EPICUREANS, a sect of philosophers who derived their name from Epicurus, and who divided the empire of philosophy with the STOICS, at the birth of Christ; they held that the chief end of man was happiness, that the business of philosophy was to guide him in the pursuit of it, and that it was only by experience that one could learn what would lead to it and what would not; they scouted the idea of reason as regulative of thought, and conscience as regulative of conduct, and maintained that our senses were our only guides in both; in a word, they denied that God had implanted in man an absolute rational and moral principle, and maintained that he had no other clue to the goal of his being but his experience in life, while the distinction of right and wrong was only a distinction of what was found conducive to happiness and what was not; they had no faith in or fear of a divine Being above man any more than of a divine principle within man, and they scorned the idea of another world with its awards, and concerned themselves only with this, which, however, in their hands was no longer a cosmos but a chaos, out of which the quickening and ordinative spirit had fled.

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