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mind passed. It is not with the truth or fallacy of these details that we have to do, but with their ordersum
Summary of of occurrence. They are points enabling us the preceding to describe graphically the curve of Grecian theories. 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 began 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 trustworthy criterion of truth. In the scepticism 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 inore 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 began to practise persecution and the philosophers by pocrisy. Tantheistic notions of the nature of the world became more distinct, and, as their necessary Approach to consequence, the doctrines of Emanation, Trans- Oriental ideas. migration, and Absorption were entertained. From this it is but a step to the suspicion that matter, motivi, 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 views 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 compare the beginning with the close, we cannot fail to observe
how great is the improvement. The thoughts in the manner dealt with at the later period are intrinsically of intellectual 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.
THE GREEK AGE OF FAITH.
RISE AND DECLINE OF ETHICAL PHILOSOPHY.
GOCRATES rejects Physical and Mathematical Speculations, and asserts
the Importance of Vir ue and Morality, thereby inaugurating an Age of Faith.—His Life and Death.--The schools originating from his
Movement teach the Pursuit of Plessure and Gratification of Self. PLATO founds the Acadlem.- His three primal Principles.-The Ec
istence 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 SCEPTICS, who conduct the higher Analysis of Ethical
l'hilosophy.—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. --Erl of the Greek Age of Fuith.
THE Sophists had brought on an intellectual anarchy. It is not in the nature of humanity to be contented
Greek philowith such a state. Thwarted in its expectations sophy on the from physics, the Greek mind turned its atten- basis of ethics. tion 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 exercised an influence in some respects felt to our times. Having experienced the unprofitable results arising from physical speculation, he set in contrast there with the solid advantages to be enjoyed from the cultivation of virtue and morality. His mode of life was a perpetual combat with the Sophists.
teaching His manner of instruction was by conversation, in which,
Socrates : his
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, 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 The doctrines 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 offence by improper allusions to the prevailing superstition; nay, even 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 for it no scientific evidence.
evertheless, 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, of a conviction 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 leads to vain conclusions, the latter to atheism. In his system everything turns on
Opposes mathe explanation of terms; but his processes of the mathics
and physics. 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 cannot fail to remark how superficial it must Superficiality have been; it perpetually mistakes differences of his views. of words for distinctions of things; it also possessed little novelty. The enforcement of morality cannot be regarded as anything 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 rea-onably 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 tho-e who recorded his life, and happy in the circumstances of his death. It is not given to every great man celebrity of to have Xenophon and !'lato for his biographers it is not given to every one who has overpassed the limit of life, and, in the natural course of events, las but a little longer to continue, to attain the crown of martyrdom in behalf of 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 as respects the true VOL. J.-8.
Causes of the