Page images
PDF

and rational views of things into the practice of daily life, in stead of leaving them as themes for the philosophers to dis cuss in their closets or their halls of learning.

14. Socrates was born four hundred and seventy years before Christ. He claims the highest respect for the gigantic powers of his mind, and the purity of his moral instructions. At the age of seventy years, he was put to death by his countrymen, the Athenians, because he had made some powerful enemies by his plain speaking.

PLATO.

15. Plato was a disciple of Socrates, and has left us an account of his master's conversations. Plato is famous for his writings, which are in a style so admirable, that it was said, "if the gods should condescend to talk with men, they would use the language of Plato."

16. He is also celebrated as the first of the ancient philosophers who distinctly taught the doctrine of the immortality of the souL He lived to a very advanced age; and, as he continued to the last a great student, some one asked him one day, how long he intended to be a scholar. He replied, "As long as I am not ashamed to grow wiser and better."

17. On one occasion, being told that a certain man had uttered slanderous stories about him, he replied, "I will live so that no one will believe him."

18. Plato, from a Greek word signifying broad, was so called on account of the breadth of his chest and forehead. His original name was Aristocles. He was born about four hundred and twenty-nine years before Christ. He died on his eighty-second birthday, a hale old man, breathing out his life in soft slumber among his friends at a wedding banquet.

ARISTIDES.

19. Aristides was called "The Just," which was a noble testimony to the integrity of his character. He was a statesman and a general of Athens; and the confidence inspired by his virtues was such, that many of the Grecian states united themselves with Athens, forming a confederacy, at the head of which was Aristides.

20. Yet this great and^good man, in the mutations of party, became unpopular and was banished. When the question whether Aristides or his rival should be sentenced to banishment was brought before the people, one of the voters addressed Aristides, not knowing him, and requested him to write him a vote.

21. As the question which of the rival statesmen should be banished was to be decided by the plurality of names, Aristides asked him what name he should write.

22. The man answered, "Aristides."

23. "Do you know any thing against him?" asked Aris tides.

24. "No," said the man; "but I am tired of hearing him called 'The Just.'"

25. This is a specimen of that envy which is characteristic of base minds, by which they are led to hate the virtues that they do not possess. Aristides wrote his name, and handed the vote to the man, without a word of remonstrance.

26. Aristides was banished; but in a few years he was recalled by his countrymen, who needed his services. He returned and. served his country faithfully for many years; and when he died, the state awarded him a public funeral, and gave pensions to his children.

Questions. Who were the seven wise men of Greece? What were the seven wonders of the world? 1. What is here said of the seven wise men? What, of Greece? 2. What one of the seven wise men is first mentioned? 2-6. Relate, in your own language, what is here said of Solon and others. At what time was he born, &c.» What is said of Athens? Of Draco? OfSardis? OfLydia? Of Crccsus? Of Cyrus? 7 -10. Relate what is said of Thales. 11 -14. Of Socrates. What, and where, was Delphi? 15 -18. Relate what is said of Plato. 19 - 26. Of Aristides. Are Socrates, Plato, and Aristides reckoned among the seven wise men of Greece! Who is said to be the greatest of all the wise men of Greece?

LESSON LVIII.'I, %

L, Doc'trtne, somethidg to be believed. 2. Ti-jud'i-ty, want of courage.

I. Har'bor-ing, indulging, retaining. 2. Con'tro-ver-sy, dispute.'altercation.

1 Iier'e-sy, error in doctrine or science. 2. Dis-ci'ples, followers, learners.

1. So'lar, pertaining to the sun. 3. Ush'er-£d, introduced, sent forth.

Errors.— Nov'wl-ty for nov'el-ty; sys'ttm for sys'tem; spere/or sphere; con-tr* for con-tra-dicry; dis-tinjfly for dis-tinctly; vol'um for vol'ume (TOl;yuui); eia'pWss for em'prcss.

COPERNICUS. — Everett.

1. It is plain that Copernicus, like his great cotemporary, Columbus, though fully conscious of the boldness and the novelty of his doctrine, saw but a part of the changes it was to effect in science. After harboring in his bosom for long, long years that " pernicious heresy," the solar system, he died on the day of the appearance of his book from the press.

2. The closing scene of his life, with a little help of the imagination, would furnish a noble subject for an artist. For thirty-five years, he had revolved and matured in his mind his system of the heavens. A natural mildness of disposition, bordering on timidity, a reluctance to encounter controversy, and a dread of persecution, have led him to withhold his work from the press, and make known his system but to a few confidential disciples and friends.

3. At length, he draws near his end; he is seventy-three years of age; and he yields his work, on "The Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs," to his friends for publication. The day at last has come on which it is to be ushered into the world.

4. It is the 24th of May, 1543. On that day, — the effect, no doubt, of the intense excitement of his mind operating upon an exhausted frame, — an effusion of blood brings him to the gates of the grave. His last hour has come; and he lies stretched upon the couch from which he will never rise.

5. The beams of the setting sun glance through the Gothic windows of his chamber; near his bodaide is the armillarr sphere* which he has contrived to represent his theory of the heavens; his picture, painted hy himself, the amusement of his earlier years, hangs before him. Beneath it are his astrolabe^ and other imperfect astronomical instruments; and around him are gathered his sorrowing disciples.

6. The door of the apartment opens; the eye of the departing sage is turned to see who enters; it is a friend, who brings him the first printed copy of his immortal treatise. He knows that, in that book, he contradicts all that has ever been distinctly taught by former philosophers.

7. He knows also that he has rebelled against the sway of Ptolemy,^ which the scientific world had acknowledged for a thousand years; he knows that the popular mind will be shocked by his innovations; he knows that the attempt will be made-to press even religion into the service against him; but he knows that his book is true!

8. He is dying, but he leaves a glorious truth as his dying bequest to the world. He bids the friend who has brought it place himself between the window and his bedside, that the sun's rays may fall upon the precious volume, and he may behold it once more before his eye grows dim. He looks upon it, takes it in his hands, presses it to his breast, and expires!

9. But no; he is not wholly gone. A smile lights up his dying countenance; a beam of returning intelligence kindles in his eye; his lips move; and the friend who leans over him can hear him faintly murmur the beautiful sentiments which

* Armll-la-ry sphere, an artificial sphere, composed of a number of circles of the mundane sphere, put together in their natural order, to assist in giving a just conception of the constitution of the heavens, and the motions of the celestial bodies. This artificial sphere revolves upon its axis within a horizon, divided into degrees, and movable every way upon a brass supporter.

t As'tro-labe, a stereographic projection of the sphere on the plane of a great circle, usually upon the plane of the equator, the eye being supposed to be in the pole of the world, or upon the plane of the meridian, the eye being in the point of intersex tion of the equinoctial and the horizon.

t Ptol'e-my (tol'e-my) was born at Pelusium, In Egypt, in the year of our Lord 70: and he is said to have reached the age of eighty years. In his system of astronomy he taught that the earth was the great center around which the planets and stars re iolved. He is considered the first astronomer of antiquity.

the Christian lyrist of a later age has so finely expressed ia verse:—

10. Ye golden lamps of heaven, farewell, with all your feeble light; Farewell, thou ever-changing moon, pale empress of the night; And thou, refulgent orb of day, in brighter flames arrayed,

My soul, which springs beyond thy sphere, no more demands thy aid.

Ye stars are but the shining dust of my divine abode,

The pavement of those heavenly courts, where I shall reign with God.

11. His doctrine, at first, for want of a general diffusion of knowledge, forced its way with difficulty against the deeprooted prejudices of the age. Attempts were made to restore the absurdities of the Ptolemaic system; but some, with more sagacity and boldness, laid hold of the theory of Copernicus, and brought it into repute, thus establishing one of the greatest truths that science has ever discovered.

Questions. — 1. What is said here of Copernicus? 2. How long was he in maturing his system? 2. Why did he at first withhold it from the public? 3- What was the title of the work he published? 4. What occurred on the 24th of May, 1543? 5. Describe the appearance of his room. What was the armiUary sphere? The astrolabe? 6. What did Copernicus contradict in his book? 7. Against whose sway did he rebel? Who was Ptolemy? 8, 9. Describe the dying scene of Copernicus.

11. What is said of his doctrine, or theory ? —Point out examples of the succession of particulars, and tell how they should be read.

[ocr errors][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

1. Newton was born in 1642. He discovered the principle of gravitation, by which all bodies attract one another in proportion to their size and solidity. This power makes things

« PreviousContinue »