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days temperately, he arrived at the eighty-first, or, according to some writers, the seventy-ninth, year of his age, and died, through the mere decay of nature, in the first year of the 108th Olympiad. He passed his whole life in a state Df celibacy, and therefore left no natural heirs, but transferred his effects by will to his friend Adiamantus. The grove and garden, which had been the scene of his philosophical labours, at last afforded him a sepulchre. Statues and altars were erected to his memory; the day of his birth long continued to be celebrated as a festival by his followers; and his portrait is to this day preserved in gems; but the most lasting monuments of his genius are his writings, which have been transmitted, without material injury, to the present times.—The personal char. acter of Plato has been very differently represented. On the one hand, his encomiasts have not failed to adorn him with every excellence, and te express the most superstitious veneration for his memory. His enemies, on the other, have not scrupled to load him with reproach, and charge him with practices shamefully inconsistent with the purity and dignity of the philosophical character. (Athenaus, 11, p. 507. — Diog. Laert., 3, 26.) We cannot so implicitly adopt the panegyrics of the former, as to suppose him to have been free from human frailties; and we have a right to require much better proofs than his calumniators have adduced, before we can suppose him to have been capable of sinking, from the sublime speculations of philosophy, into the most infamous vices. The reproaches with which Plato has been assailed, as having boasted that he could supply their master's place to the bereaved disciples of Socrates, but ill agrees with the pious affection with which he bewailed his death, and ascribed to him, as the fruits of his lessons, his whole philosophy. Nor can we help thinking that there is much injustice in the charge brought against him, of malice and ill feeling towards his fellow-scholars; though, at the same time, we must admit, that, to all appearances, he did not cultivate a very intimate friendship with any one among them, who afterward became illustrious in philosophy : nay, more, it appears that he reviewed with some bitterness the doctrines of Aristippus, Antisthenes, and Euclid . To the more soaring flight of his own losty views, their incomplete and exclusive notions must unquestionably have appeared unworthy of the school of Socrates, and, as they began by attacking his own system, it was but natural that Plato should retaliate with some degree of bitterness and warmth. The by no means exalted opinion entertained by Plato of his philosophical contemporaries necessarily became a farther ground for the charge against him of overweening haughtiness; and it would even appear that other causes existed for the imputation. A certain contempt for the mass of the people stands out prominently enough in his writings, while his commendation of philosophy, as opposed to common sense, might easily have been taken as personal. Besides all this, the splendour of his school, especially when compared with the simplicity and even poverty of the Socratic, seems to have betokened a degree of pretension and display, which maturally brought upon it the ridicule of the £omic writers. It cannot be dissembled, that Plato gave to philosophy and to human culture in general a tendency towards ornament and refinement, a splendour of language and form, far removed from the pristine severity and rigour, and greatly favouring the fast-growing spirit of effeininacy. His school was less a school of hardy deeds for all, than of polished culture for the higher classes, who had no other object than to enhance the enjoyment of their privileges and wealth. This remark, however, does not so much apply to Plato as to the age in which he lived, and to which nothing else was left than to Inoderate and retard the decline of morality by its intellectual progress and en

| lightenment. (Ritter, History of Philosophy, vol. 2, p. 152, Eng. tr.)—Several anecdotes are preserved, which reflect honour upon the moral principles and character of Plato. Such was his command of temper, that, when he was listing up his hand to correct his servant for some offence, perceiving himself angry, he kept his arm fixed in that posture, and said to a friend, who at that moment asked him what he was doing, “I am punishing a passionate man.”—At an: other time, he said to one of his slaves, “I would chastise you if I were not angry.”—At the Olympic games he happened to pass a day with some strangers, who were much delighted with his easy and aiiable conversation, but were no farther informed concerning him than that his name was Plato ; for he had purposely avoided saying anything respecting Socrates or the Academy. At parting, he invited them, when they should visit Athens, to take up their residence at his house. Not long afterward they accepted his invitation, and were courteously entertained. During their stay, they requested that he would introduce them to his namesake, the famous philosopher, and show them his Academy. Plato, smiling, said, “I am the person you wish to see.” The discovery surprised them exceedingly ; for they could not easily persuade themselves that so eminent a philosopher would condescend to converse so familiarly with strangers. (AElian, War. Hist., 4, 9.)—When Plato was told that his enemies were busily employed in circulating reports to his disadvantage, he said, “I will live so that none shall believe them.”—One of his friends, remarking that he seemed as desirous to learn himself as to teach others, asked him how long he intended to be a scholar. “As long,” replied he, “as I am not ashamed to grow wiser and better.”—It is from the writings of Plato chiefly that we are to form a judgment of his merit as a philosopher, and of the service which he rendered to science. No one can be conversant with these without perceiving that his actions always retained a strong tincture of that poetical spirit which he discovered in his first productions. This is the principal ground of those lofty encomiums which both ancient and modern critics have passed upon his style, and particularly of the high estimation in which it was held by Cicero, who, treating of the subject of diction, says, “That if Jupiter were to speak in the Greek tongue, he would use the language of Plato.” (De Orat., 3, 20.)— The accurate Stagirite describes it as “A middle species of diction, between verse and prose.” (Arist., ap. Laert.) Some of his dialogues are elevated by such sublime and glowing conceptions, are enriched with such copious diction, and flow in so harmonious a rhythm, that they may be truly pronounced highly poetical. Even in the discussion of abstract subjects, the language of Plato is often clear, simple, and full of harmony. At other times, however, he becomes turgid and swelling, and involves himself in obscurities which were either the offspring of a lofty fancy, or borrowed from the Italic school. Several ancient critics have noticed these blemishes in the writings of Plato. The same inequality which is so apparent in the style of Plato, may also be observed in his conceptions. While he adheres to the school of Socrates, and discourses upon moral topics, he is much more pleasing than when he loses himself with Pythagoras, in abstruse speculations.—The dialogues of Plato, which treat of various subjects, and were written with different views, are classed by the ancients under the two heads of didactic and inquisitive. The didactic are subdivided into speculative (including physical and logical), and practical (comprehending ethical and political). The second class, the inquisitive, is characterized by terms taken from the athletic art, and divided into the gymnastic and agonistic. The dialogues termed gymnastic were imagined to be similar to the

exercise, and were subdivided into the maieutic (as resembling the teaching of the rudiments of the art); and the petrastic (as represented by a skirmish, or trial of proficiency). The agonistic dialogues, supposed to resemble the combat, were either endeictic (as exhibiting specimens of skill), or anatreptic (as presenting the spectacle of a perfect defeat). Instead of this whimsical classification, they may more properly be divided into physical, logical, ethical, and political. —The writings of Plato were originally collected by Hermodorus, one of his pupils. One circumstance it is particularly necessary to remark: that, among other things which Plato received from foreign philosophy, he was careful to borrow the art of concealing his real opinions. His inclination towards this kind of concealment appears from the obscure language which abounds in his writings, and may indeed be learned from his own express assertions. “It is a difficult thing,” he observes, “to discover the nature of the Creator of the universe; and, being discovered, it is impossible, and would even be impious, to expose the discovery to vulgar understandings.” This concealed method of philosophizing he was induced to adopt from a regard to personal safety, and from motives of vanity. (Enfield's History of Philosophy, vol. 1, p. 206, seqq.)—Plato, by his philosophical education, and the superiority of his natural talents, was placed on an eminence which gave him a commanding view of the systems of his contemporaries, without allowing him to be involved in their prejudices. (Sophista, vol. 2, p. 252, 265, ed. Bip —Cratyl, p. 345, 286). He always considered theoretical and practical philoso. phy as forming essential parts of the same whole ; and thought it was only by means of true philosophy that human nature could attain its proper perfection. (De Repub, vol. 7, p. 76, ed. Bip.)—His critical acquaintance with preceding systems, and his own advantages, enabled Plato to form more adequate notions of the proper end, extent, and character of philosophy. Philosophy he defined to be science, propcrly so called. The source of knowledge he pronounced to be, not the evidence of our senses, which are occupied with contingent matter, nor yet the understanding, but Reason (Phaedo, vol. 1, p. 225, ed. Bip.), whose object is that which is inrariable and alsolute (To vros ov.–Phaedr., vol. 10, p. 247, ed. Bip ). He held the doctrine of the existence in the soul of certain innate ideas (vožuata), which form the basis of our conceptions, and the elements of our prac. tical resolutions. To these 16eat, as he termed them (the eternal Tapačeiyuata, types and models of all things, and the prai, or principles of our knowledge), we refer the infinite variety of individual objects presented to us (Tö hiretpov and Tū to 27.4). Hence it follows, that all these details of knowledge are not the results of experience, but only developed by it. The soul recollects the ideas, in proportion as it becomes

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the world is filled ; the process being that of recalling

to mind the circumstances of a state of pre-existence. (Phaedo, vol. 1, p 74, 75. Phaedr, vol. 10, p. 249) Inasmuch as the objects thus presented to the mind correspond in part with its ideas, they must have some principle in common ; that principle is the Divinity. who has formed these external objects after the model of the ideas. (De Repub, 6, vol. 7, p. 116, seq.m.— Tim , vol. 9, p. 348) Such are the fundamental doc. trines of the philosophy of Plato ; in accordance with which he placed the principles of identity and contradiction among the highest laws of philosophy (Phaedr., vol. 10, p. 226, 230 – De Repub, 6, vol. 7, p. 122, &c.), and drew a distinction between Empirical knowl. edge and Rational; the one being derived from the Intellectual, the other from the External world (kóg. stoc ala(mróc and vom Tóc) : making the latter the only true object of philosophy.--The division of philosophy into Logic (Dialectics), Metaphysics (Physiology or

Physics), and Morals (the Political Science), has been principally brought about by Plato (Sertus ad. Math, 7, 16), who clearly laid down the chief attributes of each of these sciences, and their mutual dependencies, and distinguished also between the analytical and synthetical methods. Philosophy, therefore, is under great obligation to him, quoad formam. She is no less indebted to him for the lights he has thrown upon the above parts considered separately; though he did not profess to deliver a system of each, but continually excited the attention of others, in order to farther discoveries.—Plato considered the soul to be a selfacting energy (airo Šavrò Kurońv.–De Leg., 10, vol. 9, p. 88, seqq.); and, viewed as combined with the body, he distinguished in it two parts, the rational (Zoysarukoc voic), and the irrational or animal (āzoyaruków or truthum Tuków), mutually corrected by a sort of middle term (91.16c or To ovuoetóēs). The animal part has its origin in the imprisonment of the soul in the body; the intellectual still retains a consciousness of the Ideas, whereby it is capable of returning to the happy condition of spirits. In Plato we discover also a more complete discrimination of the faculties of knowledge, sensation, and volition (De Repub., 4, vol. 6, p. 367, ed. Bip ), with admirable remarks on their operations, and on the different species of perception, of sensation, of motives determining the will, as well as the relations between thought and speech. (Theat., ed. Steph., o 189, E., seqq.— Phileb., p. 38, D)–Plato has rendered no less ser-. vice to philosophy by affording it the first sketch of the laws of thought, the rules of propositions, of conclusions, and proof, and of the analytic method : the distinction drawn between the Universal (kotvöy) and Substance (oinia); and the Particular and the Accidental. He diligently investigated the characteristics of Truth, and detected the signs of the phenomenon or apparent Truth. To him we owe the first attempt at the construction of a philosophical language (in the Cratylus); the first development of an abstract idea." of knowledge and science; the first logical statement of the properties of Matter. Form, Substance, Accident, Cause and Effect, of Natural and Independent causes of Reality (T) ov), and of Apparent Reality (Öatváuevow); a more adequate idea of the Divinity, as a Being eminently good, with a more accurate induction of the Divine Attributes, especially the moral orcs; accompanied by remarks on the popular religion, and an essay towards a demonstration of the existence of God by reasonings drawn from Cosmology. (De Leg, 10, vol. 9, p. 68 ; 12, vol. 9, p. 229 Phileb., vol. 4, p. 224 Epinomis, vol. 9, p. 254, seqq.). He represents the Divinity as the author of the world, inasmuch as he introduced into rude matter (i.77–73 duopoov) order and harmony, by moulding it after the Ideas, and conferring, together with a rotatory motion, a harmonious body, governed, as in the case of individual animals, by a rational spirit. (Tennemann, Manual of Philos., p. 110, seqq., Johnston's transl.) —In theology, the fundamental doctrine of Plato, as of all other ancient philosophers, is, that from "...; nothing can proceed. This universal axiom, applie not only to the infinite efficient, but to the material cause, Plato, in his Timaeus, assumes as the ground of his reasoning concerning the origin of the world. In this dialogue, which comprehends his whole doctrine on the subject of the formation of the universe, matter is so manifestly spoken of as eternally coexisting with God, that this part of his doctrine could not have been mistaken by so many learned and able writers, had they not been seduced by the desire of establishing a coincidence of doctrine between the writings of Plato and Moses. It is certain that neither Cicero (Acad. Quast, 1, 6), nor Apuleius (1, p. 184), nor Alcinois (c. 12), nor even the later commentator Chalcidius,

understood their master in any other *...* as adl

mitting two primary and incorruptible principles, God and Matter. The passages quoted by those who maintain the contrary opinion are by no means sufficient for their purpose.—Matter, according to Plato, is an eternal and infinite principle. His doctrine on this head is thus explained by Cicero (Acad. Quaest., 1, 8): “Matter, from which all things are produced and formed, is a substance without sorm or quality, but capable of receiving all forms and undergoing every kind of change; in which, however, it never suffers annihilation, but merely a solution of its parts, which are in their nature infinitely divisible, and move in ortions of space which are also infinitely indivisible. K. that principle which we call quality is moved, and acts upon matter, it undergoes an entire change, and those forms are produced from which arises the diversified and coherent system of the universe.” This doctrine Plato unfolds at large in his Timaeus, and particularly insists on the notion, that matter has originally no form, but is capable of receiving any. He calls it the mother and receptacle of forms, by the union of which with matter the universe becomes perceptible to the senses ; and maintains that the visible world owes its form to the energy of the divine intellectual nature.—It was also a doctrine of Plato, that there is in matter a necessary, but blind and refractory, force; and that hence arises a propensity in matter to disorder and deformity, which is the cause of all the imperfection that appears in the works of God, and the origin of evil. On this subject Plato writes with wonderful obscurity; but, as far as we are able to trace his conceptions, he appears to have thought, that matter, from its nature, resists the will of the Supreme Artificer, so that he cannot perfectly execute his designs; and that this is the cause of the mixture of good and evil which is found in the material world. The principle opposite to matter, in the system of Plato, is God. He taught that there is an intelligent cause, which is the origin of all spiritual being, and the former of the material world. The nature of this great Being he pronounced it difficult to discover, and, when discovered, impossible to divulge. The existence of God he inferred from the marks of intelligence which appear in the form and arrangement of bodies in the visible world; and, from the unity of the material system, he concluded that the mind by which it was formed must he one. God, according to Plato, is the Supreme Intelligence, incorporeal, without beginning, end, or change, and capable of being perceived only by the mind. The i)ivine Reason, the eternal region of Ideas or forms, Plato speaks of as having always existed, and as the Divine principle which established the order of the world. He appears to have conceived of this principle, as distinct not merely from matter, but from the efficient cause, and as eternally containing within itself Ideas, or intelligible forms, which, flowing from the fountain of the divine essence, have in themselves a real existence, and which, in the formation of the visible world, were, by the energy of the efficient cause, united to matter, to produce sensible bodies.—It was another doctrine in the Platonic system, that the Deity formed the material world after a perfect archetype, which had eternally subsisted in his Reason, and endued it with a soul. “God,” says he, “produced mind prior in time as well as in excellence to the body, that the latter might be subject to the former.—From that substance, which is indivisible and always the same, and from that which is corporeal and divisible, he compounded a third kind of substance, participating in the nature of both.”—This substance, which is not eternal, but produced, and which derives the superior part of its nature from God, and the inferior from matter, Plato supposed to be the animating principle in the universe, pervading and adorning all things. This third principle in nature is, in the Platonic system, inserior to the Deity, being de

rived from that Divine Reason which is the seat of the Ideal world; herein differing fundamentally from the Stoical doctrine of the soul of the world, which supposed the essence of the Divine nature diffused through the universe. It is evident, from this account of the doctrine of Plato concerning God and the soul of the world, that it difiers materially from the doctrine of the Trinity afterward received into the Christian Church. Plato did not suppose three substances in one divine essence, separate from the visible world; but taught that the Żóyos, or Reason of God, is the seat of the intelligible world or of Ideas, and that the soul of the world is a third subordinate nature, compounded of intelligence and matter. In the language of Plato, the universe, being animated by a soul which proceeds from God, is the Son of God; and several parts of nature, particularly the heavenly bodies, are Gods. He probably conceived many subordinate divinities to have been produced at the same time with the soul of the world, and imagined that the Supreme Being appointed them to the charge of forming animal bodies, and superintending the visible world: a doctrine which he seems to have borrowed from the Pythagoreans, and particularly from Timaeus the Locrian. –Plato appears to have taught, that the soul of man is derived by emanation from God; but that this emanation was not immediate, but through the intervention of the soul of the world, which was itself debased by some material admixture; and, consequently, that the human soul, receding farther from the First Intelligence, is inserior in perception to the soul of the world. He teaches, also, in express terms, the doctrine of the immortality of the rational soul; but he has rested the proof of this doctrine upon arguments drawn from the more fanciful parts of his system. For example: In nature, all things terminate in their contraries; the state of sleep terminates in that of waking; and the reverse: so life ends in death, and death in life. The soul is a simple indivisible substance, and therefore incapable of dissolution or corruption. The objects to which it naturally adheres are spiritual and incorruptible; therefore its nature is so. All our knowledge is acquired by the reminiscence of ideas contemplated in a prior state: as the soul must have existed before this life, it is probable it will continue to exist aster it. Life being the conjunction of the soul with the body, death is nothing more than their separation. Whatever is the principle of motion must be incapable of destruction. Such is the substance of the arguments for the immortality of the soul, contained in the celebrated dialogue of the Phaedo. It is happy for mankind that their belief of this important doctrine rests upon firmer grounds than this futile reasoning. (Enfield's History of Philosophy, vol. 1, p. 229, seqq.)—The interesting research which Plato carried so far, respecting the Supreme Good, belongs to the subject of Morals. Virtue he defined to be the imitation of God, or the cffort of man to attain to a resemblance of his original; or, in other terms, a unison and harmony of all our principles and actions according to reason, whence results the highest degree of happiness. Virtue is one, but compounded of four elements: Wisdom, Courage or Constancy, Temperance, and Justice; which are otherwise termed the four cardinal virtues. Such virtues he describes as arising out of an independence of, and superiority to, the influence of the senses. In his practical philosophy Plato blended a right principle of moral obligation with a spirit of gentleness and humanity; and education he described as a liberal cultivation and moral discipline of the mind. Politics he defined to be the application, on a great scale, of the laws of morality; a society being composed of individuals, and therefore under similar obligations; and its end to be liberty and concord. In giving a sketch of his Republic, as governed according to reason, Plato had particularly an eye to the character and the political difficulties of the Greeks, connecting at the same time the discussion of this subject with his metaphysical opinions respecting the soul.—Beauty he considered to be the sensible representation of moral and physical perfection; consequently it is one with Truth and Goodness, and inspires love which leads to virtue, forming what is called Platonic love. (Tennemann, Manual, p. 117.)

I. General View of the Philosophy of Plato.

It requires, indeed, considerable knowledge of the history of philosophy to appreciate the whole influence which Plato has exercised upon the human mind; and, still more, a thorough acquaintance with his works to comprehend their real scope and depth. It is, therefore, not surprising that such an erroneous estimate of his character should generally prevail; so that, as Schleiermacher well observes (Prof. to Introd, to Dialogues), his brilliant passages should have dazzled the eyes of students until they forgot that in the mind of Plato these were but resting stones and reliefs (ne. cessary concessions to human weakness) to enable the mind to ascend to a far higher range of thought. And yet there are certain eras in the history of human reason, in which the operation of Platonism comes out in a form too striking to permit any doubt of its power or disrespect to its memory. It was something more than eloquence and fancy which Cicero, perplexed as he sometimes seems to be with the dialectical manoeuvres of Plato, discovered in those theories through which he proposed to conduct the spirit of philosophy into Rome. It was not mere ingenuity and abstraction which induced the reformers of heathenism to adopt his name, so that, in the words of Augustine (De Civil. Dei, 8, 10), “recentiores quique philosophi nobilissimi, quibus Plato sectandus placuit, noluerint se dici Peripateticos aut Academicos, sed Platonicos.” Something more than ordinary reason (and so the wisest Christians always thought) must have informed that spirit which, after lying dormant for three centuries, was resuscitated in the first age of Christianity, and entered into that body of rationalism which, whether under the name of Gnosticism or the Alexandrean School, rose up by the side of the true faith, to wrestle with its untried strength, and to bring out its full form, in precision, by struggles with an antagonist like itself. Once more, at the revival of literature, Plato was selected as the leader of the new philosophical spirit, which was to throw off the yoke of Romanism, and with it the law of Christianity. Wherever Plato has led, he has elevated and improved the human mind. He has been followed too far—farther than the Christian may follow him ; and many fatal errors have been sheltered under his name. But those which have really sprung from him have been errors of the heart; errors which have not degraded human nature, nor stified the principle of virtue. Even the scepticism of the later academics offers no exception, for it had no authority whatever in the general principles of Plato. Enthusiasm, mysticism, and fanaticism have been the extravagances of Platonism; coldness, materialism, and scepticism the perversions of Aristotle. Each, when retained in his proper subordination, has been a useful servant to the cause of Christianity. But the work which Plato has performed is far higher than that of Aristotle; one has drilled the intellect, the other disciplined the affections; one aided in sinking deep the truths of Christianity, and expanding its form, the other complicated and entangled its parts by endeavouring to reduce them to system; one supplied materials, the other lent instruments to shape them ; one fairly met the enemies of Christianity upon the ground of reason, the other secretly gave way to them without deserting the standard of authority; one, when it rebelled, rebelled openly, and threw up heresies; the other never rebelled, but engendered and

supported corruption. No men have more mistaken the nature of Plato's system than those who have regarded it as a speculative fabric, such as men of powerful intellect have wrought out at times in schools and cloisters, when the tranquillity of society enabled them to think, without any necessity for action. Much, is not all, of the Eastern philosophy was of this caste. It sprung up like a tree in the desert, very beautiful but very useless, under an atmosphere fixed and changeless, perfect in all its outlines from the absence of anything to disturb it. Such, also, was much of the new Alexandrean speculations, until Julian brought them to bear practically upon the purification of the heathen polytheism. Such also was scholasticism, and such inany of the rival theories which have since sprung up in Germany under the stimulus of a craving curiosity, which found nothing to do but to think. We shall, however, never understand the value of Plato's philosophy, and still less the arrangement and dependance of its parts, without viewing it in this light, as a practical, not a speculative, system. Even considered as a revival of the modified doctrine of Pythagoras, which, probably, is the true point of view, it is still practical. Pythagoras was full of other thoughts than the abstract relation of numbers, when he organized his wonderful society to restore something like right government and religious subordination in the republics of Magna Graecia. He was as far from dreaming away his reason in empty metaphysics, though high and abstract truth was a necessary condition of his system, as Loyola was from resting in the subtleties of scholastic theology when he created his singular polity for upholding the Romanist faith. Plato's great object was man. He lived with man, felt as a man, held intercourse with kings, interested himself deeply in the political revolutions of Sicily, was the pupil of one whose boast it was to have brought down philosophy from heaven to earth, that it might raise man up from earth to heaven; and, above all, he was a witness and actor in the midst of that serinent of humanity exhibited in the democracy of Athens. When states are at peace and property secure, and the wheels of common life move on regularly and quietly upon their fixed lines, men with active minds may sit and speculate upon the stars, or analyze ideas. But it is not so in the great convulsions of society. The object constantly before the eyes of Plato was the incorporated spirit, the uéya Upépua of human lawlessness, (Repub., 6, p. 219.) He saw it, indeed, in an exhausted state, its power passed away, its splendour torn off, and all the sores and ulcers (Gorgias, p. 109) which other demagogues had pampered and concealed, now laid bare and beyond cure. But it was still a spectacle to absorb the mind of every good and thoughtful man. The state of the Athenian democracy is the real clew to the philosophy of Plato. It would be proved, if by nothing else, by one little touch in the Republic. The Republic is the summary of his whole system, and the keystone of all the other dialogues are uniformly let into it. But the object of the Republic is to exhibit the misery of man let loose from law, and to throw out a general plan for making him subject to law, and thus to perfect his nature. It is exhibited on a large scale in the person of a state, and in the masterly historical sketch with which, in the eighth and ninth books, he draws the changes of society. Having painted in the minutest detail the form of a licentious democracy, he fixes it by the slightest allusion (it was, perhaps, all he could hazard) on the existing state of Athens; and then passes on to a frightful prophecy of that tyranny which would inevitably follow. All the other dialogues bring us to the Repub: lic, and the Republic brings us to this as its end, and aim. On this view every part of his system will fall naturally into place. Even questions apparently far: thest from any practical intention are * with his plan. most subtle analysis of our notion of being, it is to overthrow the fundamental fallacy of that metaphysical school which was denying all virtue by confounding all truth, and thus poisoning human nature at its source, and justifying the grossest crimes both of the state and of its leaders. If he returns again and again to his noble theory of Ideas, it is to fix certain immutable distinctions of right and wrong, good and evil; and to raise up the mind to the contemplation of a being of perfect goodness, prior in existence, superior in power, unamenable in its independence to those sancies and passions of mankind which had become, before the eyes of Plato, in individuals unbridled lusts, and in the state an insanity of tyranny. If in the Parmenides he takes us into the obstrusest mysteries of metaphysics—the nature of unity and number—this also was rendered necessary, not only to obviate objection to his own theory of ideas, but to fix the great doctrine of unity in a Divine Being—unity in goodness—one truth in action and thought—as opposed to that polytheism of reason which makes every man's conscience his god. It grappled also with a mystery which meets us at the foundation of every deep theory, and in the forms of every popular belief, in Christianity as well as in heathenism ; a mystery which, true in itself, as wholly distinct from man, has yet a corresponding mystery in the constitution of the human mind; and which compelled even the heathen philosopher to state the same seeming paradox for the very foundation of his system, which Christianity lays down at once as its grand and all-comprehensive doctrine. All unity implies plurality—all plurality must end in unity. So also the inquiry in the Theaetetus into the nature of science bore no resemblance whatever in its object to any mere speculative theories of Kant or his followers. It was a necessary part of that system which was to become the antagonist of the Sophists, and to contend for the preservation of truth against a ruinous sensualism and empiricism, which was sapping all the foundations of society. Even the seemingly frivolous and often wearisome subtleties which occur in the Sophist, the Euthydemus, and the Politicus, are intended as dialectical exercises for the pupil whom Plato is forming to become the saviour and guardian of a state. Even the philological absurdities of the Cratylus are to be explained in the same way. He perpetually suggests the fact in the dialogues themselves. And in the Republic (lib. 7) he gives at length the principles on which they are introduced. . . Very much of the plan of his dialogues, for reasons which he himself supplies, is purposely left in obscurity. And the test of the statement here made must lie in a careful reference to the works themselves. But it is impossible to believe that Plato, the “first of philosophers,” who made practical goodness and duty the one great end of life; whose whole history, as well as his theories, are full of views, not of speculative fancies, but of practical improvement to society (Conrip, p. 260); the friend of Dion, the adviser of Dionysius, the pupil of Socrates, the writer of the Republic and the Laws; who recognised, indeed, intellect and truth as necessary conditions of man's perfection, but made “the good and the beautiful,” his heart and his affections, the ruling principle of his actions; who never looked down upon minds beneath him without thinking of the task of education, and never raised his eyes to that image of the Deity which he had formed from all imaginable perfection, without seeing in it, not merely an abstraction of intellect, unity, identity, eternity, but goodness, and love, and justice; the Maker of the world, because he delighted in the happiness of his creatures; the Dispenser of rewards beyond the grave, the Cause of all good things (Repub., lib. 10), the Father and King of all: it is impossible to believe that such a man, with strong affections, consuminate devo

Is in the Sophist he indulges in the tion to his end, absolute unity of purpose inculcated in

all his doctrines, and exhibited in the outlines of his work, should have stood before any scene of humanity, least of all before the spectacle of an Athenian democracy, without having his whole soul possessed

by man and the relations of man, instead of things and

the relations of things; that he should have wasted those powers, so elevated and so pure, in idle subtleties; that he should have thrown out his fancies in

fragments, as one whose life was aimless ; or that,

wrought as they are in every line with a consummate art, linked together to the observing eye by ten thousand of the finest reticulations, they were not intended as a system; and as a system will come out to us when the focus is rightly adjusted, and the whole is regarded as a mighty effort to elevate man to his persection, and his persection where only it can be reached, in a social and political form. We are most anxious to fix attention on this point (let it be a fancy—take it as hypothesis, only try it), because, wherever it has been lost (and we cannot name the commentator who has wholly sound it), the whole of Plato's works have been viewed in inextricable confusion. Even Schleiermacher has sailed in his clew. Men seem to have wandered about as in a maze; here admiring, there perplexed, there completely at a stand. No order, no limits, no end. Fragments have been dealt with as wholes, and wholes as fragments; irony mistaken for earnestness, and earnestness for irony; play for the fancy gravely dealt with as meditation for the reason, and exercises for boys treated as the serious occupation of men. Spurious pieces have been admitted which destroyed all consistency of thought. Doubts raised to remove error or rouse curiosity, have been carried off as final decisions, until Plato, the very dogmatist of philosophy, has been made the ringleader of Pyrrhonists and sceptics. And even the holiest and purest of ethics, which never stopped short of its object till man's mind was withdrawn from sense and his heart was fixed upon its God, has been calumniated and perverted. But take this central position: look as a philosopher on man, and on man, in his whole personality, as a living, immortal soul, instinct with affection and feeling, which cannot rest except in beings like himself. See him vainly struggling to realize that noble creation for which he was formed at first, and to raise up a polity or church in the faculties of his own nature, and from the members of civil society; then contemplate the wreck of such a plan in the contaminated youth and remorseless tyranny of the Athenian commonwealth; all that was noble in its nature, its “lion heart” and “human reason” (Repub, lib. 9, p. 345), “starved, emaciated, and degraded:” and the “many-headed monster of its passions,” Tožvkeoazov topéupta, “howling round and tearing it to pieces:” and then a new light will fall upon the meaning and order of these works, which were intended to do all that mere philosophy could do—to raise a solemn protest against the sins which it witnessed; to overthrow the sophistries which pandered to those corruptions; to open a nobler scene; and to create some yearning for its attainment in those few untainted minds which hature had prepared for its enjoyment. In this view all will be clear: the grand close of all the dialogues in the Republic and Laws ; the striking mode in which all the rest are worked into these two ; the commencement of them in the Phaedrus, and the perfect consistency of that piece, in any other view so wild and heterogeneous; the deep, melancholy tone which pervades every allusion of Plato to scenes before his eyes; the anticipation of coming evil; the sort of prophetic elevation as he opens his “dream” of that city wherein all goodness should dwell—“whether such has ever existed in the infinity of days gone by, or even now exists in the East far from our sight and knowledge, or will be perchance hereafter”—but “which, though

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