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IT hath often been disputed, whether it were better to have moderate affections, or none at all. We Stoics are for discarding them entirely: the Peripatetics are satisfied with moderating or governing them. But for my part I cannot conceive how any degree of a disease can be thought healthful or beneficial. Be not afraid, Lucilius, I am not for depriving you
any of those things you are unwilling to be denied. I will grant, nay, indulge you in those which you seek after and think necessary to life, as being both profitable and pleasant. I will detract only the vicious part. For when I forbid you to covet, I permit you to will (a): that you may make the same efforts with better courage and resolution, and better relish such pleasures. Why not? they will sooner attend you when you command, than when you serve them.
But it is natural, you say, to be troubled at the loss of a friend: forgive a while the tears tha. fo justly flow. It is natural to be concerned at the opinion of mankind; and be made forrowful by adversity. Why will you not allow fo just a dread, as is that of men's having a bad opinion of you? There is no vice but what meets with an advocate; and which in the beginning is not softened and palliated by some excuse or other : but on this very account it spreads the more. You will find it difficult to put an end to it, when once you have permitted a beginning. Every affection is but weak and feeble in its first rise: but self-instigated it gathers strength as it proceeds. It is much easier therefore excluded at first than expelled afterwards.
Who can deny but that every affection flows as it were (6) from a certain natural principle ? Nature hath committed us to the care and charge of ourselves. True; but when we are too indulgent herein, we become faulty. Nature hath annexed pleasure even to things necessary; not S [ 2
that we should affect the same for pleasure's fake, but only that this accession might render such things as we cannot possibly live without, more grateful and acceptable to us. But when pleasure challengeth reception in her own right(c), it is then luxury. Therefore let us relift the affections at their first intrusion (d); for, as I before observed, they are much easier rejected at first than when left to themselves to depart. Permit me, you say, to grieve in some measure, and in some measure to fear. But such measure soon becomes unreasonable : nor can you check it when you please. It may be safe indeed for a wise man not to set a guard upon himself: he can restrain both his tears and his joy when he pleases: but because it is not so easy for us to return when we will, it is much better not to set forward.
Panætius (e), I think, gave an elegant and just answer to a young man, who enquired of him, whether it was proper for a wise man to be in love. “ As concerning a wise man, said he, we will consider that “ another time; but as for you and me, who are very far from desery
ing that title, I think it would be better for us, as yet, not to ven“ ture upon an affair so turbulent, so unmanageable, so liable to enslave
us to the will of another, and despicable to itself. If the beloved
object shews us a particular regard, we are immediately more in" Alamed with her tenderness and good-nature; if The despises us, we “ are fired with indignation and pride. The love that is too gracious " is as hurtful as that which is too rigid and severe. We are entangled
by favour; and must have a strong contention with disdain. Con« fcious therefore of our own weakness, let us delist a while, and be
quiet, nor trust our infirm mind to wine, or beauty, or flattery, or any the like attractive charm."
What Panætius here faith with regard to‘love, I think applicable to all other'affections.
Let us avoid, as much as we can, walking on Nippery ground: we stand not oversteady on the more firm and dry.
I know, Lucilius, you will here again retort upon us the common outcry against the Stoics.
You promise us too great things which are unattainable : you coinmand impossibilities. We are at beft but poor and infirm mortals. This felf-denial therefore is too hard a lelon for us (f). We will, we must, grieve a little : we must couet, but it fall be moderately: we must be sometime angry, but we will be appeased again. But do
you know why the things commanded seem impossible? I will tell you. It is because we think them fo: but truly, they are not so in fact. We defend our vices, because we love tl. m. And we had rather find out some excuse for them than shake them off. Nature hath given us sufficient strength, if we would exert ourselves in the use of it (8): if we would collect our forces, and employ thein wholly for ourselves, at least not, as usual, against ourselves. We pretend we cannot, but the truth is, we will not.
(a) The will, -according to the Stoics, is good, and reckoned among their sutades, pleafurable habits.
(6) Quafi naturali principio] Seneca says, quasi, as it were, for if it was truly nataral, it would
(c) Not as acceffary, but principal; not as a servant, but as mistress.
(d) Intrantibus resistamas] Sen. de Ira. i. 7. 8. Optimum itaque quidam putant temperare iram, non tollere. Optimum eft primum irritamentum protinus fpernere, ipsisque repugnare feminibus, et dare operam ne incidamus in iram, nam fi cæperit ferre tranfversos diacilis ad falutem recursus est.-In primis, inquam, finibus hoftis arcendus est, nam cum intravit et portis fe intulit, modum a captivis non accipit. An enemy is to be driven from the gates as soon as possible, for when they are once entered, they will make their own terms with the captives. Vid. Stoba. Serm. i. Agell. xix. 12. Ariftot. Ethic. ii. iii.
(e) A most eminent and respectable professor of Stoicism at Athens, to whose writings Cicero acknowledges himself much indebted, in composing his admirable treatise of Mural Duties. Meim. bal. p. 107. See Ep. 33. N. a.
(f) Hard as it is, this undoubtedly is the Christian’s lesłon. Then said Jesus to his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up bis cross and follow me. Matt. xvi. 24. Mark viii, 34. Luke ix. 23.
(3) Not that we are fufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our / Friency is of God. Il'ho is able to make all grace abound towards you ; that ye always having a fufficiency in all ibings, may abound in every good work. ii. Cor. iii. 5. ix. 8. And the Lord said unto wie, faith the fame Apostle, my grace is fofficient for thee: for my strength is made perfict in weakness. ii. Cor. xii. 9..
A trifling Question ; whether, fince Wisdom is good, it is good to be wise?
You certainly, Lucilius, will create much trouble both to yourself and me; and, while you do not intend it, draw me into strife and debate; by posing me with such questions, as I cannot answer in the negative, without disobliging some of our own sect; nor in the affirmative with a safe conscience.
You desire to know my opinion concerning that decree of the Stoics, that wisdom is a good, but to be wise is not.
I will first explain to you what the Stoics mean by this assertion, and then freely give you my opinion. It is maintained by some of us, that good is a body; because what is good, must act in some fort ; and what acts is a body. Good profiteth, but in order to profit, something must be done, and consequently whatever doth it is somewhat, i. e. a body. Now wisdom they say is good; it necessarily follows therefore that we must also call it bodily, or such thing as hath a body. But to be wise, they range not under the same predicament. It is incorporeal, and merely accidental to something else, i. e. to wisdom; therefore of itself it doth nothing, nor profiteth. Why then, say they, do we not affirm, that it is good to be wife? We do affirm as much, only we refer it to that whereon it depends, i. e. to wisdom itself.
Hear then what is said by some in answer to this ; before I begin to secede (a), and enlist myself in the opposite party. By the fame means, say they, neither to live happily is good; for whether they will or no, they must answer upon their own principles, that an happy life is good, but to live happily, is not, It is further urged by some in this manner. Would you be wise? if so, to be wise is a desirable thing, and nothing can he desirable but what is good. Here then they are obliged to change their terms, and to fling in a syllable which our language will not admit
what is good, say they, is desirable, but what is only contingent to good, is to desirable; which, when we have attained good, is not required merely as good, but as an accession to the good required. I am not of the same opinion, and cannot but think the abettors of it in the wrong; forasmuch as they are tied down to their first point, and it is not lawful in disputations to change the terms.
It is usual to allow a presumptive argument, and to look upon truth, which seems so to all men: as for instance; that there are gods. (6) This we esteem as such; as it is a general opinion, implanted in the minds of all men; nor is there any nation fo abandoned, as not to believe it. When we dispute likewise concerning the immortality of the foul; it is no small argument with us, that all men agree in fearing, or reverencing the infernal deities. Here then I make use of the fame common persuasion; you will find no one who does not think that both wisdom and to be wise are good. I will not however do, as the custom is of those gladiators, who being overcome, in their last extremity appeal to the people. We will begin again to fight with our own weapons.
What is accidental to man is without the man, to whom it is accidental, or within : if within him, it is then a body, as much as that is, to which it is accidental; for nothing can happen to a man without touching him, and what toucheth, is body. If what happens be without, after it hath happened, it retires, and what retires, hath motion; and what hath motion, is body. You perhaps may expect me to say, that the course is not one thing, and the running another ; nor heat one thing, and to be hot another : nor light one thing, and to be illumined another. I grant that these things are not strictly the same; yet neither are they of a different class. If health be a thing indifferent, so is likewise to be well : if beauty be indifferent, so is it to be beautiful. If justice be good, it is also good to be just. If villainy be bad, it is also bad to be villainous; as truly, as if blear eyes are a misfortune, it is also a misfortune to be blear-eyed. This is plain, forasınuch as the one thing cannot be without the other. To be wise,