« НазадПродовжити »
Dem. I care very little for all the silly persons I meet withi ' nd think I am justiaable in diverting myself with Desi toliv.
Hier. if they are weak and foolish, it marks neither wis. lom por humanity, to insult rather than pity them. But is it certain, that thou art not as extravagant as they are ?
Dem. I presume that I am not ; since, in every point, my sentiments are the very reverse of theirs.
Her. There are follies of different kinds. By constantly amusing thyself with the errors and misconduct of others, thou minyst render thyself equally ridiculous and culpable.
Dem. Thou art at liberty to indulge such sentiments; and to weep over me too, if thou hast any tears to spare. For my part, I cannot refrain from pleasing myself with the levities and il conduct of the world about me.
Are not all men foolish, or irregular in their lives?
Iler. Alas! there is but too much reason to believe, they are so: and on this ground, I pity and deplore their condition. We agree in this point, that men do not conduct them. selves according to reasonable and just principles : but I, who do not suffer myself to act as they do, must yet regard the dictates of my understanding and feelings, which compel me to love them; and that love tills me with compassion for their mistakes and irregularities. Canst thou condemn me for pitying my own species, my brethren, persons born in the same condition of life, and destined to the same hopes and privileges ? If thou shouldst enter a hospital, where sick and wounded persons reside, would their wounds and distresses excite thy mirth ? And yet, the evils of the body bear no comparison with those of the mind. Thou wouldst certainly blush at thy barbarity, if thou hadst been so unfeeling as to laugh at or despise a poor miserable being, who had lost one of his legs : and yet thou art so destitute of humanity, as to ridicule those, who appear to be deprived of the noble powers of the understanding, by the little regard which they pay to its dictates.
Dem. He who has lost a leg is to be pitied, because the loss is not to be imputed to himself: but he who rejects the dictates of reason and conscience, voluntarily des rives him. selt' of their aid. The loss originates in his own folly.
Her. Ab! so much the more is he to be pitied ! A furious mamac, who should pluck ont his own eyes, wild deservo more compassion than an ordinary blind man.
Dein. Come, let us accommodate the business. There is something to be said on each side of the question. T ere is every where reason for laughing, and reason for wiping. The world is ridiculous, and I augh at it : it is depl. rahle, and thou lanentest over it. Every person views it in luis own way, and according to his own temper. One point is un. questionable, that mankind are prepostero!is : to think right. and to act well, we must think and act differently from them. To submit to the authority, and follow the example of the greater part of men, would render 118 foolish and miserable.
Her. All this is, indeed, true ; but then, thou hust no red love or feeling for thy species. The calamities of minkind excite thy mirth : and this proves that thou hast no regard lor men, nor any true respect forthe virtues which they have unhappily abandoned. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cuinbray.
SECTION II. DIONYSIUS, PYTHIAS, AND DAMO.X. Genuine virtue commands respect, even from the bau. Dionysius. AMAZING! What do I see? It is Pythias just arrived. It is indeed Pythias. I did not think it possible He is come to die, and to redeem his friend!
Pythinrs. Yes, it is Pythias. I left the place of my contine: * nent, with no other views, than to piy to heaven the vows | had made ; to settle my family concerns according to the rules of justice ; and to bit
! adieu (o my children, that I might die tranquil and satistiert.
Dio. But why dost thou return? Ifastthon no fear of ile:th! Is it not the character of a madur',:an, to scek itthus voluntarily
Py. I return to suffer, tho ngh I have not deserved de:ith. Every principle of honour and goodness, forbids me to al. low my friend to die for me.
Dio. Dost thou, ther., love him better than thyself!
Py. No; I love hiin as myself. But I am persuaded that I ought to suffer de ith, rather than my friendl; since it wils Pythias whom thou hadst decreed to die. It were not just that Dannon should suffer, to deliver me from the death which was designed, not for him, but for me only.
Dio. But thou supposest, that it is as unjuni to intric death upon thee, ils upon thy friend.
Py. Very true ; we are both perfectly innocent ; and it. is equally unjust to make either of us suffer,
Dio. Uhv dost thou then assert, that it were mjustice cu put him to death, instead of ther!
: Py. It is unjust, in the same degree, to inflict death either on Damon or on myself; but Pythias were highly culpable to let Damon suffer that death, which the tyran! had prepared for Pythias only.
Dio. Dost tlou then return hither, on the day appointed, with no other view, than to save the life of a friend, by losing thy own?
Py. I return, in regard to thee, to suffer an act of injus. tice which it is common for tyrants to inflict ; and, with re. spect to Damon, to perform my duty, by rescuing him from the danger he incurred by his generosity to me.
Dio. And now, Damon, let me address myself to thee Didst thou not really fear, that Pythias would never return; and that thou wouldst be put to death on his account?
Da. I was but too well assured, that Pythias would punc tually return ; and that he would be more solicitous to keep his promise, than to preserve his life. Would to heaven, that his relations and friends had forcibly detained him! He would then have lived for the comfort and benefit of good men : and I should have the satisfaction of dying for him !
Dio. What! does life displease thee ?
Da. Yes ; it displeases me when I see and feel the power of a tyrant:
Dio. It is well! Thou shalt see him no more. I will or der thee to be put to death immediately.
Py. Pardon the feelings of a man who sympathizes with his dying friend. But remember it was Pythias who was de voted by thee to destruction. I come to submit to it, thai ! anay redeem
my friend. Do not refuse me this consolation in ny
last hour. Dio. I cannot endure men, who despise death, and set my power at detiance.
Da. Thou canst not, then, endure virtue.
Dio. No : I cannot endure that proud, disdainful virtue, which contemns life ; which dreads no punishment; and which is insensible to the charms of riches and pleasure.
Da. Thou seest, however, that it is a virtue, which is not insensible to the dictates of honour, justice, and friendship. - Dio. Guards, take Pythias to execution. We shall see whether Damon will continue to despise my authority.
Da, Pythias by returning to submit himself to thy pleaavre, has merited his life, and deserved thy favour; but i have excited thy indignation, by resigning myself to thy power, in order to save him; be satisged then, with thic enerifice and time to death
Py. Hold, Dionysius ! remember, it was Pythias alone who nffended thee: Dainon could not
Dio. Alas! what do I see and hear! where arn I ? How miserable; and how worthy to be so! I have hitherto known nothing of true virtue. I have spent my life in darkness and error. All my power and honours are insufficient to produce love. I cannot borst of having acquired a single friend in the course of a reign of thirty years. And yet these two persons, in a private condition, love one another tenderly, unreservedly contide in each other, are mutualiy happy, and ready to die for each other's preservation.
Py. How couldst thon, who hast never loved any person, expect to have friends ? If thou hadsi loved and respecte men, thou wouldst have secured their love and respect. Thou hast feared mankind; and they far thee; they detest thee.
Dio. Damon, Pythias, condescend to admit me as a third frieni, in a connexion so perfect. I give you your lives; and i will load you with riches.
Da. We have no desire to be enriched by thee; and, in regard to thy friendship, we cannot accept or enjoy it, tiil thou become good and just. Without these qualities, tho: canst be connected with cone but trembling laves, base flatterers. To be loved and esteemed by men of fre and generous minds, thou must be virtuous, affectionate, disinterested, beneficent; and know how to live in a sort of equality with those who share and deserve thy friendship.
Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray.
LOCKE AND BAYLE.
Christianity defended against the cavils of scepticism Bayle. Yes, we both were philosophers; but my philosophy was the deepest. You dogmatized; I doubted.
Locke. Do you make doubting a proof of depth in philosophy ? It may be a good beginning of it ; but it is a bad end.
Bayle. No:--the more profound our searches are into the nature of things, the more uncertainty we shall find; and the most subtle minds see objections and difficulties in every system, which are overlooked or undiscoverable by ordinary understandings.
Locke. It would be better then to be no philosopher, and t? continue j the vulgar herdof mankind, there may hav
convenience of thinking that one knows something. i find that the eves which nature has given me, see many things very cleariy, though some are out of their reach, or discerned but dimly. What opinion ought I to have of a physician, who stwuld offer me an eye-water, the use of which would at first so srpen my sight, as to carry ii further than orinary vision; but would in the end put them out ? Your philosof-Y is 10 the eyes of the inind, what I have supposed the doctor's nost! un to be to those of the body. It actually brought your onn excellent understanding, which was by nature quicksighted, and rendered more so by art and a subtilty of logir. peculiar to yourself-it brought, I say, your very acute uu• derstanding to see nothing clearly ; and enveloped all the great truths of reason and religion in mists of doubt.
Bayle. I own it did;-out your comprison is not just. 1 did not see well, before I used my philosophic eye-water: i only supposed I saw well; but I was in an error, with aļl the rest of mankind. The blindness was real, the perceptions were imaginary. I cured myself first of those false imaginations, and then I laudably endeavoured to cure other men
Locke. A great cure indeed!—and do not you think that, in return for the service you did them, they ought to crec! you a statue ?
Bayle. S'es; it is good for human nature to knuty its own weakness. When we arrogantly presume on ; sirength we have not, we are always in great dinner of hurting our. selves, or at least of deserving ridicule and coatempt, by sain and idle eflürts.
Locke. I agree with you, that humin nature should know its own weakness; but it should also feel its strength, and try to improve it. This was my employment as a philosopher I endeavoured to discover the real powers of the nund, to see what it could do, and what it could not ; to restrain in trom etloris beyond its ability; but to texch ii how to add. şance aş tar as the faculties given to it by nature, with the ul. mòst exertion and most proper culture of them, would allow 11 la 4o. In the vast ocean of philosophy, I have ne line and 'the plummet always in my hands. Many of its depths I found mysels unable to tothom; but, by ciation in souming, and the carerne observations I made in the course of my voyage, i found out some truths of so much use to m'ınkuad, that they acknowledge me to have been their beneficiir.
Bayle. Their ignorance makes ihem think so. Some oth. er philosopher will come hereafter and show the trust to len