion; but some of them, through an unaccountable internal force, have deviated from their perpendicular path, and, sticking together after their collision, have given rise to the world. Not much better than these vague puerilities are his notions about the size of the sun, the nature of eclipses, and other astronomical phenomena; but he justifies his contradictions and superficiality by asserting that it is altogether useless for a man to know such things, and that the sage ought to give himself no trouble about them. As to the soul, he says that it must be of a material or corporeal nature, for this simple reason, that there is nothing incorporeal but a vacuum; he inclines to the belief that it is a rarefied body, easily movable, and somewhat of the nature of a vapor; he divides it into four activities, corresponding to the four elements entering into its constitution; and that, so far from being immortal, it is decomposed into its integral atoms, dying when the body dies. With the atomic doctrines of Democritus Epicurus adopts the notions of that philosopher respecting sensation, to the effect that eidola or images are sloughed off from all external objects, and find access to the brain through the eye. In his theology he admits, under the circumstances we have mentioned, anthropomorphic gods, pretending to account for their origin in the chance concourse of atoms, and suggesting that they display their quietism and blessedness by giving themselves no concern about man or his affairs. By such derisive
MODERN EPICUREANS-THE MIDDLE AND NEW ACADEMIES. 125
promptings does Epicurus mock at the religion of his country-its rituals, sacrifices, prayers, and observances. He offers no better evidence of the existence of God than that there is a general belief current among men in support of such a notion; but, when brought to the point, he does not hesitate to utter his disbelief in the national theology, and to declare that, in his judgment, it is blind chance that rules the world. Such are the opinions to which the name of Epicurus has been attached; but there were Epicureans ages before that philosopher was born, and Epicureans there will be in all time to come. They abound in our own days, ever characterized by the same features-an intense egotism in their social relations, superficiality in their philosophical views, if the term philosophical can be justly applied to intellects so narrow; they manifest an accordance often loud and particular with the religion of their country, while in their hearts and in their lives they are utter infidels. These are they who constitute the most specious part of modern society, and are often the self-proclaimed guardians of its interests. They are to be found in every grade of life; in the senate, in the army, in the professions, and especially in commercial pursuits, which, unhappily, tend too frequently to the development of selfishness. It is to them that society is indebted for more than half its corruptions, all its hypocrisy, and more than half its sins. It is they who infuse into it falsehood as respects the past, imposture as respects the present, fraud as respects the future; who teach it by example that the course of a man's life ought to be determined upon principles of selfishness; that gratitude and affection are well enough if displayed for effect, but that they should never be felt; that men are to be looked upon not as men, but as things to be used; that knowledge and integrity, patriotism and virtue, are the delusions of simpletons; and that wealth is the only object which is really worthy of the homage of a man. It now only remains in this chapter to speak of the later Platonism. The Old Academy, of which Plato was the founder, limited its labors to the illustration and defense of his doctrines. The MiddleAcademy, originating with Arcesilaus, born B.C. 316, maintained a warfare with the Stoics, developed the doctrine of the uncertainty of sensual impressions and the nothingness of human knowledge. The New Academy was founded by Carneades, born B.C. 213, and participated with the preceding in many of its fundamental positions. On the one side Carneades leans to skepticism, on the other he accepts probability as his guide. This school so rapidly degenerated that at last it occupied itself with rhetoric alone. The gradual increase of skepticism and indifference throughout this period is obvious enough; thus Arcesilaus said that he knew nothing, not even his own ignorance, and denied both intellectual and sensuous knowledge. Carneades, obtaining his views from the old philosophy, found
126 END OF THE GREEK AGE OF FAITH.
therein arguments suitable for his purpose against necessity, God, soothsaying; he did not admit that there is any such thing as justice in the abstract, declaring that it is a purely conventional thing; indeed, it was his rhetorical display, alternately in praise of justice against it, on the occasion of his visit to Rome, that led Cato to have him expelled from the city. Though Plato had been the representative of an age of faith, a secondary analysis of all his works, implying an exposition of their contradictions, ended in skepticism. If we may undertake to determine the precise aim of a philosophy whose representatives stood in such an attitude of rhetorical duplicity, it may be said to be the demonstration that there is no criterion of truth in this world. Persuaded thus of the impossibility of philosophy, Carneades was led to recommend his theory of the probable. " That which has been most perfectly analyzed and examined, and found to be devoid of improbability, is the most probable idea." The degeneration of philosophy now became truly complete, the labors of so many great men being degraded to rhetorical and artistic purposes. It was seen by all that Plato had destroyed all trust in the indications of the senses, and substituted for it the Ideal theory. Aristotle had destroyed that, and there was nothing left to the world but skepticism. A fourth Academy was founded by Philo of Larissa, a fifth by Antiochus of Ascalon. It was reserved for this teacher to attach the Porch to the Academy, and to merge the doctrines of Plato in those of the Stoics. Such a heterogeneous mixture demonstrates the pass to which speculative philosophy had come, and shows us clearly that her disciples had abandoned her in despair. So ends the Greek age of Faith. How strikingly does its history recall the corresponding period of individual life-the trusting spirit and the disappointment of youth. We enter on it full of confidence in things and men, never suspecting that the one may disappoint, the other deceive. Our early experiences, if considered at all, afford only matter of surprise that we could ever have been seriously occupied in such folly, or actuated by motives now seeming so inadequate. It never occurs to us that, in our present state, though the pursuits may have changed, they are none the less vain, the objects none the less delusive. The second age of Greek philosophy ended in sophism, the third in skepticism. Speculative philosophy strikes at last upon a limit which it can not overpass. This is its state even in our own times. It reverberates against the wall that confines it without the least chance of making its way through.
THE MACEDONIAN CAMPAIGN. 127
CHAPTER VI. THE GREEK AGE OF REASON. RISE OF SCIENCE. THE MACEDONIAN CAMPAIGN.
-Disastrous in its political Effects to Greece, but ushering in the Age of Reason. ARISTOTLE founds the Inductive Philosophy.-His Method the Inverse of that of Plato.-Its great Power.-In his own hands it fails for want of Knowledge, but is carried out by the Alexandrians. ZENo.-His Philosophical Aim is the Cultivation of Virtue and Knowledge. He is in the Ethical Branch the Counterpart of Aristotle in the Physical. FOUNDATION OF THE MUSEUM OF ALEXANDRIA.-The great Libraries, Observatories, Botanical Gardens, Menageries, Dissecting Houses.-Its Effect on the rapid Development of exact Knowledge. - Influence of Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes, Apollonius, Ptolemy, Hipparchus, on Geometry, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Chronology, Geography. Decline of the Greek Age of Reason. THE conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great is a most important event in European history That adventurer, carrying out the intentions of his father Philip, commenced his attack with apparently very insignificant means, having, it is said, at the most, only thirty-four thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, and seventy talents in money. The result of his expedition was the ruin of the Persian empire, and also the ruin of Greece. It was not without reason that his memory was cursed in his native country. Her lifeblood was drained away by his successes. In view of the splendid fortunes to be made in Asia, Greece ceased to be the place for an enterprising man. To such an extent did military emigration go, that Greek recruits were settled all over the Persian empire; their number was sufficient to injure irreparably the country from which they had parted, but not sufficient to hellenize the dense and antique populations among whom they had settled. Not only was it thus by the drain of men that the Macedonian expedition was so dreadfully disastrous to Greece, the political consequences following those successful campaigns added to the baneful result. Alexander could not have more effectually ruined Athens had he treated her as he did Thebes, which he leveled with the ground, massacring six thousand of her citizens, and selling thirty thousand for slaves. The founding of Alexandria was the commercial end of Athens, the finishing stroke to her old colonial system. It might have been well for her had he stopped short in his projects with the
128 ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND ARISTOTLE.
downfall of Tyre, destroyed, not from any vindictive reasons, as is sometimes said, but because he discovered that that city was an essential part of the Persian system. It was never his intention that Athens should derive advantage from the annihilation of her Phoenician competitor; his object was effectually carried out by the building and prosperity of Alexandria. Though the military celebrity of this great soldier may be diminished by the history of the last hundred years, which shows a uniform result of victory when European armies are brought in contact with Asiatic, even under the most extraordinary disadvantages, there can not be denied to him a profound sagacity and statesmanship excelled by no other conqueror. Before he became intoxicated with success, and, unfortunately, too habitually intoxicated with wine, there was much that was noble in his character. He had been under the instruction of Aristotle for several years, and, on setting out on his expedition, took with him so many learned men as almost to justify the remark applied to it, that it was as much a scientific as a military undertaking. Among those who thus accompanied him was Callisthenes, a relation and pupil of Aristotle, destined for an evil end. Perhaps the assertion that Alexander furnished to his master nearly a million of dollars, and the services of several thousand men, for the purpose of obtaining and examining the specimens required in the composition of his work on the " History of Animals" may be an exaggeration, but there can be no doubt that in these transactions was the real beginning of that policy which soon led to the institution of the Museum at Alexandria. The importance of this event, though hitherto little understood, admits of no exaggeration, so far as the intellectual progress of Europe is concerned. It gave to the works of Aristotle their wonderful duration; it imparted to them not alone a Grecian celebrity, but led to their translation into Syriac by the Nestorians in the fifth century, and from Syriac by the Arabs into their tongue four hundred years later. They exercised a living influence over Christians and Mohammedans indifferently, from Spain to Mesopotamia. If the letter quoted by Plutarch as having been written by Alexander to Aristotle is authentic, it not only shows how thoroughly the pupil had been indoctrinated into the wisdom of the master, but warns us how liable we are to be led astray in the exposition we are presently to give of the Aristotelian philosophy. There was then, as unfortunately there has been too often since, a private as well as a public doctrine. Alexander upbraids the philosopher for his indiscretion in revealing things that it was understood should be concealed. Aristotle defends himself by asserting that the desired concealment had not been broken. By many other incidents of a trifling kind the attachment of the conqueror to philosophy is indicated; thus Harpalus and Nearchus, the
THE MERITS AND CRIMES OF ALEXANDER. 129
companions of his youth, were the agents employed in some of his scientific undertakings, the latter being engaged in sea explorations, doubtless having in the main a political object, yet full of interest to science. Had Alexander lived, Nearchus was to have repeated the circumnavigation of Africa. Iarpalus, while governor of Babylon, was occupied in the attempt to exchange the vegetation of Europe and Asia; he intertransplanted the productions of Persia and Greece, succeeding, as is related, in his object of making all European plants that he tried grow in Mesopotamia except the ivy. The journey to the Caspian Sea, the expedition into the African deserts, indicate Alexander's personal taste for natural knowledge; nor is it without significance that, while on his deathbed, and, indeed, within a few days of his decease, he found consolation and amusement in having Nearchus by his bedside relating the story of his voyages. Nothing shows more strikingly how correct was his military perception than the intention he avowed of equipping a thousand ships for the conquest of Carthage, and thus securing his supremacy in the Mediterranean. Notwithstanding all this, there were many points of his character, and many events of his life, worthy of the condemnation with which they have been visited; the drunken burning of Persepolis, the prisoners he slaughtered in honor of Hephaestion, the hanging of Callisthenes, were the results of intemperance and unbridled passion. Even so steady a mind as his was incapable of withstanding the influence of such enormous treasures as those he seized at Susa, amounting, it is said, to four hundred millions of dollars; the plunder of the Persian empire; the inconceivable luxury of Asiatic life; the uncontrolled power to which he attained. But he was not so imbecile as to believe himself the descendant of Jupiter Ammon; that was only an artifice he permitted for the sake of influencing those around him. We must not forget that he lived in an age when men looked for immaculate conceptions and celestial descents. These Asiatic ideas had made their way into Europe. The Athenians themselves were soon to be reconciled to the appointment of divine honors to such as Antigonus and Demetrius, adoring them as gods-savior gods-and instituting sacrifices and priests for their worship. Great as were the political results of the Macedonian expedition, they were equaled by the intellectual. The times were marked by the ushering in of a new philosophy. Greece had gone through her age of Credulity, her age of Inquiry, her age of Faith; she had entered on her age of Reason, and, had freedom of action been permitted to her, she would have given a decisive tone to the forthcoming civilization of Europe. As will be seen in the following pages, that great destiny did not await her. From her eccentric position at Alexandria she could not civilize Europe. In her
130 THE PHILOSOPHY OF ARISTOTLE.
old age, the power of Europe, concentrated in the Roman empire, overthrew her. There are very few histories of the past of more interest to modern times, and none, unfortunately, more misunderstood, than this Greek age of Reason manifested at Alexandria. It illustrates, in the most signal manner, that affairs control men more than men control affairs. The scientific associations of the Macedonian conqueror directly arose from the contemporaneous state of Greek philosophy in the act of reaching the close of its age of faith, and these influences ripened under the Macedonian captain who became King of Egypt. As it was, the learning of Alexandria, though diverted from its most appropriate and desirable direction by the operation of the Byzantine system, in the course of a few centuries acting forcibly upon it, was not without an influence on the future thought of Europe. Even at this day Europe will not bear to be fully told how great that influence has been. The age of Reason, to which Aristotle is about to introduce us, stands in striking contrast with the preceding ages. It can not escape the reader that what was done by the men of science in Alexandria resembles what is doing in our own times; their day was the foreshadowing of ours. And yet a long and dreary period of almost twenty centuries parts us from them. Politically, Aristotle, through his friendship with Alexander and the perpetuation of the Macedonian influence in Ptolemy, was the connecting link between the Greek age of Faith and that of Reason, as he was also philosophically by the nature of his doctrines. He offers us an easy passage from the speculative methods of Plato to the scientific methods of Archimedes and Euclid. The copiousness of his doctrines, and the obscurity of many of them, might, perhaps, discourage a superficial student, unless he steadily bears in mind the singular authority they maintained for so many ages, and the brilliant results in all the exact parts of human knowledge to which they so quickly led. The history of Aristotle and his philosophy is therefore our necessary introduction to the grand, the immortal achievements of the Alexandrian school. Aristotle was born at Stagira, in Thrace, B.C. 384. His father was an eminent author of those times on subjects of Natural History; by profession he was a physician. Dying while his son was yet quite young, he bequeathed to him not only very ample means, but also his own tastes. Aristotle soon found his way to Athens, and entered the school of Plato, with whom it is said he remained for nearly twenty years. During this period he spent most of his patrimony, and in the end was obliged to support-himself by the trade of a druggist. At length differences arose between them, for, as we shall soon find, the great pupil was by no means a blind follower of the great master. In a fortunate moment, Philip, the King of Macedon, appointed him preceptor to his son Alexander, an incident of importance in the inte-
COMPARISON OF ARISTOTLE WITH PLATO. 131
llectual history of Europe. It was to the friendship arising through this relation that Aristotle owed that effectual assistance to which we have alluded from the conqueror during his Asiatic expedition for the composition of "the Natural History," and also gained that prestige which gave his name such singular authority for more than fifteen centuries. He eventually founded a school in the Lyceum at Athens, and, as it was his habit to deliver his lectures while walking, his disciples received the name of Peripatetics, or walking philosophers. These lectures were of two kinds, esoteric and exoteric, the former being delivered to the more advanced pupils only. He wrote a very large number of works, of which about one fourth remain. The philosophical method of Aristotle is the inverse of that of Plato, whose starting-point was universals, the very existence of which was a matter of faith, and from which he descended to particulars or details. Aristotle, on the contrary, rose from particulars to universals, advancing to them by inductions; and his system, thus an inductive philosophy, was in reality the true beginning of science. Plato therefore trusts to the Imagination, Aristotle to Reason. The contrast between them is best seen by the attitude in which they stand as respects the Ideal theory. Plato regards universals, types, or exemplars as having an actual existence; Aristotle declares that they are mere abstractions of reasoning. For the fanciful reminiscences derived from former experience in another life by Plato, Aristotle substitutes the reminiscences of our actual experience in this. These ideas of experience are furnished by the memory, which enables us not only to recall individual facts and events witnessed by ourselves, but also to collate them with one another, thereby discovering their resemblances and their differences. Our induction becomes the more certain as our facts are more numerous, our experience larger. "Art commences when, from a great number of experiences, one general conception is formed which will embrace all similar cases." "If we properly observe celestial phenomena, we may demonstrate the laws which regulate them." With Plato, philosophy arises from faith in the past; with Aristotle, reason alone can constitute it from existing facts. Plato is analytic, Aristotle synthetic. The philosophy of Plato arises from the decomposition of a primitive idea into particulars, that of Aristotle from the union of particulars into a general conception. The former is essentially an idealist, the latter a materialist. From this it will be seen that the method of Plato was capable of producing more splendid, though they were necessarily more and unsubstantial results; that of Aristotle was more tardy in its operation, but much more solid. It implied endless labor in the collection of facts, the tedious resort to experiment and observation, the application of demonstration. In its very nature it was such that it was im
132 THE PERIPATETIC PHILOSOPHY.
possible for its author to carry by its aid the structure of science toward completion. The moment that Aristotle applies his own principles we find him compelled to depart from them through the want of a sufficient experience and sufficient precision in his facts. The philosophy of Plato is a gorgeous castle in the air, that of Aristotle is a solid structure, laboriously, and, with many failures, founded on the solid rock. Under logic Aristotle treats of the methods of arriving at general Aristotle's propositions, and of reasoning from them. His logic is at once logic the art of thinking and the instrument of thought. The completeness of our knowledge depends on the extent and completeness of our experience. His manner of reasoning is by the syllogism, an argument consisting of three propositions, such that the concluding one follows of necessity from the two premises, and of which, indeed, the whole theory of demonstration is only an example. Regarding logic as the instrument of thought, he introduces into it, as a fundamental feature, the ten categories. These predicaments are the genera to which every thing may be reduced, and denote the most general of the attributes which may be assigned to a thing. His metaphysics overrides all the branches of the physical sciences. It undertakes an examination of the postulates on which each one of them is founded, determining their truth or fallacy. Considering that all science must find a support for its fundamental conditions in an extensive induction from facts, he puts at the foundation of his system the consideration of the individual; in relation to the world of sense, he regards four causes as necessary for the production of a fact- the material cause, the substantial cause, the efficient cause, the final cause. But as soon as we come to the Physics of Aristotle we see at once his weakness. The knowledge of his age does not furnish him facts enough whereon to build, and the consequence is that he is forced into speculation. It will be sufficient for our purpose to allude to a few of his statements, either in this or in his metaphysical branch, to show how great is his uncertainty and confusion. Thus he asserts that matter contains a triple form-simple substance, higher substance, which is eternal, and absolute substance, or God himself; that the universe is immutable and eternal, and, though in relation with the vicissitudes of the world, it is unaffected thereby; that the primitive force which gives rise to all the motions and changes we see is Nature; it also gives rise to Rest; that the world is a living being, having a soul; that, since every thing is for some particular end, the soul of man is the end of his body; that Motion is the condition of all nature; that the world has a definite boundary and a limited magnitude; that Space is the immovable vessel in which whatever is may be moved; that Space, as a whole, is with
THE PERIPATETIC PHILOSOPHY. 133.
out motion, though its parts may move; that it is not to be conceived of as without contents; that it is impossible for a vacuum to exist, and hence there is not beyond and surrounding the world a void which contains the world; that there could be no such thing as Time unless there was a soul, for time being the number of motion, number is impossible except there be one who numbers; that, perpetual motion in a finite right line being impossible, but in a curvilinear path possible, the world, which is limited and ever in motion, must be of a spherical form; that the earth is its central part, the heavens the circumferential, hence the heaven is nearest to the prime cause of motion; that the orderly, continuous, and unceasing movement of the celestial bodies implies an unmoved mover, for the unchangeable alone can give birth to uniform motion; that unmoved existence is God; that the stars are passionless beings, having attained the end of existence, and worthy above other things of human adoration; that the fixed stars are in the outermost heaven, and the sun, moon, and planets beneath: the former receive their motion from the prime moving cause, but the planets are disturbed by the stars; that there are five elements-earth, air, fire, water, and ether; that the earth is in the centre of the universe, since earthy matter settles uniformly round a central point; that fire seeks the circumferential region, and intermediately water floats upon the earth, and air upon water; that the elements are transmutable into one another, and hence many intervening substances arise; that each sphere is in interconnection with the others; the earth is agitated and disturbed by the sea, the sea by the winds, which are movements of the air, the air by the sun, moon, and planets. Each inferior sphere is controlled by its outlying or superior one, and hence it follows that the earth, which is thus disturbed by the conspiring or conflicting action of all above it, is liable to the most irregularities; that, since animals are nourished by the earth, it needs must enter into their composition, but that water is required to hold the earthy parts together; that every element must be looked upon as living, since it is pervaded by the soul of the world; that there is an unbroken chain from the simple element through the plant and animal up to man, the different groups merging by insensible shades into one another: thus zoophytes partake partly of the vegetable and partly of the animal, and serve as an intermedium between them; that plants are inferior to animals in this, that they do not possess a single principle of life or soul, but many subordinate ones, as is shown by the circumstance that, when they are cut to pieces, each piece' is capable of perfect or independent growth or life. Their inferiority is likewise betrayed by their belonging especially to the earth to which they are rooted, each root being a true mouth; and this again displays their lowly position, for the place of the mouth is ever an indication of the grade of a creature: thus in man, who is at the head of the
134 ARISTOTLE'S PHYSIOLOGY.
scale, it is in the upper part of the body; that in proportion to the heat of an animal is its grade higher: thus those that are aquatic are cold, and therefore of very little intelligence, and the same may be said of plants; but of man, whose warmth is very great, the soul is much more excellent; that the possession of locomotion by an organism always implies the possession of sensation; that the senses of taste and touch indicate the qualities of things in contact with the organs of the animal, but that those of smell, hearing, and sight extend the sphere of its existence, and indicate to it what is at a distance; that the place of reception of the various sensations is the soul, from which issue forth the motions; that the blood, as the general element of nutrition, is essential to the support of the body, though insensible itself: it is also essential to the activity of the soul; that the brain is not the recipient of sensations: that function belongs to the heart; all the animal activities are united in it; it contains the principle of life, being the principle of motion; it is the first part to be formed and the last to die; that the brain is a mere appendix to the heart, since it is formed after the heart; is the coldest of the organs, and is devoid of blood; that the soul is the reunion of all the functions of the body: it is an energy or active essence; being neither body nor magnitude, it can not have extension, for thought has no parts, nor can it be said to move in space; it is as a sailor, who is motionless in a ship which is moving; that, in the origin of the organism, the male furnishes the soul and the female the body; that the body being liable to decay, and of a transitory nature, it is necessary for its well-being that its disintegration and nutrition should balance one another; that sensation may be compared to the impression of a seal on wax, the wax receiving form only, but no substance or matter; that imagination arises from impressions thus made, but endure for a length of time, and that this is the origin of memory; that man alone possesses recollection, but animals share with him memory-memory being unintentional or spontaneous, but recollection implying voluntary exertion or a search; that recollection is necessary for acting with design. It is doubtful whether Aristotle believed in the immortality of the soul, no decisive passage to that effect occurring in such of his works as are extant. Aristotle, with a correct and scientific method, tried to build up a vast system when he was not in possession of the necessary data. Though a very learned man, he had not sufficient knowledge; indeed there was not sufficient knowledge at that time in the world. For many of the assertions I have quoted in the preceding paragraph there was no kind of proof; many of them also, such as the settling of the heavy and the rise of the light, imply very poor cosmic ideas. It is not until he deals with those branches, such as comparative anatomy and natural history, of which he had a personal and practical knowl
ZENO, THE FOUNDER OF THE STOICS. 135
edge, that he begins to write well. Of his physiological conclusions, some are singularly felicitous; his views of the connected chain of organic forms, from the lowest to the highest, are very grand. His metaphysical and physical speculations-for in reality they are nothing but speculations-are of no kind of value. His successful achievements, and also his failures, conspicuously prove the excellence of his system. He expounded the true principles of science, but failed to apply them merely for want of materials. His ambition could not brook restraint. He would rather attempt to construct the universe without the necessary means than not construct it at all. Aristotle failed when he abandoned his own principles, and the magnitude of his failure proves how just his principles were; he succeeded when he adhered to them. If any thing were wanted to vindicate their correctness and illustrate them, it is supplied by the glorious achievements of the Alexandrian school, which acted in physical science as Aristotle had acted in natural history, laying a basis solidly in observation and experiment, and accomplishing a like durable and brilliant result. From Aristotle it is necessary to turn to Zeno, for the Peripatetics and Stoics stand in parallel lines. The social conditions existing in Greece at the time of Epicurus may in some degree palliate his sentiments, but virtue and honor will make themselves felt at last. Stoicism soon appeared as the antagonist of Epicureanism, and Epicurus found in Zeno of Citium a rival. The passage from Epicurus to Zeno is the passage from sensual gratification to self-control. The biography of Zeno may be dismissed in a few words. Born about B.C. 300, he spent the early part of his life in the vocation of his father, who was a merchant, but, by a fortunate shipwreck, happily losing his goods during a voyage he was making to Athens, he turned to philosophy for consolation. Though he had heretofore been somewhat acquainted with the doctrines of Socrates, he became a disciple of the Cynics, subsequently studying in the Megaric school, and then making himself acquainted with Platonism. After twenty years of preparation, he opened a school in the stoa or porch in Athens, from which his doctrine and disciples have received their name. He presided over his school for fifty-eight years, numbering many eminent men among his disciples. When nearly a hundred years old he chanced to fall and break his finger, and, receiving this as an admonition that his time was accomplished, he forthwith strangled himself. The Athenians erected to his memory a statue of brass. His doctrines long survived him, and, in times when there was no other consolation for man, offered a support in their hour of trial, and an unwavering guide in the vicissitudes of life, not only to many illustrious Greeks, but also to some of the great philosophers, statesmen, generals, and emperors of Rome.
136 THE PHILOSOPHY OF ZENO.
It was the intention of Zeno to substitute for the visionary speculations of Platonism a system directed to the daily practices of life, and hence dealing chiefly with the morals. To make men virtuous was his aim. But this is essentially connected with knowledge, for Zeno was persuaded that if we only know what is good we shall be certain to practice it. He therefore rejected Plato's fancies of Ideas and Reminiscences, leaning to the common-sense doctrines of Aristotle, to whom he approached in many details. With him Sense furnishes the data of knowledge, and Reason combines them; the soul being modified by external things, and modifying them in return, he believed that the mind is at first, as it were, a blank tablet, on which sensation writes marks, and that the distinctness of sensuous impressions is the criterion of their truth. The changes thus produced in the soul constitute ideas; but, with a prophetic inspiration, he complained that man will never know the true essence of things. In his Physics Zeno adopted the doctrine of Strato, that the world is a living being. He believed that nothing incorporeal can produce an effect, and hence that the soul is corporeal. Matter and its properties he considered to be absolutely inseparable, a property being actually a body. In the world there are two things, matter and God, who is the Reason of the world. Essentially, however, God and matter are the same thing, which assumes the aspect of matter from the passive point of view, and God from the active; he is, moreover, the prime moving force, Destiny, Necessity, a life-giving Soul, evolving things as the vital force evolves a plant out of a seed; the visible world is thus to be regarded as the material manifestation of God. The transitory objects which it on all sides presents will be reabsorbed after a season of time, and reunited in him. The Stoics pretended to indicate, even in a more definite manner, the process by which the world has arisen, and also its future destiny; for, regarding the Supreme as a vital heat, they supposed that a portion of that fire, declining in energy, became transmuted into matter, and hence the origin of the world; but that that fire, hereafter resuming its activity, would cause a universal conflagration, the end of things. During the present state every thing is in a condition of uncertain mutation, decays being followed by reproductions, and reproductions by decays; and, as a cataract shows from year to year an invariable form, though the water composing it is perpetually changing, so the objects around us are nothing more than a flux of matter offering a permanent form. Thus the visible world is only a moment in the life of God, and after it has vanished away like a scroll that is burned, a new period shall be ushered in, and a new heaven and a new earth, exactly like the ancient ones, shall arise. Since nothing can exist without its contrary, no injustice unless there was justice, no cowardice unless there was courage, no lie unless there was truth, no
shadow unless there was light, so the existence of good necessitates that of evil. The Stoics believed that the development of the world is under the dominion of paramount law, supreme law, Destiny, to which God himself is subject, and that hence he can only develop the world in a predestined way, as the vital warmth evolves a seed into the predestined form of a plant. The Stoics held it indecorous to offend needlessly the religious ideas of the times, and, indeed, they admitted that there might be created gods like those of Plato; but they disapproved of the adoration of images and the use of temples, making amends for their offenses in these particulars by offering a semi-philosophical interpretation of the legends, and demonstrating that the existence, and even phenomenal display of the gods was in accordance with their principles. Perhaps to this exoteric philosophy we must ascribe the manner in which they expressed themselves as to final causes-expressions sometimes of amusing quaintness-thus, that the peacock was formed for the sake of his tail, and that a soul was given to the hog instead of salt, to prevent his body from rotting; that the final cause of plants is to be food for brutes, of brutes to be food for men, though they discreetly checked their irony in its ascending career, and abstained from saying that men are food for the gods, and the gods for all. The Stoics concluded that the soul is mere warm breath, and that it and the body mutually interpervade one another. They thought that it might subsist after death until the general conflagration, particularly if its energy was great, as in the strong spirits of the virtuous and wise. Its unity of action implies that it has a principle of identity, the I, of which the physiological seat is the heart. Every appetite, lust, or desire is an imperfect knowledge. Our nature and properties are forced upon us by Fate, but it is our duty to despise all our propensities and passions, and to live so that we may be free, intelligent, and virtuous. This sentiment leads us to the great maxim of Stoical Ethics, "Live according to Reason;" or, since the world is composed of matter and God, who is the Reason of the world, "Live in harmony with Nature." As Reason is supreme in Nature, it ought to be so in man. Our existence-should be intellectual, and all bodily pains and pleasures should be despised. A harmony between the human will and universal Reason constitutes virtue. The free-will of the sage should guide his actions in the same irresistible manner in which universal Reason controls nature. Hence the necessity of a cultivation of physics, without which we can not distinguish good from evil. The sage is directed to remember that Nature, in her operations, aims at the universal, and never spares individuals, but uses them as means for accomplishing her ends. It is for him, therefore, to submit to his destiny,
138 RISE OF GREEK SCIENCE IN EGYPT.
endeavoring continually to establish the supremacy of Reason, and cultivating, as the things necessary to virtue, knowledge, temperance, fortitude, justice. He is at liberty to put patriotism at the value it is -worth when he remembers that he is a citizen of the world; he must train himself to receive in tranquillity the shocks of Destiny, and to be above all passion and all pain. He must never relent and never forgive. He must remember that there are only two classes of men, the wise and the fools, as " sticks can only either be straight or crooked, and very few sticks in this world are absolutely straight." From the account I have given of Aristotle's philosophy, it may be seen that he occupied a middle ground between the speculation of the old philosophy and the strict science of the Alexandrian school. He is the true connecting link, in the history of European intellectual progress, between philosophy and science. Under his teaching, and the material tendencies of the Macedonian campaigns, there arose a class of men in Egypt who gave to the practical a development it had never before attained; for that country, upon the breaking up of Alexander's dominion, B.C. 323, falling into the possession of Ptolemy, that general found himself at once the depositary of spiritual and temporal power. Of the former, it is to be remembered that, though the conquest by Cambyses had given it a severe shock, it still not only survived, but displayed no inconsiderable tokens of strength. Indeed, it is well known that the surrender of Egypt to Alexander was greatly accelerated by hatred to the Persians, the Egyptians welcoming the Macedonians as their deliverers. In this movement we perceive at once the authority of the old priesthood. It is hard to tear up by the roots an ancient religion, the ramifications of which have solidly insinuated themselves among a populace. That of Egypt had already been the growth of more than three thousand years. The question for the intrusive Greek sovereigns to solve was how to coordinate this hoary system with the philosophical skepticism that had issued as the result of Greek thought. With singular sagacity, they saw that this might be accomplished by availing themselves of Orientalism, the common point of contact of the two systems; and that, by its formal introduction and development, it would be possible not only to enable the philosophical king, to whom all the pagan gods were alike equally fictitious and equally useful, to manifest respect even to the ultra-heathenish practices of the Egyptian populace, but, what was of far more moment, to establish an apparent concord between the old sacerdotal Egyptian party-strong in its unparalleled antiquity, strong in its reminiscences, strong in its recent persecutions, strong in its Pharaonic relics, regarded by all men with a superstitious or reverent awe-and the free-thinking and versatile Greeks.
THE ALEXANDRIAN MUSEUM. 139
The occasion was like some other instances in history, some even in our own times; a small but energetic body of invaders was holding in subjection an ancient and populous country. To give practical force to this project, a grand state institution was founded at Alexandria. It became celebrated as the Museum. To it, as to a centre, philosophers from all parts of the world converged. It is said that at one time not less than fourteen thousand students were assembled there. Alexandria, in confirmation of the prophetic foresight of the great soldier who founded it, quickly became an immense metropolis, abounding in mercantile and manufacturing activity. As is ever the case with such cities, its higher classes were prodigal and dissipated, its lower only to be held in restraint by armed force. Its public amusements were such as might be expected theatrical shows, music, horse-racing. In the solitude of such a crowd, or in the noise of such dissipation, any one could find a retreat-atheists who had been banished from Athens, devotees from the Ganges, monotheistic Jews, blasphemers from Asia Minor. Indeed, it has been said that in this heterogeneous community blasphemy was hardly looked upon as a crime; at the worst, it was no more than an unfortunate, and, it might be, an innocent mistake. But, since uneducated men need some solid support on which their thoughts may rest, mere abstract doctrines not meeting their wants, it became necessary to provide some corporeal representation for the eclectic philosophical Pantheism, and hence the Ptolemies were obliged to restore, or, as some say, import the worship of the god Serapis. Those who affirm that he was imported say that he was brought from Sinope; modern Egyptian scholars, however, give a different account. As setting forth the Pantheistic doctrine of which he was the emblem, his image, subsequently to attain world-wide fame, was made of all kinds of metals and stones. " All is God." But still the people, with that instinct which other nations and ages have displayed, hankered after a female divinity, and this led to the partial restoration of the worship of Isis. It is interesting to remark how the humble classes never shake off the reminiscences of early life, leaning rather to the maternal than to the paternal attachment. Perhaps it is for that reason that they expect a more favorable attention to their supplications from a female divinity than a god. Accordingly, the devotees of Isis soon outnumbered those of Serapis, though a magnificent temple had been built for him at Rhacotis, in the quarter adjoining the Museum, and his worship was celebrated with more than imperial splendor. In subsequent ages the worship of Serapis diffused itself throughout the Roman empire, though the authorities-consuls, senate, emperors-knowing well the idea it foreshadowed, and the doctrine it was meant to imply, used their utmost power to put it down.
140 THE GREAT LIBRARIES, OBSERVATORIES, ETC.
The Alexandrian Museum soon assumed the character of a University. In it those great libraries were collected, the pride and boast of antiquity. Demetrius Phalareus was instructed to collect all the writings in the world. So powerfully were the exertions of himself and his successors enforced by the government that two immense libraries were procured. They contained 700,000 volumes. In this literary and scientific retreat, supported in ease and even in luxury -luxury, for allusions to the sumptuous dinners have descended to our times-the philosophers spent their day in mental culture bystudy, or mutual improvement by debates. The king himself conferred appointments to these positions; in later times, the Roman emperors succeeded to the patronage, the government thereby binding in golden chains intellect that might otherwise have proved troublesome. At first, in honor of the ancient religion, the presidency of the establishment was committed to an Egyptian priest; but in the course of time that policy was abandoned. It must not, however, be imagined that the duties of the inmates were limited to reading and rhetorical display; a far more Botanical gar- practical character was imparted to them. A botanical garden, in connection with the Museum, offered an opportunity houses to those who were interested in the study of the nature of plants; a zoological menagerie afforded like facilities to those interested in animals. Even these costly establishments were made to minister to the luxury of the times: in the zoological garden pheasants were raised for the royal table. Besides these elegant and fashionable appointments, another, of a more forbidding and perhaps repulsive kind, was added; an establishment which, in the light of our times, is sufficient to confer immortal glory on those illustrious and high-minded kings, and to put to shame the ignorance and superstition of many modern nations: it was an anatomical school, suitably provided with means for the dissection of the human body, this anatomical school being the basis of a medical college for the education of physicians. For the astronomers Ptolemy Euergetes placed in the Square Porch an equinoctial and a solstitial armil, the graduated limbs of these instruments being divided into degrees and sixths. Besides these, there were in the observatory stone quadrants, the precursors of our mural quadrants. On the floor a meridian line was drawn for the adjustment of the instruments. There were also astrolabes and dioptras. Thus, side by side, almost in the king's palace, were noble provisions for the cultivation of exact science and for the pursuit of light literature. Under the same roof were gathered together geometers, astronomers, chemists, mechanicians, engineers. There were also poets, who ministered to the literary wants of a dissipated city-authors who could write verse, not only in correct metre, but in all kinds of fantastic forms-trees, hearts, and eggs. Here met together the literary dandy and the grim theologian. At
THE SEPTUAGINT TRANSLATION OF THE SCRIPTURES. 141
their repasts occasionally the king himself would preside, enlivening the moment with the condescensions of royal relaxation. Thus of Philadelphus it is stated that he caused to be presented to the Stoic Spherus a dish of fruit made of wax, so beautifully colored as to be undistinguishable from the natural, and, on the mortified philosopher detecting too late the fraud that had been practiced upon him, inquired what he now thought of the maxim of his sect that "the sage is never deceived by appearances." Of the same sovereign it is related that he received the translators of the Septuagint Bible with the highest honors, entertaining them at his table. Under the atmosphere of the place their usual religious ceremonial was laid aside, save that the king courteously requested one of the aged priests to offer an extempore prayer. It is naively related that the Alexandrians present, ever quick to discern rhetorical merit, testified their estimation of the performance with loud applause. But not alone did literature and the exact sciences thus find protection. As if no subjects to which the human mind has devoted itself can be unworthy of investigation, in the Museum were cultivated the more doubtful arts, magic and astrology. Philadelphus, who, toward the close of his life, was haunted with an intolerable dread of death, devoted himself with intense assiduity to the discovery of the elixir of life and to alchemy. Such a comprehensive organization for the development of human knowledge never existed in the world before, and, considering the circumstances, never has since. To be connected with it was a passport to the highest Alexandrian society and to court favor. To the Museum, and, it has been asserted, particularly to Ptolemy Philadelphus, the Christian world is thus under obligation for that ancient version of the Hebrew Scriptures the Septuagint. Many idle stories have been related respecting the circumstances under which that version was made, as that the seventy-two translators by whom it was executed were confined each in a separate cell, and, when their work was finished, the seventy-two copies were found identically the same, word for word. From this it was supposed that the inspiration of this translation was established. If any proof of that kind were needed, it would be much better found in the fact that whenever the occasion arises in the New Testament of quoting from the Old, it is usually done in the words of the Septuagint. The story of the cells underwent successive improvements among the early fathers, but is now rejected as a fiction; and, indeed, it seems probable that the translation was not made under the splendid circumstances commonly related, but merely by the Alexandrian Jews for their own convenience. As the Septuagint grew into credit among the Christians, it lost favor among the Jews, who made repeated attempts in after years to supplant it by new/versions, such as those of Aquila, of Theodotion, of
142 THEOLOGICAL AND SCIENTIFIC INFLUENCES OF THE MUSEUM.
Symmachus, and others. From the first the Syrian Jews had looked on it with disapproval; they even held the time of its translation as a day of mourning, and with a malicious grief pointed out its errors, as, for instance, they affirmed that it made Methusaleh live until after the Deluge. Ptolemy treated all those who were concerned in providing books for the library with consideration, remunerating his translators and transcribers in a princely manner. But the modern world is not alone indebted to these Egyptian kings in the particular here referred to. The Museum made an impression upon the intellectual career of Europe so powerful and enduring that we still enjoy its results. That impression was twofold, theological and physical. The dialectical spirit and literary culture diffused among the Alexandrians prepared that people, beyond all others, for the reception of Christianity. For thirty centuries the Egyptians had been familiar with the conception of a triune God. There was hardly a city of any note without its particular triad. Here it was Amun, Maut, and Khonso; there Osiris, Isis, and Horus. The apostolic missionaries, when they reached Alexandria, found a people ready to appreciate the profoundest mysteries. But with these advantages came great evils. The Trinitarian disputes, which subsequently deluged the world with blood, had their starting-point and focus in Alexandria. In that city Arius and Athanasius dwelt. There originated that desperate conflict which compelled Constantine the Great to summon the Council of Nicea, to settle, by a formulary or creed, the essentials of our faith. But it was not alone as regards theology that Alexandria exerted a power on subsequent ages, her influence was as strongly marked in the impression it gave to science. Astronomical observatories, chemical laboratories, libraries, dissecting-houses, were not in vain. There went forth from them a spirit powerful enough to tincture all future times. Nothing like the Alexandrian Museum was ever called into existence in Greece or Rome, even in their palmiest days. It is the unique and noble memorial of the dynasty of the Ptolemies, who have thereby laid the whole human race under obligations, and vindicated their title to be regarded as a most illustrious line of kings. The Museum was, in truth, an attempt at the organization of human knowledge, both for its development and its diffusion. It was conceived and executed in a practical manner worthy of Alexander. And though, in the night through which Europe has been passing-a night full of dreams and delusions men have not entertained a right estimate of the spirit in which that great institution was founded, and the work it accomplished, its glories being eclipsed by darker and more unworthy things, the time is approaching when its action on the course of human events will be better understood, and its influences on European civilization more clearly discerned.
ITS SCIENTIFIC TENDENCY. 143.
Thus, then, about the beginning of the third century before Christ, in consequence of the Macedonian campaign, which had brought the Greeks in contact with the ancient civilization of Asia, a great degree of intellectual activity was manifested in Egypt. On the site of the village of Rhacotis, once held as an Egyptian post to prevent the ingress of strangers, the Macedonians erected that city which was to be the entrepot of the commerce of the East and West, and to transmit an illustrious name to the latest generations. Her long career of commercial prosperity, her commanding position as respects the material interests of the world, justified the statesmanship of her founder, and the intellectual glory which has gathered round her has given an enduring lustre to his name. There can be no doubt that the philosophical activity here alluded to was the direct issue of the political and military event to which we have referred it. The tastes and genius of Alexander were manifested by his relations to Aristotle, whose studies in natural history he promoted by the collection of a menagerie; and in astronomy, by transmitting to him, through Callisthenes, the records of Babylonian observations extending over 1903 years. His biography, as we have seen, shows a personal interest in the cultivation of such studies. In this particular other great soldiers have resembled him; and perhaps it may be inferred that the practical habit of thought and accommodation of theory to the actual purposes of life pre-eminently required by their profession, leads them spontaneously to decline speculative uncertainties, and to be satisfied only with things that are real and exact. Under the inspiration of the system of Alexander, and guided by the suggestions of certain great men who had caught the spirit of the times, the Egyptian kings thus created, under their own immediate auspices, the Museum. State policy, operating in the manner I have previously described, furnished them with an additional theological reason for founding this establishment. In the Macedonian campaign a vast amount of engineering and mathematical talent had been necessarily stimulated into existence, for great armies can not be handled, great marches can not be made, nor great battles fought without that result. When the period of energetic action was over, and to the military operations succeeded comparative repose and temporary moments of peace, the talent thus called forth found occupation in the way most congenial to it by cultivating mathematical and physical studies. In Alexandria, itself a monument of engineering and architectural skill, soon were to be found men whose names were destined for futurity-Apollonius, Eratosthenes, Manetho. Of these, one may be selected for the remark that, while speculative philosophers were occupying themselves with discussions respecting the criterion of truth, and, upon the whole, coming to the conclusion that no such thing existed,
144 THE WRITINGS OF EUCLID AND DISCOVERIES OF ARCHIMEDE.
and that, if the truth was actually in the possession of man, he had no means of knowing it, Euclid of Alexandria was writing an immortal work, destined to challenge contradiction from the whole human race, and to make good its title as the representative of absolute and undeniable truth-truth not to be gainsaid in any nation or at any time. We still use the geometry of Euclid in our schools. It is said that Euclid opened a geometrical school in Alexandria about B.C. 300. He occupied himself not only with mathematical, but also physical investigation. Besides many works of the former class supposed to have been written by him, as on Fallacies, Conic Sections, Divisions, Porisms, Data, there are imputed to him treatises on Harmonics, Optics, and Catoptrics, the two latter subjects being discussed, agreeably to the views of those times, on the hypothesis of rays issuing from the eye to the object, instead of passing, as we consider them to do, from the object to the eye. It is, however, on the excellencies of his Elements of Geometry that the durable reputation of Euclid depends; and though the hypercriticism of modern mathematicians has perhaps successfully maintained such objections against them as that they might have been more precise in their axioms, that they sometimes assume what might be proved, that they are occasionally redundant, and their arrangement sometimes imperfect, yet they still maintain their ground as a model of extreme accuracy, of perspicuity, and as a standard of exact demonstration. They were employed universally by the Greeks, and, in subsequent ages, were translated and preserved by the Arabs. Great as is the fame of Euclid, it is eclipsed by that of Archimedes the Syracusan, born B.C. 287, whose connection with Egyptian science is not alone testified by tradition, but also by such facts as his acknowledged friendship with Conon of Alexandria, and his invention of the screw still bearing his name, intended for raising the waters of the Nile. Among his mathematical works, the most interesting, perhaps, in his own estimation, as we may judge from the incident that he directed the diagram thereof to be engraved on his tombstone, was his demonstration that the solid content of a sphere is two thirds that of its circumscribing cylinder. It was by this mark that Cicero, when Qusestor of Sicily, discovered the tomb of Archimedes grown over with weeds. This theorem was, however, only one of a large number of a like kind, which he treated of in his two books on the sphere and cylinder in an equally masterly manner, and with equal success. His position as a geometer is perhaps better understood from the assertion made respecting him by a modern mathematician, that he came as near to the discovery of the Differential Calculus as can be done without the aid of algebraic transformations. Among the special problems he treated of may be mentioned the quadrature of the circle, his determination of the
THE DISCOVERIES OF ARCHIMEDES. 145 ratio of the circumference being between 3.1428 and 3.1408, the true value, as is now known, being 3.1416 nearly. He also wrote on Conoids and Spheroids, and upon that spiral still passing under his name, the genesis of which had been suggested to him by Conon. In his work entitled Psammites he alludes to the astronomical system subsequently established by Copernicus, whose name has been given to it. He also mentions the attempts which had been made to measure the size of the earth; the chief object of the work being, however, to prove not only that the sands upon the sea-shore can be numbered, but even those required to fill the entire space within the sphere of the fixed stars; the result being, according to our system of arithmetic, a less number than is expressed by unity followed by 63 ciphers. Such a book is the sport of a geometrical giant wantonly amusing himself with his strength. Among his mathematical investigations must not be omitted the quadrature of the parabola. His fame depends, however, not so much on his mathematical triumphs as upon his brilliant discoveries in physics and his mechanical inventions. How he laid the foundation of Hydrostatics is familiar to every one, through the story of Hiero's crown. A certain artisan having adulterated the gold given him by King Hiero to make a crown, Archimedes discovered that the falsification might be detected while he was accidentally stepping into a bath, and thereby invented the method for the determination of specific gravity. From these investigations he was naturally led to the consideration of the equilibrium of floating bodies; but his grand achievement in the mechanical direction was his discovery of the true theory of the lever: his surprising merit in these respects is demonstrated by the fact that no advance was made in theoretical mechanics in the eighteen centuries intervening between him and Leonardo da Vinci. Of minor matters not less than forty mechanical inventions have been attributed to him. Among these are the endless screw, the screw pump, a hydraulic organ, and burning mirrors. His genius is well indicated by the saying popularly attributed to him, "Give me whereon to stand, and I will move the earth," and by the anecdotes told of his exertions against Marcellus during the siege of Syracuse: his invention of catapults and other engines for throwing projectiles, as darts and heavy stones; claws which, reaching over the walls, lifted up into the air ships and their crews, and then suddenly dropped them into the sea; burning mirrors, by which, at a great distance, the Roman fleet was set on fire. It is related that Marcellus, honoring his intellect, gave the strictest orders that no harm should be done to him at the taking of the town, and that he was killed, unfortunately, by an ignorant soldier-unfortunately, for Europe was not able to produce his equal for nearly two thousand years. Eratosthenes was contemporary with Archimedes. He was born at Cyrene B.C. 276. The care of the library appears to have been com-
146 THE GEOGRAPHICAL AND OTHER WORKS OF ERATOSTHENE.
mitted to him by Euergetes; but his attention was more specially directed to mathematical, astronomical, geographical, and historical pursuits. The work entitled Catasterisms, doubtfully imputed to him, is a catalogue of 475 of the principal stars; but it was probably intended for nothing more than a manual. He also is said to have written a poem upon terrestrial zones. Among his important geographical labors may be mentioned his determination of the interval between the tropics. He found it to be eleven eighty-thirds of the circumference. He also attempted the measurement of the size of the earth by ascertaining the distance between Alexandria and Syene, the difference of latitude between which he had found to be one fiftieth of the earth's circumference. It was his object to free geography from the legends with which the superstition of ages had adorned and oppressed it. In effecting this, he well deserves the tribute paid to him by Humboldt, the modern who of all others could best appreciate his labors. He considered the articulation and expansion of continents; the position of mountain chains; the action of clouds; the geological submersion of lands; the elevation of ancient sea-beds; the opening of the Dardanelles and of the Straits of Gibraltar; the relations of the Euxine Sea: the problem of the equal level of the circumfluous ocean; and the necessary existence of a mountain chain running through Asia in the diaphragm of Dicsearchus. What an advance is all this beyond the meditations of Thales! Herein we see the practical tendencies of the Macedonian wars. In his astronomical observations he had the advantage of using the armils and other instruments in the Observatory. He ascertained that the direction of terrestrial gravity is not constant, but that the verticals diverge. He composed a complete systemic description of the earth in three books-physical, mathematical, historical-accompanied by a map of all the parts then known. Of his skill as a geometer, his solution of the problem of two mean proportionals, still extant, offers ample evidence; and it is only of late years that the fragments remaining of his Chronicles of the Theban Kings are properly appreciated. He hoped to free history as well as geography from the myths that deform it, a task that the prejudices and interests of man will never permit to be accomplished. Some amusing anecdotes of his opinions in these respects have descended to us. He ventured to doubt the historical truth of the Homeric legends. "I will believe in it when I have been shown the currier who made the wind-bags which Ulysses on his homeward voyage received from IEolus." It is said that, having attained the age of eighty years, he became weary of life, and put an end to himself by voluntary starvation. I shall here pause to make a few remarks suggested by the chronological and astronomical works of Eratosthenes. Our current chronology was the offspring of erroneous theological consid-
PERVERSION OF CHRONOLOGY BY EUSEBIUS. 147
erations, the nature of which required not only a short historical term for the various nations of antiquity, but even for the existence of man upon the globe. This necessity appears to have been chiefly experienced in the attempt to exalt certain facts in the history of the Hebrews from their subordinate position in human affairs, and, indeed, to give the whole of that history an exaggerated value. This was done in a double way: by elevating Hebrew history from its true grade, and depreciating or falsifying that of other nations. Among those who have been guilty of this literary offense, the name of the celebrated Eusebius, the Bishop of Cesarea in the time of Constantine, should be designated, since in his chronography and synchronal tables he purposely "perverted chronology for the sake of making synchronisms" (Bunsen). It is true, as Niebuhr asserts, "He is a very dishonest writer." To a great extent, the superseding of the Egyptian annals was brought about by his influence. It was forgotten, however, that of all things chronology is the least suited to be an object of inspiration; and that, though men may be wholly indifferent to truth for its own sake, and consider it not improper to wrest it unscrupulously to what they may suppose a just purpose, yet that it will vindicate itself at last. It is impossible to succeed completely in perverting the history of a nation which has left numerous enduring records. Egypt offers to us testimonials reaching over five thousand years. As Bunsen well remarks, from the known portion of the curve of history we may determine the whole. The Egyptians, old as they are, belong to the middle ages of mankind, for there is a period antecedent to monumental history, or, indeed, to history of any kind, during which language and mythology are formed, for these must exist prior to all political institutions, all art, all science. Even at the first moment that we gain a glimpse of the state of Egypt she had attained a high intellectual condition, as is proved by the fact that her system of hieroglyphics was perfected before the fourth dynasty. It continued unchanged until the time of Psammetichus. A stationary condition of language and writing for thousands of years necessarily implies a long and very remote period of active improvement and advance. It was doubtless such a general consideration, rather than a positive knowledge of the fact, which led the Greeks to assert that the introduction of geometry into Egypt must be attributed to kings before the times of Menes. Not alone do her artificial monuments attest for that country an extreme antiquity; she is herself her own witness; for, though the Nile raises its bed only four feet in a thousand years, all the alluvial portion of Egypt has been deposited from the waters of that river. A natural register thus re-enforces the written records, and both together compose a body of evidence not to be gainsaid. Thus the depth of muddy silt accumulated round the pedestals of monuments is an irreproachable index of their age. In the eminent position he occupied, Eusebius might
148 ASTRONOMY OF ERATOSTHENE.
succeed in perverting the received book-chronology, but he had no power to make the endless trade-wind that sweeps over the tropical Pacific blow a day more or a day less; none to change the weight of water precipitated from it by the African mountains; none to arrest the annual mass of mud brought down by the river.- It is by collating such different orders of evidence together-the natural and the monumental, the latter gaining strength every year from the cultivation of hieroglyphic studies-that we begin to discern the true Egyptian chronology, and to put confidence in the fragments that remain of. Eratosthenes and Manetho. At the time of which we are speaking-the time of Eratosthenes- general ideas had been attained to respecting the doctrine of the sphere, its poles, axis, the equator, arctic and antarctic circles, equinoctial points, solstices, colures, horizon, etc. No one competent to form an opinion any longer entertained a doubt respecting the globular form of the earth. The arguments adduced in support of that position being such as are still popularly resorted to-the different positions of the horizon at different places, the changes in elevation of the pole, the phenomena of eclipses, and the gradual disappearance of ships as they sail from us. As to eclipses, once looked upon with superstitious awe, their true causes had not only been assigned, but their periodicities so well ascertained that predictions of their occurrence could be made. The Babylonians had thus long known that after a cycle of 223 lunations the eclipses of the moon return. The mechanism of the phases of that satellite was clearly understood. Indeed, Samos attempted to ascertain the distance of the sun from the distance of the earth on the principle of observing the moon when she is dichotomized, a method quite significant of the knowledge of the time, though in practice unreliable; Aristarchus thus finding that the sun's distance is 18 times that of the moon, whereas it is in reality 400. In like manner, in a general way, pretty clear notions were entertained of the climate distribution of heat upon the earth, exaggerated, however, in this respect, that the torrid zone was believed to be too hot for human life, and the frigid too cold. Observations, as good as could be made by simple instruments, had not only demonstrated in a general manner the progressions, retrogradations, and stations of the planets, but attempts had been made to account for, or rather to represent them, by the aid of epicycles. It was thus in Alexandria, under the Ptolemies, that modern astronomy arose. Of this line of kings, the founder, Ptolemy Soter, was not only a patron of science, but likewise an author. He composed a history of the campaigns of Alexander. Under him the collection of library was commenced, probably soon after the defeat of Antigonus at the battle of Ipsus, B.C. 301. The Museum is due
BIOGRAPHY OF THE PTOLEMIE.
149 to his son Ptolemy Philadelphus, who not only patronized learning in his own dominions, but likewise endeavored to extend the boundaries of human knowledge in other quarters. Thus he sent an expedition under his admiral Timosthenes as far as Madagascar. Of the succeeding Ptolemies, Euergetes and Philopator were both very able men, though the latter was a bad one; he murdered his father, and perpetrated many horrors in Alexandria. Epiphanes, succeeding his father when only five years old, was placed by his guardians under the protection of Rome, thus furnishing to the ambitious republic a pretense for interfering in the affairs of Egypt. The same policy was continued during the reign of his son Philometor, who, upon the whole, was an able and good king. Even Physcon, who succeeded in B.C. 146, and who is described as sensual, corpulent, and cruel-cruel, for he cut off the head, hands, and feet of his son, and sent them to Cleopatra his wife-could not resist the inspirations to which the policy of his ancestors, continued for nearly two centuries, had given birth, but was an effective promoter of literature and the arts, and himself the author of an historical work. A like inclination was displayed by his successors, Lathyrus and Auletes, the name of the latter indicating his proficiency in music. The surnames under which all these Ptolemies pass were nicknames, or titles of derision imposed upon them by their giddy and satirical Alexandrian subjects. The political state of Alexandria was significantly said to be a tyranny tempered by ridicule. The dynasty ended in the person of the celebrated Cleopatra, who, after the battle of Actium, caused herself, as is related in the legends, to be bitten by an asp. She took poison that she might not fall captive to Octavianus, and be led in his triumph through the streets of Rome. If we possessed a complete and unbiased history of these Greek kings, it would doubtless uphold their title to be regarded as the most illustrious of all ancient sovereigns. Even after their political power had passed into the hands of the Romans-a nation who had no regard to truth and to right-and philosophy, in its old age, had become extinguished or eclipsed by the faith of the later Caesars, enforced by an unscrupulous use of their power, so strong was the vitality of the intellectual germ they had fostered, that, though compelled to lie dormant for centuries, it shot up vigorously on the first occasion that favoring circumstances occurred. This Egyptian dynasty extended its protection and patronage to literature as well as to science. Thus Philadelphus did not consider it beneath him to count among his personal friends the poet Callimachus, who had written a treatise on birds, and honorably maintained himself by keeping a school in Alexandria. The court of that sovereign was, moreover, adorned by a constellation of seven poets, to which the gay Alexandrians gave the nickname of the Pleia-
150 THE WRITINGS OF APOLLONIUS AND HIPPARCHU.
des. They are said to have been Lycophron, Theocritus, Callimachus, Aratus, Apollonius Rhodius, Nicander, and Homer the son of Macro. Among them may be distinguished Lycophron, whose work, entitled Cassandra, still remains; and Theocritus, whose exquisite bucolics prove how sweet a poet he was. To return to the scientific movement. The school of Euclid was worthily represented in the time of Euergetes by Apollonius Pergaeus, The writings of forty years subsequently to Archimedes. He excelled both in Apollonius. the mathematical and physical department. His chief work was a treatise on Conic Sections. It is said that he was the first to introduce the words ellipse and hyperbola. So late as the eleventh century his complete works were extant in Arabic. Modern geometers describe him as handling his subjects with less power than his great predecessor Archimedes, but nevertheless displaying extreme precision and beauty in his methods. His fifth book, on Maxima.-and Minima, is to be regarded as one of the highest efforts of Greek geometry. As an example of his physical inquiries may be mentioned his invention of a clock. Fifty years after Apollonius, B.C. 160-125, we meet with the great astronomer Hipparchus. He does not appear to have made observations himself in Alexandria, but he uses those of Aristyllus and Timochares of that place. Indeed, his great discovery of the precession of the equinoxes was essentially founded on the discussion of the Alexandrian observations on Spica Virginis made by Timochares. In pure mathematics he gave methods for solving all triangles, plane and spherical; he also constructed a table of chords. In astronomy, besides his capital discovery of the precession of the equinoxes just mentioned, he also determined the first inequality of the moon, the equation of the centre, and all but anticipated Ptolemy in the discovery of the evection. To him also must be attributed the establishment of the theory of epicycles and eccentrics, a geometrical conception for the purpose of resolving the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies, on the principle of circular movement. In the case of the sun and moon, Hipparchus succeeded in the application of that theory, and indicated that it might be adapted to the planets. Though never intended as a representation of the actual motions of the heavenly bodies, it maintained its ground until the era of Kepler and Newton, when the heliocentric doctrine, and that of elliptic motions, were incontestably established. Even Newton himself, in the 35th proposition of the third book of the Principia, availed himself of its aid. Hipparchus also undertook to make a register of the stars by the method of alineationsthat is, by indicating those which were in the same apparent straight line. The number of stars catalogued by him was 1080. If he thus depicted the aspect of the sky for his times, he also endeavored to do
THE ALMAGEST OF PTOLEMY. 151
the same for the surface of the earth by marking the position of towns and other places by lines of latitude and longitude. Subsequently to Hipparchus, we find the astronomers Geminus and Cleomedes; their fame, however, is totally eclipsed by that of Ptolemy, A.D. 138, the author of the great work "The Syntaxis," or the mathematical construction of the heavens-a work fully deserving the epithet which has been bestowed upon it, " a noble exposition of the mathematical theory of epicycles and eccentrics." It was translated by the Arabians after the Mohammedan conquest of Egypt; and, under the title of Almagest, was received by them as the highest authority on the mechanism and phenomena of the universe. It maintained its ground in Europe in the same eminent position for nearly fifteen hundred years, justifying the encomium of Synesius on the institution which gave it birth, " the divine school of Alexandria." The Almagest commences with the doctrine that the earth is globular and fixed in space; it describes the construction of a table of chords and instruments for observing the solstices, and deduces the obliquity of the ecliptic. It finds terrestrial latitudes by the gnomon; describes climates; shows how ordinary may be converted into sidereal time; gives reasons for preferring the tropical to the sidereal year; furnishes the solar theory on the principle of the sun's orbit being a simple eccentric; explains the equation of time; advances to the discussion of the motions of the moon; treats of the first inequality, of her eclipses, and the motion of the node. It then gives Ptolemy's own great discovery-that which makes his name immortal-the discovery of the moon's evection or second inequality, reducing it to the epicyclic theory. It attempts the determination of the distances of the sun and moon from the earth, with, however, only partial success, since it makes the sun's distance but one twentieth of the real amount. It considers the precession of the equinoxes, the discovery of Hipparchus, the full period for which is twenty-five thousand years. It gives a catalogue of 1022 stars; treats of the nature of the Milky Way; and discusses, in the most masterly manner, the motions of the planets. This point constitutes Ptolemy's second claim to scientific fame. His determination of the planetary orbits was accomplished by comparing his own observations with those of former astronomers, as those of Timochares on Venus. To Ptolemy we are also indebted for a work on Geography, used in European schools so late as the fifteenth century. The known world to him was from the Canary Islands eastward to China, and from the equator northward to Caledonia. His maps, however, are very erroneous; for, in the attempt to make them correspond to the spherical figure of the earth, the longitudes are too much to the east; the Mediterranean Sea is twenty degrees too long. Ptolemy's determ-
152 LATER ALEXANDRIAN GEOMETER.
inations are, therefore, inferior in accuracy to those of his illustrious predecessor Eratosthenes, who made the distance from the sacred promontory in Spain to the eastern mouth of the Ganges to be seventy thousand stadia. Ptolemy also wrote on Optics, the Planisphere, and Astrology. It is not often given to an author to endure for so many ages; perhaps, indeed, few deserve it. The mechanism of the heavens, from his point of view, has, however, been greatly misunderstood. Neither he nor Hipparchus ever intended that theory as any thing more than a geometrical fiction. It is not to be regarded as a representation of the actual celestial motions. And, as might be expected, for such is the destiny of all unreal abstractions, the theory kept advancing in complexity as facts accumulated, and was on the point of becoming altogether unmanageable, when it was supplanted by the theory of universal gravitation, which has ever exhibited that inalienable attribute of a true theory-affording an explanation of every new fact as soon as it was discovered, without requiring to be burdened with new provisions, and prophetically foretelling phenomena which had not as yet been observed. From the time of the Ptolemies the scientific spirit of the Alexandrian school declined; for though such mathematicians as Theodosius, whose work on Spherical Geometry was greatly valued by the Arab and Pappus, whose mathematical collections, in eight books, still for the most part remain; and Theon, doubly celebrated for his geometrical attainments, and as being the father of the unfortunate Hypatia, A.D. 415, lived in the next three centuries, they are not men like their great predecessors. That mental strength which gives birth to original discovery had passed away. The commentator had succeeded to the philosopher. No new development illustrated the physical sciences; they were destined long to remain stationary. Mechanics could boast of no trophy like the proposition of Archimedes on the equilibrium of the lever; no new and exact ideas like those of the same great man on statical and hydrostatical pressure; no novel and clear views like those developed in his treatise on floating bodies; no mechanical invention like the first of all steam-engines- that of Hero. Natural Philosophy had come to a stop. Its great, and hitherto successfully cultivated department, Astronomy, exhibited no farther advance. Men were content with what had been done, and continued to amuse themselves with reconciling the celestial phenomena to a combination of equable circular motions. To what are we to attribute this pause? Something had occurred to enervate the spirit of science. A gloom had settled on the Museum. There is no difficulty in giving an explanation of this unfortunate condition. Greek intellectual life had passed the period of its maturity, and was entering on old age. Moreover, the talent which might have
GREEK INTELLECTUAL DECREPITUDE. 153.
been devoted to the service of science was in part allured to another pursuit, and in part repressed. Alexandria had sapped Athens, and in her turn Alexandria was sapped by Rome. From metropolitan pre-eminence she had sunk to be a mere provincial town. The great prizes of life were not so likely to be met with in such a declining city as in Italy or, subsequently, in Constantinople. Whatever affected these chief centres of Roman activity necessarily influenced her; but, such is the fate of the conquered, she must await their decisions. In the very institutions by which she had once been glorified, success could only be attained by a conformity to the manner of thinking fashionable in the imperial metropolis, and the best that could be done was to seek distinction in the path so marked out. Yet even with all this restraint Alexandria asserted her intellectual power, leaving an indelible impress on the new theology of her conquerors. During three centuries the intellectual atmosphere of the Roman empire had been changing. Men were unable to resist the steadily increasing pressure. Tranquillity could only be secured by passiveness. Things had come to such a state that the thinking of men was to be done for them by others, or, if they thought at all, it must be in accordance with a prescribed formula or rule. Greek intellect was passing into decrepitude, and the moral condition of the European world was in antagonism to scientific progress. CHAPTER VII. THE GREEK AGE OF INTELLECTUAL DECREPITUDE. THE DEATH OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY.
Decline of Greek Philosophy: it becomes Retrospective, and in Philo the Jew and Apollonius of Tyana leans on Inspiration, Mysticism, Miracles. NEO-PLATONISM founded by Ammonius Saccas, followed by Plotinus, Porphyry, lamblicus, Proclus.-The Alexandrian Trinity.-Ecstasy.-Alliance with Magic, Necromancy. The Emperor Justinian closes the philosophical Schools. Summary of Greek Philosophy.-Its four Problems: 1. Origin of the World; 2. Nature of the Soul; 3. Existence of God; 4. Criterion of Truth.-Solution of these Problems in the Age of Inquiry-in that of Faith-in that of Reason-in that of Decrepitude. Determination of the Law of Variation of Greek Opinion.-The Development of National Intellect is the same as that of Individual. Determination of the final Conclusions of Greek Philosophy as to God, the World, the Soul, the Criterion of Truth.-llustrations and Criticisms on each of these Points. IN this chapter it is a melancholy picture that I have to present-the old age and death of Greek philosophy. The strong man of Aristotelism and Stoicism is sinking into the superannuated dotard; he is settling
154 CESSATION OF INVESTIGATION AND DISCOVERY.
"Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange, eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion- Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing." He is full of admiration for the past and of contemptuous disgust at the present; his thoughts are wandering to the things that occupied him in his youth, and even in his infancy. Like those who are ready to die, he delivers himself up to religious preparation, without any farther concern whether the things on which he is depending are intrinsically true or false. In this, the closing scene, no more do we find the vivid faith of Plato, the mature intellect of Aristotle, the manly self-control of Zeno. Greek philosophy is ending in garrulity and mysticism. It is leaning for help on the conjurer, juggler, and high-priest of Nature. There are also new-comers obtruding themselves on the stage. The Roman soldier is about to take the place of the Greek thinker, and assert his claim to the effects of the intestate-to keep what suits him, and to destroy what he pleases. The Romans, advancing toward their age of Faith, are about to force their ideas on the European world. Under the shadow of the Pyramids Greek philosophy was born; after many wanderings for a thousand years round the shores of the Mediterranean, it came back to its native place, and under the shadow of the Pyramids it died. From the period of the New Academy the decline of Greek philosophy was uninterrupted. Inventive genius no longer existed; its place was occupied by the commentator. Instead of troubling themselves with inquiries after absolute truth, philosophers sought support in the opinions of the ancient times, and the real or imputed views of Pythagoras, Plato, or Aristotle were received as a criterion. In this, the old age of philosophy, men began to act as though there had never been such things as original investigation and discovery among the human race, and that whatever truth there was in the world was not the product of thought, but the remains of an ancient and now all but forgotten revelation from heaven-forgotten through the guilt and fall of man. There is something very melancholy in this total cessation of inquiry. The mental impetus, which one would have expected to continue for a season by reason of the momentum that had been gathered in so many ages, seems to have been all at once abruptly lost. So complete a pause is surprising: the arrow still flies on after it has parted from the bow; the potter's wheel runs round though all the
PHILO THE JEW.-APOLLONIUS OF TYANA. 155 vessels are finished. In producing this sudden stop
Page, the policy of the early Caesesars greatly assisted. The principle of liberty of thought, which the very existence of the divers philosophical schools necessarily implied, was too liable to make itself manifest in aspirations for political liberty. While through the emperors the schools of Greece, of Alexandria, and Rome were depressed from that supremacy to which they might have aspired, and those of the provinces, as Marseilles and Rhodes, were relatively exalted, the former, in a silent and private way, were commencing those rivalries, the forerunners of the great theological struggles between them in after ages for political power. Christianity in its dawn was attended by a general belief that in the East there had been preserved a purer recollection of the ancient revelation, and that hence from that quarter the light would presently shine forth. Under the favoring influence of such an expectation, Orientalism, to which, as we have seen, Grecian thought had spontaneously arrived, was greatly re-enforced. In this final period of Greek philosophy, the first to' whom we must turn is Philo the Jew, who lived in the time of the Emperor Caligula. In harmony with the ideas of his nation, he derives all philosophy and useful knowledge from the Mosaic record, not hesitating to wrest Scripture to his use by various allegorical interpretations, asserting that man has fallen from his primitive wisdom and purity; that physical inquiry is of very little avail, but that an innocent life and a burning faith are what we must trust to. He persuaded himself that a certain inspiration fell upon him while he was in the act of writing, somewhat like that of the penmen of the Holy Scriptures. His readers may, however, be disposed to believe that herein he was self-deceived, judging both from the character of his composition and the nature of his doctrine. As respects the former, he writes feebly, is vacillating in his views, and, when watched in his treatment of a difficult point, is seen to be wavering and unsteady. As respects the latter, among other extraordinary things, he teaches that the world is the chief angel or first son of God; he combines all the powers of God into one force, the Logos or holy Word, the highest powers being creative wisdom and governing mercy. From this are emitted all the mundane forces; and, since God cannot do evil, the existence of evil in the world must be imputed to these emanating forces. It is very clear, therefore, that though Philo declined Oriental pantheism, he laid his foundation on the Oriental theory of Emanation. As aiding very greatly in the popular introduction of Orientalism, Apollonius of Tyana must be mentioned. Under the auspices of the Empress Julia Domna, in a biographical composition, Philostratus had the audacity to institute a parallel between this man and our Savior. He was a miracle-worker, given to soothsaying and
prophesying, led the life of an ascetic, his raiment and food being of the poorest. He attempted a reformation of religious rites and morals; denied the efficacy of sacrifice, substituting for it a simple worship and a pure prayer, scarce even needing words. He condemned the poets for propagating immoral fables of the gods, since they had thereby brought impurity into religion. He maintained the doctrine of transmigration. Plutarch, whose time reaches to the Emperor Hadrian, has exercised an influence, through certain peculiarities of his style, which has extended even to us. As a philosopher he is to be classed among the Platonists, yet with a predominance of the prevailing Orentalism. His mental peculiarities seem to have unfitted him for an acceptance of the national faith, and his works commend themselves rather by the pleasant manner in which he deals with the topic on which he treats than by a deep philosophy. In some respects an analogy may be discerned between his views and those of Philo, the Isis of the one corresponding to the Word of the other. This disposition to Orientalism occurs still more strongly in succeeding writers; or example, Lucius Apuleius the Numidian, and Numenius: the latter embracing the opinion that had now become almost universal-that all Greek philosophy was originally brought from the East. In his doctrine a trinity is assumed, the first person of which is reason; the second the principle of becoming, which is a dual existence, and so gives rise to a third person, these three persons constituting, however, only one God. Having indicated the occurrence of this idea, it is not necessary for us to inquire more particularly into its details. As philosophical conceptions, none of the trinities of the Greeks will bear comparison with those of ancient Egypt, Amun, Maut, and Khonso, Osiris, Isis, and Horus; nor with those of India,Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, the creator, preserver, and destroyer, or, the Past, the Present, and the Future of the Buddhists. The doctrines of Numenius led directly to those of Neo-Platonism, of which, however, the origin is originally imputed to Ammonius Saccas of Alexandria, toward the close of the second century after Christ. The views of this philosopher do not appear to have been committed to writing. They are known to us through his disciples Longinus and Plotinus chiefly. Neo-Platonism, assuming the aspect of a philosophical religion, is distinguished for the conflict it maintained with the rising power of Christianity. Alexandria was the scene of this contest. The school which there arose lasted for about 300 years. Its history is not only interesting to us from its antagonism to that new power which soon was to conquer the Western world, but also because it was the expiring effort of Grecian philosophy. Plotinus, an Egyptian, was born about A.D. 204. He studied at
THE WRITINGS OF PLOTINUS. 157 Alexandria, and is said to have spent eleven years under Ammonius Saccas. He accompanied the expedition of the Emperor Gordian to Persia and India, and, escaping from its disasters, opened a philosophical school in Rome. In that city he was held in the highest esteem by the Emperor Gallienus; and the Empress Salonina intended to build a city, in which Plotinus might inaugurate the celebrated Republic of Plato. The plan was not, however, carried out. With the best intention for promoting the happiness of man, Plotinus is to be charged with no little obscurity and mysticism. Eunapius says truly that the heavenly elevation of his mind and his perplexed style make him very tiresome and unpleasant. His repulsiveness is, perhaps, in a measure due to his want of skill in the art of composition, for he did not learn to write till he was fifty years old. He professed a contempt for the advantages of life and for its pursuits. He disparaged patriotism. An ascetic in his habits, eating no flesh and but little bread, he held his body in utter contempt, saying that it was only a phantom and a clog to the soul. He refused to remember his birthday. As has frequently been the case with those who have submitted to prolonged fasting and meditation, he believed that he had been privileged to see God with his bodily eye, and on six different occasions had been reunited to him. In such a mental condition, it may well be supposed that his writings are mysterious, unconsequential, and diffuse. An air of Platonism, mingled with many Oriental ideas and ancient Egyptian recollections, pervades his works. Like many of his predecessors, Plotinus recognized a difference between the mental necessities of the educated and the vulgar, justifying mythology on the ground that it was very useful to those who were not yet emancipated from the sensible. Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, referring to mythology and the gods in human form, had remarked, " Much has been mythically added for the persuasion of the multitude, and also on account of the laws and for other useful ends." But Plotinus also held that the gods are not to be moved by prayer, and that both they and the daemons occasionally manifest themselves visibly; that incantations may be lawfully practiced, and are not repugnant to philosophy. In the body he discerns a penitential mechanism for the soul. He believes that the external world is a mere phantom-a dream-and the indications of the senses altogether deceptive. That union with the divinity of which he speaks he describes as an intoxication of the soul which, forgetting all external things, becomes lost in the contemplation of "the One." The doctrinal philosophy of Plotinus presents a trinity in accordance with the Platonic idea. (1.) The One, or Prime essence. (2.) The Reason. (3.) The Soul. Of the first he declares that it is impossible to speak fully, and in what he says on the point there are many apparent contradictions, as when he denies
158 THE WRITINGS OF PLOTINU.
oneness to the one. His ideas of the trinity are essentially based on the theory of emanation. He describes how the second principle issues by emanation out of the first, and the third out of the second. The mechanism of this process may be illustrated by recalling how from the body of the sun issues forth light, and from light emerges heat. In the procession of the third from the second principle it is really Thought arising from Reason; but thought is the Soul. The mundane soul he considers as united to nothing; but on these details he falls into much mysticism, and it is often difficult to see clearly his precise meaning, as when he says that Reason is surrounded by Eternity, but the Soul is surrounded by Time. He carries Idealism to its last extreme, and, as has been said, looks upon the visible world as a semblance only, deducing from his doctrine moral reflections to be a comfort in the trials of life. Thus he says that "sensuous life is a mere stage-play; all the misery in it is only imaginary, all grief a mere cheat of the players." "The soul is not in the game; it looks on, while nothing more than the external phantom weeps and laments." "Passive affections and misery light only on the outward shadow of man." The great end of existence is to draw the soul from external things and fasten it in contemplation on God. Such considerations teach us a contempt for virtue as well as for vice: " Once united with God, man leaves the virtues, as on entering the sanctuary he leaves the images of the gods in the ante-temple behind." Hence we should struggle to free ourselves from every thing low and mean; to cultivate truth, and devote life to intimate communion with God, divesting ourselves of all personality, and passing into the condition of ecstasy, in which the soul is loosened from its material prison, separated from individual consciousness, and absorbed in the infinite intelligence from which it emanated. "In ecstasy it contemplates real existence; it identifies itself with that which it contemplates." Our reminiscence passes into intuition. In all these views of Plotinus the tincture of Orientalism predominates; the principles and practices are altogether Indian. The supreme being of the system is the "unus qui est omnia;" the intention of the theory of emanation is to find a philosophical connection between him and the soul of man; the process for passing into ecstasy by sitting long in an invariable posture, by looking steadfastly at the tip of the nose, or by observing for a long time an unusual or definite manner of breathing, had been familiar to the Eastern devotees, as they are now to the impostors of our own times; the result is not celestial, but physiological. The pious Hindus were, however, assured that, as water will not wet the lotus, so, though sin may touch, it can never defile the soul after a full intuition in God. The opinions of Plotinus were strengthened and diffused by his celebrated pupil Porphyry, who was born at Tyre A.D. 233. After the
PORPHYRY, IAMBLICUS, PROCLUS. 159 death of Plotinus he established a school in Rome, attaining great celebrity in astronomy, music, geography, and other sciences. His treatise against Christianity was answered by Eusebius, St. Jerome, and others; the Emperor Theodosius the Great, however, silenced more effectually by causing all the copies to be burned. Porphyry asserts his own unworthiness when compared with his master, saying that he had been united to God but once in eighty-six years, whereas Plotinus had been so united six times in sixty years. In him is to be seen all the mysticism, and, it may be added, all the piety of Plotinus. He speaks of demons shapeless, and therefore invisible; requiring food, but not immortal; some of which rule the air, and may be propitiated or restrained by magic: he admits also the use of necromancy. It is scarcely possible to determine how much this inclination of the Neo-Platonists to the unlawful art is to be regarded as a concession to the popular sentiment of the times, for elsewhere Porphyry does not hesitate to condemn soothsaying and divination, and to dwell upon the folly of invoking the gods in making bargains, marriages, and such like trifles. He strenuously enjoins a holy life in view of the fact that man has fallen both from his ancient purity and knowledge. He recommends a worship in silence and pure thought, the public worship being of very secondary importance. He also insists on an abstinence from animal food. The cultivation of magic and the necromantic art was fully carried out in Iamblicus, a Coelo-Syrian, who died in the reign of Constantine the Great. It is scarcely necessary to relate the miracles and prodigies he performed, though they received full credence in those superstitious times; how, by the intensity of his prayers, he raised himself unsupported nine feet above the ground; how he could make rays of a blinding effulgence play round his head; how, before the bodily eyes of his pupils, he evoked two visible demonish imps. Nor is it necessary to decide on the opinions of Edesius, Chrysanthus, or Maximus; the atmosphere of their age was full of wonders and miracles. For a moment, however, we may turn to Proclus, who was born in Constantinople A.D. 412. When Vitalian laid siege to-Constantinople, Proclus is said to have burned his ships with a polished brass mirror. It is scarcely possible for us to determine how much truth there is in this, since similar authority affirms that he could produce rain and earthquakes. His theurgic propensities are therefore quite distinct. Yet, notwithstanding these superhuman powers, together with special favors displayed to him by Apollo, Athene, and other divinities, he found it expedient to cultivate his rites in secret, in terror of persecution by the Christians, whose attention he had drawn upon him by writing a work in opposition to them. Eventually they
160 JUSTINIAN CLOSES THE GREEK SCHOOL.
succeeded in expelling him from Athens, thereby teaching him a new intrepretation of the moral maxim he had adopted, "Live concealed." It was the aim of Proclus to construct a complete theology, which should include the theory of emanation, and be duly embellished with mysticism. The Orphic poems and Chaldaean oracles were the basis upon which he commenced; his character may be understood from the dignity he assumed as " high priest of the universe." He recommended to his disciples the study of Aristotle for the sake of cultivating the reason, but enjoined that of Plato, whose works he found to be full of sublime allegories suited to his purpose. He asserted that to know one's own mind is to know the whole universe, and that that knowledge is imparted to us by revelations and illuminations of the gods. He speculates on the manner in which absorption is to take place; whether the last form can pass at once into the primitive, or whether it is needful for it to resume, in a returning succession, the intervening states of its career. From such elevated ideas, considering the mystical manner in which they were treated, there was no other prospect for philosophy than to end as Neo-Platonism did under Damasius. The final days were approaching. The Emperor Justinian prohibited the teaching of philosophy, and closed its schools in Athens A.D. 529. Its last representatives, Damasius, Simplicius, and Isidorus, went as exiles to Persia, expecting to find a retreat under the protection of the great king, who boasted that he was a philosopher and a Platonist. Disappointed, they were fain to return to their native land; and it must be recorded to the honor of Chosroes that, in his treaty of peace with the Romans, he stipulated safety and toleration for these exiles, vainly hoping that they might cultivate their philosophy and practice their rites without molestation. So ends Greek philosophy. She is abandoned, and preparation made for crowning Faith in her stead. The inquiries of the Ionians, the reasoning of the Eleatics, the labors of Plato, of Aristotle, have sunk into mysticism and the art of the conjurer. As with the individual man, so with philosophy in its old age, when all else had failed it threw itself upon devotion, seeking consolation in the exercises of piety-a frame of mind in which it was ready to die. The whole period from the New Academy shows that the grand attempt, every year becoming more and more urgent, was to find a system which should be in harmony with that feeling of religious devotion into which the Roman empire had fallen-a feeling continually gathering force. An air of piety, though of a most delusive kind, had settled upon the whole pagan world. From the long history of Greek philosophy presented in the foregoing pages, we turn, 1st, to an investigation of the manner of progress of the Greek mind; and, 2d, to the results to which it attained.
SUMMARY OF THE GREEK AGE OF INQUIRY. 161
The period occupied by the events we have been considering extends over almost twelve centuries. It commences with Thales, B.C. 636, and ends A.D. 529. 1st. Greek philosophy commenced on the foundation of physical suggestions. Its first object was the determination of the origin and manner of production of the world. The basis upon which it rested was in its nature unsubstantial, for it included intrinsic errors due to imperfect and erroneous observations. It diminished the world and magnified man, accepting the apparent aspect of Nature as true, and regarding the earth as a flat surface, on which the sky was sustained like a dome. It limited the boundaries of the terrestrial plane to an insignificant extent, and asserted that it was the special and exclusive property of man. The stars and other heavenly bodies it looked upon as mere meteors or manifestations of fire. With a superficial simplicity, it received the notions of absolute directions in space, up and down, above and below. In a like spirit it adopted, from the most general observation, the doctrine of four elements, those forms of substance naturally presented to us in a predominating quantity-earth, water, air, fire. From these slender beginnings it made its first attempt at a cosmogony, or theory of the mode of creation, by giving to one of these elements a predominance or superiority over the other three, and making them issue from it. With one teacher the primordial element was water; with another, air; with another, fire. Whether a genesis had thus taken place, or whether all four elements were co-ordinate and equal, the production of the world was of easy explanation; for, by calling in the aid of-ordinary observation, which assures us that mud will sink to the bottom of water, that water will fall through air, that it is the apparent nature of fire to ascend, and, combining these illusory facts with the erroneous notion of up and down in space, the arrangement of the visible world became clear-the earth down below, the water floating upon it, the air above, and, still higher, the region of fire. Thus it appears that the first inquiry made by European philosophy was, Whence and in what manner came the world? The principles involved in the solution of this problem evidently led to a very important inference, at this early period betraying what was before long to become a serious point of dispute. It is natural to man to see in things around him visible tokens of divinity, continual providential dispensations. But in this, its very first act, Greek philosophy had evidently excluded God from his own world. This settling of the heavy, this ascending of the light, was altogether a pure physical affair; the limitless sea, the blue air, and the unnumbered shining stars, were set in their appropriate places, not at the pleasure or by the hand of God, but by innate properties of their
162 GREEK PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM.
own. Popular superstition was in some degree appeased by the localization of deities in the likeness of men in a starry Olympus above the sky, a region furnishing unsubstantial glories and a tranquil abode. And yet it is not possible to exclude altogether the spiritual from this world. The soul, ever active and ever thinking, asserts its kindred with the divine. What is that soul? Such was the second question propounded by Greek philosophy. A like course of superficial observation was resorted to in the solution of this inquiry. To breathe is to live; then the breath is the life. If we cease to breathe we die. Man only becomes a living soul when the breath of life enters his nostrils; he is a senseless and impassive form when the last breath is expired. In this life-giving principle, the air, must therefore exist all those noble qualities possessed by the soul. It must be the source from which all intellect arises, the store to which all intellect again returns. The philosophical school whose fundamental principle was that the air is the primordial element thus brought back the Deity into the world, though under a material form. Yet still it was in antagonism to the national polytheism, unless from that one god, the air, the many gods of Olympus arose. But who is that one God? This is the third question put forth by Greek philosophy. Its answer betrays that in this, its beginning, it is tending to Pantheism. In all these investigations the starting-point had been material conceptions, depending on the impressions or information of the senses. Whatever the conclusion arrived at, its correctness turned on the correctness of that information. When we put a little wine into a measure of water, the eye may no longer see it, but the wine is there. When a rain-drop falls on the leaves of a distant forest, we can not hear it, but the murmur of many drops composing a shower is audible enough. But what is that murmur except the sum of the sounds of all the individual drops? And so it is plain our senses are prone to deceive us. Hence arises the fourth great question of Greek philosophy: Have we any criterion of truth? The moment a suspicion that we have not crosses the mind of man, he realizes what may be truly termed intellectual despair. Is this world an illusion, a phantasm of the imagination? If things material and tangible, and therefore the most solid props of knowledge, are thus abruptly destroyed, in what direction shall we turn? Within a single century Greek philosophy had come to this pass, and it was not without reason that intelligent men looked on Pythagoras almost as a divinity upon earth when he pointed out to them a path of escape; Pythagoras when he bid them reflect on what it was that had thus taught
GREEK AGE OF FAITH. 163.
them the unreliability of sense. For what is it but reason that has been thus warning us, and, in the midst of delusions, has guided us to the truth-reason, which has objects of her own, a world of her own? Though the visible and audible may deceive, we may nevertheless find absolute truth in things altogether separate from material nature, particularly in the relations of numbers and properties of geometrical forms. There is no illusion in this, that two added to two make four; or in this, that any two sides of a triangle taken together are greater than the third. If, then, we are living in a region of deceptions, we may rest assured that it is surrounded by a world of truth. From the material basis speculative philosophy gradually disengaged itself through the labors of the Eleatic school, the controversy as to the primary element receding into insignificance, and being replaced by investigations as to Time, Motion, Space, Thought, Being, God. The general result of these inquiries brought into prominence the suspicion of the unreliability of the senses, the tendency of the whole period being manifested in the hypothesis at last attained, that atoms and space alone exist; and, since the former are mere centres of force, matter is necessarily a phantasm. When, therefore, the Athenians themselves commenced a cultivation of philosophy, it was with full participation in the doubt and uncertainty thus overspreading the whole subject. As Sophists, their action closed this speculative period, for, by a comparison of all the partial sciences thus far known, they arrived at the conclusion that there is no conscience, no good or evil, no philosophy, no religion, no law, no criterion of truth. But man can not live without some guiding rule. If his speculations in Nature will yield him nothing on which he may rely, he will seek some other aid. If there is no criterion of truth for him in philosophy, he will lean on implicit, unquestioning faith. If he can not prove by physical arguments the existence of God, he will, with Socrates, accept that great fact as self-evident and needing no demonstration. He will, in like manner, take his stand upon the undeniable advantages of virtue and good morals, defending the doctrine that pleasure should be the object of life-pleasure of that pure kind which flows from a cultivation of ennobling pursuits, or instinctive, as exhibited in the life of brutes. But when he has thus cast aside demonstration as needless for his purposes, and put his reliance in this manner on faith, he has lost the restraining, the guiding principle that can set bounds to his conduct. If he considers, with Socrates, who opens the third age of Greek development-its age of faith-the existence of God as not needing any proof, he may, in like manner, add thereto the existence of matter and ideas. To faith there will be no difficulty in such doctrines as those of Reminiscence, the double immortality of the soul, the actual existence of universals; and, if such
164 GREEK AGE OF REASON. faith, unrestrained and unrestricted, is directed to the regulation of personal life, there is nothing to prevent a falling into excess and base egotism. For ethics, in such an application, ends either in the attempt at the procurement of extreme personal sanctity or the obtaining of individual pleasure-the foundation of patriotism is sapped, the sentiment of friendship is destroyed. So it was with the period of Grecian faith inaugurated by Socrates, developed by Plato, and closed by the Skeptics. Antisthenes and Diogenes of Sinope, in their outrages on society and self-mortifications, show to what end a period of faith, unrestrained by reason, will come; and Epicurus demonstrated its tendency when guided by self. Thus closes the third period of Greek philosophical development. In introducing us to a fourth, Aristotle insists that, though we must rely on reason, Reason itself must submit to be guided by Experience; and Zeno, taking up the same thought, teaches us that we must appeal to the decisions of common sense. He disposes of all doubt respecting the criterion of truth by proclaiming that the distinctness of our sensuous impressions is a sufficient guide. In all this, the essential condition involved is altogether different from that of the speculative ages, and also of the age of faith. Yet, though under the ostensible guidance of reason, the human mind ever seeks to burst through such self-imposed restraints, attempting to ascertain things for which it possesses no suitable data. Even in the age of Aristotle, the age of Reason in Greece, philosophy resumed such questions as those of the creation of the world, the emanation of matter from God, the existence and nature of evil, the immortality, or, alas! it might perhaps be more truly said, judging from its conclusions, the death of the soul, and this even after the Skeptics had, with increased force, denied that we have any criterion of truth, and showed to their own satisfaction that man, at the best, can do nothing but doubt; and, in view of his condition here upon earth, since it has not been permitted him to know what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false, his wisest course is to give himself no concern about the matter, but tranquilly sink into a state of complete indifference and quietism. How uniformly do we see that through such variations of opinion individual man approaches his end. For Greek philosophy, what other prospect was there but decrepitude, with its contempt for the present, its attachment to the past, its distrust of man, its reliance on the mysterious-the unknown? And this imbecility how plainly we witness before the scene was finally closed. If now we look back upon this career of the Grecian mind, we find that after the legendary pre-historic period-the age of credulitythere came in succession an age of speculative inquiry, an age of faith, an age of reason, an age of decrepitude-the first, the age of credulity,
LAW OF VARIATION OF GREEK OPINION. 165 was closed by geographical discovery; the second by the criticisms of the Sophists; the third by the doubts of the Skeptics; the fourth, eminently distinguished by the greatness of its results, gradually declined into the fifth, an age of decrepitude, to which the hand of the Roman put an end. In the mental progress of this people we therefore discern the forthshadowing of a course like that of individual life, its epochs answering to Infancy, Childhood, Youth, Manhood, Old Age; and which, on a still grander scale, as we shall hereafter find, has been repeated by all Europe in its intellectual development. In a space of 1150 years, ending about A.D. 529, the Greek mind had completed its philosophical career. The ages into which we have divided that course pass by insensible gradations into each other. They overlap and intermingle, like a gradation of colors, but the characteristics of each are perfectly distinct. 2d. Having thus determined the general law of the variation of opinions, that it is the same in this nation as in an individual, I shall next endeavor to disentangle the final results attained, considering Greek philosophy as a whole. To return to the illustration, to us more than an empty metaphor, though in individual life there is a successive passage through infancy, childhood, youth, and manhood to old age, a passage in which the characteristics of each period in their turn disappear, yet, nevertheless, there are certain results in another sense permanent, giving to the whole progress its proper individuality. A critical eye may discern in the successive stages of Greek philosophical development decisive and enduring results. These it is for which we have been searching in this long and tedious discussion. There are four grand topics in Greek philosophy: 1st, the existence and attributes of God; 2d, the origin and destiny of the world; 3d, the nature of the human soul; 4th, the possibility of a criterion of truth. I shall now present what appear to me to be the results at which the Greek mind arrived on each of these points. (1.) Of the existence and attributes of God. On this point the decision of the Greek mind was the absolute rejection of all anthropomorphic conceptions, even at the risk of encountering the pressure of the national superstition. Of the all-powerful, all-perfect, and eternal there can be but one, for such attributes are absolutely opposed to any thing like a participation, whether of a spiritual or material nature; and hence the conclusion that the universe itself is God, and that all animate and inanimate things belong to his essence. In him they live, and move, and have their being. It is conceivable that God may exist without the world, but it is inconceivable that the world should exist without God. We must not, however, permit ourselves to be deluded by the varied aspect of things; for, though the universe is
166 GREEK PHILOSOPHICAL CONCLUSIONS-GOD-THE WORLD. thus God, we know it not as it really is, but only as it appears. God has no relations to space and time. They are only the fictions of our finite imagination. But this ultimate effort of the Greek mind is Pantheism. It is the same result which the more aged branch of the Indo-European family had long before reached. "There is no God independent of Nature; no other has been revealed by tradition, perceived by the sense, or demonstrated by argument." Yet never will man be satisfied with such a conclusion. It offers him none of that aspect of personality which his yearnings demand. This infinite, and eternal, and universal is no intellect at all. It is passionless, without motive, without design. It does not answer to those lineaments of which he catches a glimpse when he considers the attributes of his own soul. He shudderingly turns from Pantheism, this final result of human philosophy, and, voluntarily retracing his steps, subordinates his reason to his instinctive feelings; declines the impersonal as having nothing in unison with him, and asserts a personal God, the Maker of the universe and the Father of men. (2.) Of the origin and destiny of the world. In an examination of the results at which the Greek mind arrived on this topic, our labor is rendered much lighter by the assistance we receive from the decision of the preceding inquiry. The origin of all things is in God, of whom the world is only a visible manifestation. It is evolved by and from him, perhaps, as the Stoics delighted to say, as the plant is evolved by and from the vital germ in the seed. It is an emanation of him. On this point we may therefore accept as correct the general impression entertained by philosophers, Greek, Alexandrian, and Roman after the Christian era, that, at the bottom, the Greek and Oriental philosophies were alike, not only as respects the questions they proposed for solution, but also in the decisions they arrived at. As we have said, this impression led to the belief that there must have been in the remote past a revelation common to both, though subsequently obscured and vitiated by the infirmities and wickedness of man. This doctrine of emanation, reposing on the assertion that the world existed eternally in God, that it came forth into visibility from him, and will be hereafter absorbed into him, is one of the most striking features of Veda theology. It is developed with singular ability by the Indian philosophers as well as by the Greeks, and is illustrated by their poets. The following extract from the Institutes of Menu will convey the Oriental conclusion: " This universe existed only in the first divine idea, yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness; imperceptible, undefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep. Then the sole selfexisting power, himself undiscerned, but making this world discernible,
ORIENTAL ANALOGIES TO THESE CONCLUSIONS. 167 with five elements and other principles of nature, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or dispelling the gloom. He whom the mind can alone perceive, whose essence eludes the external organs, who has no visible parts, who exists from eternity-even He, the soul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend, shone forth in person. He, having willed to produce various beings from his own divine substance, first with a thought created the waters. The waters are so called (nara) because they were the production of Nara, or the spirit of God; and, since they were his first ayand, or place of motion, he thence is named Narayana, or moving on the waters. From that which is the first cause, not the object of sense existing every where in substance, not existing to our perception, without beginning or end, was produced the divine male. He framed the heaven above, the earth beneath, and in the midst placed the subtle ether, the light regions, and the permanent receptacle of waters. He framed all creatures. He gave being to time and the divisions of time-to the stars also and the planets. For the sake of distinguishing actions, he made a total difference between right and wrong. He whose powers are incomprehensible, having created this universe, was again absorbed in the spirit, changing the time of energy for the time of repose." From such extracts from the sacred writings of the Hindus we might turn to their poets, and find the same conceptions of the emanation, manifestation, and absorption of the world illustrated. "Infinite being is like the clear crystal, which receives into itself all the colors and emits them again, yet its transparency or purity is not thereby injured or impaired." "He is like the diamond, which absorbs the light surrounding it, and glows in the dark from the emanation thereof." In similes of a less noble nature they sought to convey their idea to the illiterate. "Thou hast seen the spider spin his web, thou hast seen its excellent geometrical form, and how well adapted it is to its use; thou hast seen the play of tinted colors making it shine like a rainbow in the rays of the morning sun. From his bosom the little artificer drew forth the wonderful thread, and into his bosom, when it pleases him, he can withdraw it again. So Brahm made, and so will he absorb the world." In common the Greek and Indian asserted that being exists for the sake of thought, and hence they must be one; that the universe is a thought in the mind of God, and is unaffected by the vicissitudes of the worlds of which it is composed. In India this doctrine of emanation had reached such apparent precision that some asserted it was possible to demonstrate that the entire Brahm was not transmuted into mundane phenomena, but only a fourth part; that there occur successive emanations and absorptions, a periodicity in this respect being observed; that, in these considerations, we ought to guard ourselves from any deception arising from the visi-