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and wickedness.” * But the benign logic of Plato rejected a useless malignity. Evil when it came, was supposed to be for a good purpose : or rather not being of a nature to be immediately got rid of, was turned to good account; and man was ultimately the better for it. The demon did every thing he could to exalt the intellect of his charge, to regulate his passions, and perfect his nature throughout; in short, to teach his soul, as the soul aspired to teach the body; and what is remarkable, though he could not supply fate itself, he is said to have supplied things fortuitous ; that is to say, “to give us a chance," as we phrase it, and put us in the way of shaping what we were to suppose was rough-hewn. This was reversing the Shakespearian order of Providence, or rather, perhaps, giving it a new meaning; for we, or the untaught part of us, and fate, might be supposed to go blindly to the same end, did not our intelligence keep on the alert.

There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.

* See the “ Pantheon” attributed to Mr. Tooke. Tooke's “ Pantheon” is a rifacimento of King's “Pantheon,” which was a translation from a Jesuit of the name of Pomey. It contains “in every page, an elaborate calumny,” says Mr. Baldwin, “upon the gods of the Greeks, and that in the coarsest thoughts and words that taverns could furnish. The author seems continually haunted by the fear that his pupil might prefer the religion of Jupiter to the religion of Christ.” — Baldwin's “ Pantheon,” preface, p. 5. This philosophical mythologist is of opinion that there was no ground for fear of that sort. We have observed elsewhere how little the young readers of Tooke think of the abuse at all; but if they had any sense of it, undoubtedly it goes in Jupiter's favor. We believe there is one thing which is not lost upon them, and that is, the affected horror and secret delight with which the Jesuit dwells upon certain vagaries of the gayer deities. Besides, he paints sometimes in good, admiring earnest; and then the boys attend to him as gravely. See, for instance, the beginning of his chapter on Venus, which, if we read once at school, we read a thousand times, comparing it with the engraving.

† See Taylor's and Sydenham's “ Translations of Plato," vol. i. p. 16, and vol. ii. p. 308.

If all this is not much clearer than attempts to explain such matters are apt to be, and if the parts of Plato's theology (which were derived from the national creed) do little honor sometimes to the general spirit of it, which was his own ; there is something at all times extremely elevating in his aspirations after the good and beautiful. St. Augustin complained that the reading of Plato made him proud. We do believe that it is impossible for readers of any enthusiasm to sit long over some of his writings (the Banquet for instance) and not feel an unusual exaltation of spirit, -- a love of the good and beautiful, for their own sakes, and in honor of human nature. But there is no danger, we conceive, provided we correct this poetical state of self-aspiration with a remembrance of the admonitions of Christianity, — the sympathy with our fellowcreatures. The more hope we have of ourselves under that correction, the more we shall have of others.

The great point is to elevate ourselves by elevating humanity at large.

It is difficult to know what to make of the demon of Socrates. It is clear that he laid claim to a special consciousness of this attendant spirit - a sort of revelation, that we believe had never before been vouchsafed. The spirit gave him intimations rather what to avoid than to do; for the Platonists tell us, that Socrates was led by his own nature to do what was right; but out of the fervor of his desire to do it, was liable to be mistaken in the

For instance, he had a tendency to give the benefit of his wisdom to all men indiscriminately; and here the demon would sometimes warn him off, that he might not waste his philosophy upon a fool. This was at least an ingenious and mortifying satire. But the spirit interfered also on occasions that seem very trifling, though accord


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ant with the office assigned to him by Plato of presiding over fortuitous events. Socrates was going one day to see a friend in company with some others, when he made a sudden halt, and told them that his demon had advised him not to go down that street, but to choose another. Some of them turned back, but others persisting in the path before them, on purpose as 'twere, to confute Socrates his demon,” encountered a herd of muddy swine, and came home with their clothes all over dirt. Charillus, a musician who had come to Athens to see the philosopher Cebes, got especially mudded, so that now and then, says Plutarch, “he and his friends would think in merriment on Socrates his demon, wondering that it never forsook the man, and that Heaven took such particular care of

It was particular enough in heaven, to be sure, to hinder a philosopher from having his drapery damaged ; but we suppose matters would have been worse, had he gone the way of the inferior flesh. He would have made it worth the pigs' while to be more tragical.

This demon is the only doubtful thing about the character of Socrates, for as to the common misconceptions of him, they are but the natural conclusions of vulgar minds; and Aristophanes, who became a traitor to the graces he had learned at his table, and condescended to encourage the misconceptions in order to please the instinctive jealousy of the men of wit and pleasure about town, was but a splendid buffoon. But when we reflect that the wisdom inculcated by Socrates was of a nature particularly straightforward and practical; this supernatural twist in his pretensions appears the more extraordinary. To be sure it has been well argued, that no men are more likely to be put out of their reckoning by a sudden incursion of fancy or demand upon their belief, than those who are the most mechanical and matter-of-fact on all other points. They are not used to it; and have no grounds to go upon, the moment the hardest and dryest ones are taken from under them. Plato has rendered it difficult to believe this of Socrates ; but then we have the authority of Socrates for concluding that Plato put a great deal in his head that he never uttered; and the Socrates of Xenophon, we think, the practical farmer and house-keeper, might not be supposed incapable of yielding to superstitious delusion out of a defect of imagination. Socrates sometimes reminds us of Dr. Johnson. He was a Johnson on a higher scale, healthier with more self-command ; and instead of being intemperate and repenting all his life, had conquered his passions, and turned them into graces becoming his reason. Johnson had a sturdy every-day good sense and wit and words to impress it; but it was only persuasion in him : in Socrates it was persuasion and practice. Now Johnson had a strong tendency to be moved by superstitious impressions and perplexities from within. A sudden action of the bile, not well understood, or taken as a moral instead of a physical intimation, would give rise to some painful thoughts; and this (which is a weakness that many temperaments given to reflection and not in perfect health, have found it necessary to guard against), would lead him into some superstitious practice, or avoidance. There is a circumstance related of him, very like this one of Socrates; only the sedentary, diseased, dinner-loving Englishman made a gloomy business of it; while the sturdy gymnastic Athenian, mastering the weakness of his stomach, turned the superstition on his side into an elegance and an exaltation. The fact we allude to is, that Johnson would never go down Cranbourne Alley, or some street thereabout. He always turned and went round about. Had he been gay and confident, not overwhelmed with scrofula, and with the more gloomy parts of his creed, he might have sworn as Socrates did, that it was his guardian angel that told him not to go that way. Had it been Jeremy Taylor — Jeremy the amiable and the handsome, the Sir Charles Grandison of Christianity, who, with equal comfort to his security, pronounced a panegyric upon a wedding ring, or a description of eternal torments (so much can superstition pervert a sweet nature) - he, if he had thought he had an intimation from wi in, would have infallibly laid it to the account of the prettiest angel of the skies. Was it something of a like vanity in Socrates (too superior to his fellows, not to fall into some disadvantage of that sort)? or was it an unhealthy movement within him happily turned ? or was it a joke which was to be taken for serious, by those who liked ? or did it arise from one of those perplexities of not knowing what to conclude, to which the greatest minds may be subject when they attain to the end of their experience, and stand between the known world and the unknown? or, lastly, was it owing (as we fear is most likely) partly to a superstition retained from his nurse, and partly to a determination to construe an occasional fancy, thus warranted, into a conscious certainty, and so turn his interest with heaven to the account of his effect among men ? Such, we fear, is the most reasonable conjecture, and such we take to be the general impression; though with a delicacy, equally singular and creditable to them, mankind (with rare exceptions) seem to have agreed to say as little about the

* See the story as related by Plutarch, and translated by Creech, in the “Morals by several Hands.” Vol. II. p. 287. The street preferred by the philosopher was “Trunkmakers Street,” and the fatal one “Gravers Row," says Creech, "near the Guildhall.”

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