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selves? No one, without a firm belief in immortality, will ever offer himself up for his country. Themistocles might lawfully have lived an idle life, and also Epaminondas (and even I myself, not to seek ancient and foreign jostances), but a presentiment of future life in some manner is inherent in the mind, and this presentiment exists the most deeply, and appears most plainly, in minds of the highest genius and loftiest character. if this were taken away, who would be so mad as to spend his life in labors and dangers ? I speak of great men. How is it with the poets? Do they not wish to be famous after death ? Else whence that verse of the poet ? " Bebold, O citizens, the picture of the form of the aged Ennius! he sang the noblest deeds of your fathers.” He demands the '
meed of glory from those, whose fathers he had covered with glory. And again, he says, “Let no one honor me with tears, nor make lamentations at my funeral rites. Why? I dwell in the mouths of my countrymen.” But why should I mention poets only ? Artists wish to be made known after death. Why else did Phidias carve his own likeness on the shield of Minerva, against the law? What shall I say of our philosophers? Do they not inscribe their own names in the very books which they write concerning contempt for glory? Now, if the agreement of all mankind is the voice of nature, and if all of every place agree, that there is something which belongs to those who have departed this life, we must think so also ; and if we may suppose that they, whose minds excel in genius and virtue, can best discern the laws of nature, because they possess the best nature themselves, it is very probable that, when a good man serves posterity, there is something, which he is going to have a sense of, aster death.
XVI. But as we think by the light of nature that the gods exist, and learn what is their nature by reason; so we argue from the consent of all nations that souls are immortal, and we must learn the place and manner of their existence by reason. Ignorance upon this subject has formed the infernal regions, and those terrors which you, not without good cause, seen to despise. Such persons suppose that when bodies fall into the earth, and are covered by the ground, humo, from which comes the terın humari, to be buried, the remainder of existence is spent under the earth. Great errors have resulted from this opinion, which the poets have increased. The crowded audience in the theatre, in which are young women and
boys, hearing such a lofty strain as this, is moved, “I am present, and I come from Acheron, but with difficulty, for the way is steep and difficult, through caves formed of sharp rocks, with masses hanging over head, where the cold, thick blackness of the infernal regions broods.” So much did this error prevail, though now it seems to me to be removed, that when they knew the bodies to be burned, they feigned things to happen to them in the infernal regions, which could neither happen nor be understood, unless the bodies were in existence. They were not able to embrace the idea in their minds of souls existing independently, and so they sought for them a definite form and shape. Hence Homer's description of the dead; hence the necromancy of my friend Appius ; hence in our neighborhood the lake of Avernus, “ from which spirits, are raised from the dark shade through the open mouth of deep Acheron
- the bloodless images of the dead.” They wished these images to speak, which cannot be without the strength and form of the jaws, and sides, and lungs, without tongue or palate. For they could see nothing with the soul, they referred everything to the senses. But it is the property of a great genius, to separate the mind from the senses, and to draw off the thoughts from what they have been accusomed to. I suppose, indeed, that others must have said the same during so many ages, but, according to the testimony of literature, Pherecydes, the Syrian, is the first who declared the souls of men to be iinmortal. He was indeed an ancient; for he lived in the reign of my namesake, Tullus. His disciple Pythagoras, who came to Italy in the reign of Tarquinius Superbus, strongly confirmed this opinion, and swayed Magna Græcia no less by the fame of his philosophical views, than by his political authority. The name of the sect of the Pythagoreans flourished so much for many ages after, that no other was esteemed learned.
But I return to the ancients. They hardly ever gave a reason for their opinion, unless something was to be explained by numbers and figures. It is said that Plato came to Italy to know the Pythagoreans, and he learnt all their tenets ; and that he first came to the same conclusion with Pythagoras, and besides gave a reason for his belief; which we will pass over, unless you have something to say, and leave this whole topic concerning the hope of immortality.
A. Say you so? Will you desert me now, that you have excited the highest expectation ? By Hercules, I would rather err with Plato, whom you make so much of, I perceive, and whom I admire from your lips, than to think correctly with them.
M. Well done! I myself should not unwillingly err with that philosopher. Do we then doubt in this as we do in other things ? Not in this by any means, for the mathematicians teach us that the earth, placed in the middle of the universe, in the embrace of the whole heavens, occupies sometbing like a point, which they call the mevtoov, the centre. Moreover, that such is the nature of the four elementary bodies, which produce by their combinations everything, that they bold the constituents, as it were, divided and distributed among themselves; that the earthy and humid parts, by their own tendency and weight, are attracted towards the earth and the sea at equal angles ; that the other two parts, the one fiery, the other etherial, as the former by their greater weight and gravity are carried towards the centre, so these fly upwards in right lines to a celestial place, either because their nature seeks a higher region, or because things lighter are naturally repelled by heavier. Which being established, it ought clearly to appear that souls, when they leave the body, whether they consist of air, or breath, or fire, are borne on high. But if the soul is a kind of number, which is said more ingeniously than clearly, or that fifth nature, without a name, rather than not understood, they are the more sound and pure, as they stretch to the greatest distance from earth. The soul then is some one of these principles; nor may the active mind lie buried in the heart or brain, or according to Empedocles, in the blood.
XVIII. We will omit the theory of Dicæarchus, and also that of his contemporary and fellow pupil Aristoxenus, learned men though they be; the one of whom does not seem ever to have lamented much, because he could not percieve that he possessed a soul, and the other so delighted with his songs that he endeavors to transfer the nature of soul to them. For we can perceive harmony by intervals of sounds, whose various combinations produce many tunes; but I do not understand what harmony the relative position and figure of the members of the body, destitute of mind, can produce. But he, however learned he may be, must yield his theory to that of his master Aristotle. Let him teach music; and well is he admonished by the Greek proverb, “Let each one exercise that art he knows." Let us reject entirely the accidental concurrence of smooth and round atoms, which Democritus will have warm and breathing, that is, vital. But if the soul consists of the four elements of which all things are made, it is formed of inflammable air, as I understand was firmly believed by Panætius, and must necessarily aim at the higher regions. For these two elements (fire and air) have no tendency downwards, but always ascend. So that if they are dissolved, it must happen at a great distance from the earth; and if they remain and preserve their condition, it is the more necessary that they be borne upwards; and the thick and concrete air next to the earth is broken through and divided by these as they ascend. For the soul is of a warmer and more ardent nature than this air, which I have just now called thick and concrete ; which can be well understood from the fact, that our bodies, formed of the earthy class of the elements, grow warm by the ardor of the soul.
XIX. And the velocity of the soul, than which nothing is swifter, favors the idea of its easily breaking through this air, which I often refer to, and penetrating it; for there is no speed which can equal the motion of the soul. If then it is to remain uncorrupted and like itself, it must be borne up and penetrate and divide this whole heaven, in which are collected the clouds, the showers, and the winds, -a region moist and dark by reason of the exhalations from the earth. When the soul has surmounted this region, and touches and recognises one like itself, it will stop in that place where is a temperature formed by a thin atmosphere, warmed by the gentle heat of the sun, and it will go no higher. And having attained to a place of the same lightness and heat of its own nature, as it were balanced by equal forces, it will move not at all; and that may be called its natural home, when it comes to a place like itself, in which without a want it will be sustained and cherished in the same manner, that the stars are sustained and cherished.
And since we are wont to be excited to lust by the passions of the body, and are more inflamed, because we envy those who possess things which we wish to possess, we shall be truly happy, when, our bodies being left behind us, we are freed from passions and envyings. And as we now, when free from care, wish to behold and examine some subject, we shall then be more
VOL. XXXIII. — 3D s. vol. XV. NO. II.
at liberty to indulge our taste, and shall be placed entirely in an attitude of contemplation and study ; for there is by nature a certain insatiable desire in the human mind of seeking that which is true; and the whole face of those regions, whither we shall have come, will afford a greater facility to us of knowing celestial matters, and a deeper desire of knowing them. For this beauty even on the earth excited that national and ancestral philosophy (as Theophrastus calls it) which burned to know. Especially will they enjoy this who, even when inhabiting this earth covered with darkness, desired to see through it by the acuteness of the mind.
XX. For if they think they have attained some knowledge, who have seen the mouth of the Pontus, and those straits through which the ship named Argo passed, — “because, borne in it, the Greeks, a chosen band, there sought the golden fleece of the ram;” or they who have seen the straits leading to the ocean, “ where the swift water divides Europe from Africa,” — what a grand sight may we suppose it to be, to see the whole earth, its situation, form, and boundaries, the regions that are inhabited, as well as those which are unoccupied by reason of the extreme heat or cold?
And those things we do see, we percieve not by the eyes, for there is no sense in the body, but (as not only natural philosophers but also physicians teach us, who have seen them open and exposed) there are certain paths perforated from the seat of the soul to the eyes, the ears, and the nostrils. Often, when lost in thought, or affected by disease, the eyes and ears being open and sound, we neither see nor hear; so that it can easily be understood that it is the soul that sees and hears, and not those parts which are, as it were, the windows of the soul; for the senses can perceive nothing, unless the soul be present and act. Why do we comprehend the most dissimilar things by one mind, as color, taste, heat, odor, sound, which the soul would never know by the five senses, unless they referred all things to it, and made it the sole judge of everything? And indeed all objects will be seen much more clearly and truly, when the free soul shall have arrived at that place, to which it tends by its nature. Now indeed although nature has by the most cunning workmanship formed these avenues, which conduct to the soul from the body, nevertheless they are often clogged up by earthy and solid substances. But when there shall be nothing but pure mind,