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at the close of those labors which determined the laws of the planetary motions; Washington resigning his commission at the close of the war of the Revolution ; Clarkson, after twenty years of unceasing effort, witnessing in the House of Lords the passage of the bill for the abolition of the slave-trade, — these and the like of these teach us the use and the meaning of life.
The tree is known by its fruits. Other schools of philosophy, whatever the errors with which they are chargeable, have the merit at least of having sent forth into the world some great and noble characters by whom the world has been instructed and blest. But what, if we except some volumes of poetry, what has the Epicurean produced that has earned or deserves the thanks of mankind? Out of that garden which bore the inscription, "Here pleasure is the supreme good," nothing better than the love of pleasure could ever proceed, nothing better could it ever attract. "But out of the school of Epicurus," says Plutarch, "and from among those that follow his doctrine, I will not ask what tyrant-killer has proceeded, nor yet what man valiant and victorious in feats of arms, what lawgiver, what prince, what counsellor, what governor of the people. Neither will I demand who of them has been tormented or died for supporting of right and justice; but who of all these sages has for the benefit and service of his country undertaken so much as a voyage at sea, gone of an embassy, or expended a sum of money."1
So far and no farther could Athenian atheism reach with its precepts. Its purest product was Epicurean wisdom; and in that there was no power to lift a man above himself, nothing of the spirit that overcomes the world, no adequate interpretation, much less satisfaction, of the wants of man. The school of Epicurus is long since extinct, but the Epicurean mind survives; it prevails at this moment as widely perhaps as in any past age. Something of the Garden cleaves to our time. Our very reforms betray it; our philosophies are steeped in it. Carlyle alone, the Cato Censor of the century, is uncorrupted by it. Universal relaxation of discipline, abolition of all pain, retribution ignored, all strengths and austerities ruled out of life; softness in legislation and education, general amnesty of treasons and rascalities in this world, indiscriminate and unconditional bestowal of bliss in the next, — behold the spirit and creed of our day! As a counterpoise to this daintiness and dissoluteness of theory and practice, one is tempted to oppose the bracing rigor of the Porch. The world is no garden, and
1 Plutarch against Colotes. Old English Version.
life no lullaby of endless blandishments. The individual, if he means to grow into a consummate spirit, must pass through wars and fightings to inward peace, must struggle up through want and weakness and bitter pain to light and freedom.
"Mortal that standest on a point of time,
With an eternity on either hand, Thou hast one duty above all sublime,
Where thou art placed, serenely there to stand. 'T is well in deeds of good, tho' small, to thrive,
'Tis well some part of ill, tho' small, to cure, "Tis well with onward,upward hope to strive;
Yet better and diviner to endure."
TV VTY first example of philosophic atheism was drawn from the schools of ancient wisdom. I have spoken of Epicurus, a founder of one of those schools, a member of the great Socratic movement which survived the edict of Justinian, which passed into Christian history through Arabian savans, and spent itself in mediaeval scholarsticism. My second example shall be a modern, a philosopher of this century, a member of the Kantian movement, a name of note in metaphysic,— Arthur Schopenhauer. I select this German partly as being the only modern atheist who seems to me really profound, and partly because of the points of contrast between him and Epicurus, showing the range of the atheistic mind. The contrast is striking. Epicurus was a flat materialist; Schopenhauer an out-and-out idealist. Epicurus was an optimist; Schopenhauer a pessimist. Epicurus was sunny-tempered, bland, humane ; Schopenhauer was a cynic and malcontent. Epicurus gathered his followers around him in a garden, and invited the world to partake of his cheer; Schopenhauer shut himself up in a German Studierzimmer, and wreaked with curses on the world his spite at the world's neglect of his wisdom. Epicurus despised and decried all learning; Schopenhauer was richly, widely, profoundly learned. Epicurus exhorts us to make the most of life; Schopenhauer teaches that renunciation of the will to live is the true wisdom. Epicurus lived abstemiously, and taught that pleasure is man's chief end; Schopenhauer lived daintily, and taught that the end of man is suffering.
Arthur, son of Heinrich Floris and Johanna Henrietta Schopenhauer, was born at Danzig, in East Prussia, an important seaport of the Baltic, on the 22d of February, 1788. He should have been a native of England, to which country his father, an ardent lover of liberty and of English institutions, had repaired with that intent; but the illness of the mother compelled them to return before the expected birth. It could not be that a Kantian should be born out of Germany. The name Arthur was given him with a view to mercantile life; it was a name which foreign correspondents would not need to translate, being in all European languages the same. A portion of his boyhood was spent in France, and a portion in England ; whereby the foundation was laid of a thorough acquaintance with the languages of those countries, which, together with Italian, he spoke with fluency in after years. In spite of his earnest remonstrance