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BOOK No. 3 PREFACEIt puzzled Sandy, and he swung around to look questioningly back at Dick. The latter, unable to see his expression, but guessing his idea, shook his head.
A possible solution came to him.
This latt'er remark was addressed to a long-legged, mangy hound that had suddenly appeared from no where, and was nosing around their breakfast with appreciative sniffs. Shorty made a dive for him, but he cleaned out the half-canteen at one comprehensive gulp, and had put a good-sized farm between him and the fire before Shorty reached it. That gentleman fairly danced with rage, and swore worse than a teamster, but the breakfast was gone beyond recovery. The other boys yelled at and gibed him, but they were careful to do it at a safe distance.
If, in the philosophy of Epicttus, physics and morality become entirely identified with religion, religion, on the other hand, remains entirely natural and moral. It is an offering245 not of prayer but of praise, a service less of ceremonies and sacrifices than of virtuous deeds, a study of conscience rather than of prophecy, a faith not so much in supernatural portents as in providential law.380 But in arriving at Marcus Aurelius, we have overstepped the line which divides rational religion from superstition. Instances of the good emperors astonishing credulity have already been given and need not be repeated. They are enough to show that his lavish expenditure on public worship was dictated by something more than a regard for established customs. We know, indeed, that the hecatombs with which his victories were celebrated gave occasion to profane merriment even in the society of that period. On one occasion, a petition was passed from hand to hand, purporting to be addressed to the emperor by the white oxen, and deprecating his success on the ground that if he won they were lost.381 Yet the same Marcus Aurelius, in speaking of his predecessor Antoninus, expressly specifies piety without superstition as one of the traits in his character which were most deserving of imitation.382 And, undoubtedly, the mental condition of those who were continually in an agony of fear lest they should incur the divine displeasure by some purely arbitrary act or omission, or who supposed that the gods might be bribed into furthering their iniquitous enterprises, was beyond all comparison further removed from true wisdom than the condition of those who believed themselves to be favoured by particular manifestations of the divine beneficence, perhaps as a recompense for their earnest attempts to lead a just and holy life. We may conclude, then, that philosophy, while injuriously affected by the supernaturalist movement, still protected its disciples against the more virulent forms of superstition, and by entering into combination with the popular belief, raised it to a higher level of feeling and of thought. It was not, however, by Stoicism that the final reconciliation of ancient religion with philosophy could be246 accomplished, but by certain older forms of speculation which we now proceed to study.Oh, his wife would know any impersonator, argued Dick. So will Jeff.
"He can't git into no wagon o' mine," said the teamster surlily. "Government wagons ain't no passenger coaches for runaway niggers. I didn't hire to haul niggers on pleasure excursions. That ain't no part of a white man's bizniss. Let him walk alongside."