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with all the assiduity of a servant, with all the tenderness of a brother, conducts him to an ion. There be deposits money for his present use ; charges the host to omit nothing that might conduce to the recovery or comfort of his guest ; and promises to defray the whole expense of his lodging, bis maintenance, and his cure.
What a lively picture of the most disinterested and active benevolence! a benevolence which excludes no persons, not even strangers or enemies, from its tender regards; which disdains no condescension, grudges no cost, in its labours of love! Could
any method of conviction have been more forcible, and at the same time more pleasing, than the interrogatory propo-, sed by our Lord, and deduced from the narrative ? “ Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among thieves ?” Or can there be an advice more suitable to the occasion, more important in its nature, or expressed with a more sententious energy, than that which is contained in these words ; “Go thou, and do likewise ?” In this case, the learner instructs, the delinquent condemns, himself. Bigotry bears away its prejudice; and pride, (when the moral so sweetly, so imperceptibly insinuates,) even pride itself, lends a willing ear to admonition.
It has been very justly remarked, that this eloquence of similitude is equally affecting to the wise, and intelligible to the ignorant. It shows rather than relates, the point to be illustrated. It has been admired by the best judges in all ages; but never was carried to its highest perfection, till our Lord spoke the parable of the prodigal ; which has a beauty that no paraphrase can heighten ; a perspicuity that renders all interpretation needless; and a force which eve. ry reader, not totally insensible, must feel.
THERON. The condescension and goodness of God are every where conspicuous. In the productions of nature, he conveys to us the most valuable fruits, by the intervention of the loveliest blossoms. Though the present is in itself extremely acceptable, he has given it an additional endearment, by the beauties which array it, or the perfumes which surround it. In the pages of revelation, likewise, he has communicated to us the most glorious truths, adorned with the excellences of composition. They are, as one of their writers very elegantly speaks, “like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
Who then would not willingly obey that benign command ? " Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way ; when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.'
When I consider the language of the Scriptures, and sometimes experience the holy energy which accompanies them, I am inclined to say, “Other writings, though polished with the nicest touches of art, only tinkle on the ear, or affect us like the shepherd's reed. But these, even amidst all their noble ease, strike, alarm, transport us." When I consider the contents of the Scriptures, and believe myself interested in the promises they make, and the privileges they confer, I am induced to cry out, “ What are all the other books in the world, compared with these invaluable volumes !"*
The defence of Socrates before his Judges. SOCRATES, in his defence, employed neither artifice nor the glitter of eloquence. He had not recourse either to solicitation or entreaty. He brought neither his wife nor children to incline the judges in his favour, by their sighs and
* That accomplished scholar and distinguished writer, the late Sir William Jones, chief justice of Bengal, at the end of his Bible wrote the following note; which coming from a man of his profound erudition, and perfect knowledge of the oriental languages, customs, and manners, must be considered as a powerful testimony, not only to the sublimity, but to the Divine inspiration of the sacred writings.
"I have,” says he, “ regularly and attentively read these Holy Scriptures; and I am of opinion, that this volume, independently of its Divine origin, contains more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains both af poetry and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they may have been composed."
tears. But though he firmly refused to make use of any other voice than his own, and to appear before his judges in the submissive posture of a suppliant, he did not behave in that manner from pride, or contempt of the tribunal : it was from a noble and intrepid assurance, resulting from greatness of soul, and the consciousness of his truth and inno
His defence had nothing timorous or weak in it. His discourse was bold, manly, generous, without passion, without emotion, full of the noble liberty of a philosopher, with no other ornament than that of truth, and brightened universally with the character and language of innocence. Plato, who was present, transcribed it afterwards, and without any additions, composed from it the work which he calls the Apology of Socrates, one of the most consummate masterpieces of antiquity. The following is an extract from it.
“ I am accused of corrupting the youth, and of instilling dangerous maxims into their minds, as well in regard to Divine worship, as to the rules of government. You know, Athenians, that I never made it my profession to teach : nor can envy, however violent, reproach me with having ever sold my instructions. I have an undeniable evidence for me in this respect, which is my poverty. I am always equally ready to communicate my thoughts both to the rich and the poor, and to give them opportunity to question or answer
I lend myself to every one who is desirous of becoming virtuous ; and if, amongst those who hear me, there are any
that prove either good or bad, neither the virtues of the one, nor the vices of the other, to which I have not contributed, are to be ascribed to me. My whole employment is to counsel the young and the old against too much love for the body, for riches and all other precarious things, of whatever nature they be ; and against too little regard for the soul, which ought to be the object of their affection. For I incessantly urge to them, that virtue does not proceed from riches ; but, on the contrary, riches from virtue ; and that all the other goods of human life, as well public as private, have their source in the same principle.
“ If to speak in this manner be to corrupt youth, I confess, Athenians, that I am guilty, and deserve to be punished. If what I say be not true, it is most easy to convict me of falsehood. Í see here a great number of my disciples : they have only to come forward. It will, perhaps, be said, that the regard and veneration due to a master who has instructed them, will prevent them from declaring against me : but
their fathers, brothers, and uncles, cannot, as good relations and good citizens, excuse themselves for not standing forth to demand vengeance against the corrupter of their sons, brothers, and nephews. These are however, the persons who take apon them my defence, and interest themselves in the success of my cause.
“ Pass on me what sentence you please, Athenians : I neither repent, nor alter my conduct. I must not abandon or suspend a function which God himself has imposed on me. Now he has charged me with the care of instructing my fellow-citizens. If after having faithfully kept all the posts wherein I was placed by our generals at Potidæa, Amphipolis, and Delium, the fear of death should at this time make me abandon that in which the divine Providence has placed me, by commanding me to pass my life in the study of philosophy, for the instruction of myself and others ; this would be a most criminal desertion indeed, and make me highly worthy of being cited before this tribunal, as an impious man, who does not believe in the gods. Should you resolve to acquit me, I should not, Athenians, hesitate to say, I honour and love you ; but I shall choose rather to obey God than you ; and to my latest breath shall never renounce my philosophy, nor cease to exhort and reprove you according to my custom, by saying to each of you as occasion offers ; My good friend and citizen of the most famous city in the world for wisdom and valour, are you not ashamed to have no other thoughts than those of amassing wealth, and of acquiring glory, credit, and dignities ; neglecting the treasures of prudence, truth, and wisdom, and taking no pains to render your soul as good and perfect as it is capable of being ?"
“I am reproached with abject fear, and meanness of spirit, for being so busy in imparting my advice to every one in private, and for having always avoided to be present in your assemblies, to give my counsels to my country. I think I have sufficiently proved my courage and fortitude, both' in the field, where I have borne arms with you, and in the senate, where I alone opposed the unjust sentence you pronounced against the ten captains, who had not taken up and interred the bodies of those, who were killed and drowned in the sea-fight near the island Arginusæ ; and when, upon more than one occasion, I opposed the violent and cruel orders of the thirty tyrants. What is it then that has prevented me from appearing in your assemblies ? Do not take it ill, I beseech you, if I speak my thoughts without disguise,
and with truth and freedom. Every man who would
gent. rously oppose a whole people, either amongst us or elsewhere, and who inflexibly applies himself to prevent the violation of the laws, and the practice of iniquity in a government, will never do so long with impunity. It is absolutely necessary for a man of this disposition, if he has any thoughts of living, to remain in a private station, and never to have any share in public affairs.
" For the rest, Athenians, if, in my present extreme danger, I do not imitate the behaviour of those, who, upon
less emergencies, have implored and supplicated their judges with tears, and have brought forth their children, relations, and friends ; it is not through pride and obstinacy, or any contempt for you, but solely for your honour, and for that of the whole city. You should know, that there are amongst our citizens those who do not regard death as an evil, and who give that name only to injustice and infamy. At my age, and with the reputation, true or false, which I have, would it be consistent for me, after all the lessons I have given upon the contempt of death, to be afraid of it myselt, and to belie, in my last action, all the principles and senti ments of my past life?
“But without speaking of my fame, which I should ex tremely injure by such a conduct, I do not think it allowable to entreat a judge, nor to be absolved by supplications. He ought to be influenced only by reason and evidence. The judge does not sit upon the bench to show favour, by vio. lating the laws, but to do justice in conforming to them. He does not swear to discharge with impunity whom he pleases, bat to do justice where it is due. We ought not, therefore, to accustom you to perjury, nor you to suffer yourselves to be accustomed to it; for, in so doing, both the one and the other of us equally injure justice and religion, and both are criminals.
“Do not, therefore, expect from me, Athenians, that I should have recourse amongst you to means which I believe neither honest nor lawful, especially upon this occasion, wherein l am accused of impiety by Melitus : for, if I should influence you by my prayers, and thereby induce you to violate your oaths, it would be undeniably evident, that I teach you not to believe in the gods ; and even in defending and justifying myself, should furnish my adversaries with arms against me, and prove that I believe no divinity. But ! am very far from such bad thoughts : I am more convinced