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The education of the Greeks exhibits a progressive development The ideal of Athenian education was the completely developed man Beauty of mind and body the cultivation of every inborn faculty and energy harmony between thought and life decorum temperance and regularity - such were the results aimed at in the home and in the school in social intercourse and in civic relations We are lovers of the beautiful said Pericles yet simple in our tastes and we cultivate the mind without loss of manliness Thucydides II 40 The Greeks indeed laid stress on courage temperance and obedience to law and if their theoretical disquisitions -- or those of the Christians for that matter -- could be taken as fair accounts of their actual practice it would be difficult to find among the products of human thinking a more exalted ideal The essential weakness of their moral education was the failure to provide any adequate sanction -- eg the fear of Hell and damnation - for the principles they formulated and the counsels they gave their youth The practice of religion whether in public services or in household worship exercised but little influence upon the formation of character As to the future life the Greeks believed in the immortality of the soul but this belief had little or no practical significance as to them virtue was its own reward Thus the motive for virtuous action was found not in respect for Divine law nor in the hope of eternal reward but simply in the desire to temper in due proportion the elements of human nature Virtue is not self-possession for the sake of duty but as Plato says a kind of health and good habit of the soul while vice is a disease and deformity and sickness of
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