He had, however, already begun to look sourly upon Aristotle and the current scholastic theology, which he believed hid the simple truth of the gospel and the desperate state of mankind, who were taught a vain reliance upon outward works and ceremonies, when the only safety lay in throwing oneself on God's mercy.
He went so far as to assert that, where one assumes that at some time there was no living being in the world, all one means is that there was besides oneself no other central part to whom one's counterparts might also be counterparts.
He fully recognized that his good was capable of being realized only in successive parts, and gave even exaggerated emphasis to the rule of seeking the pleasure of the moment, and not troubling oneself about a dubious future.
It was not peculiarly connected with Mecca; at Taff, for example, it was customary on return to the city after an absence to present oneself at the sanctuary, and there shear the hair (Muh.
But natural realism, as finally interpreted by Hamilton, was too dogmatic, too unsystematic, and too confused with elements derived from Kantian idealism to withstand the brilliant criticism of Mill's Examination of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy (1865), a work which for a time almost persuaded us that Nature as we know it from sensations is nothing but permanent possibilities of sensation, and oneself only a series of states of consciousness.
This idea that to partake of sacrifice is to devote oneself to the deity, lies at the root of the ancient idea of worship, whether Jewish or heathen; and St Paul uses it as being readily understood.
Manichaean ethics is not merely negative, however, since it is necessary to cherish, strengthen and purify the elements of light, as well as free oneself from the elements of darkness.
Second: To the native Indian of Peru, the continual sight of the snowhowdahed Andes conveys naught of dread, except, perhaps, in the mere fancying of the eternal frosted desolateness reigning at such vast altitudes, and the natural conceit of what a fearfulness it would be to lose oneself in such inhuman solitudes.
In time, however, the tendency to withdraw from society and give oneself up wholly to the practice of religious and ascetical exercises set in; and at any rate in Egypt, at the middle of the 3rd century, it was the custom for such ascetics to live in solitary retirement in the neighbourhood of the towns and villages.
But it was impossible to smarten oneself up or move to another place, because of the crowd.