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ces, and the worship of the gods : the first the experience of ages, were reduced into was instituted by Romulus; the second by an art, by which the meaning of cach fign his successor, Numa; who drew up a ritual, might be determined, and applied to the or order of ceremonies, to be observed in event that was signified by it. This they the different facrifices of their several dei- called artificial divination, in distinction ties : to these a third part was afterwards from the natural, which they supposed to added, relating to divine admonitions from flow from an instinct, or native power, importents; monstrous births; the entrails of planted in the soul, which it exerted always beafis in facrifice; and the prophecies of the with the greatest efficacy, when it was the Bbils. The College of Augurs presided most free and disengaged from the body, over the auspices, as the supreme interpre- as in dreams and madness. But this notion ters of the will of Jove; and determined was generally ridiculed by the other phiwhat signs were propitious, and what not: losophers; and of all the College of Authe other priests were the judges of all gurs, there was but one who at this time the other cases relating to religion, as well maintained it, Appius Claudius, who was of what concerned the public worship, as laughed at for his pains by the rest, and that of private families.
called the Pifidian: it occasioned howNow the priests of all denominations ever a smart controversy between him and were of the first nobility of Rome, and his colleague Marcellus, who severally pubthe augurs especially were commonly re- lished books on each side of the question ; nators of consular rank, who had passed wherein Marcellus asserted the whole af. through all the dignities of the republic, fair to be the contrivance of flaiminen i and by their power over the auspices, could Appius, on the contrary, that there was put an immediate stop to-all proceedings, a real art and power of divining subli!and diffolve at once all the assemblies of ing in the augural discipline, and taught by the people convened for public business. the augural books. Appius dedicated this The interpretation of the sybils prophecies treatise to Cicero, who, though he prewas velted in the decemviri, or guardians ferred Marcellos's notion, yet did not of the sybilline' books, ten persons of dif- wholly agree with either, but believed tinguished rank, chosen usually from the that augury might probably be inftituied at prieits. And the province of interpreting first upon a persuasion of its divinity; and prodigies, ard inspecting the entrails, be. when, by the improvements of arts and learnlonged to the haruspices; who were the ing, that opinion was exploded in fuccceding servants of the public, hired to attend the ages, yet the thing itself was avisely remagilrates in all their sacrifices; and who tained for the sake of its use to the renever failed to accommodate their answers public. to the views of those who employed them, But whatever was the origin of the reand to whose protection they owed their ligion of Rome, Cicero's religion was credit and their livelihood.
undoubtedly of heavenly extraction, built, This conftitution of a religion among as we have seen, on the foundation of a a people naturally fuperftitious, necessarily God; a providence; an immortality. He threw the chief infuence of affairs into considered this mort period of our life on the hands of the senate, and the better earth as a fate of trial, or a kind of fort; who by this advantage frequently school, in which we were to improve and checked the violences of the populace, and prepare ourselves for that eternity of exthe factious attempts of the tribunes: so iftence which was provided for us herethat it is perpetually applauded by Cicero after; that we were placed therefore here as the main bulwark of the republic; by our Creator, not so much to inhabit the though considered all the while by men of earth, as to contemplate the heavens ; on sense, as merely political, and of human which were imprinted, in legible characinvention. The only part that admitted ters, all the duties of that nature which any dispute concerning its origin, was au- was given to us. He observed, that this gury, or their method of divining by au. Spectacle belonged to no other animal but Spices. The Stoics held that God, out of man: to whom God, for that reason had his goodness to men, had imprinted on the given an erect and upright form, with ces nature of things certain marks or notices not prone or fixed upon the ground, like of future events; as on the entrails of beasts, those of other animals, but placed on bigb the flight of birds, thunder, and other celes- and sublime, in a situation the most proper tial signs, which, by long observation, and for this celestial contemplation, to remind fiim perpetually of his talk, and to ac- “ nal, immutable law, comprehends all quaint him with the place on which he “ nations, at all times, under one common sprung, and for which he was finally de- “ Master and Governor of all. GOD. signed. He took the system of the world, “ He is the inventor, propounder, enactor or the visible works of God, to be the “ of this law; and whosoever will not promulgation of God's law, or the declara- “ obey it, mult first renounce himself, and tion of his will to mankind; whence, as “throw off the nature of man; by doing we might collect his being, nature, and " which, he will suffer the greatest pu. attributes, so we could trace the reasons “nishment, though he should escape all also and motives of his acting; till, by " the other torments which are com. cbserving what he had done, we might learn « monly believed to be prepared for the subat we ought to do, and, by the operations “ wicked.” of the divine reason, be instructed how to In another place he tells us, that the perfect our own; since the perfection of study of this law was the only thing which man consisted in the imitation of God. could teach us that most important of all
From this fource he deduced the origin lessons, said to be prescribed by the Pythian of all duty, or moral obligation; from the oracle, TO KNOW OURSELVES; that is, kvill of God manifested in his works; or to know our true nature and rank in the from that eternal reason, fitness and relation universal system, the relation that we bear of things, which is displayed in every part to all other things, and the purposes for of the creation. This he calls the origin which we were sent into the world. nal, immutable law; the criterion of good " When a man,” says he, “ has attenand ill, of juft and unjust; imprinted on “ tentively surveyed the heavens, the earth, the nature of things, as the rule by which “ the sea, and all things in them, oball human laws are formed; which, when- « surved whence they sprung, and whither ever they deviate from this pattern, ought, “ they all tend; when and how they are he says, to be called any thing rather than “ to end; what part is mortal and perihlaws, and are in effect nothing but acts « able, what divine and eternal: when he of force, violence, and tyranny. That to “ has almost reached and touched, as it imagine the diftin&tlon of good and ill not“ were, the Governor and Ruler of them to be founded in nature, but in cuftom, opi. “ all, and discovered himself not to be nion, or human institution, is mere folly and « confined to the walls of any certain madness; which would overthrow all ro. “ place, but a citizen of the world, as of ciety, and confound all right and justice “ one common city ; in this magnificent amongst men: that this was the constant“ view of things, in this enlarged pro. opinion of the wiseft of all ages; who “ spect and knowledge of nature, good held, that the mind of God, governing all “ gods! how will he learn to know him. ibings by eternal reason, was the principle « jelf? How will he contemn, despise, and and sovereign law; whoje fubftitute on earth “ set at nought all those things which was the reafon or mind of the wise : to “ the vulgar esteem the most splendid and which purpose there are many strong and “ glorious ?” beautiful pallages scattered occasionally These were the principles on which Cithrough every part of his works.
cero built his religion and morality, which “ The true law,” says he, “ is right rea- thine indeed through all his writings, but « son, conformable to the nature of things; were largely and explicitly illustrated by " constant, eternal, diffused through all; him in his Treatises on Government and on « which calls us to duty by command. Laws; to which he added afterwards his “ ing; deters us from fin by forbidding; book of Offices, to make the scheme com“ which never loses its influence with the plete: volumes which, as the elder Pliny “ good, nor ever preserves it with the says to the emperor Titus, ought not only " wicked. This cannot possibly be over- to be read, but to be got by heart. The “ ruled by any other law,. nor abrogated first and greatest of these works is loft, ex“ in the whole, or in part: nor can we be cept a few fragments, in which he had " absolved from it either by the senate or delivered his real thoughts so profesiedly, " the people ; nor are we to seek any that in a letter to Atticus, he calls those " other comment or interpreter of it but fix books on the republic, so many pledges " itlelf: nor can there be one law at given to his country for the integrity of his “ Rome, another at Athens; one now, life; from which, if ever he swerved, he " another hereafter ; but the same eter. could never have the face to look into them
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again. In his book of Laws, he pursued commentators take them to mean nothing the same argument, and deduced the ori- more, and that death is the end of all things gin of law from the will of the supreme bere below, and without any fartber sense of God. These two pieces therefore contain what is done upon earth; yet should they his belief, and the book of Offices, his prac. be understood to relate, as perhaps they tice : where he has traced out all the du- may, to an utter extinction of our being ; ties of man, or a rule of life conformable it must be observed, that he was writing to the divine principles, which he had in all probability to Epicureans, and ac. established in the other two; to which he commodating his arguments to the men; often refers, as to the foundation of his by offering such topics of comfort to them whole system. This work was one of the from their own philosophy, as they them. laft that he finished, for the use of his son, selves beld to be the most effectual. But to whom he addressed it; being desirous, if this also should seem precarious, we in the decline of a glorious life, to explain must remember always, that Cicero was an to him the maxims by which he had go- academic; and though he believed a future verned it, and teach him the way of paf- fiate, was fond of the opinion, and declares fing through the world with innocence, himself resolved never to part with it; virtue, and true glory, to an immortality yet he believed it as probable only, not as of happiness: where the ftri&tness of his certain; and as probability implies some morals, adapted to all the various cases and mixture of doubt, and admits the degrees circumstances of human life, will serve, of more and less, so it admits also some if not to instruct, yet to reproach the prac- variety in the stability of our persuafion : tice of moft Chriftians. This was that thus, in a melancholy, hour, when his law, which is mentioned by St. Paul, to be spirits were depressed, the same argument taught by nature, and wriilen on the bearts will not appear to him with the same force; of the Gentiles, to guide them through that but doubts and difficulties get the ascend. state of ignorance and darkness, of which ant, and what hu.noured his present chathey themselves complained, till they should grin, find the readieft admiffion. be blessed with a more perfect revelation The pallages alledged were all of this of the divine will; and this scheme of it kind, and written in the season of his deprof. fied by Cicero, was certainly the most jellion, when all things were going with complete that the Gentile world had ever him, in the height of Cæsar's power; been acquainted with; the utmost effort and though we allow them to have all the thar human nature could make towards force that they can possibly bear, and to attaining its proper end, or that supreme express what Cicero really meant at that good for which the Creator had designed time; yet they prove at last nothing more, it: upon the contemplation of which than that, agreeably to the characters and sublime truths, as delivered by a hea. principles of the Academy, he sometimes then, Erasmus could not help persuading doubted of what he generally believed. himself, that the breast from which they But, after all, whatever be the sense of flowed, must needs have been inspired by the them, it cannot surely be thought reasonDeity.
able to oppose a few scattered hints, acBut after all these glorious sentiments cidentally thrown out, when he was not that we have been ascribing to Cicero, considering the subject, to the volumes that and collecting from his writings, some he had deliberately written on the other, have been apt to consider them as the side of the question. flourishes rather of his eloquence, than the As to his political conduct, no man was corclufions of his reason, since in other ever a more determined patriot, or a warmparts of his works he seems to intimate er lover of his country than he: his whole rot oniy a diffidence, but a disbelief of the character, natural temper, choice of life :>?:crtality of the foul, and a future flate of and principles, made its true interest inseremi ds and punishments; and especially in parable from his own. His general view, his letters, where he is supposed to de. therefore, was always one and the same; clare his mind with the greatest frankness. to support the peace and liberty of the reBut in all the passages brought to support public in that forin and conftitution of it, this objection, where he is imagined to which their ancestors had delivered down speak of death as the end of all things to to them. He looked upon that as the only man, as they are addressed to friends in foundation on which it could be supported, distress by way of consolation; so some and used to quote a verse of old Ennius, as the dictate of an oracle, which derived themselves are changed, allowing a change all the glory of Rome from an adherence of conduct, and a recourse to new means to its ancient manners and discipline. for the attainment of the same end. too low; as those raised to the heroic, these likewise an observation, which long expes debased it to the brutal state; they held rience had confirmed to him, that none of pleasure to be the chief good of a man; death the popular and ambitious, who aspired to ez. the extinction of his being; and placed traordinary commands, and to be leaders in their happiness consequently in the secure the republic, ever cbofe to obtain their ends enjoyment of a pleasurable life, esteeming from ihe people, till they had first been repaljed virtue on no other account, than as it was by the senate. This was verified by all a hand-maid to pleasure; and helped to their civil dissensions, from the Gracchi insure the possession of it, by preserving down to Cæfar: so that when he saw men health and conciliating friends. Their wile of this spirit at the head of the governman had therefore no other duty, but to ment, who by the splendour of their lives provide for his own ease; to decline all and actions had acquired an ascendant fruggles ; to retire from public affairs, over the populace; it was his constant adard to imitate the life of their gods; by vice to the senate, to gain them by gentle palling his days in a calm, contemplative, compliances, and to gratify their thirst for undisturbed repose; in the milft of rural power by a voluntary grant of it, as the 1.ades and pleasant gardens. This was best way to moderate their ambition, and the scheme that Atticus followed: he had reclaim them from desperate counsels. all the talents that could qualify a man to He declared contention to be no longer prube useful to society; great parts, learning, dent, than while it either did service, or at judgment, candour, benevolence, genero. least not hurt; but when faction was grown sity; the same love of his country, and too strong to be withstood, that it was time the same sentiments in politics with Cicero; to give over fighting, and nothing left but whom he was always 'advising and urging to extract fome good out of the ill, by mito act, yet determined never to act him- tigating that power by patience, which felf; or never at least so far as to disturb they could not reduce by force, and conhis case, or endanger his safety. For ciliating it, if poftible, to the interest of though he was so strictly united with the state. This was what he advised, and Cicero, and valued him above all men, what he practised; and it will account, in yet he managed an interest all the while a great measure, for those parts of his with the opposite party faction, and a conduct which are the most liable to exfriendship even with his mortal enemies, ception, on the account of that complaClodius and Antony; that he might secure cence, which he is supposed to have paid, 29ainit all events the grand point which at different times, to the several ofurpers hic had in view, the peace and tranquillity of illegal power. of his life.
The three feets, which at this time chief. Moribus antiquis ftat res Romana virisque.
we ly engroled the philosophical part of Rome, Fragm. de Repub. l. 5.
were the Stoic, ihe Epicurean, and the AcaIt is one of his maxims, which he incul. demic; and the chief ornaments of cach cates in his writings, that as the end of a were, Cato, Atticus, and Cicero, who lived pilet is a prosperous voyage; of a physician, together in ftrict friend!hip, and a mutual the bealth of his patient; of a general, vic- esteem of each other's virtue; but the tery; so that of a flate man is, to make his different behaviour of these three, will Mew citizens bappy; to make them firm in power, by fact and example, the different merit rich in wealth, splendid in glory, eminent of their several principles, and which of ir virtue, which be declares to be the great them was the best adapted to promote the et and best of all works among men : and good of society. The Stoics were the as this cannot be effected but by the concord bigots or enthusiasts in philosophy, who held and harmony of the constituent members none to be truly wise but themselves; of a city; so it was his constant aim to placed perfect happiness in virtue, though unite the different orders of the state into Atripped of every other good ; affirmed all one common intere?, and to inspire them fins to be equal; all deviations from right with a mutual confidence in each other; equally wicked; to kill a dunghill cock ruithto as to balance the supremacy of the out reason, the fame crime as to kill a parents people by the authority of the senate ; that a wise man could never forgive, never be the one Abould enat, but the other advise; moved by anger, favour or pity; never be the one have the last resort, the other the deceived; never repent; never change chief influence. This was the old constitu- his mind. With these principles Cato en. tion of Rome, by which it had been raised tered into public life, and acted in it, as to all its grandeur; whilft all its misfortunes Cicero says, as if he had lived in the powere owing to the contrary principle of lity of Plato, not in the dregs of Romudiftrust and dissenfion between these two lus. He made no distinction of times or rival powers: it was the great object, things; no allowance for the weakness of therefore, of his policy, to throw the al- the republic, and the power of those who (endant in all affairs into the hands of the oppressed it: it was his maxim to combat fenate and tbe magistrates, as far as it was all power, not built upon the laws, or to confitent with the rights and liberties of defy it at least is he could not controul ir: the people; which will always be the ge he knew no way to this end but the direct, neral view of the wife and honest in all po- and whatever obstructions he met with, re. pular governments.
solved still to push on, and either surmount This was the principle which he espou. them or perish in the attempt; taking it for sed from the beginning, and pursued to baseness and confession of being conquered, the end of his life: and though in some to decline a tittle from the true road. In passages of his history, he may be thought an age, therefore, of the utmost libertinperhaps to have deviated from it, yet upon ism, when the public discipline was lost, an impartial view of the case, we shall and the government itself tottering, he find that his end was always the same, struggled with the same zeal against all though he had changed his measures of corruption, and waged a perpetual war pursuing it, when compelled to it by the with a superior force; whilst the rigour of violence of the times, and an over-ruling his principles tended rather to alienate force, and a necefíary regard to his own friends, than reconcile enemies; and by safety : so that he might say with great provoking the power that he could not truth, what an Athenian orator once said subdue, helped to hasten that ruin which in excuse of his inconftancy; that he had he was striving to avert; so that after a peted indeed on fome occasions contrary to him- perpetual course of disappointments and felf, but never to the republic: and here repulses, finding himself unable to pursue also his academic philofophy seems to have his own way any farther, instead of taking hewed its superior use in practical as well a new one, he was driven by his philosoas in speculative life, by induiging that phy to put an end to his life. liberty of acting which nature and reason B ut as the Stoics exalted human nature require; and when the times and things too high, fo the Epicureanş depressed it
Fie made a juft diftinction between bear. Thus two excellent men by their mis- ing what we cannot belp, and approving taken notion of virtue, drawn from the what we ought to condemu; and submitted principles of their philosophy, were made therefore, yet never consented to those uleleis in a manner to their country, each usurpations; and when he was forced to in a different extreme of life; the one al comply with them, did it always with a ways acting and exposing himself to dan reluctance, that he expressed very keenly gers, without the prospect of doing good; in his letters to his friends. But whenever the other without attempting to do any, that force was removed, and he was at resolving never to act at all. Cicero chole liberty to pursue his principles and act the middle way between the obstinacy of without controul, as in his conjul hip, in his Cato, and the indolence of Atticus: he province, and after Cæsar's death, the only preferred always the readiest road to what periods of his life in which he was truly was right, if it lay open to him: if not, master of himself; there we see him fhintook the next; and in politics as ia morality, ing out in his genuine character, of an exwhen he could not arrive at the true, con- cellent citizen; a great magistrate; a gia tented himself with the probable. He rious patriot: there we see the man who often compares the fatesman to the pilot, could declare of himself with truth, in an whole art consists in managing every turn appeal to Acticus, as to the best witness of of the winds, and applying even the most his conscience, that he had always done the perverse to the progress of his voyage; greatest service to bis country, when it was to that by changing his course, and en in his power ; or when it was not, bad seJarging his circuit of sailing, to arrive with ver harbuured a thought of it, but wbat was fafety at his deliined port. He mentions divine. If we muit needs compare him