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Anim. 1. i.
Anim. 1. i.
As Anim. I. iv.
of life; yet I am afraid Plato's giving too much way CHAP. to such poetical fictions as that of Herus Pamphilius, made Aristotle more cautious as to what he said concerning it, unless he could go upon surer grounds. He Aristot, de grants, that the mind is of a nature distinct from the body, and separable from it; that it comes from with-Ibid. 1. iii. out; that it is capable of pleasures more divine than De Part. the body can enjoy or apprehend: but when he had c. 1. gone thus far, the mere light of reason would carry Anim. I. ii. him no further; and therefore he rather forbore to say De Part. any thing, than affirm what he could not prove. Socrates said in the case of prayer, in the second Alci-Eth. l. x.
c. 7, 8, 9. biades; They must stay till they were better informed. Which is a mighty advantage in behalf of Divine revelation. But of that afterwards.
Thus far I have considered the persons of greatest reputation in Greece, and compared their opinions, and the grounds they went upon; and I shall proceed no further there, because the following sects were derived from these, and they fell into quarrels and contentions with one another; which I have no occasion at present to consider. And therefore I shall now give an account of another set of philosophers, who settled in that part of Italy which lay towards Sicily, and was called Magna Græcia; and this was called the Pythagorean sect ; which I shall inquire into with respect to the present subject. Pythagoras was a man of wonderful esteem for his wisdom, not only in those parts, but at Rome too. For Pliny and Plutarch tell us, that the Roman senate Plin. N. H. erected a statue to him, as to the wisest man: but c. 12. ed. Pliny wonders that Socrates was not preferred before Plutarch: him. But the Romans had a particular veneration for iu Numà. Pythagoras, from the tradition that Numa, the wisest of their kings, was instructed by him. It is true that this is contradicted by Cicero and Livy, (two great men;)
1. xxxiv. Harduin.
Liv. l. xl.
BOOK but Plutarch thinks, that they had no certain measure
of times to direct them to judge by, as he shews from 1.1. c. 16. Clodius's Index. And there are other odd circumstances Plut. Num: as to Numa, which favour the correspondence; as his
laws about worship and sacrifices, mentioned by Plu-
tomb, distinct from those of the Pontifical Rites; for Plin. N. H. which Pliny produces unexceptionable authorities.
Even Livy himself, who thought it a mistake about
could come to Numa, but that of Pythagoras? And Ovid. Met. therefore Ovid makes no scruple of saying, that Numa
did consult him. But if Pythagoras was in such esteem
Livy saith, because they tended to dissolve their reli-
that they tended to overthrow all religion. A most
they were discovered; by a great shower, saith Plu- CHAP. tarch ; by ploughing, saith Pliny and others.
But still, why were these books burnt? The true account I take to be this. Numa's religion was very different from what then obtained among them. And Q. Petilius, the prætor, having got a sight of them, saith Livy, from his kinsman L. Petilius, in whose ground they were found, very officiously informed the senate that they were books of dangerous consequence to their religion; and upon his oath they ordered the burning of them. Now Numa, as Plutarch saith, had expressly forbidden any images in Divine worship; which, he saith, continued for 160 years among the Romans; and the reason he gives was, that the first or supreme Being, according to Numa, was not sensible or visible, but was invisible, pure, and only to be apprehended by the mind; which, saith he, was very agreeable to the doctrine of Pythagoras; and the sacrifices he appointed were unbloody; of meal and wine, and other easy things. But these things were soon changed; for Plutarch saith that Tullus Hostilius, his immediate successor, changed the devotion which Numa had set up into great superstition ; which daily increasing, it was no wonder that they should then order Numa's books to be burnt, which upbraided them with their superstitious folly. But by this we see what Pythagoras's notion of God and his worship was. Ovid admires him for his skill in divinity and philosophy ; for his giving an account of the beginning and nature of things.
-Isque, licet coeli regione remotos,
Visibus humanis, oculis ea pectoris hausit.
Ovid. Met. xv. 67.
Jul. 1. i.
fic. p. 23,
goras asserted the being of God, and the beginning of
Magni primordia mundi,
Quid Deus, unde nives, quæ fulminis esset origo.
There is a large description of God extant in Cyril. cout. St. Cyril against Julian, according to Pythagoras;
wherein God is said to be intimately present in the
world, the beginning of all things, the mind, and soul, Cicero de and motion of the universe. And so Velleius in Cicero 1.3.c. u. saith, that, according to Pythagoras, God was a mind
diffused through the world. Which is likewise expressed by Virgil in his known verses, Mens agitat molem, &c. Philolaus, a noted scholar of Pythagoras, (whose books brought the Pythagorean learning into
esteem in Greece,) gives this description of God, 'Eoth Mondiori- γαρ, φησίν, Ηγεμών και "Αρχων απάντων θεός, είς αει ών, μόνι
μος, ακίνητος, αυτός αυτώ όμοιος, έτερος των άλλων, That he is the eternal Governor and Ruler over all; being one and the same always, and different from all others. Which we find in Philo, and have no reason to mistrust his testimony, considering what the other Pythagoreans said concerning the Divine nature. They made God to be one eternal, perfect Being, and that the happiness of mankind lay in a similitude to him, as appears by the Pythagorean fragments in Stobæus, and elsewhere, which I need not repeat: but I shall only set down the passages of Zaleucus and Charondas, who were known Pythagoreans, as appears by Por
phyry, lamblichus, Laertius, &c. in the excellent preStob.Serm. faces to their laws. Zaleucus saith, That in the first xlii. p. 279. place all persons ought to own and acknowledge the
gods; which, saith he, is manifest by seeing the heaven and the world, and the order that is therein; for these are not the work of fortune, or of men's hands ;
and they ought to be worshipped and honoured as the CHAP. Author of all good things to us. And to that end they ought to keep their souls pure from evil; for God is not honoured by bad men, nor by costly sacrifices, but by virtue, and the choice of good and just actions. Charondas saith, That men ought to begin their actions P. 289. with piety. For God is the cause of all; and they must abstain from evil actions, for the sake of their respect to God: for God hath no regard to wicked per
These were men of great and just esteem in their cities; and their memory is preserved by all that speak of them with great veneration.
I might pursue this matter much further; but if this be not sufficient to my purpose, more will be less regarded : for mankind are better pleased with choice, than a heap; and I have only pitched upon persons of great esteem in the world. Only Pythagoras did not go down well with some of the Greeks, because of his mystical and symbolical ways of instruction; which the Greeks were by no means fond of, as appears by Xenophon's Epistle to Æschines, (if it be genuine, and I see little reason to question it;) for he upbraids Plato with mixing the Pythagoric extravagancies with the plain doctrine of Socrates, which Xenophon kept strictly to. But as to Pythagoras himself, Cicero extols him Tusc. l.iv.1.
De Leg.l.ii. for his wisdom and quality; and he saith, the Pytha-9. goreans for a great while were accounted the only learned men. Pliny admires him for his sagacity ; Plin. N. H. Apuleius for the greatness of his wit; and the people Apul. Flor. of Crotone and Metapontum, as more than a man. Tambl. Vit
Pyth. c. 6, His greatest fault was, that he was too wise; for he 1o. locked up his secrets so close, that the greatest part of mankind were not much the better for them; only the cities of Magna Græcia were wonderfully reformed by his means, (if the Pythagoreans may be believed ;) but