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אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים

Psalm xiv., 1.

הֲלֹא אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת־הָאָרֶץ אֲנִי מָלֵא נְאֻם יְהוָה

Jeremiah, xxiii., 24. 'Εν αυτώ γαρ ζώμεν, και κινούμεθα, και έσμεν.

Acts, xvii., 28.

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Πιστεύσαι γάρ δει τον προσερχόμενον τω θεώ, ότι 'ΕΣΤΙ, και τοις εκζητούσιν αυτόν μισθαποδότης γίνε

ται.

Hebrews, xi., 6.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by

Harper & BROTHERS, In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.

TO THE

REV. ELIPHALET NOTT, D.D.,

THE VENERABLE AND VENERATED PRESIDENT OF UNION COLLEGE

MY REVERED ALMA MATER,

THIS WORK

*s most respectfully Xnscríbed,

IN REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE LESSONS, BOTH OF THEORET

ICAL AND PRACTICAL WISDOM, WHICH HAVE AIDED

IN FORMING THE MINDS AND CHARACTERS

OF SO LARGE A PORTION

OF

THE EDUCATED MEN OF OUR LAND.

INTRODUCTION.

it may

re

It is generally agreed among those who hold The Laws of Plato to be a genuine production, that it was a treatise written in his old

age.
If so,

be garded as containing his most matured and best-settled opinions on many of the great subjects discussed in his other dialogues. Some have thought that they discovered many contradictions between this work and the Republic. One has even gone so far as to say that they are opposed in every page. In this opinion, however, we cannot concur; although it must be admitted that they differ in respect to style, and, notwithstanding the near relationship which would seem to be indicated by their titles, are very dissimilar in design. In the one, the State is the main subject of discussion ; in the other it is a secondary part, subordinate to what the writer evidently regards as a higher and more philosophical investigation into the nature of right or righteousness. The practice of contrasting these two works has arisen from a wrong view of the true title of the one generally styled the Republic. Its most appropriate designation is IIepi Alkalov, or, An Inquiry into the Nature of Right. The imaginary State is evidently made subservient to this, or, as he expressly tells us in the second book, intended only as a model of the human soul, so magnified that we might read therein, in large letters, what would not be distinct enough for the mental vision when examined in the smaller characters of the individual spirit. Vide lib. ii., 369, A. This comparison of the soul to a commonwealth has been a favourite, not only with Plato, but with the most philosophical minds in all ages. We find it on a much smaller scale in the eleventh book of The Laws, where the Nightly Conference, or the most solemn legislative and judicial body in the state, is compared to the head in the human system. In the Republic it is the great idea, to which the construction of the fancied State is altogether secondary. Sometimes, however, it must be admitted, the author seems so taken up with this imaginary commonwealth, that he unconsciously, perhaps, brings it into the primary place, and thus distorts his plan. It is this occasional forgetfulness of his main design that has introduced into Plato's Republic those incongruities which, in all ages, have been so much complained of. Sometimes the consistency of the under or fictitious part is overlooked, or, in other words, the State is utterly forgotten, while we are carried away to some of the most abstruse of all metaphysical discussions, such as may be found in the sixth and seventh books. Again, his attention seems to be so occupied with the outward drapery that he loses sight of his main theme, and, pleased with the efforts of his own fancy, dwells at great length on what, in reality, is merely external to the higher and inner sense. In the third, fourth, and last three books, the harmony of primary and secondary is well preserved. In the sixth and seventh he seems to lose sight of the commonwealth almost wholly, while in some parts of the second he appears to have nothing else before him. The fifth may be regarded as a sort of hybrid production, arising from a confusion of both views. Some of its arrangements are altogether too unnatural to allow the supposition that they were ever intended for a real State ; and yet it is very difficult to discover what bearing they can have upon the

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