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that contradictions in our environment are also of necessity contradictions within ourselves.

I suppose it might very naturally be said that I have merely taken commonplaces out of Platonic or later thought, and read them into Xenophon by help of the common Greek phrases and notions through which Greek Philosophy is intimately rooted in the every-day mind and life of Greece. And I submit, if that were all, the process is still not altogether without its interest. If we were reading Plutarch, indeed, it would be of less importance, because then we should be dealing with the débris of the great systems, and the only question would be how much the Greek language, and the popular philosopher availing himself of it, had succeeded in preserving. But here, as I understand, we are before the great written systems, and things which became commonplaces after them are of considerable interest and value when hinted before them with any degree of definiteness, whether owing to Socrates himself or to Xenophon's shrewdness and the high level of Athenian culture in general; or not improbably, in part to Socrates, and in part to that extraordinary inspiration by which even average disciples seem to push forward from the position bequeathed them by their master. Great ideas almost apply themselves, and very likely much of Xenophon's suggestiveness was due to a communication of the Socratic ferment of which Xenophon himself could not have told the origin. At any rate, I have made my protest, and tried to show that the Memorabilia deserves better treatment than of late it has received, and that the connection of virtue with knowledge, so far from being an obsolete platitude, means something to which our age is blind because thought and knowledge have lost for us the depth and sting of meaning which they had for Xenophon's Socrates.



We may safely assume, in the absence of positive information, that when any sentiment or feeling, whether of a transient or permanent character, moves either transiently or permanently large masses of men, it is grounded on some innate disposition of human nature. It is either a response to a longfelt want, to employ a much-abused phrase, or the exciting cause awakens emotions that have long lain dormant for lack of such a cause. There are psychological forces in all men that remain quiescent at times and in some men all the time except under extraordinary stimuli, but which when aroused set in motion waves of feeling that are almost coextensive with the human race. Researches into anthropological and ethnological psychology are making it more and more clear every day that even in the most civilized communities very few men are governed in all or in fact in any considerable proportion of their actions by their reasoning faculties, and that as you go downward in the scale, to use the common mode of speech, you find a constantly increasing number who are swayed by all sorts of irrational impulses. In other words, one finds in the most enlightened society lower strata whose modes of thought, so far as they think at all, are on the same level with savages. This might be demonstrated in a week, or even in a day, if any given community could be turned upside down socially and those put into power who are at present of no account whatever in the body politic, because the process of evolution has never carried them beyond the point where their entire intellectual energy is consumed in the effort to obtain what they shall eat and what they shall drink and wherewithal they shall be clothed. Though most men are swayed by irrational motives, that is by motives they have never analyzed and can give no reason for, it does not follow that there is no philosophical basis for their existence. Patriotism, for example, is intrinsically an irrational motive, yet without it government would be wholly out of the question; and experience abundantly proves that the worst sort of government is better than none. Mankind has made progress only where some kind of control over the individual by the body politic has been established.

Yet men never become patriotic after reflecting upon the benefits of a fervent national feeling; it is only when they are moved by this sentiment that they frequently seek by processes of reasoning to demonstrate the benefits and the glory of patriotism. Many men are influenced by moral motives who have never given moral problems a single thought. Not only is this true of the present time, but it has always been so. The Hebrews had reached a certain moral elevation before such a code as the Decalogue could find acceptance among them. Some of them at least practiced its precepts before anybody thought of putting them in writing. This much is confirmed by analogy, for at what period of their history this code was first promulgated and made the basis of their legislation is uncertain.

Among all peoples that have attained a certain plane of progress a high value is placed upon human life. Nevertheless a still higher value is set upon unswerving devotion to a principle or a set of principles. If Socrates had not placed the seal upon his doctrines by his death for them, there is no doubt that his disciples would have transmitted them to posterity just the same. But the master would occupy a very different place in the eyes of posterity from that which he now occupies. Perhaps one person in a thousand is to some extent interested in the philosopher and his system where nine hundred and ninety-nine read the story of his trial and death with mingled feelings of pity and admiration and indignation-pity for the man because of the injustice done him; admiration of his calmness and courage in his last hours; and indignation at his accusers and unjust judges. The most convincing evidence that a man can give of his faith in his doctrines or of a cause he champions is his willingness to sacrifice his life for them.

Rome had her heroes and heroines like Cocles and Cloelia and Regulus who threw their lives into the scale for their country; but no Roman ever felt a call to sacrifice himself for anybody outside of the circle of his fellow-citizens, least of all for a universal principle. Seneca probably came nearest to doing so; and while we may admire him and sympathize with him in the extraordinarily trying position in which he was placed in his later years, we cannot help but feel that, compared with a man like Socrates, he cuts but a sorry figure. Do what you believe to be right and consider everything else of subordinate importance, was the rule of life followed by Socrates. Do as nearly right as you can under the circumstances in which you are placed; in any event give the circumstances due consideration, was the motto of Seneca. His country so completely bounded the moral vision of the Roman, even of the noblest among them, that he could scarcely conceive of genuine worth beyond its pale.

The Greeks saw farther. Antigone was one of their most cherished national heroines because she chose to obey God rather than man, though at the sacrifice of her life. Alkestis was moved by a somewhat different sentiment, but there was in it more of the allgemein Menschliche, more of genuine altruism than is displayed by any Roman hero or heroine. To the highest height Socrates alone attained. That the Athenians deemed no one worthy to reign after Kodrus is, of course, mythical in the form in which the story has been transmitted to us; and it partakes more of the Roman than the Greek; that is, it represents the national feeling at a stage beyond which the Roman never passed. Still such traditions are interesting landmarks along the road which the most advanced nations have traveled and the value they placed popularly upon selfsacrifice.

There is no doubt that Christ felt himself divinely called to the mission he ended on the cross; yet there is equally little doubt that St. Paul gave it a currency which it might not at all, or at least not so rapidly, have gained but for his zeal.

When after the breaking-up of the Roman empire the clergy gradually deepened the main channel of their theological system and turned into it all thought that rose above the mere routine of daily life, it was inevitable that the only meritorious sacrifice that men could make would be in behalf of religion, whether by a life of renunciation or by the renunciation of life. Fidelity to a universal empire was now diverted into fidelity to a universal


church. Necessarily the martyr became the highest type of the Christian and even of man, the one who most nearly approached the divine prototype. No doubt many became martyrs from motives that could hardly be called meritorious. They preferred to leave this world as ostentatiously as possible. It was in the life, and especially in the death, of the martyrs that the mediæval church found its most nutritious spiritual pabulum. One of the most widely current, perhaps the most widely current, of all mediæval legends is the story of Prince Henry and Elsie, as told in verse by the poet Longfellow. Speaking of it he says: “It seems to me to surpass all other legends in beauty and significance. It exhibits, amid the corruption of the Middle Ages, the virtues of disinterestedness and selfsacrifice.” Much of this sacrifice was misdirected, probably most of it was, because it was selfish rather than altruistic; but it fell in with a state of feeling that was far deeper and wider than the church. Moreover, it is often easier to die for a cause or a principle than to live for it, especially when death comes to the victim under spectacular conditions, while the alternative life of service and sacrifice is as the light hid under a bushel.

“The Golden Legend" took such a hold upon the masses because the chief actor in it was peculiarly fitted to excite their sympathy. Young, beautiful, devout, with the promise of a long career of useful service before her, she, like Christ her prototype, foregoes all and offers her life a voluntary sacrifice for her sovereign. It affected the common people the more deeply by bringing home to them the reflection that one of their number was accounted worthy to accomplish so great a deliverance.

In mediæval times the necessity of sacrifice for any other object or even of sincere devotion to any other cause than the church could hardly arise. Alfred the Great was probably the only sovereign that Europe produced in half a dozen centuries whose patriotism had nothing spectacular in it, and but the smallest modicum of selfishness. For, important as was the work of Charlemagne in advancing civilization, he showed quite as much eagerness to add new domains to his realm as Vol. XV-No. 4.



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