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the man with a steady and assured look, "well," said he, what

say you of this drink : may one make a libation out of it ?” Upon being told that here was only enough for one dose; we may at least,” continued he, “say our prayers to the gods, as is our duty; and implore them to make our exit from this world, and our last stage happy; which is what I most ardently request of them.”

After having spoke these words, he kept silence for some time, and then drank off the whole draught with an amazing tranquillity, and a serenity of aspect not to be expressed or conceived.

Tiil then his friends, with great violence to themselves, had refrained from tears; but after he had drunk the potion, they were no longer masters of themselves but wept abundantly. Apollodorus, who had been in tears during almost the whole conversation, began then to cry aloud, and to lament with such excessive grief, as pierced the hearts of all who were present. Socrates alone remained unmoved, and even reproved his friends, though with his usual mildness and good nature. : “What are you doing ?” said he to them ; “ I wonder at you! Ah! what is become of your virtue? Was it not for this I sent away the women, that they might not fall into these weaknesses ? For I have always heard say, that we ought to die peaceably, and blessing the gods. Be at ease, I beg you, and show more constancy and resolution. These words filled them with confusion, and obliged them to restrain their tears.

In the mean time be kept walking to and fro; and when he found his legs grow weary, he laid down upon his bed, as he had been directed.

The poison then operated more and more. When Socrates found it began to gain upon the heart, uncovering his face, which had been covered, without doubt to prevent any thing from disturbing him in his last moments, “Crito, said he, which were his last words, we owe a cock to Æsculapius; discharge that vow for me, and I pray do not forget it ;" soon after which he breathed his last. Crito went to his body, and closed his mouth and eyes. Such was the end of Socrates, in the first year of the 95th Olympiad, and the seventieth of his age.

Cicero says, he could never read the description of his death in Plato without tears.*

Plato, and the rest of the disciples of Socrates, apprehending that the rage of his accusers was not satiated by that victim, retired to Megara, to the house of Euclid, where they staid till the storm blew over. Euripides, however, to reproach the Athenians with the horrible crime which they had committed, in condemning the best of men to die upon such slight grounds, composed his tragedy, called Palamedes, in which, under the names of that hero, who was also destroyed by a black calumniation, he deplored the misfortune of bis friends. When the actor came to repeat this verse,

“You doom the justest of the Greeks to perish ;" the whole theatre, remembering Socrates in so distinct an image of him, melted into tears; and a decree passed, to prohibit speaking any more of him in public. Some believe that Euripides died before Socrates, and reject this circumstance.

However that may be, the people of Athens did not open their eyes till some time after the death of Socrates. Their hatred being satisfied, their prejudices expired, and time baving given them opportunity for reflection, the notorious injustice of the sentence appeared in all its horrors. Nothing was heard throughout the city but discourses in favour of Socrates. The academy, the Lycæum, private houses, public walks, and market places, seemed still to re-echo the sound of his loved voice.-Here, said they, he formed our youth, and taught our children to love their country, and to honour their parents In this place, he gave us his admirable lessons, and sometimes made us seasonable reproaches, to engage us more warınly in the pursuit of virtue. Alas ! how have we rewarded him for such important services ?–Athens was in uni

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* Quid dicam de Sucrate, cujus morti illacrymari solco Platonem legens. De Nat. Deor. iw. iis. Q. 82

versal mourning and consterration. The schools were shut up, and all exercises suspended. The accusers were called to account for the innocent blood they bad caused to be shed. Melitus was condemned to die, and the rest banished. Plutarch observes, that all those who had any share in this black calumny, were in such abomination among the citizens, that no one would give thein fire, answer thein any question, nor go into the same bath with them; and had the place cleansed where they bad bathed, lest they should be polluted by touching it; which drove them into such despair, that many of them killed themselves.

The Athenians, not contented with having punished his accusers, caused a statue of brass to be erected to him, of the workmanship of the celebrated Lysippus, and placed it in one of the most conspicuous parts of the city. Their respect and gratitude rose even to a religious veneration; they dedicated a chapel to him, as to a hero and a demi-göd, which they called Swagatelun or, “The Chapel of Socrates."* SECTION VII.-REFLECTIONS ON SOCRATES, AND THE SENTENCE PASSED UPON

HIM BY THE ATHENIANS.

We must he very much surprised, when on the one side we consider the extreme delicacy of the people of Athens, as to what regards the worship of the gods, which ran so high as to occasion their condemning the most eminent persons upon the simple suspicion of their failing in respect for them; and on ibe other, when we see the exceeding toleration, to call it no worse, with which the same people heard comedies every day, in which all the gods-were turned into ridicule, in a manner capable of inspiring the highest contempt for them. All the pieces of Aristopbanes abound with pleasantries, or rather buffooneries of this kind ; and if it be true that this poet did not know what it was to spare the greatest men of the republic, it may be said also as justly, he was still less favourable to the gods.

Such were the daily entertainments in the theatre, which the people of Athens not only heard without pain, but with such joy, pleasure, and applause, that they rewarded the poet with public honours, who diverted thero so agreeably. What was there in Socrates that came near this excessive license? Never did any person in the pagan world speak of the Divinity, or of the adoration due to him, in so pure, so noble and respectful a manner. He did not declare against the gods publicly received and honoured by a religion more ancient than the city ; be only avoided imputing to them the crimes and infamous actions, which the popular credulity ascribed to them in the opinion of the people. He did not blame the sacrifices, festivals, nor the other ceremonies of religion ; he only taught, that all that pomp and outward show could not be agreeable to the gods, without uprightness of intenticn and purity of heart.

This wise, this enlightened, this religious man, however, with all bis veneration and noble sentiments in regard to the Divinity, was condemned as an impi. ous person, by the suffrages of almost a whole people, without his accusers being able to instance one single avowed fact, or to produce any proof with the least appearance of probability:

From whence could so evident, so universal, and so determined a contraliction arise among the Athenians ? A people abounding in other respects with wit, taste, and knowledge, must without doubt have bad their reasons, at least in appearance, for a conduct so different, and sentiments so opposite to their general character. May we not say, that the Athenians considered their gods in a double light? They confined their real religion to the public, solemn, and hereditary worship, as they had received it from their ancestors, as it was established by the laws of the state, had been practised from time immemorial, and especially contirmed by the oracles, augurs, offerings, and sacrifices. It

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• Diog. p. 116.

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was by this standard that they regulated their piety; against which they couli not suffer the least attempt wbatever: it was of this worship alone they were jealous; it was for these ancient ceremonies they were such ardent zealots ; and they believed, though without foundation, that Socrates was an enemy ty them. But there was another kind of religion, founded upon table, poetical fictions, popular opinions, and foreign customs; for this they were litile concerned, and abandoned it entirely to the poets, to the representations of the theatre, and common conversation.

What grossness did they not attribute to Juno and Venus! No citizen would have been satisfied, that his wife or daughter should have resembled these goddesses. Timotheus, the famous musician, having represented Diana upon the stage of Athens, transported with folly, fury, and rage, one of the spectators conceived, that he could not make a greater imprecation against him, than to wish his daughter might become like to that divinity:

• It is better," says Plutarch, " to believe there are no gods, than to imagine them of this kind; open and declared impiety being less profane, if we may be allowed to say so, than so gross and absurd a superstition.

However it be, the sentence, the circumstances of which we have related, will, through all ages, cover Aibens with infamy and reproach, which all the splendour of its glorious actions, for which it is otherwise so justly renowned, can never obliterate ; and shows at the same time, what is to be expected from a people, gentle, humane, and beneficent, (for such the Athenians really were,) but warm, proud, haughty, inconstant, and wavering with every wind and every impression. It is therefore with reason that their assemblies have been com pared to a tempestuous sea ; as that element, though calm and peaceable of itself, is subject to be frequently agitated by a viclence not bis own.

As to Socrates, it must be allowed that the pagan world never produced any thing so great and perfect. When we observe to what height he carries the sublimity of his sentiments, not only in respect to moral virtue, temperance, sobriety, patience in adversity, the love of poverty, and the forgiveness of wrongs; but, what is far moore considerable, in regard to the Divinity, his unity omnipotence, creation of the world, and providence in the government of it ; i the iinmortality of the soul, its ultimate and eternal destiny ; the rewards of the good, and the punishment of the wicked; when we consider this train of sublime knowledge, we ask our reason whether it is a pagan who thinks and speaks in this manner, and can scarcely persuade ourselves, that from so dark and obscure a fund as paganism, such living and glorious rays of light should shine forth.

It is true, his reputation was not without alloy; and it has been affirmed, that the purity of his manners did not answer those of his sentiments. This question has been discussed among the learned; but my plan will not admit me to treat it in its extent. The reader may see Abbé Fraguier's dissertation in defence of Socrates, against the reproaches made him on account of his conduct. The negative argument which he makes use of in his justification, seems a very strong one. He observes, that neither Aristophanes, in bis comedy of the Clouds, which is entirely against Socrates, nor his vile accusers in his trial, have advanced one word that tends to impeach the purity of his manners: and it is not probable, that such violent enemies as those would have neglected one of the most likely inethods to discredit himn in the opinion of his judges, if there had been any foundation or appearance for the use of it.f.

I confess, however, that certain principles of Plato his disciple, held by him in common with his master, upon the nudity of the combatants in the public games, from which at the same time he did not exclude the fair sex, and the behaviour of Socrates himself, who wrestled naked with Alcibiades, gives us no great idea of that philosopher's delicacy in point of modesty and bashfulness.

. Plut. da Superstit. p. 170.

| Memoires de l'Academie des Inscrip. Vol. IV. p. 372

*

What shall we say of his visit to Theodota, a woman of Athens, of indifferent reputation, only to assure himself with his own eyes of her extraordinary beauty, which was much talked of, and of the precepis be gave her for the attraction of admirers, and the retaining them in her snares? Do such lessons consist much with a philosopher? I pass over many other things in silence.*

I am the less surprised after this, that several of the fathers have censured him in regard to purity of manners, and that they have thought fit to apply to bim, as well as to his disciple Plato, what St. Pault says of the philosophers; that God by a just judgment has abandoned them to a reprobate sense, and to the most shameful lusts, for their punishment; in that having clearly known there was but one true God, they had not honoured him as they ought, by publicly avowing their belief, and were not ashamed to associate with bim an innumerable multitude of divinities, ridiculous and infamous even in their own opinions.

And in this, properly speaking, consists the crime of Socrates, who was not guilty in the eyes of the Athenians, but gave occasion for his being justly condemned by the eternal truth. It had enlightened his soul with the most pure and sublime lights of which the pagan world was capable; for we are not ig. norant, that all knowledge of God, even natural, cannot come but from himself alone. He held admirable principles with relation to the Divinity: He agreeably rallied the fables, upon which the ridiculous mysteries of his age were founded. He often spoke, and in the most exalted terms, of the existence of one only God, eternal, invisible, Creator of the universe, Supreme Director and Arbiter of all events, avenger of crimes, and rewarder of virtues ; but he did not dare to give a public testimony of these great truths. He perfectiy discerned the false and the ridiculous of the pagan system, and nevertheless, as Seneca says of the wise man, and acted himself, he observed exactly all the customs and ceremonies, not as agreeable to the gods, but as enjoined by the laws.

He acknowledged at bottom one only Divinity, and worshipped with the people that multitude of infamous idols, which ancient superstition had heaped up during a long succession of ages. He held peculiar opinions in the schools, but followed the multitude in the temples. As a philosopher, he despised and detested the idols in secret; as a citizen of Athens and a senator, he paid them in public the same adoration with others : by so much the more to be condemned, says St. Augustin, as that worship, which was only external and dissembled, seemed to the people to be the effect of sincerity and conviction. I

It cannot be said, that Socrates altered his conduct at the end of his life, or that he then expressed a greater zeal for truth. In his defence before the people, be declared, that he had always received and honoured the same gods as the Athenians; and the last order be gave before he expired, was to sacrifice in his name a cock to Æsculapius. Behold, then, this prince of philosophers, declared by the Delphic oracle the wisest of mankind, who, notwithstanding his internal conviction of the one only Divinity, dies in the bosom of idolatry, and with the profession of aduring all the gods of the pagan theology. Socrates is the more inexcusable in this, that declaring himself a man expressly appointed by Heaven to bear witness to the truth, he fails in the most essential duty of the glorious commission he ascribes to himself

. For if there be any truth in religion that we ought mure particularly to avow, it is that which regards the unity of the Godhead, and the vanity of idol worship. In this his courage

had been well placed ; nor would it have been any great difficulty to Socrates, determined besides as he was to die. But, says St. Augustin, these philosophers were not designed by God to enlighten the world, nor to bring men over from the impious worship of false deities to the holy religion of the true God.*

* Xenoph. Memor. I. iii. p. 783-786.

† Rom. ch. i. ver. 17-32. I Quæ omnia (ait Seneca) sapiens servabit tanquam legibus jussa, non tanquam diis grata-Omnem istam ignobilem deorum turbam, quam longo ævo longa superstitio congessit, sic, inquit, adorabimus, ut meminerimus cultum ejus magis ad morem, quam ad rem, pertinere. Sed iste, quem philosophia quasi liberum fecerat, tamen,quia illustris senator erat, colebat quod reprehendebat, agebai quod arguebat, quod cuipabat adorabat-eo damnabilius, quo illa, quæ mendaciter agebat, sic ageret, ut euin populus veraciter agere existimaret.--St. August, de Civit. Dei, I. vi. c. 10.

Eorum sapientes, quos philosophos vocant, scholas habebant dissentientes, templa cominunia.--Id. lib. de Ver. Rel. c. 1.

We cannot deny Socrates to have been the hero of the pagan world in regard to moral virtues. But to judge rightly of him, let us draw a parallel between this supposed hero and the martyrs of Christianity, who often were young children and tender virgins, and yet were not afraid to shed the last drop of their blood, tc defend and confirm the same truths which Socrates knew, without daring to assert in public; I mean, the 'inity of God and the vanity of idols.

* Non sic isti nati erant, ut populorum suorum opinionem ad verum cultum veri Dei a simulacrorum su. perstitions, atque ab hujus mundi vanitate, converterent.-S. August. lib. de Ver. Rel. c. 2.

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