Page images
PDF
EPUB

for the empirical study of nature. True, he was not CHAP.

VIII. himself aware that he was engaged on natural science, having only considered the relation of means to ends in the world, in the moral interest of piety. Still from our previous remarks it follows how closely his view of nature was connected with the theory of the knowledge of conceptions, how even its defects were due to the universal imperfection of his intellectual method. Asking further what idea we should form to our- B. God

and the selves of creative reason, the reply is, that Socrates worship of mostly speaks of Gods in a popular way as many, no God.

(1) Popudoubt thinking, in the first place, of the Gods of the lar use of popular faith. Out of this multiplicity the idea of the the term

Gods. oneness of God, an idea not unknown to the Greek religion, rises with him into prominence, as is not infrequently met with at that time. In one passage he draws a curious distinction between the creator and ruler of the universe and the rest of the Gods.5 Have we not here that union of polytheism and

1 Mem. i. 1, 19; 3, 3 ; 4, 11; των τε και συνέχων, εν ώ πάντα iv. 3, 3.

καλά και αγαθά εστι, και αεί μεν 2 Mem. iv. 3, 16.

χρωμένοις άτριβή τε και για 3 Compare Zeller's Introduc- και αγήρατον παρέχων, θάττον tion to his Ρhilos. d. Griechen, δε νοήματος αναμαρτήτως υπηρεp. 3.

τούντα, ούτος τα μέγιστα μεν 4 Mem. i. 4, 5, 7, 17: ο εξ πράττων δράται, τάδε δε οικονοαρχής ποιών ανθρώπους,-σοφού μών αόρατος ημίν εστιν. Krische's Tivos onucoupyou kal piroccou— argument (Forsch. 220) to prove τον του θεού οφθαλμον, τήν του that this language is spurious, δεου φρόνησιν. .

although on his own showing 5 Mem. iv. 3, 13. The Gods it was known to Phædrus, are invisible; of te gàp ănoi Cicero, and the writer of the ημίν τα αγαθά διδόντες ουδέν treatise on the world, appears τούτων είς τούμφανές ιόντες διδόα- inconclusive. .

και και τον όλον κόσμον συντάτ

σιν, ,

as the

CHAP. . monotheism, so readily suggested to a Greek by his VIII.

mythology, which consisted in reducing the many Gods to be the many instruments of the One Supreme

God ? (2) God In as far as Socrates was led to the notion of One conceived

Supreme Being by the reasonable arrangement of the Reason of world, the idea which he formed to himself of this the world. .

Being (herein resembling Heraclitus and Anaxagoras) was as the reason of the world, which he conceives of as holding the same relation to the world that the soul does to the body. Herewith are most closely connected his high and pure ideas of God as a being invisible, all-wise, all-powerful, present everywhere. As the soul, without being visible, produces visible effects in the body, so does God in the world. As the soul exercises unlimited dominion over the small portion of the world which belongs to it, its individual body, so God exercises dominion over the whole world. As the soul is present in all parts of its body, so God is present throughout the Universe. And if the soul, notwithstanding the limitations by which it is confined, can perceive what is distant, and have thoughts of the most varied kinds, surely the know

1 Mem. i. 4, 8: συ δε σαυτόν το παντί φρόνησιν τα πάντα όπως φρόνιμόν τι δοκείς έχειν, άλλοθι αν αυτή ηδύ ή, ούτω τίθεσθαι και δε ουδαμού ουδέν οίει φρόνιμον μή το σον μέν όμμα δύνασθαι επί είναι . και τάδε τα υπερμεγέθη πολλά στάδια εξικνείσθαι, τον δε και πλήθος άπειρα (the elements, του θεού οφθαλμόν αδύνατον είναι or generally, the parts of the άμα πάντα δρών: μηδέ, την σην world) δι' άφροσύνην τινά ούτως μεν ψυχήν και περί των ενθάδε και οίει ευτάκτως έχειν ; 17: κατάμαθε περί των εν Αίγυπτο και Σικελία ότι και ο σος νους ενών το σόν δύνασθαι φροντίζειν, την δε τού σώμα όπως βούλεται μεταχειρί- θεού φρόνησιν μή έκανήν είναι άμα ζεταιοίεσθαι ούν χρή και την εν πάντων επιμελείσθαι.

VIII.

ledge and care of God must be able to embrace all CHAP, and more. Besides had not a belief in the providential care of God been already 2 taken for granted, in the argument for His existence from the relation of means to ends ? Was not the best explanation of this care to be found in the analogous care which the human soul has for the body? A special proof of this providence Socrates thought to discern in oracles : 3 by them the most important things, which could not otherwise be known, are revealed to man. It must then be equally foolish to despise oracles, or to consult them in cases capable of being solved by our own reflection. From this conviction followed, as a matter of course, the worship of God, prayer, sacrifices, and obedience.5. As to the form and manner of worship, Socrates, (3) The

worship of as we already know, wished every one to follow the God. custom of his people. At the same time he propounds purer maxims corresponding with his own idea of God. He would not have men pray for particular, least of all for external goods, but only to ask for what is good : for who but God knows what is advantageous for man, or knows it go fully? And, with

i Compare the words in Mem. Tv Deav yons • also i. 1, 19. i. 4, 18: If you apply to the 2 Mem. iv. 3; i. 4, 6 and 11. Gods for prophecy, γνώση το 3 Ibid. iv. 3, 12 and 16 ; i, 4, θείον ότι τοσούτον και τοιουτόν 14. έστιν, ώσθ' άμα πάντα οράν και

4 Ibid. i. 1, 6. Conf. p. 77, 3; πάντα ακούειν και πανταχού παρεϊ- 65, 5. ναι, και άμα πάντων επιμελείσθαι : 5 Compare Mem. iv. 3, 14; and the words, Ibid. iv. 3, 12: ii. 2, 14. ότι δέ γε αληθή λέγω γνώση, , 6 See p. 149, 1; 76, 7. αν μη αναμένης, έως αν τας μορφές

N

CHAP. regard to sacrifices, he declared that the greatness of VIII.

the sacrifice is unimportant compared with the spirit of the sacrificer, and that the more pious the man, the more acceptable will the offering be, so that it correspond with his means. Abstaining on principle from theological speculations, and not seeking to explore the nature of God, but to lead his fellow men to piety, he never felt the need of combining the various elements of his religious belief into one united conception, or of forming a perfectly consistent picture, and so avoiding the contradictions which

that belief may easily be shown to contain.3 C. Dignity A certain divine element Socrates, like others of man. His im

before him, thought to discern within the soul of mortality. man. Perhaps with this thought is connected his

belief in immediate revelations of God to the human soul, such as he imagined were vouchsafed to himself. Welcome as this theory must have been to a philosopher paying so close an attention to the moral and spiritual nature of man, it does not appear that Socrates ever attempted to support it by argument. Just as little do we find in him a scientific proof of the immortality of the soul, although he was inclined to this belief partly by his high opinion of the digpity

| Mem. i. 3, 2; iv. 3, 17. believing in only one God. 2 See p. 139, 2.

This assumption would belie 8 We have all the less reason not only the definite and re. for supposing with Dénis (His- peated assertions of Xenophon, toire des Théories et des Idées but also Socrates' unflinching morales dans l'Antiquité, Paris love of truth. et Strasb. 1856, i. 79), that So- 4 Mem. iv. 3, 14 : årrà unu crates, like Antisthenes, spared και ανθρώπου γε ψυχή, είπερ τι και polytheism from regard to the άλλο των ανθρωπίνων, του θείου needs of the masses, whilst METEXEL.

[ocr errors]

CHAP.
VIII.

of man, partly, too, on grounds of expediency.' Nay, rather, in Plato's Apology, at a moment when the witholding of a conviction can least be supposed, he expressed himself on this question with much doubt and caution. The language, too, used by the dying Cyrus in Xenophon* agrees so well herewith, that we are driven to assume that Socrates considered the existence of the soul after death to be indeed probable, without, however, pretending to any certain knowledge on the point. It was accepted by him as an article of faith, the intellectual grounds for which belonged no doubt to those problems which surpass the powers of man.

| Compare Hermann in Mar. 6 The above description of burger Lectionskatalog, 1835–6, the philosophy of Socrates Plat. 684.

rests on the exclusive autho2 40, C. ; after his condemna- rity of Xenophon, Plato, and tion.

Aristotle. What later writers 3 Death is either an external say is for the most part taken sleep, or a transition to a new from these sources, and whenlife, but in neither case is it an ever it goes beyond them, there evil.

is no guarantee for its accu* Cyrop. viii. 7, 10. Several racy. It is, however, just posreasons are first adduced in fa- sible that some genuine uttervour of immortality, but they ances of Socrates may have need to be greatly strengthened been preserved in the writings to be anything like rigid proofs. of Æschines and others, which (Compare particularly 19 are omitted by our authorities. with Plato's Phædo, 105, C.) In that category place the In conclusion, the possibility of statement of Cleanthes quoted the soul's dying with the body by Clement (Strom. ii. 417, D.), is left an open question, but in and repeated by Cicero (Off. iii. either case death is stated to 3,11), that Socrates taught the be the end of all evils.

identity of justice and happi5 He actually says in Plato, ness, cursing the man who first Apol. 29, A. Conf. 37, B.: made a distinction between death is feared as the greatest them : the statements in Cic. evil, whilst it may be the Off. ii. 12, 43 (taken from Xen. greatest good : éyè dè . . . ook Mem. ii. 6, 39; conf. Cyrop. i. ei ows inavās nepi Twv év Atdov 6, 22); in Seneca, Epist. 28, 2; ούτω και οίομαι ουκ είδέναι, 104, 7 (travelling is of no good

« PreviousContinue »