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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/306

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tating their mythical forefathers in the solemn celebration of this mystic rite.

It is interesting to note the rhetorical and metaphorical survivals of this once strong conviction. In referring to political parties in France the Journal des Débats recently remarked: "It is not true that our nation consists of two nations—the heirs of the Emigration and those of the Revolution. This distinction no longer exists. The last vestiges of it have been obliterated on the battlefields, where all Frenchmen have mingled their blood. France is henceforth one and indivisible."

The noble sentiment expressed by the Greek comic poet Menander and handed down to us in the language of Terence, his Roman imitator, "I am a man, and regard nothing human as alien to me," was doubtless shared by many individual thinkers of antiquity, especially among the Greek Stoics and their Roman disciples. Cicero, who may be taken as one of the most eminent representatives of this ethical school, lays great stress upon "love of mankind" (caritas generis humani), in distinction from the love of kindred or countrymen. "A man," he says, "should seek to promote the welfare of every other man, whoever he may be, for the simple reason that he is a man"; and declares that this principle is the bond of universal society and the foundation of all law. He returns to this topic again and again, and never tires of enforcing this doctrine as fundamental in his treatises on duties (De Officiis), on the highest good and evil (De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum), and on laws (De Legibus). That he regarded this broad, cosmopolitan view as a new departure in ethics is evident from his remark that "he whom we now call a foreigner (peregrinum) was called an enemy (hostis) by our ancestors."

The distinguished Christian apologist Lucius Lactantius bases the duty of human kindness upon the hypothesis of human kinship, thus reviving and amplifying the old tribal notion which limits moral obligation to those who can claim a common progenitor. "For, if we all derive our origin from one man, whom God created, we are plainly of one blood; and therefore it must be deemed the greatest wickedness to hate a man, even though he be guilty." He adds that "we are to put aside enmities and to soothe and allay the anger of those who are inimical to us by reminding them of their relationship. . . . On account of this bond of brotherhood God teaches us never to do evil, but always to do good." He also quotes a passage from the Epicurean Lucretius to the effect that "we are all sprung from a heavenly seed and have all of us the same father"; and draws from this statement the conclusion that "they who injure men are to be accounted as savage beasts."

Lactantius has been surnamed the Christian Cicero, but the