William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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statues to his praise ; forbade his name to be
mentioned, that they might forget their in-
justice ; and called home his banished friends
and scholars. And, by the most wise and
learned men of that age, it is observed, that
famous city was punished with the most dread-
ful plague that ever raged amongst them ; and
all Greece, with it, never prospered in any
considerable undertaking ; but from that time
always decayed.* Amongst many of his sober
and religious maxims, upon which he was ac-
customed to discoux'se with his disciples, these
are some :

He taught everywhere. That an upright
man, and an happy man, are all one. They
that do good, are employed : they that spend
their time in recreations, are idle. To do
good is the best course of life ; he only is
idle, who might be better employed. An horse
is not known by his furniture, but qualities ;
so men are to be esteemed for virtue, not
wealth. Being asked, Who lived without
trouble? he answered, Those who are con-
scious to themselves of no evil thing. To one
who demanded. What was nobility? he an-
swered, A good temper and disposition of soul

*Plat. Apolog. Diog. Laert. Helvic. Cic. Tus.
Quest. 1. xenoph. Brut. Cic. Orat. Liban. Apol.
Varro Hist. Schol. Arist.

and body. They who know what they ought
to do, and do it not, are not wise and tempe-
rate, but fools and stupid. To one who com-
plained that he had not been benefitted by his
travels ; Not without reason, says Socratesi
thou didst travel with thyself: intimating, he
knew not the mind of God to direct and in-
form him. Being demanded. What wisdom
was? he answered, A virtuous composure of
the soul. And being asked. Who were wise?
replied. Those that sin not. Seeing a young
man rich, but ignorant of heavenly things,
and pursuing earthly pleasures ; Behold, says
he, a golden slave. Soft ways of living be-
get not a good constitution of body or mind.
Fine and rich clothes are only for comedians.
Being asked, from what things men and wo-
men ought to refrain? he answered, Pleasures.
Continence and temperance, he said, were go-
vernment of corporal desires and pleasures.
The wicked live to eat, &c. but the good eat
to live. Temperate persons become the most
excellent ; eat that which neither hurts the
body nor mind, and which is easy to be got-
ten. One saying. It was a great matter to
abstain from what one desires ; But, says he,
it is better not to desire at all. This is deep
religion, even very hard to professed Chris-
tians. "It is the property of God, to need
nothing; and they who need and are contented
with least, come nearest to God. The only
and best way to worship God is, to mind and
obey whatsoever he commands. That the
souls of men and women partake of the Divine
Nature. God is seen of the virtuous minds,
and by waiting upon him, they are united
unto him, in an inaccessible place of purity
and happiness. Which God, he asserted,
always to be near him."*

Many more are the excellent sayings of
this great man, who was not less famous for
his sayings, than his example, with the great-
est nations ; yet died he a sacrifice to the
sottish fury of the vain world. The history
of his life reports, that his father was told.
He should have the Guide of his life within
him, that should be more to him than five
hundred masters ; which proved true. He in-
structed his scholars herein, charging them
not to neglect these divine affairs, which
chiefly concern man, to mind or inquire afi:er
such things as are without in the visible world.
He taught the use of outward things only as

* Clem. Alex. Strom. 2. 417. Xen. mem. 3.
p. 720. Xen. p. 778, 779, 780. Ech. Strom. 1.
11. Stob. 4. 6. Stob. 2. 18. Xenoph. Mem. 3.
Senec. Epist. 1. 103. Stob. 28. Stob. 32. Xen.
Mem. 1. iElian. 9. Stob. 37. Stob. 87. Xen. Mem.
3. 4. ^lian. Var. Hist. 9. Stob. 37. Xenoph.
Mem. 4. 802. Plat. Phad.



they were necessary to life and commerce ;
forbidding superfluities and curiosities.* He
was martyred for his doctrine, after having
lived seventy years the most admired, followed,
and visited, of all men in his time, by kings
and commonwealths ; and than whom, anti-
quity mentions none with more reverence and
honour. Well were it for poor England, if
her conceited Christians were true Socrates ;
whose strict, just and self-denying life, doth
not bespeak him more famous, than it will
Christians infamous at the revelation of the
righteous judgment ; where heathen virtue
shall aggravate Christian intemperance ; and
their humility, the others excessive pride : and
justly too, since a greater than Socrates is
come, whose name they profess, but will not
obey his law.f

64. Plato, that famous philosopher and
scholar to Socrates, was so grave and devoted
to divine things, nay, so discreetly politic, that
in his commonwealth he would not so much
as harbour poetical fancies, much less open
stages, as being too effeminate, and apt to
withdraw the minds of youth from more noble,
more manly, as well as more heavenly exer-
cises.:}: Plato, seeing a young man play at
dice, reproved him sharply ; the other an-
swered. What! for so small a matter? Cus-
tom, saith Plato, is no small thing : let idle
hours be spent more usefully. Let youth take
delight in good things ; for pleasures are the
baits of evil. Observe ; the momentary sweet-
ness of a delicious life is followed with eternal
sorrow ; the short pain of the contrary with
eternal pleasure.^ Being commanded to put
on a purple garment by the king of Sicily, he
refused, saying. He was a man, and scorned
such effeminacies. Inviting Timothy, the
Athenian general, to supper, he treated him
with herbs, water, and such spare diet as he
was accustomed to eat. Timothy's friends
next day, laughing, asked, how he was enter-
tained? he answered. Never better in his life;
for he slept all night afteT his supper: thereby
commending his temperance. He addicted
himself to religious contemplations ,• and is
said to have lived a virtuous and single life,
always eyeing and obeying the Mind, which
he sometimes called God, the Father of all
things ; affirming. Who lived so, should be-
come like him, and so be related to, and
joined with, the Divinity itself.|| This same
Plato, upon his dying-bed, sent for his friends
about him, and told them, The whole world

* Xen. Mem. 1. p. 710.

f Xen. Mem. 4. Plato de Legib.

\ Plato de Rep.

{ Diog. Laert in vit. Xen. Crat. Stob. iElian.

II Alcinous.

was out of the way, in that they understood
not, nor regarded the Mind, that is, God, or
the Word, or Begotten of God, assuring
them. Those men died most comfortably, who
lived most conformable to right reason, and
sought and adored the First Cause, meaning

65. Antisthenes, an Athenian philosopher,
had taught in the study of eloquence several
years ; but upon hearing Socrates treat of the
seriousness of religion, of the divine life,
eternal rewards, &c. " bade all his scholars
seek a new master ; for he had found one
for himself." Wherefore selling his estate,
he distributed it to the poor, and betook him-
self wholly to the consideration of heaven-
ly things ; going cheerfully six miles every
day, to hear Socrates.** — Where are the like
preachers and converts amongst the people
called Christians ! Observe the daily pains of
Socrates ; surely he did not study a week to
read a written sermon : we are assured of the
contrary ; for it was frequent with him to
preach to the people at any time of the day,
in the very streets, as occasion served, and as
he was moved. Neither was he an hireling,
or covetous ; for he did it gratis : surely then
he had not set benefices, tithes, glebes, &c.
And let the self-denial and diligence of Antis-
thenes be considered, who, of a philosopher
and master, became a scholar, and that a daily
one : it was then matter of reproach, as it is
now ; showing thereby • both want of know-
ledge, though called a philosopher, and his
great desire to obtain it of one who could teach
him. None of these used to go to plays, balls,
treats, &c. They found more serious employ-
ment for their minds, and were examples of
temperance to the world. I will repeat some
grave sentences, as reported by Laertius and
others, namely, That those are only noble
who are virtuous. That virtue was self-suffi-
cient to happiness ; that it consisteth in. ac-
tions, not requiring many words, nor much
learning, and is self-sufficient to wisdom : for
that all other things have reference thereunto.
That men should not govern by force, nor by
laws, unless good, but by justice. To a
friend, complaining he had lost his notes,
Thou shouldest have written them upon thy
mind, saith he, and not in a book. Those
who would never die, must live justly and
piously. Being asked. What learning was
best? That, saith he, which unlearneth evil.
To one that praised a life full of pleasures
and delicacies ; Let the sons of my enemies,
saith he, live delicately: counting it the great-
est misery. We ought, says he, to aim at
such pleasures as follow honest labour ; and

** Laert. vit. Socr. iElian.



not those which go before it.* When at
any time he saw a woman richly dressed, he
would, in a way of reproach, bid her husband
bring out his horse and arms : meaning, if he
were prepared to justify the injuries such
wantonness useth to produce, he might the
better allow those dangerous freedoms: other-
wise, saith he, pluck off her rich and gaudy
attire. He is said to have exclaimed bitterly
against pleasures ; often saying, I had rather
be mad, than addicted to pleasure, and spend
my days in decking and feeding my carcass.
Those, says he, who have once learned the
way to temperance and virtue, let them not
offer to entangle themselves again "with fruit-
less stories, and vain learning ; nor be ad-
dicted to corporal delicacies, which dull the
mind, and will divert and hinder from the
pursuit of more noble and heavenly virtues, f
Upon the death of his beloved master, Socra-
tes, he instituted a sect called Cynicks ; out
of whom came the sect of the Stoics : both
•which had these common principles, which
they daily, with unwearied diligence, main-
tained and instructed people in the knowledge
of, viz. No man is wise or happy, but the
good and virtuous man. That not much
learning, nor study of many things, was ne-
cessary. That a wise man is never di'unk
nor mad : that he never sinneth ; that a wise
i.nan is void of passion; that he is sincere, re-
lii:;ious, grave : that he only is divine. That
such only are priests and prophets, who have
God in themselves. And that his law is im-
printed in their minds, and the minds of all
men. That such an one only can pray, who
is innocent, meek, temperate, ingenuous, noble;
a good magistrate, father, son, master, ser-
vant, and worthy of praise. On the con-
trary, that wicked men can be none of

Their diet was slender, their food only what
would satisfy nature. Their garments exceed-
ingly mean. Their habitations solitary and
homely. They affirmed, those who lived with
fewest things, and were contented, m'ost nearly
approached God, who wants nothing. They
voluntarily despised riches, glory and nobility,
as foolish shows and vain fictions, that had
no true and solid worth or happiness in them.
They made all things to be good and evil, and
flatly denied the idle stories of fortune and

* Stob. ibid. 117. Diog. Laert.

t Agel. lib. 9. c. 5.

X Laert. vir. mem. Laert. Plut. de rep. Stoi.
Stob. Cic. de Nat. Deo. lib. ii. Lect. de Ira Dei.
cap. 10.

5 Plut. PI. Ph. 16. Cic. Tusc. Quest. 4. Diog.
Laert. vit. Mem. Stob.

Certainly these were they, who having no
external law, " became a law unto themselves ;"
and did not abuse the knowledge they had of
the invisible God ; but according to their ca-
pacities, instructed men in the knowledge of
that righteous, serious, solid and heavenly
principle, which leads to true and everlasting
happiness all those that embrace it.

66. Xenocrates refused Alexander's pres-
ent, and treated his ambassadors after his tem-
perate and spare manner; saying. You see I
have no need of your master's bounty, who
am so well pleased with this. He would say,
That one ought not to carry one's eyes, or
one's hands into another man's house; that is,
be a busy-body. That a man ought to be
most circumspect of his actions before chil-
dren, lest by example his faults should out-live
himself. He said, Pride was the greatest ob-
struction to true knowledge. His chastity and
integrity were remarkable, and reverenced in
Athens: Phryne, the famous Athenian courte-
zan, could not place a temptation upon him ;
nor Philip, king of Macedon, a bribe ; though
the rest sent on the embassy were corrupted.
Being once brought for a witness, the judges
rose up and cried out. Tender no oath to Xen-
ocrates, for he will speak the truth! A respect
they did not allow to one another. Holding
his peace at some detracting discourse, they
asked him, why he spoke not? Because, saith
he, I have sometimes repented of speaking,
but never of holding my peace.**

67. BioN would say. That great men walk
in slippery places. That it is a great mischief
not to bear affliction. That ungodliness is an
enemy to assurance. He said to a covetous
man, That he did not possess his wealth, but
his wealth possessed him ; abstaining from
using it, as if it were another man's. In
fine. That men ought to pursue a course of
virtue, without regard to the praise or re-
proach of men.

68. Demonax, seeing the great care that
men had of their bodies, more than of their
minds ; They deck the house, saith he, but
slight the master. He would say. That many
are inquisitive after the make of the world,
but are little concerned about their own, which
were a science much more worthy of their
pains. To a city that would establish the
gladiators, or prize-fighters, he said. That they
ought first to overthrow the altar of mercy :
intimating the cruelty of such practices. One
asking him, why he turned philosopher? Be-
cause, saith he, I am a man. He would say
of the priests of Greece, If they could better
instruct the people, they could not give them

** Laert. Val. Max. 4. 3. 2. 16. Cic. pro Val.
Max. 7. 2.



too much ; but if not, the people could not
give them too little. He lamented the un-
profitableness of good laws, by being in bad
men's hands.

69. Diogenes was angry with critics, who
were nice of words, and not of their own
actions ; with musicians, who tune their in-
struments, but could not govern their passions;
with astrologers, who have their eyes in the
sky, and look not to their own goings ; with
orators, who study to speak well, but not to
do well ; with covetous men, that take care to
get, but never use their estates ; with those
philosophers, who despise greatness, and yet
court great men; and with those that sacrifice
for health, and yet surfeit themselves with
eating their sacrifices. Discoursing of the
natui'e, pleasure and reward of virtue, and
the people not regarding what he said, he fell
a singing; at which everyone pressed to hear:
whereupon he cried out in abhorrence of their
stupidity, " How much more is the world in
love with folly, than with wisdom !" Seeing a
man sprinkling himself with water, after hav-
ing done some ill thing; Unhappy man! saith
he, dost thou not know that the errors of life
are not to be washed away with water? To
one who said, Life is an ill thing ; he an-
swered. Life is not an ill thing ; but an ill life
is an ill thing. He was very temperate, for
his bed and his table he found everywhere.
One seeing him wash herbs, said. If thou
hadst followed Dionysius, king of Sicily, thou
wouldest not have needed to have washed
herbs : he answei'ed. If thou hadst washed
herbs, thou needest not to have followed Dio-
nysius. He lighted a candle at noon, saying,
I look for a man ; implying, that the world
was darkened by vice, and men effeminated.
A luxurious person, who had wasted his
means, supping upon olives ; he said to him,
If thou hadst used to dine so, thou wouldst
not have needed to sup so. To a young .man
dressing himself neatly. If this be for the sake
of men, thou art unhappy; if for women, thou
art unjust. Another time, seeing an effemi-
nate young man; Art thou not ashamed, saith
he, to use thyself worse than nature hath
made thee ? she hath made thee a man, but
thou wilt force thyself to be a woman. To
one who courted a bad woman; O wretch !
said he, what meanest thou, to ask for that
which is better lost than found 1 To one that
smelled of sweet unguents, Have a care, saith
he, this perfume make not thy life stink. He
compared covetous men to such as have the
dropsy : Those are full of money, yet desire
more : these of water, yet thirst for more.
Being asked. What beasts were the worst? In
the field, saith he, bears and lions; in the city,
usurers and flatterers. At a feast, one giving

him a great cup of wine, he threw it away ;
for which being blamed. If I had drank it,
saith he, not only the wine would have been
lost, but I also. One asking him, how he
might order himself best? he said. By reprov-
ing those things in thyself, which thou blamest
in others. Another demanding, what was
hardest? he answered, To know ourselves,
to whom we are partial. Being asked, what
men were most noble ? They, saith he, who
contemn wealth, honour and pleasure, and en-
dure the contraries, to wit, poverty, scorn,
pain and death. To a wicked man, reproach-
ing him for his poverty ; I never knew, saith
he, any man punished for his poverty, but
many for their wickedness. To one bewail-
ing himself that he should not die in his own
country ; Be of comfort, saith he, for the
way to heaven is alike in every place. One
day he went backwards ; whereat the people
laughing, Are you not ashamed, saith he, to
do that all your life-time, which you deride
in me?

70. Crates, a Theban, famous for his self-
denial and virtue ; descended from the house
of Alexander, of great estate, at least two
hundred talents, which he distributed mostly
among the poor citizens, and became a con-
stant professor of the Cynick philosophy.
He exceedingly inveighed against common
women. Seeing at Delphos a golden image,
that Phryne, the courtezan, had set up, by the
gains of her trade, he cried out. This is a
trophy of the Greeks' intemperance. Seeing
a young man highly fed, and fat ; Unhappy
youth, saith he, do not fortify thy prison. To
another followed by a great many parasites ;
Young man, saith he, I am sorry to see thee
so much alone. Walking one day upon the
exchange, where he beheld people mighty busy
after their divers callings; These people, saith
he, think themselves happy; but I am happy
that have nothing to do with them : for my
happiness is in poverty, not in riches.* Oh !
men do not know how much a wallet, a mea-
sui'e of lupins, with security, is worth. Of
his wife, Hipparchia, a woman of wealth and
extraction, but nobler for her love to true
philosophy, and how they came together, •
there will be occasion to make mention in
its place.

71. Aristotle, a scholar to Plato, and the
oracle of philosophy to these very times,
though not so divinely contemplative as his
master, nevertheless follows him in this; That
luxury should by good discipline be exiled
human societies. f Aristotle seeing a youth
gazincr on his fine cloak, said to him. Why
dost thou boast of a sheep's fleece ? Ho

* Laert. f ^^oh. Strom. 45.



said, It was the duty of a good man to live
under laws, as he would do if there were

72. Mandanis, a great and famous philoso-
pher of the Gymnosophists, whom Alexander
the great required to come to the feast of Ju-
piter's son, meaning himself, declaring. That
if he came he should be rewarded ; if not, he
should be put to death. The philosopher con-
temned his message, as vain and sordid ; he
first told them. That he denied him to be
Jupiter's son, a mere fiction. Next, That as
for his gifts, he esteemed them nothing worth ;
his own country could furnish him with ne-
cessaries ; beyond which he coveted nothing.
And lastly. As for the death he threatened, he
did not fear it ; but of the two, he wished it
rather ; in that, saith he, it is a change to a
more blessed and happy state. f

73. Zeno, the great Stoic, and author of
that philosophy, had many things admirable
in him; which he not only said, but practised.
He was a man of great integrity, and so
reverenced for it by the Athenians, that they
deposited the keys of the city in his hands,
as the only person fit to be entrusted with
their liberties : yet by birth a stranger, being
of Psittacon in Cyprus.:}:

He would say. That nothing was more un-
seemly than pride, especially in youth, which
was a time of learning. He therefore recom-
mended to young men modesty in three things;
in their walking, in their behaviour, and in
their apparel : often repeating those verses of
Euripides, in honour of Capaneus :

He was not pufl up with his store ;
Nor thought himself above the poor.

Seeing a man very finely dressed, stepping
lightly over a kennel ; That man, saith he,
doth not care for the dirt, because he could
not see his face in it. He also taught, that
people should not affect delicacy of diet, not
even in sickness. Seeing a friend of his taken
too much up with the business of his land ;
Unless thou lose thy land, saith he, thy land
will lose thee. Being demanded. Whether a
man that doth wrong, may conceal it from
God? No, saith he, nor yet he who thinks it.
Which testifies to the omnipresence of God.
Being asked, Who was his best friend ? he
answered, My other self; intimating the divine
part that was in him. He would say, The
end of man was not to live, eat and drink ;
but to use this life so, as to obtain an happy
life hereafter. He was so humble, that he
conversed with mean and ragged persons ;
whence Timon thus :

* Stob. 161. ibid. 46.
X Stob. 161. Laert.

t Stob. 161. ibid. 46.

And for companions gets of servants store,
Of all men the most empty, and most poor.

He was patient and frugal in his household
expenses. Laertius saith, he had but one
servant : Seneca avers, he had none. He
was mean in his clothes; and his diet is thus
described by Philemon :

He water drinks, then broth and herbs doth eat ;
Teaching his scholars almost without meat.

His chastity was so eminent, that it became a
proverb; As chaste as Zeno. When the news
of his death came to Antigonus, he broke
forth into these words. What an object have I
lost ? And being asked. Why he admired him
so much 1 Because, saith he, though I be-
stowed many great things upon him, he was
never exalted or dejected therewith. The
Athenians, after his death, by a public decree,
erected a statue to his memory ; it runs thus :
" Whereas, Zeno, the son of Mnaseas, a Scy-
thian, has professed philosophy about fifty-
eight years in this city, and in all things
performed the office of a good man, encou-
raging those young men, who applied them-
selves to him, to the love of virtue and tempe-
rance, leading himself a life suitable to the
doctrine which he professed ; a pattern to the
best to imitate ; the people have thought fit to
do honour to Zeno, and to crown him with a
crown of gold, according to law, in reward
of his virtue and temperance, and to build a
tomb for him, publicly in the Ceramick," &c.
These two were his epitaphs, one by Antipater :

Here Zeno lies, who tall Olympus scal'd ;

Not heaping Pelion on Ossa's head :
Nor by Herculean labours so prevail'd ;

But found out virtue's paths, which thither led.

The other by Xenodotus, the Stoic, thus: —

Zeno, thy years to hoary age were spent,
Not with vain riches, but with self-content.

74. Seneca, a great and excellent philoso-
pher, who, with Epictetus, shall conclude the
testimonies of the men of their character,
hath so much to our purpose, that his works
are but a kind of continued evidence for us :
he saith. Nature was not so much an enemy, as
to give an easy passage through life to all other .
creatures, and that man alone should not live
without so many arts : she hath commanded
us none of these things. We have made all
things difficult to us, by disdaining things that
are easy: houses, clothes, meats, and nourish-
ment of bodies, and those things M^hich are
now the care of life, are easy to come by,
freely gotten, and prepared with light labour :

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