« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
And since our philosopher so clearly saw and so eloquently asserted the truth concerning God, and the soul, and virtue, who can doubt that he also foresaw the immortality that shall follow our present being ? Xenophon indeed in his Memorabilia does not explicitly treat of this point ;* but in the Cyropaedia,t in which he seems to have wished to express the idea of a good prince, after the teachings of his own master, he introduces Cyrus, on his death bed, discoursing, plainly in the manner of Socrates, on the immortality of the soul; so that we have the highest probability that nearly all that discourse originated in the instructions of Socrates. The passages are well known in Plato, who indeed has intermingled many of his own speculations, in which Socrates has discussed this topic nobly and at large. I
$ 12. God's peculiar care of individuals ; also of divination
and the genius, so called, of Socrates. Socrates believed not only that God cares for the whole race of men in general, but, that in a peculiar manner he regards the interest of every individual. For though man by the strength of his intellect embraces the knowledge of many things, and can in many circumstances be guided by his own wisdom, yet it often happens that he cannot of himself determine what course of conduct he ought to follow, plainly because he cannot see the end, from the beginning. In such doubtful cases, God has vouchsafed to intimate, by various signs, (the science of which, is called divination,ll) what scheme shall lead to the best issues. Most of all, does he regard the safety of good men, if they, in affairs for which their own reason is insufficient, have recourse to him, and by fervent prayer, and fit worship, seek his favor, never shall they be turned away uninstructed. With cheerful hope, may they expect all good from him, who alone knoweth the event of all things. Socrates seems to have supposed that men may partake of the divine wisdom, in a twofold manner; by signs internal, and external. To the internal he seems to have referred that wisdom, which God himself directly, and by no outward means, imparts to the pious man, as it were by inspiration, if in his hour of doubt he trustfully seeks after he wisdom of God.f Hence Socrates was used to say that God himself was his counseller and monitor. Which I do not think to be received as it commonly is, as if he affirmed that some tutelary deity, some guardian genius had been specially assigned to him, in preference to other men; at least, no one would readily derive such an opinion from the works of Xenophon. For if we read the passage in his first book, cap. 1. § 2 seqq., in which, he particularly treats of this subject, f and compare with it other passages respecting divination, we shall gather no more than this, that Socrates affirmed, that the same God whom he adored as the governor of the universe and parent of the human race, indicated what, in obscure cases, should be done, to himself and to all who earnestly worship him. § At the same time we shall see from the same pas
* This question did not perhaps appear to Xenophon of such consequence, that he must dwell largely upon it, since the doctrine of the immortality of the soul was a common one among the Greeks. Yet when in these same Memorabilia, (chap 8. Lib. IV.) we read with how confident and cheerful a mind he spoke of his coming dissolution, and how much firmness he manifested in immediate expectation of it, we cannot avoid the conviction, that he too believed in the continued existence of the soul after this life.
f Lib. VIII. c. 7. | Compare Meiners Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Vol. II. p. § Xen. Mem. I. 1. 7 seqq.
|| IV. 7. 10.
* I. 1. 9. I. 4. 18. IV. 3. 12. cf. IV. 8 and below § 18. on inward worship.
† We ought the less to wonder that Socrates entertained this opinion, since he was accustomed to speak of these same endowments of mind, as eminent gifts, which are to be ascribed to the singular benignity of the Deity.—Mem. I. 1. 9. cf. I. 4. 13.
I“ Every body knows,” says Xenophon,“ that Socrates used divination. For in every man's mouth is his assertion that the Deity foreshowed to him the future, And on this ground mainly, it seems to me, he was capitally accused, as one who had introduced new gods. But in this he introduced no new gods. For whatever men believe, there is such a thing as divination; they avail themselves of birds, oracles, prodigies, and sacrifices, to learn the future from them. Now these men believe, not that the birds themselves, or the men whom we accidentally meet, know what may be for the profit of those who seek direction from the gods, but that the gods by these tokens forewarn us; yet most men are used to say, speaking in common phrase, that they are persuaded or dissuaded by these birds and by these prodigies. But Socrates, suiting his language strictly to the judgment of his mind, used to say that God himself forewarned and admonished him.”
ỹ The following are the principal passages of Xenophon, which es
sages, that his adversaries, even then, misled by their envy of him, misinterpreted his opinions. Under external signs, are to be included the more common kinds of divination, auguries, prodigies, sacrifices, and oracles, which Socrates seems not altogether to have despised,* perhaps because he conceived them to have an efficacy somewhat like that of lots, by aid of which, in doubtful cases, God may foreshow to men, what ought to be done, or what shall be the event.t But although God wishes us in doubtful cases, thus to take counsel of himself, this favor of divination is by no means to be abused. They are insane, and guilty of a wrong, Socrates was used to say, who, through sloth or superstition, neglect to use their own reason, and seek, by divination, to explain those things which God has given tablish the opinion, that Socrates ascribed his own foresight (uavtixiv) not to any genius peculiar to himself, but to the supreme Deity. First the discussion, Lib. I. cap. 1. § 2 seq. where Xenophon, professedly treating of the prophetic power (uavtıxn) of Socrates, uses promiscuously the words θεός, θεοί, το δαιμόνιον, which elsewhere are in the same manner applied to the Deity. Then, Lib. I. 4. 19. where Socrates plainly attributes to the gods (to is gois) the grounds of the practice of divination (το σημαίνειν περί ανθροπείων πάντων). And likewise Lib. I. 4. 18. to the Divinity (tó Frig). Nay, in I. 1. 9. and IV.3. 12 seq. (comp. I. 4. 18.) he plainly says that God indicates the future, not to himself only, but to every man, who, by sincere piety, seeks to gain his favor. Finally, in Lib. I. 3. 4. we find the declaration, ει δέ τι δόξειεν αυτό σημαίνεσθαι παρά των θεών, etc. From which I think it abundantly evident that Socrates did by no means affirm that intimations of the future were made to him, by some peculiar genius. Conf. IV. 3. 12., 8. 5. seq. 11.
* Mem. I. 1. 6. I. 4. 15.
# Whether Socrates made so much of oracles as has seemed to some learned men, may, I think, be doubted. I have not sufficient evidence of it, nor can it be supposed that the frauds and artifices of the priesthood could have been utterly a secret from Socrates. The meaning of the advice which he gave Xenophon, wben he deliberated whether he should join Cyrus in Asia, that he should consult the Delpbic Apollo on the subject of his meditated excursion, Xenophon himself satisfactorily declares, in his Expedition of Cyrus near the beginning of the third book, where he expressly treats of this matter. The sum of that statement is that Socrates in his own private judgment approved the scheme of Xenophon, but feared lest it might bring upon him the odium of his fellow citizens; and to avoid this odium, he judged it prudent for Xenophon to strengthen himself by the authority of the oracle, in a favorable reply.
man to ascertain and understand, by the use of his own rational powers, and with the aids of human experience and industry. Not less insane, he affirmed them to be, who will never apply for guidance to the divine wisdom, and esteem their own reason competent to every emergency. Those who would avoid alike superstition and a disregard of any expression of the divine will, he counselled earnestly to cultivate those gifts of intellect which God has bestowed upon men, and strenuously to avail thenselves of all the resources of human skill, that, in their need, they may plan wisely; and in circumstances, in which human skill and means of knowledge fail, when they cannot well trust their own judgment, or the suggestions of other men, they must have recourse to the wisdom of God as revealed by divination.*
$ 13. God is everywhere, and knows all things. As Socrates supposed God to care and provide for all things, and always to consult for the interests of men, it were but consistent for him to conceive the same being to be present everywhere, and to see and know all things. We are conscious, he says,t that our mind is present to our whole body, and governs it according to its will; we ought in like manner to believe that the wisdom, which presides over the universe, is present to the whole world, and orders all things after its own pleasure. It is not to be imagined that our eyes can discern objects at the distance of many stadia, and that the eye of God cannot see all things; it is not to be imagined that our minds can be occupied with what is transacted in our neighborhood, in Sicily and in Egypt, and that the divine mind cannot be intent at the same time upon all things. If indeed, in such manner as by acts of friendship, we ascertain who are willing to be our friends; and by conferring favors, who are grateful; and by asking advice, who are prudent; we are willing by worshipping God, to ascertain if he will impart his wisdom to us in our doubts; then clearly shall we perceive that the divine nature is such and so great, that it sees at once all things, and hears all things, is every where, perceives the inmost thoughts and purposes of our hearts, and exercises a watchful care over all things. I
$ 14. God is invisible. But some one will say, we do not see the creator and gov* Mem. I. 1. 6 seqq.
f 1. 4. 17 seqq.
| Loc. cit. and I. I. 19.
ernor of the world, as we see the authors of human works. We are not to wait, Socrates would reply, till we can behold the form of God; the contemplation of his works should constrain us to worship and adore him. Yet neither do we see with our eyes, our own mind, even, which of all things we know is most intimately allied to the divine nature; only from its effects we perceive it to be lord of the body. * We may not rashly look upon the sun, from which we enjoy the highest benefits, nor are the winds and other ministers of the gods, whose effects we see, perceived by our eyes. So also the power of the Divinity, although itself escapes our senses, is to be learned from the mighty works, which we see daily accomplished by it.
$ 15. God is one. In reading Xenophon we notice that Socrates speaks sometimes of God, in the singular number, sometimes of Gods, in the plural, and seems on this subject to be wavering and in the greatest uncertainty. Whether he conjectured, that there are many deities of an inferior order; or thought the Godbead, (to daluóviov) in respect of various attributes, might be called Gods, (rous trous) in the plural, as, for example, that one and the same God might be worshipped under the name of Jupiter, as the father and preserver of the human race, and under the name of Neptune, as the ruler of the seas; or whether he thus spoke in accommodation to the common opinion and language of his countrymen, and that he might secure a more ready hearing for doctrines reinote from their ordinary apprehension and habit of thought, this at least is clear beyond doubt, as well from the entire scope and method of every discussion, in which Socrates professedly treats of the Divinity, as from the various names, or rather descriptions by which he designates Him,|| # I. 4. 9. IV. 3. 14.
+ IV. 3. 13 seq. | Cicero, de Natura Deorum, I. 12.
So IV. 3. 13. the other gods (or öhdoi geol) seem to be contrasted with the supreme Deity; yet whom he means by the other gods is somewhat in doubt.
|| The names are chiefly these, o geós I. 4. 13. 17. etc. Tò ftcov Ι. 4. 18. το δαιμόνιον Ι. 1. 2. seq. IV. 3. 13. seq. etc. o εξ αρχής ποιών ανθρώπους Ι. 4. 5. σοφός δημιουργός Ι. 4. 7. ή εν παντί φρόνησις Ι. 4. 17. και τον όλον κόσμον συντάττων, και συνέχων και αεί χρωμένους ατριβή τε και υγιά και αγήρατον παρέχων, τα μέγιστα πράττων και οικονομων. IV. 3. 13. Vol. XII. No. 31.