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"Mustn't do that," objected Si. "Put angwintum on you and get wet, and you'll be salivated. You ought to know that."
On passing from Seneca to Epicttus, we find that the religious element has received a considerable accession of strength, so considerable, indeed, that the simple progress of time will not altogether account for it. Something is due to the superior devoutness of the Eastern mindEpicttus was a Phrygian,and still more to the difference in station between the two philosophers. As a noble, Seneca belonged to the class which was naturally most inclined to adopt an independent attitude towards the popular beliefs; as a slave, Epicttus belonged to the class which was naturally most amenable to their authority. It was, however, no accident that philosophy should, at a distance of only a generation, be represented by two such widely contrasted individuals; for the whole tendency of Roman civilisation was, as we have seen, to bring the Oriental element and the servile element of society into ever-increasing prominence. Nothing proves the ascendency of religious considerations in the mind of Epicttus more strongly than his aversion from the physical enquiries which were eagerly prosecuted by Seneca. Nature interests him solely as a manifestation of divine wisdom and goodness. As a consequence of this intensified religious feeling, the Stoic theory of natural law is transformed, with Epicttus, into an expression of filial submission to the divine will, while the Stoic teleology becomes an enumeration of the blessings showered by providence on man. In the latter respect, his standpoint approaches very near to that of Socrates, who, although a free-born Athenian citizen, belonged, like him, to the poorer classes, and sympathised deeply with their feeling of dependence on supernatural protection,a remark which also applies to the humble day-labourer244 Cleanthes. Epicttus also shares the idea, characteristic of the Platonic rather than of the Xenophontic Socrates, that the philosopher is entrusted with a mission from God, without which it would be perilous for him to undertake the office of a teacher, and which, in the discharge of that office, he should keep constantly before his eyes. But the dialectical element which with Socrates had furnished so strong a counterpoise to the authoritative and traditional side of his philosophy, is almost entirely wanting in the discourses of his imitator, and the little of it which he admits is valued only as a means of silencing the Sceptics. On the other hand, the weakness and insignificance of human nature, considered on the individual side, are abundantly illustrated, and contemptuous diminutives are habitually used in speaking of its component parts.378 It would seem that the attitude of prostration before an overwhelming external authority prevented Epicttus from looking very favourably on the doctrine of individual immortality; and even if he accepted that doctrine, which seems in the highest degree improbable, it held a much less important place in his thoughts than in those of Cicero and Seneca. It would seem, also, that the Stoic materialism was betraying its fundamental incompatibility with a hope originally borrowed from the idealism of Plato. Nor was this renunciation inconsistent with the ethical dualism which drew a sharp line of distinction between flesh and spirit in the constitution of man, for the superiority of the spirit arose from its identity with the divine substance into which it was destined to be reabsorbed after death.379
"I believe the nigger kin be taught," thought the Deacon. "Probably this's some more o' Providence's workin's. Mebbe He brung this about jest to give me my share o' the work o' raisin' the fallen race."
"You say you have been having unusually exciting times," said Si to Rosenbaum, as the boys again seated themselves by the fire."If we only had a deed for a quarter section o' land around our house we'd be purty well started in life for young men," ventured Si.
"All depends on the mules," answered Si cheerily. "If this sudden spell o' goodness holds out we may get there before evening."
"Stop whippin' them mules. You only make them wuss," shouted one man authoritatively. "Tie stones to their tails.""Nothin', nothin' at all," said the woman hastily. "I don't sell vittels. Never thought o' sich a thing. Ye're welcome to all ye kin eat any time."