Montesquieu

The various ancient schools of phi­lo­so­phy were sorts of reli­gions. There never was one which had prin­ci­ples wor­thier of man, and bet­ter at for­ming per­sons of good will, than the Stoics ; and if I could for a moment cease to think that I am a Christian, I would have to list the des­truc­tion of the school of Zeno among the mis­for­tu­nes of huma­nity.

It exag­ge­ra­ted only things in which there is great­ness, the scor­ning of plea­su­res and pain.

It alone was able to make citi­zens ; it alone made great men ; it alone made great empe­rors.

Leave aside revea­led truths for a moment ; seek in all of nature, and you will find no nobler object than the Antonines ; even Julian, Julian (such reluc­tant appro­val will not make me an accom­plice of his apo­stasy), no, there has been no prince after him more wor­thy of gover­ning men.

While the Stoics regar­ded wealth, human gran­deurs, pain, wor­ries, and plea­su­res as some­thing vain, they spent their time doing nothing but work toward the hap­pi­ness of men and ful­fill the duties of society ; they see­med to regard that sacred spi­rit which they belie­ved to be in them­sel­ves as a sort of favo­ra­ble pro­vi­dence that kept watch over the human race.

Born for society, they all belie­ved that their des­tiny was to work for it, which was all the less bur­den­some that their rewards were all in them­sel­ves ; that, happy through their phi­lo­so­phy alone, it see­med that only the hap­pi­ness of others could increase their own.