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Against Epicurus.

Even Epicurus is sensible that we are by nature sociable beings; but having once placed our good in the mere outward shell, he can say nothing [p. 1077] afterwards inconsistent with that; for again, he strenuously maintains that we ought not to admire or accept anything separated from the nature of good, and he is in the right to maintain it. But how, then, arise any affectionate anxieties, unless there be such a thing as natural affection towards our offspring? Then why do you, Epicurus, dissuade a wise man from bringing up children? Why are you afraid that upon their account he may fall into anxieties? Does he fall into any for a mouse, that feeds within his house? What is it to him, if a little mouse bewails itself there? But Epicurus knew that, if once a child is born, it is no longer in our power not to love and be solicitous for it. On the same grounds he says that a wise man will not engage himself in public business, knowing very well what must follow. If men are only so many flies, why should he not engage in it?

And does he, who knows all this, dare to forbid us to bring up children? Not even a sheep, or a wolf, deserts its offspring; and shall man? What would you have, that we should be as silly as sheep? Yet even these do not desert their offspring. Or as savage as wolves? Neither do these desert them. Pray, who would mind you, if he saw his child fallen upon the ground and crying? For my part, I am of opinion that your father and another, even if they could have foreseen that you would have been the author of such doctrines, would not have thrown you away. [p. 1078]


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