The morality of this philosopher and his disciples is not unlike that of the Epicureans, consisting in a tranquillity of mind, free from all vehement desires and passions. But as this tranquillity would be disturbed by thoughts of death, they boast of a liquor that has the power of rendering them immortal. They are addicted to chemistry, alchemy, and magic, and are persuaded that, by the assistance of demons, whom they invoke, they can obtain all that they desire. The hope of avoiding death prevailed upon a great number of mandarins to study this diabolical art, and certain credulous and superstitious emperors brought it greatly into vogue.
The doctrine of this sect, concerning the formation of the world, according to Dr. Milne, much resembles that of the Epicureans. If they do not maintain the eternity of matter, on the other hand, they do not deny it; but, in analogy with the favorite science of alchemy, they represent the first pair as drawn out of the boiling mouth of an "immense crucible," by a celestial being. The Platonic notion of an anima mundi, or soul of the world, is very common; and hence it is that the heavens are considered the body of this imaginary being, the wind its breath, the lights of heaven as proceeding from its eyes, the watery fluids as its spittle and tears.