« НазадПродовжити »
argument, in its whole process, connecting created with uncreated being, may be unfailingly traced; but in the darkness of nature, though we feel the first ring of the chain, we cannot follow upwards its prolongation, even though we doubt not that it exists, and, feeling that prolongation there must be, mourn over our inability to ascertain the point to which it might, under happier circumstances, conduct us. Why boast of the powers of nature, when those who have no other, have been able, with all their wishes and efforts, to do so little ? Why boast of the light of nature, when they who had no other, saw only that palpable obscure, in which, all their feelings told them, resided that which they desired to know, and which, while they suspected, they could not ascertain? The moderns are greater than the ancients, and more successful. in their inquiries, because of their employment of the inductive philosophy: but what is this but the philosophy of facts ? And who gathered and arranged the principles which had long existed among Christians, steadily and powerfully resisting the Aristotelean philosophy of hypothesis, but Bacon, himself a firm and devout Christian believer? Let us be consistent with the magnificent system to which we owe so much, and acknowledge that there is no reasoning either against facts, or without them. And what are the facts here? The Scriptures tell us that the world, by wisdom, consisting in hypothetical argument, knew not God. Let Socrates, who so desired to know all truth of practical value, tell us whether he, with all his “searching,” could “find out God." The Scriptures describe the true God as “ dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” And where is he who has penetrated into this light, approached the Unapproachable, seen the Invisible? We refer not to human nature brutalized into grossness and stupidity. We adduce not as our witnesses the careless, who give themselves no concern about the subject; or the wicked, who are deeply interested in atheism. We bring forward Cicero, who said that to take away religion from among men, was to take away the foundations of justice, fidelity, and all virtue: Plato, the Attic bee," of untired wing, visiting every flower, and bearing stores of honey to his hive: Socrates,
the lover of all truth that might teach men how to live wisely, and to die hopefully. Have any of these ever approached to the glorious light of the one living and true “God, in knowledge of whom standeth eternal life and whose service is perfect freedom ?” Contrast with them our Christian peasantry; nay, even the careless among them. They have the truth, even though they hold and imprison it in unrighteousness. Take from the Sabbath-school the children of our cottagers or our manufactories. How know they more of God than Socrates, who willingly became a martyr for truth? Of the honey of the bee of Athens they never tasted, they never heard. But they have that which is “sweeter than honey, or the honeycomb,” and also “more precious than gold yea, than much fine gold.” They have the Bible; and it is undeniable that all their knowledge is derived from this. All their knowledge? Yes, and all that which is possessed by those who, when they have received it, find it in the book of nature, which before they were unable to read, illustrated and corroborated. If the inductive philosophy be, as most surely it is, the true philosophy of reason, and facts are of any value, then are we wiser than the ancients, because we are disciples of "the Faithful and True Witness," through whom we possess the gift which God has given bis church, and eventually to the world, as “an heritage for ever," "THE TESTIMONIES of God."*
* We have dwelt the longer on the case of Socrates, connected with those by whom he was succeeded, and who prosecuted his researches, not indeed
ore successfully, but perhaps to a greater extent, as though undeterred by failure, the more deeply to impress the conclusion on the mind of our readers. We have observed that infidelity, after any very decided defeat, is usually somewhat quiet for a period, and then in a slightly altered form comes forward with as much boldness as ever. If it were a personal dispute, similar revivals of the case would be said to be more than bold: impudence would be the only term which fitly described them, Paley, and after him Chalmers, with all who love fair arguing, have set the question at rest. But, “even though conquered, they can argue still.” Infidelity is now artistic and scientific, rational and philosophical. Its advocates tell us of the wonderful powers of nature: we refer them, in reply, to the actual doings of nature. And we hesitate not to say, that on this appeal to facts, facts the most favourable to our opponents, whether the talents or the character of those to whom we refer, be considered, the argument is most triumphant, is unanswerable. All the facts, without a single exception, are on our side. How could this possibly be, except on the supposition of their absolute truth?
With respect to the “corruption of youth,” his appeal is to his entire character. He had endeavoured to teach them, and all who would listen to him, practical wisdom. He had always behaved as a good citizen, obeying the laws, and to the utmost of his power promoting the public welfare, neither shrinking from obloquy, nor seeking favour. He told his Judges that he was too old now to change his mode of acting, and by sophistical eloquence, were he capable of it, to endeavour to disarm their wrath; and that even could he do this, it would be wrong, inasmuch as they had taken an oath to judge according to the laws of the State. He thus concludes his defence: “But putting character out of the question, it does not appear to me to be equitable that one should supplicate a Judge, nor that he should escape by such entreaty, but that he should enlighten and persuade; (didaOKELV KAL TELOelv;) since the Judge does not sit for the complimentary dispensation of justice, but to form his decisions upon it. And he has sworn that he will not act by favour to such as he may please, but (dekaoelv kara vouovs) to judge according to the laws. It is by no means, then, becoming in us to habituate you, nor in you to become habituated, to perjury; for neither of us would act rightly (piously, evoeßolev). Do not then suppose, O men of Athens, that I ought of necessity to adopt such a course with you, which I believe to be neither fair, just, nor holy, (kala, durata, oola,) as well upon all other occasions, by Jove, as now in particular, when I am accused by Melitus of impiety. For were I to adopt this method of persuasion, and by my entreaties to wrest you from the tenor of your oath, I should distinctly instruct you in a disbelief of the gods, and should obviously, though on my defence, accuse myself of disavowing them. But such is far from being the case ; for I believe in them more firmly than any of my accusers; and to you and the deity (14 0€) I leave it to judge concerning me, as shall be best both for myself and you."
The Judges here consulted, and by a majority decided upon his guilt. When the punishment was not fixed by law, the accuser proposed what it should be, and in this case had fixed on death. But the accused, likewise, had the privilege
of saying what he thought it ought to be; all, however, being subject to the decision of the Court. Socrates then spoke again. He said that he deserved no punishment; for that, disregarding all State honours and profits, he had endeavoured to persuade the citizens individually to seek to be among the best and wisest; that therefore he rather deserved reward. That he was too old to wander about as an exile, and too poor to pay a heavy fine. All he could pay would be one mina of silver; (about sixty-three shillings ;) “but Plato, Crito, Critobulus, and Apollodius urge me to fine myself thirty mina, and promise to be my bail; and therefore I fine myself so much, and these shall be your security."
The Judges then voted on the penalty, and condemned him to die. On this, he delivered his concluding address, telling them that had they waited a little longer, they would have been freed from his interferences by the order of nature, and assuring them that ere long the voice of truth concerning him would be heard. He then refers to his approaching end. Either this would be annihilation, in which case he could suffer nothing; or a change of place, and an introduction to the heroes who had already departed, which would be great gain, especially as there would be no more dying, “ if what is said be true” (ra deyoueva anon xotiv). “No evil,” he adds, “can befall a good man in life, nor after death, nor are his concerns neglected by the gods.” He therefore judged that to die would be best for him. The close is remarkable : " I ask but so much then: when my sons grow up, punish them by such harassing discipline as I have employed with you, if they should appear to value wealth, or anything, in preference to virtue; and if they should affect to be what they are not, rebuke them, as I rebuked you, for neglecting their true interests, and presuming to aim at a distinction which they do not deserve. If you act thus, both I and my sons shall have found justice at your hands. But it is now time to depart; for me, to die; for you, to live: but which is going to the better state, is manifest to none but Deity.”
On account of a certain religious institution, the execution of the sentence was delayed for three or four weeks, during which his friends had free admission to him in prison. Plato
has left two treatises in reference to this period; the first, Crito, a conversation on the duties of a citizen; the second, Phædo, between Socrates and his friends in the prison on the last day of his life, and referring chiefly to the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, but containing also an account of the death of the philosopher. To a few notices of these we shall devote our concluding paper on Socrates, the Athenian sage.
(l'o be continued.)
CONVENTUAL LIFE IN THE TWELFTH CENTURY
Extract XIX. [The Extract we are now going to give, and which will close the series, will be rather a long one, extending into two, perhaps three, Numbers; but its interest as well as importance are too great to allow any abridgment of it. We have already said, (p. 209, that the old chronicler says much more of the “merits, intercession, and power ” of St. Edmund, than of Christ, the Saviour and Lord. In fact, He is never once named; but what kind of reverence was paid to the saint, the following statements will only too clearly show. What must have been the state of religious opinion, generally, when a principal officer of this spiritual corporation, while he devotes so large a portion (comparatively) of his Chronicle to circumstances relating to the patron saint of the community, never happens, by any chance, to find any occasion for mentioning Him from whom Christians take their name? Very easy is it to say that their saints have only an inferior worship; that they are only requested to pray for us. Whatever be the doctrine, the practice amounts to the enthronization of the servant in the place of his Lord. Who can read what follows, and not be convinced that St. Edmund was as truly worshipped as ever any heathen deity was? and that worship, because it was creature-worship, was solemnly forbidden, fearfully condemned and declared to be a doomed idolatry. Individuals we judge not. We have neither right nor wish to break the laws of true charity. But of practices we must speak in plain terms,