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is wisdom ; and wisdom is, to be wise. So that it is so far from being doubted, whether as one is, such is the other, that most men think them one and the same thing.
But this I would ask further. Since all things are, good or bad, or indifferent, among which do you rank the being wife? They (the Stoics) deny it to be good: but it cannot be bad; it follows then that it must be indifferent. But we call those things mean or indifferent, which may happen as well to a bad as to a good man ; as money, beauty, nobility. Whereas this, the being wife, cannot happen, or be assigned, but to a good man: therefore it is not indifferent: and it cannot indeed be bad, because it cannot happen, or be assigned, to a bad man: therefore it is good. But it is nothing more, they say, than an accident to wisdom. Is this then which you call being wise, what makes, or is made, wisdom? Be it either active or passive, it is still a body': for that which makes, and that which is made, is a body; and if it be a body it is good'; for this was all that you suppose wanting to it, to prevent its being a good; that it was not a body.
The Peripatetics hold, that there is no difference between wisdom and being wife; because the one is included in the other. For do you think that any one can be wise, but he that bath wisdom? or that any one can have wisdom, without being wise? The antient Logicians first made a distinction between them; and were followed herein by the Stoics. What this is I will now inform you.
A field is one thing, and to have a field, another. For why? to have a field relates to the poffeffor, and not to the field: so wisdom is one thing, and to be wise another. I suppose you
I suppose you will grant these to be two things, the possessor, and the thing possessed. Wisdom is poffessed; he that is wife poffesleth it. Wisdom is, a perfect mind, or what contains the highest rnd chief good, it being the whole art of life. What then is to be wife? We cannot say that it is a perfect mind, but that it is contingent to some one having a perfect mind; so that the one
is itself an upright mind; the other, as it were, the having an upright mind,
There are, it is likewise said, different natures of bodies: as this is a man, and this a horse : and these natures are attended with motions of minds declarative of bodies: and these motions have severally something proper, and distinguishable from the bodies themselves : as, I fee Cato walking. This the sense of seeing discovers to me, and my mind believes it. It is a body that I see, on which both mine eye and are fixed. I say afterwards, Cato walketh. I am not speaking now of body, but of something relative thereto; which some call a diale&tical, some a declarative, and some a dogmatical proposition. So, when I mention wisdom, I understand thereby a body; but when I say, be is wife, I mean fomething relative to body. Now there is a great difference between the one and the other. Let us suppose then, for the present, these are two things; (for as yet I do not declare my own opinion) what hinders that a thing, though it may be different, may yet be good? I before observed, that a field is one thing, and to have a field, another. For the possessor, and the thing possessed, are different in nature: thie is land, that is man. But in the two things we are difputing about, there is no such difference, as they are both of the same nature; he that possesseth wisdom, and the wisdom poffeffed.
Besides, in the former case, what is had, and he that hath it, are different; but in this, what is had, and what hath it, are the same. The field is possessed by right, wisdom by nature that
be alienated, and delivered up to another; but this departs not from its owner. It is not therefore consonant to reason, to compare things that are dispa
I was saying, they might be two things, and yet either of them good ; and you grant that wisdom and a wise man are two things, and either of them good. As then wisdom is good, and also the baving wifdom; nothing hinders but that wisdom is the same, and also to have wisdom, i. e. to be wise. For to this end I would be a wise man, that I
muy be wise. What then? Is not this good, without which neither is that good? You most assuredly say, that wisdom, if not given for VOL. II. Tt
use, is by no means acceptable. What then is the use of wisdom? To be wise: this is what is most precious and estimable herein : take away this, and you will render it a vain, fuperfluous thing. If torment be an evil, to be tormented also must be an evil; insomuch that if that were no evil, neither would the consequence of it be so.
Wisdom is the habit of a perfect mind; to be wise is the use and application of such an habit.
How then can the use of it not be good, when without the use it cannot be good itself? I ask again, is wisdom desirable ? You grant it. And is the use of it deprable ? It is likewise granted; for you say, you would not accept it, if denied the use of it. What is desirable is good; to be wise, is the use of wisdom; as the use of elocution is to speak, and of the eye to see; so, I say, to be wise, is the use of wisdom; but the use of wisdom is desirable, therefore to be wise is desirable; and if desirable, it is good.
I have more than once condemned myself for imitating those I cenfure, and wasting words upon what is felf-evident. Who can doubt but that if extreme heat be an evil, to be extremely hot is the same ; and that if cold be an evil, so is it, to be cold; and if life be good, to live is also good. All these trifling questions about wisdom are certainly not comprehended in wisdom's self.
But it is still our duty to abide with her ; or if we have a mind to make an excursion, she hath a large and copious field for us to rove in. Let us enquire into the nature of the Gods; what feeds the stars, and gives divers motions to the planets ; and whether our bodies are affected according to these their motions; or whether they have an influence on the minds and bodies of all; whether the things we call casual, are linked together in a certain chain of causes ; or that nothing happens in this world instantaneous, or without the direction of Providence. These things however tend but little to the reformation of manners, yet they raise the mind; and lift it up to the greatness of those things it is employed about; whereas the foregoing dispute, and the like, lessen and depress the mind; and are so far from sharpening it, as you suppose, that they rather dull and debase it.
Why, I pray you, do we spend our care and diligence, so necessarily required and due to affairs of greater consequence, on what, for any thing we know, may be false, and certainly is useless ? What will it profit me to know, whether wisdom is one thing, and to be wife another? At all adventures I will stand the chance of this my wish—may wisdom be
your lot, and to be wise, mine; and I doubt not but we shall fare alike. Or rather, shew me the way to attain knowledge in the following particulars:—-tell me what I am to avoid, and what to pursue—by what studies I may strengthen, and fix the, as yet, wavering mindand how I may disengage myself from those vices that turn and drive me from the right way—and how I may relieve those calamities that have broken in upon me, or those that I have unwarily rushed upon myself. Instruct me how I may bear adversity without sighing; or profperity without making others figh.—How not to live in anxiety, concerning the last and necessary end of life, but to fly to it, when proper, as to a sure refuge. Nothing, in my mind, seems more absurd and mean, than to wish for death. For if you would live, why do you wish to die? if you would not live, why do you ask the Gods for what they gave you at your birth ? As it was then decreed that you should one day die, whether you will or no; (to be willing) to die is always in your own power ; the one is imposed upon you by necessity, the other is left to your approbation.
In my reading I have met with a principle, ridiculous enough in these days, though wrote by a man, otherwise very learned and eloquent; Ita, inquit, moriar quamprimum, Let me, fays he, die as foon may be. (e). Fond man! you desire what is your own. Let me die as foon as may be. Perhaps when you say this, you are grown old and foolish; otherwise what should prevent you? No one detains thee. Go off as you please. Chuse some proper instrument of nature for this purpose. Now these are the elements whereby this lower world is maintained, water, earth, air, and these are not more the means of life than they are the ways
of death. Let me die as soon as may be. How foon would you have it be? What day do you assign to this word soon ? it may possibly happen sooner than
mind catching at mercy and a longer life, in this seeming detestation of it. He hath no mind to die, who wisheth for it. Ask of the Gods, if you please, life, and health : but if you had rather die, the fruit or effect of death is to cease from withing.
Let theie things, my Lucilius, employ our meditations, in order to form our minds thereto. This is wisdom; this is to be wife; to meditate on life and death; not to debate on subtle trifles with idle difputations. So many questions of great importance hath Fortune proposed to you, which remain as yet unresolved. At present you only cavil. But how ridiculous is it to stand flourishing your sword, when the trumpet calls you to battle ? Throw aside these sportive weapons, these daggers of lath. There is need of the sword, and to engage in earnest. Tell me by what means no sorrow shall afflict, no fear disturb, the mind-by what means 1 may discharge my breast of this heavy load of secret defires. Something must be done.
What say you? Wisdom is good; to be wife is not good ? Be it so, if you please. Let us deny, that to be wise is good; to the end that we may draw into contempt this whole study, as being a vain and superfluous employ. And what if you should know, that this likewise is made a question ; Whether future wisdom be a good? But what doubt, I pray you, can there be, that the barns feel not the load of a future crop; and that childhood is not sensible of the strength and vigour of youth? Health to come profits not the man who is sick at present, any more than the rest, that is to follow many hard and painful labours, refresheth a man at the time of his running or wrestling. Who knows not that what is to come, is not good upon this very account, because it is yet to come? What is good also profiteth; but nothing profiteth that is not present; and if it profiteth not, neither is it good; and if it profiteth, it profiteth instantly. In all hereafter be wife; this then will be good when it shall come to pass ; in the mean while it is nothing.
A thing must first be, before it acts: for how, I beseech you, can that be good, which is as yet nothing? And how can I better prove to you,