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St Paul and Seneca



HPHE earliest of the Latin fathers, Tertullian, writing about a Senecatra-*- century and a half after the death of Seneca, speaks of this accounted philosopher as ' often our own1.' Some two hundred years later ^ 1S" St Jerome, having occasion to quote him, omits the qualifying adverb and calls him broadly 'our own SenecaV Living midway between these two writers, Lactantius points out several coincidences with the teaching of the Gospel in the writings of Seneca, whom nevertheless he styles 'the most determined of the Roman Stoics*.' From the age of St Jerome, Seneca was commonly regarded as standing on the very threshold of the Christian Church, even if he had not actually passed within its portals. In one Ecclesiastical Council at least, held at Tours in the year 567, his authority is quoted with a deference generally accorded only to fathers of the Church4. And even to the present day in the marionette plays of his native Spain St Seneca takes his place by the side of St Peter and St Paul in the representations of our Lord's passion8.

Comparing the language of Tertullian and Jerome, we are

1 Tertull. deAnim. 20 'Seneca saepe fait': comp. ii. 9, vi. 24, etc.

noster.' 'Labbrei Concilia v. p. 856 (Paris,

'Adv. Jovin. i. 49 (n. p. 318)' Serip- 1671) 'Siout ait Seneca pessimnm in

semnt Aristoteles et Plutarchus et nos- eo vitium esse qui in id quo insanit

ter Seneca de matrimonio libros etc.' caeteros putat furere.' See Fleury

* Die. Inst. i. 5 'Annaeus Seneca Saint Paul et Sonique I. p. 14.

qui ex Romanis vel acerrimus Stoicus * So Fleury states, I. p. 289.

able to measure the growth of this idea in the interval of time which separates the two. One important impulse however, which it received meanwhile, must not be overlooked. When The forged St Jerome wrote, the Christianity of Seneca seemed to be denoe of established on a sounder basis than mere critical inference. A Seneca correspondence, purporting to have passed between the heathen philosopher and the Apostle of the Gentiles, was then in general circulation; and, without either affirming or denying its genuineness, this father was thereby induced to give a place to Seneca in his catalogue of Christian writers1. If the letters of Paul and Seneca, which have come down to us, are the same with those read by him (and there is no sufficient reason for doubting the identity5), it is strange that he could for a moment have entertained the question of their authenticity. The poverty of thought and style, the errors in chronology and history, and the whole conception of the relative positions of the Stoic philosopher and the Christian Apostle, betray clearly the hand of a forger. Yet this correspondence has without doubt been mainly instrumental in fixing the belief on the mind of the later Church, as it was even sufficient to induce some hesitation in St Jerome himself. How far the known history and the extant writings of either favour this idea, it will be the object of the present essay to examine. The enquiry into the historical connexion between these two great contemporaries will naturally expand into an investigation of the relations, whether of coincidence or of contrast, between the systems of which they were the respective exponents. And, as Stoicism was the only philosophy which could even pretend to rival Christianity in the earlier ages of the Church, such an investigation ought not to be uninstructive3.

1 Vir. Ittustr. 12' Quem non ponerem 3 In the sketch, which I have given,

in catalogo sanctorum, nisi me illae epi- of the relation of Stoicism to the or

stolae provocarent quae leguntur a plu- cumstances of the time and to other

rimis, Pauli ad Senecam et Senecae ad earlier and contemporary system* of

Paulum.' philosophy, I am greatly indebted to

* See the note at the end of this die- the account in Zeller's Phileuophii der

sertation. Qriechen Th. m. Abth. 1 Dis ***•

Like all the later systems of Greek philosophy, Stoicism was Later phithe offspring of despair. Of despair in religion: for the old the chilmythologies had ceased to command the belief or influence the ^spalr conduct of men. Of despair in politics: for the Macedonian conquest had broken the independence of the Hellenic states and stamped out the last sparks of corporate life. Of despair even in philosophy itself: for the older thinkers, though they devoted their lives to forging a golden chain which should link earth to heaven, appeared now to have spent their strength in weaving ropes of sand. The sublime intuitions of Plato had been found too vague and unsubstantial, and the subtle analyses of Aristotle too hard and cold, to satisfy the natural craving of man for some guidance which should teach him how to live and to die.

Thus the soil of Greece had been prepared by the uprootal Greece of past interests and associations for fresh developments of for new religious and philosophic thought. When political life became SJ-^8.of impossible, the moral faculties of man were turned inward upon Phyhimself and concentrated on the discipline of the individual soul. When speculation had been cast aside as barren and unprofitable, the search was directed towards some practical rule or rules which might take its place. When the gods of Hellas had been deposed and dishonoured, some new powers must be created or discovered to occupy their vacant throne.

Stimulated by the same need, Epicurus and Zeno strove Coinoi


in different ways to solve the problem which the perplexities of contrasts

their age presented. Both alike, avoiding philosophy in the Smsbmmusi

proper sense of the term, concentrated their energies on ethics: Stoio phi* m ° losophies.

but the one took happiness, the other virtue, as his supreme

good, and made it the starting-point of his ethical teaching.

Both alike contrasted with the older masters in building their

systems on the needs of the individual and not of the state: but

the one strove to satisfy the cravings of man, as a being intended

aristotelische Philosophic (2nded. 18(55), of Sir A. Grant on 'The Ancient Stoios' which it is impossible to praise too in his edition of Aristotle's Ethics I. highly. See also the instructive essay p. 243 sq. (2nd ed.).

Oriental origin of


by nature for social life, by laying stress on the claims and privileges of friendship, the other by expanding his sphere of duty and representing him as a citizen of the world or even of the universe. Both alike paid a certain respect to the waning beliefs of their day: but the one without denying the existence of the gods banished them from all concern in the affairs of men, while the other, transforming and utilising the creations of Hellenic mythology, identified them with the powers of the physical world. Both alike took conformity to nature as their guiding maxim: but nature with the one was interpreted to mean the equable balance of all the impulses and faculties of man, with the other the absolute supremacy of the reason, as the ruling principle of his being. And lastly; both alike sought refuge from the turmoil and confusion of the age in the inward calm and composure of the soul. If Serenity (drapa^la) was the supreme virtue of the one, her twin sister Passionlessness (airaBia) was the sovereign principle of the other.

These two later developments of Greek philosophy both took root and grew to maturity in Greek soil. But, while the seed of the one was strictly Hellenic, the other was derived from an Oriental stock. Epicurus was a Greek of the Greeks, a child of Athenian parents. Zeno on the other hand, a native of Citium, a Phoenician colony in Crete, was probably of Shemitic race, for he is commonly styled 'the Phoenician1.' Babylon, Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, reared some of his most illustrious successors. Cilicia, Phrygia, Rhodes, were the homes of others. Not a single Stoic of any name was a native of Greece proper5.

To Eastern affinities Stoicism was without doubt largely indebted for the features which distinguished it from other schools of Greek philosophy. To this fact may be ascribed the intense moral earnestness which was its most honourable characteristic. If the later philosophers generally, as distinguished from the earlier, busied themselves with ethics rather than metaphysics, with the Stoics this was the one absorbing passion. The contrast between the light, reckless gaiety of the Hellenic spirit and the stern, unbending, almost fanatical moralism of the followers of Zeno is as complete as could well be imagined. The ever-active conscience which is the glory, and the proud self-consciousness which is the reproach, of the Stoic school are alike alien to the temper of ancient Greece. Stoicism breathes rather the religious atmosphere of the East, which fostered on the one hand the inspired devotion of a David or an Isaiah, and on the other the self-mortification and self-righteousness of an Egyptian therapeute or an Indian fakir. A recent writer, to whom we are indebted for a highly appreciative account of the Stoic school, describes this new phase of Greek philosophy, which we have been reviewing and of which Stoicism was the truest exponent, as ' the transition to modernism1.' It might with greater truth be described as the contact of Oriental influences with the world of classical thought. Stoic- Union of ism was in fact the earliest offspring of the union between the ^thclas

Its moral earnestness derived thence.

1 See Diog. Laert. vii. 3, where
Crates addresses him H <pfvyeii, & *«-
vuitSiov; comp. § 15 fyoivutaav; § 25
4>ou>ii««3i; § 30 el Si rdrpa Qolviaaa, Ti's

o <pBivos; We are told also § 7 im-
roioCiro 5' airov KaX oi iv Siiun Kiruis-
So again ii. 114 Zifrura rbr *»>io.
3 See below, pp. 282, 288.

religious consciousness of the East and the intellectual culture fi0*1

. . . ... thought.

of the West. The recognition of the claims of the individual

soul, the sense of personal responsibility, the habit of judicial introspection, in short the subjective view of ethics, were in no sense new, for they are known to have held sway over the mind of the chosen people from the earliest dawn of their history as a nation. But now for the first time they presented themselves at the doors of Western civilization and demanded admission. The occasion was eminently favourable. The conquests of Alexander, which rendered the fusion of the East and West for the first time possible, also evoked the moral need which they had thus supplied the means of satisfying. By the overthrow of the state the importance of the individual was enhanced. In the failure of political relations, men were thrown

1 Grant, I. c. p. 243. Sir A. Grant element in Stoicism (p. 246). however fully recognises the Eastern

back on their inward resources and led to examine their moral

wants and to educate their moral faculties.

Exclusive It was in this way that the Eastern origin of Stoicism

attention ,.,..,. . . , ,

to ethics, combined with the circumstances and requirements ol the age

to give it an exclusively ethical character. The Stoics did, it is

true, pay some little attention to physical questions: and one or

two leading representatives of the school also contributed

towards the systematic treatment of logic. But consciously

and expressly they held these branches of study to be valueless

except in their bearing on moral questions. Representing

philosophy under the image of a field, they compared physics

to the trees, ethics to the fruit for which the trees exist, and

logic to the wall or fence which protects the enclosure1. Or

again, adopting another comparison, they likened logic to the

shell of an egg, physics to the white, and ethics to the yolk5.

Practical As the fundamental maxim of Stoical ethics was conformity to

physics nature, and as therefore it was of signal importance to ascertain

man's relation to the world around, it might have been supposed

that the study of physics would have made great progress in

the hands of Zeno's disciples. But, pursuing it for the most

part without any love for the study itself and pursuing it

moreover only to support certain foregone ethical conclusions,

they instituted few independent researches and discovered no

and depre- hidden truths. To logic they assigned a still meaner part. The ciation of . .... , ., . ,

logic. place which it occupies in the images already mentioned clearly

points to their conception of its functions. It was not so much

a means of arriving at truth, as an expedient for protecting truth already attained from external assaults. An extreme representative of the school went so far as to say that 'Of subjects of philosophical investigation some pertain to us, some have no relation to us, and some are beyond us: ethical questions belong to the first class; dialectics to the second, for they contribute nothing towards the amendment of life; and physics to the third, for they are beyond the reach of knowledge and are profitless withal1.' This was the genuine spirit of the school2, though other adherents were more guarded in their statements. Physical science is conversant in experiment; logical science in argumentation. But the Stoic was impatient alike of the one and the other; for he was essentially a philosopher of intuitions.

1 Diog. Laert. vii. 40, Philo de Phil. § 396. But this is a matter of

Agric. 3, p. 302 M. See also de MM. little moment; for, whichever form of

Nom. § 10, p. 589 M, where Philo after the metaphor be adopted, the ethial

giving this comparison says oflrui ovv bearing of physics is put prominently

t<paaav Kal iv </>iXoffo</>(y SeTv H/v re <pu- forward. Indeed as ancient naturalist*

oud\v Ko! Xo7«V rpayiuvrelav erl T^k were not agreed about the respective

jjBiKriv ava<p(p«rBai K.t.x. functions of the yolk and the white, the

a Sext. Emp. vii. 17. On the other application of the metaphor must hive

hand Diog. Laert. I.e. makes ethics the been influenced by this uncertainty,

white and physics the yolk. See Zeller The inferiority of logic appears in ill

I.e. p. 57, and Ritter and Preller Hist. the comparisons.

And here again the Oriental spirit manifested itself. The Prophetio Greek moralist was a reasoner: the Oriental for the most part, the sohool. whether inspired or uninspired, a prophet. Though they might clothe their systems of morality in a dialectical garb, the Stoic teachers belonged essentially to this latter class. Even Ghrysippus, the great logician and controversialist of the sect, is reported to have told his master Cleanthes, that 'he only wanted the doctrines, and would himself find out the proofs*.' This saying has been condemned as 'betraying a want of earnestness as to the truth4'; but I can hardly think that it ought to be regarded in this light. Flippant though it would appear at first sight, it may well express the intense faith in intuition, or what I have called the prophetic8 spirit, which distinguishes the school. Like the other Stoics, Chrysippus

1 Ariston in Diog. Laert. vii. 160, some apology; but I could not find

Stob. Flor. lxxx. 7. See Zeller I.e. a better. I meant to express by it

p. 50. the characteristic of enunciating moral

2 'Quicquid legeris ad mores statim truths as authoritative, independently

referas,' says Seneca Ep. Mar. lxxxix. of processes of reasoning. The Stoic,

See the whole of the preceding epistle. being a pantheist and having no dis

* Diog. Laert. vii. 179 roMdiris (\eyt tinct belief in a personal God, was not

/uSnjs rijs ruv Soyn&ruv SiSoffKaXios xpTr a prophet in the ordinary sense, but

lei v rai S' droSeifiis avrds tvpriaeiy. only as being the exponent of his own

4 Grant I.e. p. 253. inner consciousness, which was his su

s Perhaps the use of this term needs preme authority.

Parallel to Christianity in the westward progress of Stoicism.

Influence of Greeoe

and of Rome.

had no belief in argumentation, but welcomed the highest truths as intuitively apprehended. Logic was to him, as to them, only the egg-shell which protected the germ of future life, the fence which guarded the fruitful garden. As a useful weapon of defence against assailants, and nothing more, it was regarded by the most perfect master of the science which the school produced. The doctrines did not derive their validity from logical reasoning: they were absolute and self-contained. Once stated, they must commend themselves to the innate faculty, when not clouded by ignoble prejudices of education or degrading habits of life.

But though the germ of Stoicism was derived from the East, its systematic development and its practical successes were attained by transplantation into a western soil. In this respect its career, as it travelled westward, presents a rough but instructive parallel to the progress of the Christian Church. The fundamental ideas, derived from Oriental parentage, were reduced to a system and placed on an intellectual basis by the instrumentality of Greek thought. The schools of Athens and of Tarsus did for Stoicism the same work which was accomplished for the doctrines of the Gospel by the controversial writings of the Greek fathers and the authoritative decrees of the Greek councils. Zeno and Chrysippus and Panaetius are the counterparts of an Origen, an Athanasius, or a Basil. But, while the systematic expositions of the Stoic tenets were directly or indirectly the products of Hellenic thought and were matured on Greek soil, the scene of its greatest practical manifestations was elsewhere. It must be allowed that the Roman representatives of the school were very inadequate exponents of the Stoic philosophy regarded as a speculative system: but just as Latin Christianity adopted from her Greek sister the creeds which she herself was incapable of framing, and built thereupon an edifice of moral influence and social organization far more stately and enduring, so also when naturalised in its Latin home Stoicism became a motive power in the world, and exhibited those practical results to which its renown is chiefly due. This

comparison is instituted between movements hardly comparable in their character or their effects; and it necessarily stops short of the incorporation of the Teutonic nations. But the distinctive feature of Christianity as a Divine revelation and of the Church as a Divine institution does not exempt them from the ordinary laws of progress: and the contrasts between the doctrines of the Porch and the Gospel, to which I shall have to call attention later, are rendered only the more instructive by observing this parallelism in their outward career.

It is this latest or Roman period of Stoic philosophy which Attention has chiefly attracted attention, not only because its practical theRomau influence then became most manifest, but also because thisfenoistage of its history alone is adequately illustrated by extant writings of the school. On the Christian student moreover it has a special claim; for he will learn an instructive lesson in the conflicts or coincidences of Stoicism with the doctrines of the Gospel and the progress of the Church. And of this stage in its history Seneca is without doubt the most striking representative.

Seneca was strictly a contemporary of St Paul. Born Seneca probably within a few years of each other, the Christian Apostle and the Stoic philosopher both died about the same time and both fell victims of the same tyrant's rage. Here, it would have seemed, the parallelism must end. One might indeed indulge in an interesting speculation whether Seneca, like so many other Stoics, had not Shemitic blood in his veins. The whole district from which he came was thickly populated with Phoenician settlers either from the mother country or from her great African colony. The name of his native province Baetica, the name of his native city Corduba, are both said to be Phoenician. Even his own name, though commonly derived from the Latin, may perhaps have a Shemitic origin; for it is borne by a Jew of Palestine early in the second century1.

1The name 2ew«£s or 2«>«oj word is usually connected with 'senex.' occurs in the list of the early bishops Curtius Griech. Etym. § 428. of Jerusalem, Euseb. U. E. iv. 6. The

contrasted This however is thrown out merely as a conjecture. Otherwise Paul. the Stoic philosopher from the extreme West and the Christian Apostle from the extreme East of the Roman dominions would seem very unlikely to present any features in common. The one a wealthy courtier and statesman settled in the metropolis, the other a poor and homeless preacher wandering in distant provinces, they were separated not less by the manifold influences of daily life than by the circumstances of their birth and early education. Yet the coincidences of thought and even of language between the two are at first sight so striking, that many writers have been at a loss to account for them, except on the supposition of personal intercourse, if not of direct plagiarism1. The inference indeed appears unnecessary: but the facts are remarkable enough to challenge investigation, and I propose now to consider their bearing. upright and good and great mind except (a) god lodging in a human body1?' The spark of a heavenly flame has alighted on the hearts of men*. They are associates with, are members of God. The mind came from God and yearns towards God*.

Coincidences of thought and language.

1 The connexion of St Paul and Seneca has been a favourite subject with French writers. The most elaborate of recent works is A. Floury's Saint Paul et SCneque (Paris 1853), in which the author attempts to show that Seneca was a disciple of St Paul. It is interesting and full of materials, but extravagant and unsatisfactory. Far more critical is C. Aubertin's Etude Critique sur les rapports suppose"* entre Stneque et Saint Paul (Paris 18S7), which appears intended as an answer to Floury. Aubertin shows that many of the parallels are fallacious, and that many others prove nothing, since the same sentiments occur in earlier writers. At the same time he fails to account for other more striking coincidences. It must be added also that he is sometimes very careless in his statements. For instance (p. 186) he fixes an epoch by coupling together the names of Celsus and Julian, though they are separated by nearly two centuries. Floury's opinion is combated also in Baur's articles Seneca una" Paulus, republished in Drei Abhandlungcn etc. p. 377 sq. (ed. Zeller, 1876). Among other recent French works in

which Seneca's obligations to Christianity are maintained,may be named those of Troplong, De Vinfluence du Oristianisme sur le droit civil des Remains p. 76 (Paris 1843), and C. Schmidt Essai historique sur lasociftf civiUdani le monde Romainetsursa transformation par le Christianisme (Paris 1853). The opposite view is taken by C. Martha Les Moralistes sous I'Empire Romai* (2°" ed. Paris 1866). Le Stoicisme i Rome, by P. Montee (Paris 1865), is a readable little book, but does not throw any fresh light on the subject. Seekers after God, a popular and instructive work by the Rev. F. W. Farrar, appeared about the same time as my first edition. Still later are the discussions of G. Boissier La Religion Romaine a. p. 52 sq. (Paris 1874) and E. Frank Stoicismus u. Christenthum (Brealsa 1876). The older literature of the subject will be found in Fleury i. p. 1 HIn reading through Seneca I have been able to add some striking coincidence* to those collected by Fleury and others, while at the same time I have rejected a vast number as insufficient or illusory.

Though general resemblances of sentiment and teaching will carry less weight, as compared with the more special coincidences of language and illustration, yet the data would be incomplete without taking the former into account1. Thus we might imagine ourselves listening to a Christian divine, when we read in the pages of Seneca that' God made the world because He Goodness is good,' and that 'as the good never grudges anything good, He therefore made everything the best possible*.' Yet if we are tempted to draw a hasty inference from this parallel, we are checked by remembering that it is a quotation from Plato. Again Seneca maintains that'in worshipping the gods, the first Belation thing is to believe in the gods,' and that 'he who has copied G0<i. them has worshipped them adequately3'; and on this duty of imitating the gods he insists frequently and emphatically4. But here too his sentiment is common to Plato and many other

1 No account is here taken of certain direct reproductions of Christian teaching which some writers have found in Seneca. Thus the doctrine of the Trinity is supposed to be enunciated by these words 'Quisquisformatoruniversi fuit, sive ille Deus est potens omnium, sive incorporalis ratio ingentium operant artifex, sive divinus spirit us per omnia maxima ac minima aequali intentione diffusus, sive fatum et inmutabilis causarum inter se cohaerentium series' (ad Helv. matr. 8). Fleury (i. p. 97), who holds this view, significantly ends his quotation with' diffusus,'omitting the clause 'sive fatum, etc' Thus again some writers have found an allusion to the Christian sacraments in Seneca's language, 'Ad hoc sacrament urn adacti sumus ferr e mortalia,' deVit. beat. 15 (comp. Ep. Mor. lxv). Such criticisms are mere plays on words and do not even deserve credit for ingenuity. On the other hand Seneca does mention

the doctrine of guardian angels or demons; 'Sepone in praesentia quae quibuadam placent, unicuique nostrum paedagogum dari deum,' Ep. Mor. cz; but, as Aubertin shows (p. 284 sq.), this was a tenet common to many earlier philosophers; and in the very passage quoted Seneca himself adds, 'Ita tamen hoc seponas volo, ut memineris majores nostros, qui credidemnt, Stoicos fuisse, singulis enim et Genium et Junonem dederunt.' See Zeller p. 297 sq.

2 Ep. Mor. lxv. 10.

3 Ep. Mor. zcv. 50.

* de Vit. beat. 15 'Habebit illud in animo vetus praeceptum: deum sequere'; de Bene/. iv. 25 'Propositum est nobis secundum rerum naturam vivere et deorum exemplum sequi'; ib. i. 1 'Hos sequamur duces quantum humana imbecillitas patitur'; Ep. Mor. cxxiv. 23 'Animus emendatus acpurus, aemulator dei.'

of the older philosophers. 'No man,' he says elsewhere,' is good without God1.' 'Between good men and the gods there exists a friendship—a friendship do I say? nay, rather a relationship and a resemblance3'; and using still stronger language he speaks of men as the children of God*. But here again he is treading in the footsteps of the older Stoic teachers, and his very language is anticipated in the words quoted by St Paul from Cleanthes or Aratus,' We too His offspring are4.' Fatherly From the recognition of God's fatherly relation to man

merit of important consequences flow. In almost Apostolic language Seneca describes the trials and sufferings of good men as the chastisements of a wise and beneficent parent: 'God has a fatherly mind towards good men and loves them stoutly; and, saith He, Let them be harassed with toils, with pains, with losses, that they may gather true strength8.' 'Those therefore whom God approves, whom He loves, them He hardens, He chastises, He disciplines6.' Hence the 'sweet uses of adversity" find in him an eloquent exponent. 'Nothing,' he says, quoting his friend Demetrius,'seems to me more unhappy than the man whom no adversity has ever befallen7.' 'The life free from care and from any buffetings of fortune is a dead sea8.' Hence too it follows that resignation under adversity becomes a plain duty. 'It is best to endure what you cannot mend, and without murmuring to attend upon God, by whose ordering all things come to pass. He is a bad soldier who follows his captain complaining8.' The in- Still more strikingly Christian is his language, when he

st^xitof speaks of God, who 'is near us, is with us, is within,' of 'a holy God. spirit residing in us, the guardian and observer of our good and

evil deeds10.' 'By what other name,' he asks, 'can we call an

From this doctrine of the abiding presence of a divine spirit the practical inferences are not less weighty. 'So live with men, as if God saw you; so speak with God, as if men heard you4.' 'What profits it, if any matter is kept secret from men? nothing is hidden from God5.' 'The gods are witnesses of everything8.'

But even more remarkable perhaps, than this devoutness of Universal tone in which the duties of man to God arising out of his filial 0f sin. relation are set forth, is the energy of Seneca's language, when he paints the internal struggle of the human soul and prescribes the discipline needed for its release. The soul is bound in a prison-house, is weighed down by a heavy burden7. Life is a continual warfare8. From the terrors of this struggle none escape unscathed. The Apostolic doctrine that all have sinned has an apparent counterpart in the teaching of Seneca; 'We shall ever be obliged to pronounce the same sentence upon ourselves, that we are evil, that we have been evil, and (I will add it unwillingly) that we shall be evil'.' 'Every vice exists in every man, though every vice is not prominent in each10.' 'If we would be upright judges of all things, let us first persuade ourselves of this, that not one of us is without fault11.' 'These are vices of mankind and not of the times. No age has been free from fault".' 'Capital punishment is appointed for all, and

1 Ep. Mor. xxxi. The want of the 5 Ep. Mor. lxxxiii; comp. Fragm. 14

definite article in Latin leaves the exact (in Lactant. vi. 24). meaning uncertain; but this uncertain- * Ep. Mor. cii.

ty is suited to the vagueness of Stoic 7 adHelv.matr. 11, Ep.Mor. lxv,cii.

theology. In Ep. Mor. xli Seneca quotes 8 See below, p. 269, note 5.

the words 'Quis deus, incertum est; 9 de Bene/, i. 10.

habitat Deus' (Virg. Mn. viii. 352), and 10 de Bene/, iv. 27.

applies them to this inward monitor. "de Ira ii. 28; comp. ad Polyb. 11,

31 de Otio 5. Ep. Mor. xlii.

3 Ep. Mor. xcii. u Ep. Mor. xcvii.

4 Ep. Mor. x.

Office of the conscience.

this by a most righteous ordinance1.' 'No one will be found who can acquit himself; and an)' man calling himself innocent has regard to the witness, not to his own conscience*.' 'Evenday, every hour,' he exclaims, 'shows us our nothingness, and reminds us by some new token, when we forget our frailty5.' Thus Seneca, in common with the Stoic school generally, lays great stress on the office of the conscience, as 'making cowards of us all.' 'It reproaches them,' he says, 'and shows them to themselves4.' 'The first and greatest punishment of sinners is the fact of having sinned6.' 'The beginning of safety is the knowledge of sin.' 'I think this,' he adds, 'an admirable saying of Epicurus*.'

Hence also follows the duty of strict self-examination. 'As far as thou canst, accuse thyself, try thyself: discharge the office, first of a prosecutor, then of a judge, lastly of an intercessor7.' Accordingly he relates at some length how, on lying down to rest every night, he follows the example of Sextius and reviews his shortcomings during the day: 'When the light is removed out of sight, and my wife, who is by this time aware of my practice, is now silent, I pass the whole of my day under examination, and I review my deeds and words. I hide nothing from myself, I pass over nothing8.' Similarly he describes the good man as one who 'has opened out his conscience to the gods, and always lives as if in public, fearing himself more than others8.' In the same spirit too he enlarges on the advantage of having a faithful friend,'a ready heart into which your every secret can be safely deposited, whose privity you need fear less than your own1'; and urges again and again the duty of meditation and self-converse2, quoting on this head the saying of Epicurus,' Then retire within thyself most, when thou art forced to be in a crowd*.'

and con-

1 Qu. Nat. ii. 59.
2 de Ira i. 14.
* Ep. Mor. ci.

4 Ep. Mor. xcvii. 15.

5 ib. 14.

6 Ep. Mor. xxviii. 9 'Initium est salutis notitia pecoati.' For convenience I have translated peccatum here as elsewhere by 'sin'; but it will be evident at once that in a saying of Epicurus, whose gods were indifferent to the doings of men, the associations con

nected with the word must be very different. See the remarks below, p. 279. Fleurv (i. p. Ill) is eloquent on this coincidence, but omits to mention that it occurs in a saying of Epicurus. His argument crumbles into dust before our eyes, when the light of this fact is admitted.

7 ib. 10.

8 de Ira iii. 36.

de Bene/, vii. 1.

Nor, when we pass from the duty of individual self-discipline Dutiea to the social relations of man, does the Stoic philosophy, as 0°hers.8 represented by Seneca, hold a less lofty tone. He acknowledges in almost Scriptural language the obligation of breaking bread with the hungry4. 'You must live for another,' he writes,'if you would live for yourself8.' 'For what purpose do I get myself a friend?' he exclaims with all the extravagance of Stoic self-renunciation, 'That I may have one for whom I can die, one whom I can follow into exile, one whom I can shield from death at the cost of my own life*.' 'I will so live,' he says elsewhere, 'as if I knew that I was born for others, and will give thanks to nature on this score7.'

Moreover these duties of humanity extend to all classes and ranks in the social scale. The slave has claims equally with the freeman, the base-born equally with the noble. 'They are slaves, you urge; nay, they are men. They are slaves; nay, they are comrades. They are slaves; nay, they are humble friends. They are slaves; nay, they are fellow-slaves, if you reflect that fortune has the same power over both.' 'Let some of them,' he adds, 'dine with you, because they are worthy; others, that they may become worthy.' 'He is a slave, you say. Yet perchance he is free in spirit. He is a slave. Will this harm him? Show me who is not. One is a slave to lust, another to avarice, a third to ambition, all alike to fear8.'

1 ile Tranq. Anim. 7. Comp. Ep, nem suum dividat': comp. Is. lviii. 7

Mor. xi. (Vulg.)'Frange esurienti panem tuum,

'- Ep. ilor. vii 'Recede in teipsum Ezek. xviii. 7, 16.

quantum potes,' de Otio 28 (1) 'Prode- * Ep. Mor. xlviii.

rit tamen per se ipsum secedere; me- 6 Ep. Mov. ix.

liores erimus singuli': comp. ad Marc. 7 de Vit. beat. 20: comp. de Otio

23. 30 (3).

* Ep. Mor. Xxv. 8 Ep. Mor. xlvii. 15,17.

* Ep. Mor. xcv ' Cum esuriente pa

Parallels But the moral teaching of Seneca will be brought out more

mon on clearly, while at the same time the conditions of the problem the Mount, before us will be better understood, by collecting the parallels,

which are scattered up and down his writings, to the sentiments

and images in the Sermon on the Mount. Matt. v. 8. ■ The mind, unless it i6 pure and holy, comprehends not

God1.' v. 21 gq. 'A man is a robber even before he stains his hands; for he

is already armed to slay, and has the desire to spoil and to

kill*.' 'The deed will not be upright, unless the will be

upright*.' v. 29. 'Cast out whatsoever things rend thy heart: nay, if they

could not be extracted otherwise, thou shouldst have plucked

out thy heart itself with them4.' v. 39. 'What will the wise man do when he is buffeted (colaphis

percussus)? He will do as Cato did when he was smitten on

the mouth. He did not burst into a passion, did not avenge

himself, did not even forgive it, but denied its having been

done5.' v. 44. 'I will be agreeable to friends, gentle and yielding to

enemies8.' 'Give aid even to enemies7.' v. 45. 'Let us follow the gods as leaders, so far as human weakness

allows: let us give our good services and not lend them on

usury...How many are unworthy of the light: and yet the day

arises...This is characteristic of a great and good mind, to pursue not the fruits of a kind deed but the deeds themselves1.' 'We propose to follow the example of the gods... See what great things they bring to pass daily, what great gifts they bestow, with what abundant fruits they fill the earth.. .with what suddenly falling showers they soften the ground...All these things they do without reward, without any advantage accruing to themselves...Let us be ashamed to hold out any [Lukevi. benefit for sale: we find the gods giving gratuitously. If you '* imitate the gods, confer benefits even on the unthankful: for the sun rises even on the wicked, and the seas are open to pirates*.'

1 Ep. Mor. lxxxvii. 21. gulos, opem ferre etiam inimicis miti

3 de Bene/. v. 14. So also de Const. (v.l. senili) manu': comp. also de Benef.

Sap. 7 he teaches that the sin consists v. 1 (fin.), vii. 31, de Ira i. 14. Sucli

in the intent, not the act, and instances however is not always Seneca's tone

adultery, theft, and murder. with regard to enemies: comp. Ep. Mor.

3 Ep. Mor. xcv' Actio recta non erit, lxxxi ' Hoc certe, inquis, justitiae eonnisi recta fuerit voluntas,' de Bene/. v. venit, suum cuique reddcre, beneficio 19 ' Mens spectanda est dantis.' gratiam, injuriae talionem aut certe

4 Ep. Mor. li. 13. malam gratiam. Verum erit istud.

5 de Const. Sap. 14. cum alius injuriam fecorit, alius bent* de Vit. beat. 20 'Ero amicis ju- fioium dederit etc.' This passage sham

cundus, inimicis mitis et facilis.' that Seneca's doctrine was a very feeble

7 de Otio 28 (1)' Non desinemus com- and imperfect recognition of the Chrismuni bono operam dare, adjuvare sin- tian maxim 'Love your enemies.'

'One ought so to give that another may receive. It is not Matt. vi. giving or receiving to transfer to the right hand from the left*.' 'This is the law of a good deed between two: the one ought at once to forget that it was conferred, the other never to forget that it was received4.'

'Let whatsoever has been pleasing to God, be pleasing to vi. 10. man5.'

'Do not, like those whose desire is not to make progress but vi. 16. to be seen, do anything to attract notice in your demeanour or mode of life. Avoid a rough exterior and unshorn hair and a carelessly kept beard and professed hatred of money and a bed laid on the ground and whatever else affects ambitious display by a perverse path...Let everything within us be unlike, but let our outward appearance (frons) resemble the common people6.'

1 de Bene/, i. 1. See the whole oon- p. 281. Of the villain P. Egnatius

text. Tacitus writes (Ann. xvi. 32), ' Auctori

J de Bene/, iv. 25, 26. See the con- tatem Stoicae sectae praeferebat haliitu

text. Compare also de Bene/, vii. 31. et ore ad exprimendam imaginem ho

* de Bene}, v. 8. nesti exercitus.' EgnatiuS, like so many

4 de Bene/, ii. 10. other Stoics, was an Oriental, a native

5 Ep. Mor. lxxiv. 20. of Beyrout (Juv. iii. 116). If the phil

* Ep. Mor. v. 1, 2. Other writers osopher's busts may be trusted, the are equally severe on the insincere pro- language of Tacitus would well describe fessors of Stoic principles. 'Like their Seneca's own appearance: but probaJewish counterpart, the Pharisees, they bly with him this austerity was not were formal, austere, pretentious, and affected.

not unfrequently hypocritical'; Grant

vi.19- 'Apply thyself rather to the true riches. It is shameful to

depend for a happy life on silver and gold1.' 'Let thy good deeds be invested like a treasure deep-buried in the ground, which thou canst not bring to light, except it be necessary*.'

vii. 3 sq. 'Do ye mark the pimples of others, being covered with

countless ulcers? This is as if a man should mock at the moles or warts on the most beautiful persons, when he himself is devoured by a fierce scab*.'

vii. 12. 'Expect from others what you have done to another*.' 'Let

us so give as we would wish to receive5.'

vii. 16,17- 'Therefore good things cannot spring of evil.. .good does not grow of evil, any more than a fig of an olive tree. The fruits correspond to the seed8.'

vii. 26. 'Not otherwise than some rock standing alone in a shallow

sea, which the waves cease not from whichever side they are driven to beat upon, and yet do not either stir it from its place, etc...Seek some soft and yielding material in which to fix your darts7.'

other co- Nor are these coincidences of thought and imager}' confined

with on?8 to tne Sermon on the Mount. If our Lord compares the

Lord's Ian- hypocritical Pharisees to whited walls, and contrasts the scruBuage. J r

pulously clean outside of the cup and platter with the inward corruption, Seneca also adopts the same images: 'Within is no good: if thou shouldest see them, not where they are exposed to view but where they are concealed, they are miserable, filthy, vile, adorned without like their own walls...Then it appears how much real foulness beneath the surface this borrowed glitter has concealed8.' If our Lord declares that the branches must perish unless they abide in the vine, the language of Seneca presents an eminently instructive parallel: 'As the leaves cannot flourish by themselves, but want a branch wherein they may grow and whence they may draw sap, so those precepts wither if they are alone: they need to be grafted in a sect1.' Again the parables of the sower, of the mustard-seed, of the debtor forgiven, of the talents placed out at usury, of the rich fool, have all their echoes in the writings of the Roman Stoic: 'Words must be sown like seed which, though it be small, yet when it has found a suitable place unfolds its strength and from being the least spreads into the largest growth...They are few things which are spoken: yet if the mind has received them well, they gain strength and grow. The same, I say, is the case with precepts as with seeds. They produce much and yet they are scanty*.' 'Divine seeds are sown in human bodies. If a good husbandman receives them, they spring up like their origin...; if a bad one, they are killed as by barren and marshy ground, and then weeds are produced in place of grain*.' 'We have received our good things as a loan. The use and advantage are ours, and the duration thereof the Divine disposer of his own bounty regulates. We ought to have in readiness what He has given us for an uncertain period, and to restore it, when summoned to do so, without complaint. He is the worst debtor, who reproaches his creditor4.' 'As the money-lender does not summon some creditors whom he knows to be I will openly and persistently pass over some ungrateful persons nor demand any benefit from them in turn8.' 'O how great is the madness of those who embark on distant hopes: I will buy, I will build, I will lend out, I will demand payment, I will bear honours: then at length I will resign my old age wearied and sated to rest. Believe me, all things are uncertain even to the prosperous. No man ought to promise himself anything out of the future. Even what we hold slips through our hands, and fortune assails the very hour on which we are pressing6.' If our Master declares that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive,' the Stoic philosopher tells his readers that he'would rather not receive benefits, than not confer them1,' and that 'it is more wretched to the good man to do an injury than to receive one3.' If our Lord reminds His hearers of the Scriptural warning ' I will have mercy and not sacrifice,' if He commends the poor widow's mite thrown into the treasury as a richer gift than the most lavish offerings of the wealthy, if His whole life is a comment on the prophet's declaration to the Jews that God 'cannot away with their sabbaths and new moons,' so also Seneca writes: 'Not even in victims, though they be fat and their brows glitter with gold, is honour paid to the gods, but in the pious and upright intent of the worshippers*.' The gods are 'worshipped not by the wholesale slaughter of fat carcasses of bulls nor by votive offerings of gold or silver, nor by money poured into their treasuries, but by the pious and upright intent4.' 'Let us forbid any one to light lamps on sabbathdays, since the gods do not want light, and even men take no pleasure in smoke...he worships God, who knows Him5.' And lastly, if the dying prayer of the Redeemer is 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,' some have discovered a striking counterpart (I can only see a mean caricature) of this expression of triumphant self-sacrifice in the language of Seneca: 'There is no reason why thou shouldest be angry: pardon them; they are all mad«.'

1 Ep. Mor. Ox. 18. 3 de Bene/. ii. 1.

de Vit. beat. 24. « Ep. Mor. Unvii. 24, 25.

* de Vit. beat. 27. * de Vit. beat. 27. 4 Ep. Mor. xciv. 43. This is a quo- 8 de Provid. 6.


1 Ep. Mor. xov. 59. See the remarks * ad Mare. 10.

below, p. 313, on this parallel. 5 de Bene/. v. 21.

3 Ep. Mor. xxrviii. 2. • Ep. Mor. oi. 4. 'Ep. Mor. lxxiii. 16.

Nor are the coincidences confined to the Gospel narratives. The writings of Seneca present several points of resemblance

Apostolic also to the Apostolic Epistles. The declaration of St John that Epistles, . ,

'perfect love casteth out fear7' has its echo in the philosophers

words,' Love cannot be mingled with fear8.' The metaphor of

St Peter, also,'Girding up the loins of your mind be watchful

Coincidence!! with the

1 de Bene/, i. 1.

s Ep. ilor. xcv. 52: comp. de liette/. iv. 12, vii. 31, 32. • de Bene/. L 6. 4 Ep. Mot. Cxv. 5.

* Ep. ilor. xov. 47.

de Bene/. v. 17. See the rem»rb below, p. 280.

1 1 Joh. iT. 18.

8 Ep. Mor. xlvii. 18.

and hope1,' reappears in the same connexion in Seneca, 'Let the

mind stand ready-girt, and let it never fear what is necessary

but ever expect what is uncertain*.' And again, if St James

rebukes the presumption of those who say, 'To-day or to-morrow

we will go into such a city, when they ought to say, If the Lord

will, we shall live and do this or that3,' Seneca in a similar

spirit says that the wise man will 'never promise himself

anything on the security of fortune, but will say, I will sail

unless anything happen, and, I will become praetor unless

anything happen, and, My business will turn out well for me

unless anything happen*.'

The coincidences with St Paul are even more numerous and and especially with not less striking. It is not only that Seneca, like the Apostle st Paul.

of the Gentiles, compares life to a warfare5, or describes the

struggle after good as a 'contest with the flesh6,' or speaks of

this present existence as a pilgrimage in a strange land and of

our mortal bodies as tabernacles of the soul7. Though some of

these metaphors are more Oriental than Greek or Roman, they

are too common to suggest any immediate historical connexion.

It is more to the purpose to note special coincidences of thought

and diction. The hateful flattery, first of Claudius and then of

1 1 Pet. i. 13. in carne ponenda.' This use of aAp$

5 ad Polyb. 11 'In prooinctu stet has been traced to Epicurus.

animus etc.' 7 Ep. Mor. exx 'Nee domum esse

3 James iv. 13. hoc corpus sed hospitium et quidem

* de Tranq. Anim. 13. breve hospitium,' and again 'Magnus

s Ep. Mor. xevi 'Viverc, Luoili, animus...nihil horum quae circa sun/

militare est'; ib. li ' Nobis quoque mi- suum judicat, sed ut commodatis utitur

litandum est et quidem genere militiae peregrinus et properans.' So also Ep.

quo numquam quies, numquam otium, Mor. eii. 24 'Quicquid circa te jacet

datur'; ib. lxv ' Hoc quod vivi t stipen- rerum tamquam hospitalis loci sarcinas

dium putat'; ib. cxx. 12 'Civem se esse specta.' In this last letter (§ 23) he

universi et militem credens.' The com- speaks of advancing age as a ' ripening

parison is at least as old as the Book of to another birth (in alium maturesci

Job, vii. 1. mus partum),'and designates death by

< ad Marc. 24 'Omne illi cum hoc the term since consecrated in the lan

carne grave certamen est.' The flesh guage of the Christian Church, as the

is not unfrequently used for the carnal birth-day of eternity: 'Dies iste, quem

desires and repulsions, e.g. Ep. Mor. tamquam supremum reformidas, aeter

lxxiv' Non est summa felicitatis nostrae ni natalis est' (§ 26). 1 ad Polyb. 7. 6 Ep. Mor. Ixxviii. 16.

Nero, to which the expressions are prostituted by Seneca, does not conceal the resemblance of the following passages to the language of St Paul where they occur in a truer and nobler application. Of the former emperor he writes to a friend at court,'In him are all things and he is instead of all things to thee1': to the latter he says, 'The gentleness of thy spirit will spread by degrees through the whole body of the empire, and all things will be formed after thy likeness: health passes from the head to all the members*.' Nor are still closer parallels

2 Cor. xii. wanting. Thus, while St Paul professes that he will 'gladly spend and be spent' for his Corinthian converts, Seneca repeats the same striking expression, ' Good men toil, they spend and

Tit. i. 15. are spent'.' While the Apostle declares that'unto the pure all things are pure, but unto the denled and unbelieving nothing is pure,' it is the Roman philosopher's dictum that 'the evil man turns all things to evil4.' While St Paul in a wellremembered passage compares and contrasts the training for

l Cor. ix. the mortal and the immortal crown, a strikingly similar use is made of the same comparison in the following words of Seneca; 'What blows do athletes receive in their face, what blows all over their body. Yet they bear all the torture from thirst of glory. Let us also overcome all things, for our reward is not a crown or a palm branch or the trumpeter proclaiming silence for the announcement of our name, but virtue and strength of mind and peace acquired ever after8.'

The coincidence will be further illustrated by the following passages of Seneca, to which the corresponding references in St Paul are given in the margin.

Rom. i. 23. 'They consecrate the holy and immortal and inviolable gods

in motionless matter of the vilest kind: they clothe them with

the forms of men, and beasts, and fishes8.'

Kom. i. 28, 'They are even enamoured of their own ill deeds, which is 32.

2 ai Clem. ii. 2. • ae Supent. (Fragm. 31) in August

3 di Provid. 5. Civ. Dii vi. 10.

4 Ep. Mor. xcviii. 3.

the last ill of all: and then is their wretchedness complete, when shameful things not only delight them but are even approved by them1.'

4 The tyrant is angry with the homicide, and the sacrilegious Rom.ii.2l, man punishes thefts*.'

'Hope is the name for an uncertain good8.' ^?m- viii

'Pertinacious goodness overcomes evil men4.' Bom. xii.

'I have a better and a surer light whereby I can discern the i cor. ii.

true from the false. The mind discovers the good of the mind8.' •

'Let us use them, let us not boast of them: and let us use l Cor. vii.

31. them sparingly, as a loan deposited with us, which will soon


'To obey God is liberty7.' 2 Cor. iii.

'Not only corrected but transfigured8.' 2 Cor. iii.

'A man is not yet wise, unless his mind is transfigured into 18those things which he has learnt8.'

'What is man? A cracked vessel which will break at the 2Cor.iv.7. least fall10.'

'This is salutary; not to associate with those unlike our- 2 Cor. vi. selves and having different desires".'

'That gift is far more welcome which is given with a ready 2Cor.ix.7 than that which is given with a full hand".' j).)TM*'*3"1'

'Gather up and preserve the time".' EPh> v-16

'I confess that love of our own body is natural to us".' Eph.v.28,

29 'Which comes or passes away very quickly, destined to <jol. ii. 22.

perish in the very using (in ipso usu sui periturum)16.'

1 Ep. Mor. xxxix. 6. "Ep. Mor. vi. 1.

» de Ira ii. 28. * Ep. Mor. xciv. 48.

» Ep. Mor. x. § 2. "ad Marc. 11. So Ps. xxxi. 12 'I

* de Bene/. vii. 31. am become like a broken vessel.'

8 de Vit. beat. 2. » Ep. Mor. xxxii. 2.

« Ep. Mor. lxxiv. 18. a de Bene/. i. 7.

7 de Vit. beat. 15. Compare the 13 Ep. Mor. i. 1. So also he speaks

language of our Liturgy, * Whose ser- elsewhere (de Brev. Vit. 1) of 'invest

vice is perfect freedom.' Elsewhere ing' time (conlocaretur).

(Ep. Mor. viii) he quotes a saying of u Ep. Mor. xiv. 1. The word used

Epicurus, ' Thou must be the slave of for love is ' caritas.'

philosophy, that true liberty may fall u de Vit. beat. 7. to thy lot.'

lTim.ii.9. 'Neither jewels nor pearls turned thee aside1.'

1 Tim. iv. < I reflect how many exercise their bodies, how few their

minds*.' 'It is a foolish occupation to exercise the muscles of the arms...Return quickly from the body to the mind: exercise this, night and day'.' lTim.v.6. 'Do these men fear death, into which while living they hare buried themselves4?' 'He is sick: nay, he is dead5.'

2 Tim. iii. 'They live ill, who are always learning to live6.' 'How long 7

wilt thou learn? begin to teach7.'

In the opening sentences of our Burial Service two passages

l Tim. vi. of Scripture are combined: 'We brought nothing into this

Job i. 21 world and it is certain we can carry nothing out . The Lord

gave and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of

the Lord.' Both passages have parallels in Seneca: 'Non licet

plus efferre quam intuleris8;' 'Abstulit (fortuna) sed dedit,.p

In the speech on the Areopagus again, which was addressed

partly to a Stoic audience, we should naturally expect to find

parallels. The following passages justify this expectation.

Acts xvii. 'The whole world is the temple of the immortal gods".'

24 sq. , Temples are not to be built to God of stones piled on high:

He must be consecrated in the heart of each man".'

'God wants not ministers. How so? He Himself ministereth to the human race. He is at hand everywhere and to all men".' xvii. 27. 'God is near thee: He is with thee; He is within1*.'

xvii. 29. 'Thou shalt not form Him of silver and gold: a true like

ness of God cannot be moulded of this material14.' The first The first impression made by this series of parallels is

SS striking. They seem to show a general coincidence in the

1 ad Helv. matr. 16. • Ep. Mor. lxiii. 7.

* Ep. Mor. lux. 2. 10 de Bene/. vii. 7.

8 Ep. Mor. xv. 2, 5. u Fragm. 123, in Lactant Dir.

* Ep. Mor. oxxii. 3. Inst. vi. 25.

de Brev. Vit. 12. "Ep. Mor. xov. 47.

Ep. Mor. xxiii. 9. » Ep. Mor. xli. 1.

7 Ep. Mor. xxxiii. 9. M Ep. Mor. xxxL 11.

3 Ep. Mor. oii. 25.

xvii. 25.

fundamental principles of theology and the leading maxims in parallels ethics: they exhibit moreover special resemblances in imagery modified, and expression, which, it would seem, cannot be explained as the result of accident, but must point to some historical connexion.

Nevertheless a nearer examination very materially diminishes the force of this impression. In many cases, where the parallels are most close, the theory of a direct historical connexion is impossible; in many others it can be shown to be quite unnecessary; while in not a few instances the resemblance, however striking, must be condemned as illusory and fallacious. After deductions made on all these heads, we shall still have to consider whether the remaining coincidences are such as to require or to suggest this mode of solution.

1. In investigating the reasonableness of explaining coinci- Difficulty dences between two different authors by direct obligation on blishing the one hand or the other, the dates of the several writings are t^g ^'0. obviously a most important element in the decision. In the nol°gy, present instance the relative chronology is involved in considerable difficulty. It is roughly true that the literary activity of Seneca comprises about the same period over which (with such exceptions as the Gospel and Epistles of St John) the writings of the Apostles and Evangelists extend. But in some cases of parallelism it is difficult, and in others wholly impossible, to say which writing can claim priority of time. If the Epistles of St Paul may for the most part be dated within narrow limits, this is not the case with the Gospels: and on the other hand the chronology of Seneca's writings is with some few exceptions vague and uncertain. In The priormany cases however it seems impossible that the Stoic philo- times besopher can have derived his thoughts or his language from the aen^ca° New Testament. Though the most numerous and most striking parallels are found in his latest writings, yet some coincidences occur in works which must be assigned to his earlier years, and these were composed certainly before the first Gospels could have been circulated in Rome, and perhaps before they were

even written. Agaiii, several strong resemblances occur in Seneca to those books of the New Testament which were written after his death. Tlius the passage which dwells on the fatherly chastisement of God1 presents a coincidence, as remarkable as any, to the language of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Thus again in tracing the portrait of the perfect man (which has been thought to reflect mauy features of the life of Christ, delineated in the Gospels) he describes him as 'shining like a light in the darkness9'; an expression which at once recalls the language applied to the Divine Word in the prologue of St John's Gospel. And again in the series of parallels given above many resemblances will have been noticed to the Pastoral Epistles, which can hardly have been written before Seneca's death. These facts, if they do not prove much, are at least so far valid as to show that the simple theory of direct borrowing from the Apostolic writings will not meet all the facts of the case. Seneca's 2. Again; it is not sufficient to examine Seneca's writings

dons to hy themselves, but we must enquire how far he was anticipr<mous pated Dy the older philosophers in those brilliant flashes of theological truth or of ethical sentiment, which from time to time dazzle us in his writings. If after all they should prove to be only lights reflected from the noblest thoughts and sayings of former days, or at best old fires rekindled and fanr>«*H into a brighter flame, we have found a solution more simple and natural, than if we were to ascribe them to direct intercourse with Christian teachers or immediate acquaintance with Christian writings. We shall not cease in this case to regard them as true promptings of the Word of God which was from the beginning, bright rays of the Divine Light which ' was in the world' though 'the world knew it not,' which 'shineth in the darkness' though 'the darkness comprehended it not': but we shall no longer confound them with the direct effulgence of

1 See above, p. 260 sq. Compare * Ep. Mor. cxx. 13' Non aliter quam

Hebrews xii. 5 sq., and see Prov. iii. in tenebris lumen eflulsit.'
11, 12, which is quoted there.

the same Word made flesh, the Shechinah at length tabernacled among men,'whose glory we beheld, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father.'

And this is manifestly the solution of many coincidences which have been adduced above. Though Seneca was essentially a Stoic, yet he read widely and borrowed freely from all existing schools of philosophy1. To the Pythagoreans and the Platonists he is largely indebted; and even of Epicurus, the founder of the rival school, he speaks with the deepest respect2. It will have been noticed that several of the most striking passages cited above are direct quotations from earlier writers, and therefore can have no immediate connexion with Christian ethics. The sentiment for instance, which approaches most nearly to the Christian maxim 'Love your enemies,' is avowedly based on the teaching of his Stoic predecessors*. And where Parallels this is not the case, recent research has shown that (with some found in exceptions) passages not only as profound in feeling and truth- ^jSjJJ, ful in sentiment, but often very similar in expression and not less striking in their resemblance to the Apostolic writings, can be produced from the older philosophers and poets of Greece and Rome'1. One instance will suffice. Seneca's picture of the perfect man has been already mentioned as reflecting some features of the 'Son of Man' delineated in the Gospels. Yet the earlier portrait drawn by Plato in its minute touches reproduces the likeness with a fidelity so striking, that the chronological impossibility alone has rescued him from the charge of plagiarism: 'Though doing no wrong,' Socrates is represented saying, 'he will have the greatest reputation for

1 See what he says of himself, de Vit. liche Kliinge aiu den Qriechischcn und

beat. 3, de Otio 2 (29). BOmischen Klassikern (Gotha, 1865),

a de Vit. beat. 13 'In ea quidem ipsa p. 327 sq.

sententia sum, invitishocnostrispopu- 4 Such parallels are produced from

laribusdicam, sanctaEpicurumet recta older writers by Aubertin (Sonique et

praecipereet,si propius accesseris, tris- Saint Paul), who has worked out this

tia': comp. Ep. Mor. ii. 5, vi. 6, viii line of argument. See also the large

8, xx. 9. collection of passages in R. Schneider

3 de Otio 1 (28). See above, p. 264, Christliche Kliinge. note 7. See also R. Schneider Christ

wrong-doing,' 'he will go forward immovable even to

appearing to be unjust throughout life but being just,''he will

be scourged,' 'last of all after suffering every kind of evil he

will be crucified (dvaaxi'vSv\ev8^aerai)1.' Not unnaturally

Clement of Alexandria, quoting this passage, describes Plato

as 'all but foretelling the dispensation of salvation'.'

Manyco- 3. Lastly: the proverbial suspicion which attaches to


are faUa- statistics ought to be extended to coincidences of language,

for they may be, and often are, equally fallacious. An expression or a maxim, which detached from its context offers a striking resemblance to the theology or the ethics of the Gospel, is found to have a wholly different bearing when considered in its proper relations.

Stoicism This consideration is especially important in the case before

and Chris- . r J r

tianity are us. Stoicism and Christianity are founded on widely different

oppose . theological conceptions; and the ethical teaching of the two in many respects presents a direct contrast. St Jerome was led astray either by his ignorance of philosophy or by his partiality for a stern asceticism, when he said that' the Stoic dogmas in very many points coincide with our own3.' It is in the doctrines of the Platonist and the Pythagorean that the truer resemblances to the teaching of the Bible are to be sought . It was not the Porch but the Academy that so many famous teachers, like Justin Martyr and Augustine, found to be the vestibule to the Church of Christ. Again and again the Platonic philosophy comes in contact with the Gospel; but Stoicism moves in another line, running parallel indeed and impressive by its parallelism, but for this very reason precluded from any approximation. Only when he deserts the Stoic platform, does Seneca really approach the level of Christianity. Struck by their beauty, he adopts and embodies the maxims of other schools: but they betray their foreign origin, and refuse to be incorporated into his system.

1 Plato Resp. ii. pp. 361, 362. See * Hieron. Comm. in Isai. i*. a. 11

Aubertin p. 254 sq. 'Stoici qui nostra dogmati in pleris

a Strom, v. 14 novovovxl rp<xprrreiuy que concordant' (Op. Iv. p. 139, Val

Ttjy eurripiov olKovo,uiay. larsi).

For on the whole Lactantius was right, when he called Seneca

WfLR 1 tiFllfl

Seneca a most determined follower of the Stoics1. It can only gtoic. excite our marvel that any one, after reading a few pages of this writer, should entertain a suspicion of his having been in any sense a Christian. If the superficial colouring is not seldom deceptive, we cannot penetrate skindeep without encountering some rigid and inflexible dogma of the Stoic school. In his fundamental principles he is a disciple of Zeno; and, being a disciple of Zeno, he could not possibly be a disciple of Christ.

Interpreted by this fact, those passages which at first sight His panstrike us by their resemblance to the language of the Apostles materialand Evangelists assume a wholly different meaning. The basis lsm" of Stoic theology is gross materialism, though it is more or less relieved and compensated in different writers of the school by a vague mysticism. The supreme God of the Stoic had no existence distinct from external nature. Seneca himself identifies Him with fate, with necessity, with nature, with the world as a living whole*. The different elements of the universe, such as the planetary bodies, were inferior gods, members of the Universal Being*. With a bold consistency the Stoic assigned a corporeal existence even to moral abstractions. Here also Seneca manifests his adherence to the tenets of his school. Courage, prudence, reverence, cheerfulness, wisdom, he says, are all bodily substances, for otherwise they could not affect bodies, as they manifestly do4.

Viewed by the light of this material pantheism, the injunc- His lan

I* lift Q G

tion to be 'followers of God ' cannot mean the same to him as mastbe in. terpreted it does even to the Platonic philosopher, still less to the tenets. Christian Apostle. In Stoic phraseology 'imitation of God' signifies nothing deeper than a due recognition of physical laws on the part of man, and a conformity thereto in his own actions. It is merely a synonyme for the favourite Stoic formula of 'accordance with nature.' This may be a useful precept; but so interpreted the expression is emptied of its religious significance. In fact to follow the world and to follow God are equivalent phrases with Seneca1. Again, in like manner, the lesson drawn from the rain and the sunshine freely bestowed upon all2, though in form it coincides so nearly with the language of the Gospel, loses its theological meaning and becomes merely an appeal to a physical fact, when interpreted by Stoic doctrine. Consistent Hence also language, which must strike the ear of a mk^in Christian as shocking blasphemy, was consistent and natural 8Pe"^n8 on the lips of a Stoic. Seneca quotes with approbation the saying of his revered Sextius, that Jupiter is not better than a good man; he is richer, but riches do not constitute superior goodness; he is longer-lived, but greater longevity does not ensure greater happiness*. 'The good man,' he says elsewhere, 'differs from God only in length of time4.' 'He is like God, excepting his mortality8.' In the same spirit an earlier Stoic, Chrysippus, had boldly argued that the wise man is as useful to Zeus, as Zeus is to the wise man8. Such language is the legitimate consequence of Stoic pantheism. He has no Hence also the Stoic, so long as he was true to the tenets conscious- £ his school, could have no real consciousness of sin. Only

1 See above, p. 249. nam, omnia ejusdem dei nomina sunt

1 See especially de Bene}, iv. 7, 8 varie utentis sua potestate'; de Vit.

'Natura, inquit, hoc mini praestat. beat. 8 'Mundus ouncta complectens

Non intellegis te, cam hoc dicis, mutare rectorque universi deus.' Occasionally

nomen deo? quid enim aliud est natura a more personal conception of deity

quam deus et divina ratio toti mundo appears: e.g. ad Helv. Matr. 8.

partibusque ejus inserta ?...Hunc eun- * de Clem. i. 8.

dem et fatum si dixeris, non mentieris * Ep. Mot. cvi:comp. Ep.Mor. oxvii. ... Sic nunc naturam voca, fatum, f ortu

ness of' «

sin- where there is a distinct belief in a personal God, can this consciousness find a resting-place. Seneca and Tertullian might use the same word peccatum, but its value and significance to the two writers cannot be compared. The Christian Apostle and the Stoic philosopher alike can say, and do say, that 'All men have erred1'; but the moral key in which the saying is pitched is wholly different. With Seneca error or sin is nothing more than the failure in attaining to the ideal of the perfect man which he sets before him, the running counter to the law of the universe in which he finds himself placed. He does not view it as an offence done to the will of an all-holy all-righteous Being, an unfilial act of defiance towards a loving and gracious Father. The Stoic conception of error or sin is not referred at all to the idea of God*. His pantheism had so obscured the personality of the Divine Being, that such reference was, if not impossible, at least unnatural.

1 de Ira ii. 16 'Quid est autem cur 4 de Prov. 1.

hominem ad tam infelicia exempla re- 8 de Count. Sap. 8: cotup. Ep. ilor.

voces, cum habeas mundum deumque, xxxi. 'Par deo surges.' NaT, in one

quern ex omnibus animalibus ut solus respect good men exoel God, 'Ille extra

imitetur, solus intellegit.' patientiam malorum est, vos supra

2 See the passages quoted above, p. patientiam,' de Prov. 6.

264 sq. « Plut. adv. Stoic. 33 (Op. ilar. p.

3 Ep. ilor. lxxiii. 12, 13. 1078).

And the influence of this pantheism necessarily pervades the Meaning Stoic vocabulary. The 'sacer spiritus' of Seneca may be gpirffin0 y translated literally by the Holy Spirit, the irvevfia aryiov, of9enecaScriptural language; but it signifies something quite different. His declaration, that we are 'members of God,' is in words almost identical with certain expressions of the Apostle; but its meaning has nothing in common. Both the one and the other are modes of stating the Stoic dogma, that the Universe is one great animal pervaded by one soul or principle of life, and that into men, as fractions of this whole, as limbs of this body, is transfused a portion of the universal spirit*. It is almost purely a physical conception, and has no strictly theological value.

Again, though the sterner colours of Stoic morality are fre- His moral quently toned down in Seneca, still the foundation of his ethical hag au the system betrays the repulsive features of his school. His funda- TMpuiaive mental maxim is not to guide and train nature, but to overcome Stoicism.

1See the passages quoted above, 3 Compare thewell-known passage in

p. 261 sq. Virgil, Mn. vi. 726 sq.' Spiritus intus alit

2 See the remarks of Baur I. c. p. 190 totamque iufusa per artus mens agitat

sq., on this subject. molem et magno se corpore misoet.'

it1. The passions and affections are not to be directed, but to be crushed. The wise man, he says, will be clement and gentle, but he will not feel pity, for only old women and girls will be moved by tears; he will not pardon, for pardon is the remission of a deserved penalty; he will be strictly and inexorably just!. It is obvious that this tone leaves no place for repentance, for forgiveness, for restitution, on which the theological ethics of the Gospel are built. The very passage3, which has often been quoted as a parallel to the Saviour's dying words,'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,' really stands in direct contrast to the spirit of those words: for it is not dictated by tenderness and love, but expresses a contemptuous pity, if not a withering scorn.

In the same spirit Seneca commits himself to the impassive calm which forms the moral ideal of his school4. He has no sympathy with a righteous indignation, which Aristotle called 'the spur of virtue'; for it would disturb the serenity of the Its impas- mind8. He could only have regarded with a lofty disdain contrasts (unless for the moment the man triumphed over the philowith the gopher) the grand outburst of passionate sympathy which in the the Gos- Apostle of the Gentiles has wrung a tribute of admiration even ! from unbelievers,' Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is

offended, and I burn not8?' He would neither have appreciated nor respected the spirit which dictated those touching words, 'I say the truth...I lie not...I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart...for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh7.' He must have spurned the precept which bids the Christian 'rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep1,' as giving the direct lie to a sovereign maxim of Stoic philosophy. To the consistent disciple of Zeno the agony of Gethsemane could not have appeared, as to the Christian it ever will appear, the most sublime spectacle of moral sympathy, the proper consummation of a Divine life: for insensibility to the sorrows and sufferings of others was the only passport to perfection, as conceived in the Stoic ideal.

1 <le Brev. I'it. 14 'Hominisuaturam mortem quo suam exspectat. Non cum Stoicis vincere.' magis hanc timet quam illam dolet.

2 de Clem. ii. 5—7, where he makes Inhonesta est omnia trepidatioet sollia curious attempt to vindicate the citudo.' And see especially Ep. Jfor. Stoics. cxvi.

9 It is quoted above, p. 268. * de Ira iii. 3.

4 Ep. Mor. lxxiv. 30 'Non adfligitur • 2 Cor. xi. 29.

sapiens liberorum amissione, non ami- 7 Rom. ix. 1, 2, 3.

corum : eodem enim animo fert illorum

These considerations will have shown that many even of the most obvious parallels in Seneca's language are really no parallels at all. They will have served moreover to reveal Inconsistthe wide gulf which separates him from Christianity. It must geneca be added however, that his humanity frequently triumphs over andofStohis philosophy; that he often writes with a kindliness and a sympathy which, if little creditable to his consistency, is highly honourable to his heart. In this respect however he does not stand alone. Stoicism is in fact the most incongruous, the most self-contradictory, of all philosophic systems. With a gross and material pantheism it unites the most vivid expres sions of the fatherly love and providence of God: with the sheerest fatalism it combines the most exaggerated statements of the independence and self-sufficiency of the human soul: with the hardest and most uncompromising isolation of the individual it proclaims the most expansive view of his relations to all around. The inconsistencies of Stoicism were a favourite taunt with the teachers of rival schools*. The human heart in fact refused to be silenced by the dictation of a rigorous and artificial system, and was constantly bursting its philosophical fetters.

But after all allowance made for the considerations just Coinoi


urged, some facts remain which still require explanation. It Btin reappears that the Christian parallels in Seneca's writings become j£p\" fnelj6 more frequent as he advances in life*. It is not less true that

1 Rom. xii. 15. 3 Among his more Christian works

a See for instance the treatise of Pin- are the de Providentia, de Otio, de Vita

tarch de RepugnarUiia Stoicorum (Op. beata, de Benefieiii, and the Eptitolae

Mor. p. 1033 sq.). Morales ; among his less Christian, the they are much more striking and more numerous than in the other great Stoics of the Roman period, Epictetus and M. Aurelius ; for though in character these later writers approached much nearer to the Christian ideal than the minister of Nero, though their fundamental doctrines are as little inconsistent with Christian theology and ethics as his, yet the closer resemblances of sentiment and expression, which alone would suggest any direct obligations to Christianity, are, I believe, decidedly more frequent in Seneca1. Lastly: after all deductions made, a class of coincidences still remains, of which the expression 'spend and be spent' may be taken as a type2, and which can hardly be considered accidental. If any historical connexion (direct or indirect) can be traced with a fair degree of probability, we may reasonably look to this for the solution of such Historical coincidences. I shall content myself here with stating the 'different ways in which such a connexion was possible or probable, without venturing to affirm what was actually the case, for the data are not sufficient to justify any definite theory. (i) The 1. The fact already mentioned is not unimportant, that the

origiuof principal Stoic teachers all came from the East, and that Stoicism, therefore their language and thought must in a greater or less degree have borne the stamp of their Oriental origin. We advance a step further towards the object of our search, if we remember that the most famous of them were not only Oriental but Shemitic. Babylonia, Phoenicia, Syria, Palestine, are thenhomes. One comes from Scythopolis, a second from Apamea, a third from Ascalon, a fourth from Ptolemais, two others from

de Constantia SapientU and de Ira. In the belief that he was acquainted with

some cases the date is uncertain; but the language of the Gospel,

what I have said in the text will, I - See above, p. 270. Aubertin has ai

think, be found substantially true. tacked this very instance (p. 360 sq.i.

1 I have read Epictetus and M. Au- but without success. He only shows

relius through with a view to such coin- (what did not need showing) that'im

cidences, and believe the statement in pendere' is used elsewhere in this same

the text to be correct. Several of the sense. The important feature in the

more remarkable parallels in the former coincidence is the combination of the

writer occur in the passages quoted be- active and passive voioes.
low, p. 299 sq., and seem to warrant

Hierapolis, besides several from Tyre and Sidon or their colonies, such as Citium and Carthage1. What religious systems they had the opportunity of studying, and how far they were indebted to any of these, it is impossible to say. But it would indeed be strange if, living on the confines and Its possieven within the borders of the home of Judaism, the Stoic tion° j/8" teachers escaped all influence from the One religion which,Judaismit would seem, must have attracted the attention of the thoughtful and earnest mind, which even then was making rapid progress through the Roman Empire, and which afterwards through the Gospel has made itself far more widely felt than any other throughout the civilised world. I have already ventured to ascribe the intense moral earnestness of the Stoics to their Eastern origin. It would be no extravagant assumption that they also owed some ethical maxims and some theological terms (though certainly not their main doctrines) directly or indirectly to the flourishing Jewish schools of their age, founded on the teaching of the Old Testament. The exaggerations of the early Christian fathers, who set down all the loftier sentiments of the Greek philosophers as plagiarisms from the lawgiver or the prophets, have cast suspicion on any such affiliation: but we should not allow ourselves to be blinded by reactionary prejudices to the possibilities or rather the probabilities in the case before us.

2. The consideration which I have just advanced will (2) Seneca's possible knowledge of explain many coincidences: but we may proceed a step further.

1 I have noted down the following Cyreiu, Eratosthenes (p. 351). TheCili

homes of more or less distinguished oian Stoics are enumerated below p. 288.

Stoic teachers from the East; Seleucia, Of the other famous teaohers belong

Diogenes (p. 41); Epiphania, Euphrates ing to the School, Cleanthes came from

(p. 613); Scythopolii, Basilides (p. 614); Assos (p. 31), Ariston from Chios (p. 32),

Aicalon, Antibius, Eubius (p. 615) • Dionysius from Heraclea (p. 35), Spha-.

Hierapolis in Syria (?), Serapio(p. 612), rus from Bosporus (p. 35), Panffltius

Publius (p. 615); Tyre, Antipater, Apol- from Rhodes (p. 500), Epictetus from

lonius (p. 520); Sidon, Zeno (p. 36), Hierapolis in Phrygia (p. 660). The

Boethus? (p. 40); Ptolemais, Diogenes references are to the pages of Zeller's

(p. 43); Apamea in Syria, Posidonius work, where the authorities for the

(p. 509); Citium, Zeno (p. 27), Perseus statements will be found. (p. 34); Carthage, Herillus (p. 33);

Christian- _ . . .. , , ... , *, , , _, r

ity. Is it impossible, or rather is it improbable, that beneca was

acquainted with the teaching of the Gospel in some rudimentary form? His silence about Christianity proves nothing, because it proves too much. If an appreciable part of the lower population of Rome had become Christians some few years before Seneca's death1, if the Gospel claimed converts within the very palace walls*, if a few (probably not more than a few) even in the higher grades of society, like Pomponia Grajcina', had adopted the new faith, his acquaintance with its main facts is at least a very tenable supposition. If his own account may be trusted, he made a practice of dining with his slaves and engaging them in familiar conversation4; so that the avenues of information open to him were manifold5. His acquaintance with any written documents of Christianity is less probable: but of the oral Gospel, as repeated from the lips of slaves and others, he might at least have had an accidental and fragmentary knowledge. This supposition would explain the coincidences with the Sermon on the Mount and with the parables of our Lord, if they are clear and numerous enough to demand an explanation. (3) His 3. But the legend goes beyond this, and connects Seneca

conSon directly with St Paul. The Stoic philosopher is supposed to be with St included among the 'members of Caesar's household' mentioned in one of the Apostle's letters from Rome. The legend itself however has no value as independent evidence. The coincidences noted above would suggest it, and the forged correspondence would fix and substantiate it. We are therefore thrown back on the probabilities of the case; and it must be confessed that, when we examine the Apostle's history with a view to tracing a historical connexion, the result is not very encouraging. St Paul, it is true, when at Corinth, was brought before Seneca's brother Gallio, to whom the philosopher Gallio. dedicates more than one work and of whom he speaks in tenderly affectionate language1; but Gallio, who 'cared for none of these things,' to whom the questions at issue between St Paul and his accusers were merely idle and frivolous disputes about obscure national customs2, would be little likely to bestow a serious thought upon a case apparently so unimportant, still less likely to communicate his experiences to his brother in Rome. Again, it may be urged that as St Paul on his arrival in Rome was delivered to Burrus the prefect of the Burrus. praetorian guards*, the intimate friend of Seneca, it might be expected that some communication between the Apostle and the philosopher would be established in this way. Yet, if we reflect that the praetorian prefect must yearly have been receiving hundreds of prisoners from the different provinces, that St Paul himself was only one of several committed to his guardianship at the same time, that the interview of this supreme magistrate with any individual prisoner must have been purely formal, that from his position and character Burrus was little likely to discriminate between St Paul's case and any other, and finally that he appears to have died not very long after the Apostle's arrival in Rome*, we shall see very little cause to lay stress on such a supposition. Lastly; it is said that, when St Paul was brought before Nero for trial, Nero. Seneca must have been present as the emperor's adviser, and being present must have interested himself in the religious opinions of so remarkable a prisoner. But here again we have only a series of assumptions more or less probable. It is not known under what circumstances and in whose presence

1 See l'hilippians pp. 17 sq., 25 sq. Rossi Hull, di Archeol. Crist. 1867, p

- Phil. iv. 22; see Philippians p. 6, quoted by Friedlander, in. p. 535)

171 sq. mentions one M. Anneus Plains Pe

3 See Philippians p. 21. trus, obviously a Christian. Was he

4 Ep. Mor. xlvii. descended from some freedman of Se

5 An early inscription at Ostia (de neca's house?

such a trial would take place; it is very far from certain that St Paul's case came on before Seneca had retired from the court; and it is questionable whether amid the formalities of the trial there would have been the opportunity, even if there were the will, to enter into questions of religious or philosophical interest. On the whole therefore it must be confessed that no great stress can be laid on the direct historical links which might connect Seneca with the Apostle of the Gentiles.

Summary I have hitherto investigated the historical circumstances which might explain any coincidences of language or thought as arising out of obligations on the part of Seneca or of his Stoic predecessors. It has been seen that the teachers of this school generally were in all HkeUhood indebted to Oriental, if not to Jewish, sources for their religious vocabulary; that Seneca himself not improbably had a vague and partial acquaintance with Christianity, though he was certainly anything but a Christian himself; and that his personal intercourse with the Apostle of the Gentiles, though not substantiated, is at least not an impossibility. How far the coincidences may be ascribed to one or other of these causes, I shall not attempt to discriminate: but there is also another aspect of the question which must not be put out of sight. In some instances at least, if any obligation exist at all, it cannot be on the side of the philosopher, for the chronology resists this inference: and for these cases some other solution must be found. Stoiounn, As the speculations of Alexandrian Judaism had elaborated andrian a new ar*d important theological vocabulary, so also to the (["rfrepara- language 0I> Stoicism, which itself likewise had sprung from the

tionforthe union of the religious sentiment of the East with the philoGospel. ° r

sophical thought of the West, was due an equally remarkable development of moral terms and images. To the Gospel, which was announced to the world in 'the fulness of time,' both the one and the other paid their tribute. As St John (nor St John alone) adopted the terms of Alexandrian theosophy as the least inadequate to express the highest doctrines of Christianity, so St Paul (nor St Paul alone) found in the ethical laEguage of the Stoics expressions more fit than he could find elsewhere to describe in certain aspects the duties and privileges, the struggles and the triumphs, of the Christian life. But though the words and symbols remained substantially the same, yet in their application they became instinct with new force and meaning. This change in either case they owed to their being placed in relation to the central fact of Christianity, the Incarnation of the Son. The Alexandrian terms, expressing the attributes and operations of the Divine Word, which in their origin had a purely metaphysical bearing, were translated into the sphere of practical theology, when God had descended among men to lift up men to God. The Stoic expressions, describing the independence of the individual spirit, the subjugation of the unruly passions, the universal empire of a triumphant self-control, the cosmopolitan relations of the wise man, were quickened into new life, when an unfailing source of strength and a boundless hope of victory had been revealed in the Gospel, when all men were proclaimed to be brothers, and each and every man united with God in Christ.

It is difficult to estimate, and perhaps not very easy to Wide inoverrate, the extent to which Stoic philosophy had leavened the ethical the moral vocabulary of the civilised world at the time of the !>*n|SmE0 Christian era. To take a single instance; the most important icwm. of moral terms, the crowning triumph of ethical nomenclature, avveiSriai<;, conscientia, the internal, absolute, supreme judge of individual action, if not struck in the mint of the Stoics, at all events became current coin through their influence. To a great extent therefore the general diffusion of Stoic language would lead to its adoption by the first teachers of Christianity; while at the same time in St Paul's own case personal circumstances might have led to a closer acquaintance with the diction of this school.

Tarsus, the birth-place and constant home of St Paul, was Stoicism at this time a most important, if not the foremost, seat of

Greek learning. Of all the philosophical schools, the Stoic

was the most numerously and ably represented at this

great centre. Its geographical position, as a half-way house,

had doubtless some influence in recommending it to a

philosophy which had its birth-place in the East and grew

into maturity in the West. At all events we may count up

six or more1 well-known Stoic teachers whose home was at

Tarsus, besides Chrysippus and Aratus who came from the

neighbouring Soli2, and three others who resided at Mallos, also

a Cilician town*. If St Paul's early education was Jewish, he

was at least instructed by the most liberal teacher of the day,

who, unlike his stricter countrymen and contemporaries, had

no dread of Greek learning; and during his repeated and

lengthened sojourns in Tarsus, he must have come in contact

with Stoic maxims and dogmas. But indeed it is not mere

conjecture, that Sb Paul had some acquaintance with the

St Paul's teachers or the writings of this school. The speech on the

ance with Areopagus, addressed partly to Stoics, shows a clear apprecia

stoio tion of the elements of truth contained in their philosophy, and teaching. r r

a studied coincidence with their modes of expression4. Its one

quotation moreover is taken from a Stoic writing, the hymn of

Cleanthes, the noblest expression of heathen devotion which

Greek literature has preserved to us5.

1 Strabo (xiv. 13, 14. p. 673 sq.) men appear to have migrated from

mentions five by name, Antipater, Ar- Tarsus. For Chrysippus see Straboxiv.

ehedemus, Nestor, Athenodorus sur- 8, p. 671; of Aratus we are told that

named Cordylion, and Athenodorus son Asclepiades Tapaia <pr/aly airbr yey*

of Sandon. To these may be added vox aKK oi Xo\ia (Arati Opera n. p. 429

Zeno (Zeller, p. 40: Diog. Laert. vii. ed. Buhle).

35 enumerates eight of the name), and * Crates (Zeller, p. 42), the two Pro

Heraeleides (Zeller, p. 43). OfAtheno- oluses (io. p. 615).

dorns son of Sandon, Strabo adds * See above, p. 272.

Sv Kal Kavavlniv <paa\v iri K&inp TM>6s. 8 Acts xvii. 28. The words in Clein

If Strabo'sexplanation of Kavavlrris be thes are or aov yap yivos iapiy. The

correct, the coincidence with a surname quotation of St Paul agrees exactly

of one of the Twelve Apostles is acci- with a half-line in Aratus another Stoic

dental. But one is tempted to suspect poet, connected with his native Tarstu,

that the word had a Shemitic origin. rod yap Kal yivoi iaiUy. Since the

- The fathers of both these famous Apostle introduces the words as quoted

And I think we may find occasionally also in St Paul's epistles sufficiently distinct traces of the influence of Stoic diction. A few instances are set down in my notes to this epistle. Many more might be gathered from his other letters, especially the Pastoral Epistles. But I will content myself with Two ingiving two broad examples, where the characteristic common- given. places of Stoic morality seem to be adopted and transfigured in the language of the Christian Apostle.

1. The portrait of the wise man, the ideal of Stoic aspira- L The tion, has very distinct and peculiar features—so peculiar that the wise they presented an easy butt for the ridicule of antagonists. It manis his prominent characteristic that he is sufficient in himself, that he wants nothing, that he possesses everything. This topic is expanded with a fervour and energy which often oversteps the proper bounds of Stoic calm. The wise man alone is free: he alone is happy: he alone is beautiful. He and he only possesses absolute wealth. He is the true king and the true priest1.

Now may we not say that this image has suggested many expressions to the Apostle of the Gentiles? 'Even now are ye lCor.iv.8. full,' he exclaims in impassioned irony to the Corinthians,'even now are ye rich, even now are ye made kings without us': 'we l Cor. iv. are fools for Christ, but ye are wise in Christ: we are weak, but ye are strong: ye are glorious, but we are dishonoured.' 'All things are yours,' he says elsewhere, 'all things are yours, 1 Cor. iii. and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' So too he describes' himself and the other Apostles, 'As being grieved, yet always 2 Cor. vi. rejoicing; as beggars, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.' 'In every thing at 2 Cor. ix.

8 11

every time having every self-sufficiency (avrdpKeiav) every' thing being enriched.' 'I have learnt,' he says again, 'in Phil. iv.

from some of their own poets, he would 6, 10, Ep. Mor. ix. Compare Zeller

seem to have both passages in view. p. 231. The ridicule of Horace (Sat. i.

By oi KaB' i/us roirp-al he probably 3. 124 sq.) will be remembered. See

means the poets belonging to the same also the passages from Plutaroh quoted

school as his Stoic audience. in Orelli's Excursus (n. p. 67). 1 See esp. Seneca de Bene/, vii. 3, 4,


whatsoever circumstances I am, to be self-sufficing. I have all strength in Him that giveth me power. I have all things to the full and to overflowing' Coinoi- If the coincidence of imagery in these passages is remark

contrast able, the contrast of sentiment is not less striking This icisminSt universal dominion, this boundless inheritance, is promised Paul'scon- alike by the Stoic philosopher to the wise man and by the Christian Apostle to the believer. But the one must attain it by self-isolation, the other by incorporation. The essential requisite in the former case is a proud independence; in the latter an entire reliance on, and intimate union with, an unseen power. It is eV To3 evBvvafwvvri, that the faithful becomes all-sufficient, all-powerful; it is iv Xpia~rw that he is crowned a king and consecrated a priest. All things are his, but they are only his, in so far as he is Christ's and because Christ is God's. Here and here only the Apostle found the realisation of the proud ideal which the chief philosophers of his native Tarsus had sketched in such bold outline and painted in these brilliant colours. 2. Thecos- 2. The instance just given relates to the development of

mopolitan .

teaching the individual man. The example which I shall next take Stoics expresses his widest relations to others. The cosmopolitan tenets of the Stoics have been already mentioned. They grew out of the history of one age and were interpreted by the history of another. Negatively they were suggested by the hopeless state of politics under the successors of Alexander. Positively they were realised, or rather represented, by the condition of the world under the Roman Empire1. In the age

1 Plutarch (Op. Mor. p. 329 B) says but his actual work was only the bethat Alexander himself realised this ginning of the end, and the realisation ideal of a world-wide polity, which Zeno of the idea (so far as it was destined to only 'delineated as a dream or a phan- be realised) was reserved for the Botom (uarep ovap rj dSu\ov ivarvruo-d- mans. 'Fecisti patriam diversis genluvos).' If Plutarch's statement be cor- tibus unam,"Urbem fecisti quodnrios rect that Alexander looked upon him- orbis erat,' says a later poet addressing self as entrusted with a divine mission the emperor of his day; Kutil. ii Bedto 'reconcile the whole world,' he cer- i. 63, GG. tainly had the conception in his mind;

•of the Seleucids and Ptolemies, when the old national barriers had been overthrown, and petty states with all their interests and ambitions had crumbled into the dust, the longing eye of the Greek philosopher wandered over the ruinous waste, until his range of view expanded to the ideal of a world-wide state, which for the first time became a possibility to his intellectual vision, when it became also a want to his social instincts. A few generations passed, and the wide extension of the Roman Empire, the far-reaching protectorate of the Roman franchise1, seemed to give a definite meaning, a concrete form, in some sense a local habitation, to this idea which the Stoic philosopher of Greece had meanwhile transmitted to the Stoic moralist of Rome.

The language of Seneca well illustrates the nature of this illustrated cosmopolitan ideal. 'Ail this, which thou seest, in which are language comprised things human and divine, is one. We are members ° Senecaof a vast body. Nature made us kin, when she produced us from the same things and to the same ends*.' 'I will look upon all lands as belonging to me, and my own lands as belonging to all. I will so live as if I knew that I am born for others, and on this account I will give thanks to nature...She gave me alone to all men and all men to me alone3.' 'I well know that the world is my country and the gods its rulers; that they stand above me and about me, the censors of my deeds and words4.' 'Seeing that we assigned to the wise man a commonwealth worthy of him, I mean the world, he is not beyond the borders of his commonwealth, even though he has gone into retirement. Nay, perhaps he has left one corner of it and passed into a larger and ampler region; and raised above the heavens he understands (at length) how lowly he was seated when he mounted the chair of state or the bench of justice5.' 'Let us embrace in our thoughts two commonwealths, the one

1 See Cicero pro Balb. 13, Verr. v. * de Vit. beat. 20.

57, 65. * ibid.

'Ep. Mot. Xcv. 52. 8 Ep. Mor. lxviii.

vast and truly named common, in which are comprised gods

and men, in which we look not to this corner or to that, but we

measure the boundaries of our state with the sun; the other,

to which the circumstances of our birth have assigned us1.'

'Virtue is barred to none: she is open to all, she receives all,

she invites all, gentlefolk, freedmen, slaves, kings, exiles alike8.'

• Nature bids me assist men; and whether they be bond or free,

whether gentlefolk or freedmen, whether they enjoy liberty as a

right or as a friendly gift, what matter? Wherever a man is,

there is room for doing good3.' 'This mind may belong as well

to a Roman knight, as to a freedman, as to slave: for what is a

Roman knight or a freedman or a slave? Names which had

their origin in ambition or injustice4.'

Its Chris- Did St Paul speak quite independently of this Stoic

terparTin imagery, when the vision of a nobler polity rose before him, the

thehea- revelation of a'city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens?'

venly rati- ....

zenship of Is there not a strange coincidence in his language—a coincidence

only the more striking because it clothes an idea in many PhU.iii.20. respects very different? 'Our citizenship is in heaven.' 'God e P es. »»' ragsed us witn Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly Ephes. ii. places in Christ Jesus.' 'Therefore ye are no more strangers

and sojourners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and members Phil. i. 27. of God's household.' 'Fulfil your duties as citizens worthily of Rom. xii. the Gospel of Christ.' 'We being many are one body in Christ, l Cor. xii. and members one of another.' 'For as the body is one and hath 12,13, 27. many members, and all the members of the body being many [Ephes. iv. are one body, so also is Christ: for we all are baptized in one 'v' J Spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or

free. Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.' Gal.iii.28.'There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor

free; there is no male and female : for ye all are one in Christ Col. iii. 11. Jesus.' 'Not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision,

barbarian, Scythian, bond, free: but Christ is all things and in all1.'

Here again, though the images are the same, the idea is transfigured and glorified. At length the bond of coherence, the missing principle of universal brotherhood, has been found. As in the former case, so here the magic words ev Xpiarw have produced the change and realised the conception. A living soul has been breathed into the marble statue by Christianity; and thus from the 'much admired polity of Zeno*' arises the Civitas Dei of St Augustine.

It has been the aim of the investigation just concluded to Summary, point out how far the coincidences between Seneca and St Paul are real, and how far fallacious; to show that these coincidences may in some cases be explained by the natural and independent development of religious thought, while in others a historical connexion seems to be required; and to indicate generally the different ways in which this historical connexion was probable or possible, without however attempting to decide by which of several channels the resemblance in each individual instance was derived.

In conclusion it may be useful to pass from the special Christia connexion between St Paul and Seneca to the more general stoicism relation between Christianity and Stoicism, and to compare """P*1^them very briefly in their principles, their operations, and their results. Stoicism has died out, having produced during its short lifetime only very transient and partial effects; Christianity has become the dominant religion of the civilised world, and leavened society through its whole mass. The very coincidences, on which we have been dwelling so long, throw into relief the contrast between the failure of the one and the triumph of the other, and stimulate enquiry into the causes of this difference. Theques- To some it may seem sufficient to reply that the one is a sue stated, mere human philosophy, the other a Divine revelation. But this answer shelves without solving the problem; for it is equivalent to saying tbat the one is partial, defective, and fallacious, while the other is absolutely true. The question, therefore, to which an answer is sought, may be stated thus: What are those theological and ethical principles, ignored or denied by Stoicism, and enforced by the Gospel, in which the Divine power of the latter lies, and to which it owes its empire over the hearts and actions of men? This is a very wide subject of discussion; and I shall only attempt to indicate a few more striking points of contrast. Yet even when treated thus imperfectly, such an investigation ought not to be useless. In an age when the distinctive characteristics of Christianity are regarded as a stumblingblock by a few, and more or less consciously ignored as of little moment by others, it is a matter of vast importance to enquire whether the secret of its strength does or does not lie in these; and the points at issue cannot be better suggested, than by comparing it with an abstract system of philosophy so imposing as the Stoic. Meagrore- Indeed our first wonder is, that from a system so rigorous Stoicism, and unflinching in its principles and so heroic in its proportions the direct results should have been marvellously little. It produced, or at least attracted, a few isolated great men: but on the life of the masses, and on the policy of states, it was almost wholly powerless. The older Of the founder and his immediate successors not very much is known; but we are warranted in believing that they were men of earnest aspirations, of rare self-denial, and for the most part (though the grossness of their language seems hardly reconcilable with this view1) of moral and upright lives. Zeno himself indeed cannot be set down to the credit of the school. He made the philosophy and was not made by it. But Cleanthes was directly moulded by the influence of his master's teaching: and for calm perseverance, for rigorous self-discipline, and for unwavering devotion to a noble ideal, few characters in the history of Greek philosophy are comparable to him. Yet Cleanthes, like Zeno, died a suicide. The example, not less than the precept, of the first teachers of the sect created a fatal passion for self-murder, which was the most indelible, if not the darkest, blot on Stoic morality.

1 Eeee Homo p. 136' The city of God, gladiator born beside the Danube. In of which the Stoics doubtfully and brotherhood they met, the natural birth feebly spoke, was now set up before the and kindred of each forgotten, the bapeyes of men. It was no unsubstantial tism alone remembered in which they city such as we fancy in the clouds, no have been born again to God and to invisible pattern such as Plato thought each other.' See the whole context, might be laid up in heaven, but a visible - Plut. Op. Mor. p. 329 4 ro\i lavcorporation whose members met toge- na{b/Uvri ro\irtia rod T^v SruXx^v atpttbertoeat bread and drink wine, and in- aiv Kato^o\oiuvov Z^xuyos. It is reto which they were initiated by bodily markable that this ideal is described in immersion in water. Here the Gentile the context under a Scriptural image, met the Jew whom he had been accus- eh Si /S/os 3 Ktli Ktxriun, uwrep oVyAiji amtomed to regard as an enemy of the vinov vojup Koivip ffwrpvpo/Umjs: comp. human race: the Roman met the lying Joh. x. 16 Kal yirfawrai ,uia rot/wti, efi Greek sophist, the Syrian slave, the Roi/x^.

It was not however among the Greeks, to whose national Stoioism temper the genius of Stoicism was alien, that this school achieved its proudest triumphs. The stern and practical spirit of the Romans offered a more congenial sphere for its influence. And here again it is worth observing, that their principal instructors were almost all Easterns. Posidonius for instance, the familiar friend of many famous Romans and the most its obliinfluential missionary of Stoic doctrine in Rome, was a native of the1isast. the Syrian Apamea. From this time forward it became a common custom for the Roman noble to maintain in his house some eminent philosopher, as the instructor of his children and the religious director of himself and his family3; and in this

1 It is impossible to speak with any extravagances of language, illustrating

confidence on this point. The language the Stoic doctrine that externals are

held by Zeno andChrysippus was gross- indifferent (see Zeller, p. 261 sq.). Tet

ly licentious, and might be taken to this mode of speaking must have been

show that they viewed with indifference highly dangerous to morals; and the

and even complacency the most hateful danger would only be increased by the

forms of heathen impurity (see Plu- fact that such language was held by

tarch Op. Mor. p. 1044, Clem. Hom. v. men whose characters were justly ad

18, Sext. Emp. Pyrrh. iii. 200 sq.). mired in other respects.

But it is due to the known character 'Seneca ad Marc. 4 'Consol[atori se]

and teaching of these men, that we Areoj>Ai7o3opAo»m3uipraebnitetmul

should put the most favourable con- tum eam rem profuisse sibi confessa

ttraction on such expressions; and they est,' where he is speaking of Livia after

may perhaps be regarded as theoretical the death of her son Drusus. Thisphilo

capacity we meet with several Oriental Stoics. Thus Cato the

younger had at different times two professors of this sect

domesticated in his household, hoth of Eastern origin, Antipater

Cato the of Tyre and Athenodorus of Tarsus1. In Cato himself, whom his


contemporaries regarded as the 'most perfect Stoic2,' and in whom the sect at large would probably have recognised its most illustrious representative, we have a signal example alike of the Hie excel- virtues and of the defects of the school . Honest, earnest, and defects, courageous even to death, but hard, stolid, impracticable, and almost inhuman, he paralysed the higher qualities of his nature by his unamiable philosophy, so that they were rendered almost useless to his generation and country. A recent Roman historian has described him as 'one of the most melancholy phenomena in an age so abounding in political caricatures.' 'There was more nobility,' he writes bitterly, 'and above all more judgment in the death of Cato than there had been in his life.' 'It only elevates the tragic significance of his death that he was himself a fool*.' Exaggerated as this language may be, it is yet not wholly without truth; and, were the direct social and political results of Cato's life alone to be regarded, his career must be pronounced a failure. But in fact his importance lies, not in what he did, but in what he was. It was a vast gain to humanity, that in an age of worldly self-seeking, of crooked and fraudulent policy, of scepticism and infidelity to all right principle, one man held his ground, stern, unbending, upright to the last. Such a man may fail, as Cato failed, in all the practical aims of life: but he has left a valuable legacy to after ages in the staunch assertion of principle; he has bequeathed to them a fructifying estate, not the less productive because its richest harvests must be reaped by generations yet unborn.

sopher is represented as using the fol- dom see de Tranq. Anim. 14 'Proaeque

lowing words in his reply to her: 'Ego batur ilium philosophui eutu.'

adsiduus viri tui comes, cui non tanturn l Plutarch Vit. Cat. 4, 10, 16.

quae in publicum emittuntur nota, sed * Cicero Brut, xxxi, Parad.prooam.3.

omnes sunt seoretiores animorum ves- * Mommsen's History of Rome, It.

trorum motus.' For another allusion pp. 156, 448 sq. (Eng. trans.),
to these domestic chaplains of heathen-

Cato was the true type of Stoicism in its striking excellence, as

in its hopeless weakness. The later Roman Stoics are feeble Later Ro

„ _., , . , man Sto

copies, more or less conscious, of Cato. Like him, they were ios.

hard, impracticable, perverse, studiously antagonistic to the

prevailing spirit or the dominant power of their age: but, like

him also, they were living protests, when protests were most

needed, against the dishonesty and corruption of the times; and

their fearless demeanour was felt as a standing reproach alike

to the profligate despotism of the ruler and to the mean and

cringing flattery of the subject. Yet it is mournful to reflect

how much greater might have been the influence of men like

Thrasea Paetus and Helvidius Priscus on their generation, if

their strict integrity had been allied to a more sympathetic


In these men however there was an earnest singleness of

purpose, which may condone many faults. Unhappily the same

cannot be said of Seneca. We may reject as calumnies the Seneca.

grosser charges with which the malignity of his enemies had

laden his memory; but enough remains in the admissions of his

admirers, and more than enough in the testimony of his own

writings, to forfeit his character as a high-minded and sincere

man. No words are too strong to condemn the baseness of one His faults.

who could overwhelm the emperor Claudius, while living, with

the most fulsome and slavish flattery, and then, when his ashes

were scarcely cold, turn upon him and poison his memory with

the venom of malicious satire1. From this charge there is no

escape; for his extant writings convict him. We may well

refuse to believe, as his enemies asserted, that he counselled the

murder of Agrippina; but it seems that he was in some way

implicated with the matricide, and it is quite certain that he

connived at other iniquities of his imperial pupil. We may

indignantly repudiate, as we are probably justified in doing, the

1 The treatise ad Polybiwn de Conso- complete his shame, he was the author

lation* would be disgraceful, if it stood of the extravagant panegyric pronounc

alone; but contrasted with the Ludus ed by Nero over his predecessor (Tao.

de Marte Claudii it becomes odious. To Ami. xiii. 3).

His own confessions of weakness.

grave charges of moral profligacy which were brought against him in his lifetime and after his death; but the man who, while condemning, can describe at length the grossest forms of impurity (as Seneca does occasionally) had surely no very sensitive shrinking from sins ' of which it is a shame even to speak.' We may demur to accepting the account of his enemies, that his wealth was amassed by fraud and violence; but there is no doubt that, while preaching a lofty indifference to worldly advantages, he consented to be enriched by a profligate and unscrupulous tyrant, and that the enormous property thus accumulated exposed him to the reproaches of his contemporaries. A portrait which combines all these features will command no great respect. Yet, notwithstanding a somewhat obtrusive rhetoric, there is in Seneca's writings an earnestness of purpose, a yearning after moral perfection, and a constant reference to an ideal standard, which cannot be mere affectation. He seems to have been a rigorous ascetic in early life, and to the last to have maintained a severe self-discipline. Such at least is his own statement; nor is it unsupported by less partial testimony'. For all this inconsistency however we must blame not the creed but the man. He would probably have been much worse, if his philosophy had not held up to him a stern ideal for imitation. Is it genuine or affected humility—a palliative or an aggravation of his offence—that he himself confesses how far he falls short of this ideal? To those taunting enemies of philosophy, who pointing to his luxury and wealth ask, 'Why do you speak more bravely than you live ?', he replies,'I will add to your reproaches just now, and I will bring more charges against myself than you think. For the present I give you this answer: I am not wise, and (to feed your malevolence) I shall not be wise. Therefore require of me, not that I should equal the best men, but that I should be better than the bad. It is enough for me daily to diminish my vices in some degree and to chide my errors.' 'These things,' he adds,' I say not in

my own defence, for I am sunk deep in all vices, but in defence of him who has made some progress1.' 'The wise man,' he writes apologetically,'does not think himself unworthy of any advantages of fortune. He does not love riches but he prefers them. He receives them not into his soul but into his house. Nor does he spurn them when he has them in his possession, but retains them and desires ampler material for his virtue to be furnished thereby*.' 'I am not now speaking to you of myself/ he writes to Lucilius,'for I fall far short of a moderate, not to say a perfect man, but of one over whom fortune has lost her power*.' Seneca, more than any man, must have felt the truth of the saying, 'How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God4.'

From Seneca it is refreshing to turn to Epictetus. The Epietetus. lame slave of Epaphroditus is a far nobler type of Stoic discipline than the wealthy courtier of Epaphroditus' master. Here at all events, we feel instinctively that we have to do with genuine earnestness. His motto 'bear and forbear5' inspires his discourses throughout, as it appears also to have been the guide of his life. But more striking still is the spirit of piety which pervades his thoughts. 'When ye have shut the doors,' he says, 'and have made all dark within, remember never to say that ye are alone, for ye are not; but God is within and so Expresis your angel (Safowv); and what need of light have these to pietyinhis see what ye do? To this God ye also ought to swear allegiance, wnting8as soldiers do to Caesar6.' 'If we had sense, ought we to do anything else both in public and in private but praise and honour the divine being (to Belov) and recount his favours ?... ...What then? Since ye, the many, are blinded, should there

1 de Vit. beat. 17; comp. ad Hclv. exaggerated. I wish I could take as

Matr. 5. favourable a view of Seneca's character

- de Vit. beat. 21. as this writer does.

* Bp. Mot. lvii. 3. s ivixm *ai artxov> A.ul. Gell. xvii.

* The account of Seneca in Martha's 19, where the words are explained. SloraU'tesp. 1 sq. is well worth reading, ° Diss. i. 14. 13 sq. ; comp. Matt. though the idea of the spiritual direc- xxii. 21.

tion in the letters to Lucilius seems

not be some one to fill this station and to sing for all men the hymn to God? For what else can I, a lame old man, do but sing hymns to God? Nay, if I were a nightingale, I had done the work of a nightingale; if a swan, the work of a swan. So being what I am, a rational creature, I must sing hymns to God. This is my task, and I perform it; nor will I ever desert this post, so far as it is vouchsafed me: and you I exhort to join in this same song1.' 'How then dost thou appear? As a witness called by God: Come thou and bear witness to me... What witness dost thou bear to God? / am in wretched plight, 0 Lord, and I am miserable; no one cares for me, no one gives me anything; all men blame me, all men speak ill of me. Wilt thou bear this witness, and disgrace the calling wherewith He hath called thee, for that He honoured thee and held thee worthy to be brought forward as a witness in this great cause2?' 'When thou goest to visit any great person, remember that Another also above seeth what is done, and that thou oughtest to please Him rather than this one3.' 'Thou art an offshoot (diroairaa-fia) of God; thou hast some part of Him in thyself. Why therefore dost thou not perceive thy noble birth? Why dost thou not know whence thou art come? Thou bearest God about with thee, wretched man, and thou dost not perceive it Thinkest thou that I mean some god of silver or gold, without thee? Within thyself thou bearest Him, and thou dost not feel that thou art defiling Him with thy impure thoughts and thy filthy deeds. If an image of God were present, thou wouldest not dare to do any of these things which thou doest: but, God Himself being present within thee, and overlooking and overhearing all, thou art not ashamed to think and to do these things, 0 man, insensible of thine own nature, and visited with the wrath of God1.' 'Remember that thou art a son. What profession is due to this character? To consider all that belongs to Him as belonging to a father, to obey Him in all things, never to complain of Him to any one, nor to say or do anything hurtful to Him, to yield and give way to Him in all things, working with Him to the utmost of thy power*.' 'Dare to look up to God and say, Use me henceforth whereunto thou wilt, I consent unto Thee, I am Thine. I shrink from nothing that seemeth good to Thee. Lead me where Thou wilt: clothe me with what garments Thou wilt. Wouldest Thou that I should be in office or out of office, should live at home or in exile, should be rich or poor? I will defend Thee for all these things before men'.' 'These (vices) thou canst not cast out otherwise than by looking to God alone, by setting thine affections (irpoa-rreirovdora) on Him alone, by being consecrated to His commands4.' 'When thou hast heard these words, 0 young man, go thy way and say to thyself, It is not Epictetus who has told me these things (for whence did he come by them ?), but some kind God speaking through him. For it would never have entered into the heart of Epictetus to say these things, seeing it is not his wont to speak (so) to any man. Come then, let us obey God, lest God's wrath fall upon us (tva fiij Beo-xpXwroi wfievi).' 'Thus much I can tell thee now, that he, who setteth his hand to so great a matter without God, calls down God's wrath and does but desire to behave himself unseemly in public. For neither in a well-ordered household does any one come forward and say to himself / must be steward. Else the master, observing him and seeing him giving his orders insolently, drags him off to be scourged. So it happens also in this great city (of the world); for here too there is a house

1 Diss. i. 16. 15 sq. aware) in any heathen writing before

2 Diss. i. 29. 46 sq. The words T^v the Apostolic times. Sometimes we

K)aiv ?> KiKiKev appear from the find Ki/ne b 6tbs, and once he writes

context to refer to citing witnesses, but Kiipie i\trpov (ii. 7. 12). It is worth

they recall a familiar expression of St noting that all the three cities when

Paul; 1 Cor. vii. 20, Ephes. iv. 1, comp. Epictetns is known to have lived—

2 Tim. i. 9. The address Ki'pif, used Hierapolis, Rome, Nieopolis—occur a

in prayer to God, is frequent in Epic- the history of St Paul.

tetus, but does not occur (so far as I am 'Diss. i. 30.1.

Diss. ii. 8.11 sq. We are reminded - Diss. ii. 10. 7.

of the surname 0eo#4pos, borne by a * Dins. ii. 16. 42.

Christian contemporary of Epictetus; * Diss. ii. 16. 46.

see the notes on Ignat. Ephes. insor., 9. 5 Diss. iii. 1. 36 sq.

holder, who ordereth everything1.' 'The cynic (i.e. the true philosopher) ought to know that he is sent a messenger from God to men, to show them concerning good and evil8.' 'He must be wholly given without distraction to the service of God, free to converse with mankind, not tied down by private duties, nor entangled in relations, which if he transgresses, he will no longer keep the character of a noble and good man, and if he observes, he will fail in his part as the messenger and watchman and herald of the gods8.' Improved The genuine piety of these passages is a remarkable contrast Stoic theo- to the arrogance and blasphemy in which the older Stoics somegy" times indulged and which even Seneca repeats with approval*.

Stoic theology, as represented by Epictetus, is fast wiping away its reproach; but in so doing it has almost ceased to be Stoic The pantheistic creed, which identifies God with the world, is kept in the background; and by this subordination greater room is left for the expansion of true reverence. On the other hand (to pass over graver defects in his system) he has not yet emancipated himself from the austerity and isolation of Stoical ethics. There still remains a hardness and want of sympathy about his moral teaching, which betrays its parentage. But enough has been said to account for the fact that the remains of Epictetus have found a place in the library of the Church, and that the most pious and thoughtful Christian divines have listened with admiration to his devout utterances1.

1 Diss. iii. 22. 2 sq. The passage - Dim. iii. 22, 23.

bears a strong resemblance to our * Diss. iii. 22. 69. I have only been

Lord's parable in Matt. xxiv. 45 sq., able to give short extracts, but the

Luke xii. 41 sq. The expressions, 6 whole passage should be read. Epicie

oiKovi/ios, o Kvpios, b Oikostffritijs, occur tus appears throughout to be treading

in both the philosopher and the Evan- in the footsteps of St Paul. His word*,

gelists. Moreover the word (tt/xev in irepUrraarov tfrai J« oXor rp&i r j &a

Epictetus corresponds to Sixoro^riau Kovlq. rod BtoO, correspond to the Apo

in the Qospels, and in both words the stle's expression, iirr&peSpov r£ Ki\

difficulty of interpretation is the same. drtpurrdarui (1 Cor. vii. 35), and ihe

I can hardly believe that so strange a reason given for remaining unmarried

coincidence is quite accidental. Com- is the same. Another close coincidence

I lined with the numerous parallels in with St Paul is S niv WA« ai Rm« (ii.

Seneca's writings collected above (p. 26. 1). Again, such phrases as Mumk

281 sq.), it favours the supposition that 6.0\uv (iii. 10. 8), -ypd/i/iara awrania

our Lord's discourses in some form or (ii. 3. 1), ravra fie\ira (iv. 1. 170), «<k

other were early known to heathen el/d i\e66epos; (iii. 22. 48), recall the

writers. For other coincidences more Apostle's language. Other Scriptural

or less close see i. 9.19, i. 25. 10, i. 29. expressions also occur, such as 6m

31, iii. 21. 16, iii. 22. 35, iv. 1. 79 (i> frXunis (ii. 14. 13), t/xxpi, mpivrift

<V &yyapela % K.r.X., oomp. Matt. (ii. 16, 39), etc.

v. 41), iv. 8. 36. * See above, p. 278.

As Epictetus gives a higher tone to the theology of the M. Aureschool, so the writings of M. Aurelius manifest an improvement in its ethical teaching. The manifold opportunities of his position would cherish in an emperor naturally humane and sensitive wider sympathies, than were possible to a lame old man born and bred a slave, whom cruel treatment had estranged Improved from his kind and who was still further isolated by his bodily stoic infirmity. At all events it is in this point, and perhaps in this morallty, alone, that the meditations of M. Aurelius impress us more favourably than the discourses of Epictetus. As a conscious witness of God and a stern preacher of righteousness, the Phrygian slave holds a higher place: but as a kindly philanthropist, conscientiously alive to the claims of all men far and near, the Roman emperor commands deeper respect. In him, for the first and last time in the history of the school, the cosmopolitan sympathies, with which the Stoic invested his wise man, become more than a mere empty form of rhetoric. His natural disposition softened the harsher features of Stoical ethics. The brooding melancholy and the almost feminine tenderness, which appear in his meditations, are a marked contrast to the hard outlines in the portraiture of the older Stoics. Cato was the most perfect type of the school: but

1 'Epictetus seems as if he had come men appreciate elevated thought, in

after or before his time; too late for direct and genuine language, about

philosophy, too early for religion. We human duties and human improvement,

are tempted continually to apply to his Epictetus will have much to teach those

system the hackneyed phrase: It is all who know more than he did both of

very magnifioent, but it is not philoso- philosophy and religion. It is no won

phy—it is too one-sided and careless of der that he kindled the enthusiasm of

knowledge for its own sake; and it is Pascal or fed the thought of Butler,

not religion—it is inadequate and wants Saturday Review, Vol. xxn. p. 580. a basis. Tet for all this, as long as

M. Aurelius was the better man, because he was the worse Stoic. Altogether there is a true beauty and nobleness of character in this emperor, which the accidents of his position throw into stronger relief. Beset by all the temptations which unlimited power could create, and sorely tried in the most intimate and sacred relations of life—with a profligate wife and an inhuman son—he neither sullied nor hardened his heart, but remained pure and upright and amiable to the end, the model of a conscientious if not a wise ruler, and the best type which Persecu- heathendom could give of a high-minded gentleman. With all Chris- this it is a more than 'tragical fact,' that his justice and his tians. humanity alike broke down in one essential point, and that by his bigotry or through his connivance the Christians suffered more widely and cruelly during his reign than at any other epoch in the first century and a half of their existence1. Moreover the inherent and vital defects of the school, after all the modifications it had undergone and despite the amiable character of its latest representative, are still patent. 'The Stoicism of M. Aurelius gives many of the moral precepts of the Gospel, but without their foundation, which can find no place in his system. It is impossible to read his reflections without emotion, but they have no creative energy. They are the last strain of a dying creed*.' References It is interesting to note the language in which these two anity in latest and noblest representatives of Stoicism refer to the andM Au- Christians. Once and once only is the now numerous and relius. rapidly growing sect mentioned by either philosopher, and in each case dismissed curtly with an expression of contempt. 'Is it possible, ' asks Epictetus,'that a man may be so disposed under these circumstances from madness, or from habit like the Galileans, and can no one learn by reason and demonstration that God has made all things which are in the world1?' 'This readiness to die,' writes M. Aurelius, 'should follow from individual judgment, not from sheer obstinacy as with the Christians, but after due consideration and with dignity and without scenic display (d.rpaycoBco<;), so as to convince others also3.' The justice of such contemptuous allusions may be tested by the simple and touching narrative of the deaths of this very emperor's victims, of the Gallic martyrs at Vienne and Lyons: and the appeal may confidently be made to the impartial judgment of mankind to decide whether there was more scenic display or more genuine obstinacy in their last moments, than in the much vaunted suicide of Cato and Cato's imitators.

1 Martha, Momlistfs r>. 212, attempts a Jewish rabbi, as has been recently

to defend M. Aurelius against this maintained (.1/. Aureliu* Antoninus ah

charge; but the evidence of a wide Freund u. Zeitgenosse des Rabbi Jihvda

persecution is irresistible. For the mo- ha-Nasi by A. Bodek, Leipzig 1868),

tives which might lead M. Aurelius, he would have an additional motivi

both as a ruler and as a philosopher, to for his treatment of the Christians;

sanction these cruelties, see Zeller Mar- but, to say the least, the identificatian

eta Aurelius Antoninus in his Vortriige of the emperor is very uncertain,

p. 101 sq. If it were established that - Westcott in Smith's Dictionary af

thisemperorhadintimaterelationswith tin' Bible n. p. 857, s. v. Philosophy

I have spoken of Epictetus and M. Aurelius as Stoics, for so Eoleotithey regarded themselves; nor indeed coidd they be assigned to ^ ja°er any other school of philosophy. But their teaching belongs to st010sa type, which in many respects would hardly have been recognised by Zeno or Chrysippus. Stoicism during the Roman period had been first attaching to itself, and then assimilating, diverse foreign elements, Platonic, Pythagorean, even Jewish and Christian. In Seneca these appear side by side, but distinct; in Epictetus and M. Aurelius they are more or less fused and blended. Roman Stoicism in fact presents to us not a picture with clear and definite outlines, but a dissolving view. It becomes more and more eclectic. The materialism of its earlier theology gradually recedes; and the mystical element appears in the foreground*. At length Stoicism fades away; Stoicism

S U CC il G {11' fl

and a new eclectic system, in which mysticism has still greater by Keopiapredominance, emerges and takes its place. Stoicism has foughttoni9mthe battle of heathen philosophy against the Gospel, and been vanquished. Under the banner of Neoplatonism, and with

1 Diss. iv. 7. 6. Stoics, and more especially of M. Aim

1 M. Anton, xi. 3. lius, to Neoplatonism, see Zeller'sWac/i

* On the approximation of the later aristotelteche Philosophit n. p. 201 sq.

weapons forged in the armoury of Christianity itself, the contest is renewed. But the day of heathendom is past. This newchampion also retires from the conflict in confusion, and the Gospel remains in possession of the field. The In this attempt to sketch the progress and results of this


unaffected school, I have not travelled beyond a few great names. Nor ism t01C nas any injustice been done to it by this course, for Stoicism has no other history, except the history of its leaders. It consisted of isolated individuals, but it never attracted the masses or formed a community. It was a staff of professors Causes of without classes. This sterility must have been due to some lire, inherent vicious principles: and I propose now to consider its

chief defects, drawing out the contrast with Christianity at the same time, l. Its pan- 1. The fundamental and invincible error of Stoic philosophy was its theological creed. Though frequently disguised in devout language which the most sincere believer in a personal God might have welcomed as expressing his loftiest aspirations, its theology was nevertheless, as dogmatically expounded by ite ablest teachers, nothing better than a pantheistic materialism. This inconsistency between the philosophic doctrine and the religious phraseology of the Stoics is a remarkable feature, which perhaps may be best explained by its mixed origin. The theological language would be derived in great measure from Eastern (I venture to think from Jewish) affinities, while thf philosophical dogma was the product of Hellenized thought. Heathen devotion seldom or never soars higher than in the Hymn of sublime hymn of Cleanthes. "Thine offspring are we,' so he 'addresses the Supreme Being, 'therefore will I hymn Thy praises and sing Thy might for ever. Thee all this universe which rolls about the earth obeys, wheresoever Thou dost guide it, and gladly owns Thy sway.' 'No work on earth is wrought apart from Thee, nor through the vast heavenly sphere, nor in the sea, save only the deeds which bad men in their folly da' 'Unhappy they, who ever craving the possession of good things, yet have no eyes or ears for the universal law of God, by wise obedience whereunto they might lead a noble life.' 'Do Thou, Father, banish fell ignorance from our soul, and grant us wisdom, whereon relying Thou rulest all things with justice, that being honoured, we with honour may requite Thee, as beseemeth mortal man: since neither men nor gods have any nobler task than duly to praise the universal law for aye1.' If Contradicthese words might be accepted in their first and obvious tweeu stomeaning, we could hardly wish for any more sublime and devout andst^ 'expression of the relations of the creature to his Creator and hymnolo


Father. But a reference to the doctrinal teaching of the school dispels the splendid illusion. Stoic dogma empties Stoic hymnology of half its sublimity and more than half its devoutness. This Father in heaven, we learn, is no personal Being, all righteous and all holy, of whose loving care the purest love of an earthly parent is but a shadowy counterfeit. He—or It—is only another name for nature, for necessity, for fate, for the universe. Just in proportion as the theological doctrine of the school is realised, does its liturgical language appear forced and unnatural. Terms derived from human relationships are confessedly very feeble and inadequate at best to express the person and attributes of God; but only a mind prepared by an artificial training could use such language as I have quoted with the meaning which it is intended to bear. To simple people it would be impossible to address fate or necessity or universal nature, as a Father, or to express towards it feelings of filial obedience and love.

And with the belief in a Personal Being, as has been already No eon


remarked, the sense of sin also will stand or fall*. Where this 0f gin. belief is absent, error or wrong-doing may be condemned from two points of view, irrespective of its consequences and on grounds of independent morality. It may be regarded as a defiance of the law of our being, or it may be deprecated as a violation of the principles of beauty and propriety implanted in

the mind. In other words it may be condemned either from physical or from aesthetic considerations. The former aspect is especially common with the Stoics, for indeed conformity with nature is the groundwork of Stoical ethics. The latter appears occasionally, though this point of view is characteristic rather of the Academy than of the Porch. These are important subsidiary aids to ethical teaching, and should not be neglected: but the consciousness of sin, as sin, is distinct from both. It is only possible where there is a clear sense of a personal relation to a Personal Being, whom we are bound to love and obey, whose will must be the law of our lives and should be the joy of our hearts. Here again the Stoic's language is treacherous. He can talk of sin, just as he can talk of God his Father. Bat so long as he is true to his dogma, he uses terms here, as before, in a non-natural sense. Only so far as he deserts the theological standing-ground of his school (and there is much of this happy inconsistency in the great Stoic teachers), does he attain to such an apprehension of the 'exceeding sinfulness of sin' as enables him to probe the depths of the human conscience. 2. Defects 2. When we turn from the theology to the ethics of the ethics. Stoical school, we find defects not less vital in its teaching. Here again Stoicism presents in itself a startling and irreconcilable contradiction. The fundamental Stoic maxim of conformity to nature, though involving great difficulties in its practical application, might at all events have afforded a starting-point for a reasonable ethical code. Yet it is hardly too much to say that no system of morals, which the wit of man has ever devised, assumes an attitude so fiercely defiant of Defiance nature as this. It is mere folly to maintain that pain and privation are no evils. The paradox must defeat its own ends. True religion, like true philosophy, concedes the point, and set itself to counteract, to reduce, to minimise them. Our Lord 'divides himself at once from the ascetic and the Stoic. They had said, Make yourselves independent of bodily comforts: he says, Ye have need of these things1.' Christianity itself al»>

1 Eece Homo p. 116.

of nature.

preaches an avrdpKeia, a moral independence, but its preaching starts from a due recognition of the facts of human life.

And, while Stoicism is thus paradoxical towards the indi- Want of vidual, its view of the mutual relations between man and man is a still greater outrage on humanity. 'In every age the Christian temper has shivered at the touch of Stoic apathy1.' Pity, anger, love—all the most powerful social impulses of our nature—are ignored by the Stoic, or at least recognised only to be crushed. There is no attempt to chasten or to guide these affections: they must simply be rooted out. The Stoic ideal is stern, impassive, immovable. As a natural consequence, the genuine Stoic is isolated and selfish: he feels no sympathy with others, and therefore he excites no sympathy in others. Any wide extension of Stoicism was thus rendered impossible by its inherent repulsiveness. It took a firm hold on a few solitary spirits, but it was wholly powerless with the masses.

Nor indeed can it be said in this respect to have failed in Stoicism

G XC11181V 6

its aim. The true Stoic was too self-contained, too indifferent and not to the condition of others, to concern himself whether the tenets f^86 y 1Z" of his school made many proselytes or few. He wrapped himself up in his self-conceit, declared the world to be mad, and gave himself no more trouble about the matter. His avowal of cosmopolitan principles, his tenet of religious equality, became inoperative, because the springs of sympathy, which alone could make them effective, had been frozen at their source. Where enthusiasm is a weakness and love a delusion, such professions must necessarily be empty verbiage. The temper of Stoicism was essentially aristocratic and exclusive in religion, as it was in politics. While professing the largest comprehension, it was practically the narrowest of all philosophical castes.

3. Though older philosophers had speculated on the im- 3. No dismortality of the soul, and though the belief had been encouraged in man's by some schools of moralists as supplying a most powerful taiHy.1" motive for well-doing, yet still it remained for the heathen a

1 Eece Homo p. 119.

vague theory, unascertained and unascertainable. To the Christian alone, when he accepted the fact of Christ's resurrection, did it become an established and incontrovertible truth. Stoicism does not escape the vagueness which overclouds all mere philosophical speculation on this subject. On one point alone were the professors of this school agreed. An eternal existence of the human soul was out of the question. At the great periodic conflagration, when the universe should be fused and the manifold organizations dissolved into chaos, the souls of men must necessarily be involved in the common destruction1. But within this limit much diversity of opinion prevailed. Diversity Some maintained a longer, some a shorter, duration of the soul. among 1the Cleanthes said that all men would continue to exist till the Stoics. conflagration; Chrysippus confined even this limited immortality to the wise*. The language of Seneca on this point is Seneca's both timid and capricious. 'If there be any sense or feeling encyand after death' is his cautious hypothesis, frequently repeated'. vagueness. < I wag pleasantly engaged,' he writes to his friend Lucilius,'in enquiring about the eternity of souls, or rather, I should say, in trusting. For I was ready to trust myself to the opinions of great men, who avow rather than prove so very acceptable a thing. I was surrendering myself to this great hope, I was beginning to be weary of myself, to despise the remaining fragments of a broken life, as though I were destined to pass away into that illimitable time, and into the possession of eternity; when I was suddenly aroused by the receipt of your letter, and this beautiful dream vanished4.' When again he would console the bereaved mourner, he has no better words of comfort to offer than these: 'Why do I waste away with fond regret for one who either is happy or does not exist at all? It

1 See e. g. Seneca ad Marc. 26, ad post mortem finiri, etiam ipsam.'

Polyb. I. (20). * Ep. Mot. oii. 2; comp. F.p. Mar.

2 Diog. Laert. vii. 157. oxvii. 6 'Cum animarum aetemiuuc

* De Brev. Vit. 18, ad Polyb. 5, 9. disscrimus, non leva momentum ajrai

Ep. Mor. xxiv. 18, lxv. 24, lxxi. 16. nos habet consensus hominum ant;

Tertullian (de Reiurr. Cam. i, de Anim. mentium inferos aut oolentinm'

42) quotes Seneca as saying 'Omnia

is envy to bewail him if he is happy, and madness if he does not exist1.' 'Bear in mind that no evils affect the dead; that the circumstances which make the lower world terrible to us are an idle story.' 'Death is the release and end of all pains.' 'Death is neither a good nor an evil: for that only can be good or evil which is something.' 'Fortune can retain no hold, where nature has given a release: nor can one be wretched, who does not exist at all8.' Afterwards indeed he speaks in a more cheerful strain: 'Eternal rest awaits him leaving this murky and troubled (earth) and migrating to the pure and liquid (9ky)*': but such expressions must be qualified by what has gone before. Again in this same treatise, as in other places4, he promises after death an enlarged sphere of knowledge and a limitless field of calm and pure contemplation. But the promise which he gives in one sentence is often modified or retracted in the next; and even where the prospects held out are the brightest, it is not always clear whether he contemplates a continuance of conscious individual existence, or merely the absorption into Universal Being and the impersonal participation in its beauty and order8. The views of Epictetus and M. Aurelius are even more cloudy and cheerless than those of Seneca. Immortality, properly so called, has no place in their philosophies.

Gibbon, in his well-known chapter on the origin and growth Import

-_.... . , , . „ , ,., anceofthe

of Christianity, singles out the promise of eternal life as among doctrine to

the chief causes which promoted its diffusion. Overlooking it

much that is offensive in the tone of his remarks, we need not

hesitate to accept the statement as substantially true. It is

1 Ad Polyb. 9. Seneca n. p. 58 sq. (1859) endeavours

* Ad Mare. 19; comp. Ep. Mor. to show that Seneca is throughout conxxxvi. 10 'Mors nullum habet incom- sistent with himself and follows the modum: esse enim debet aliquis, oujus Platonists rather than the Stoics in his sit ineommodum,' with the context. doctrine of the immortality of the soul.

* Ad Mare. 24. I do not see how it is possible, after 4 Comp. e.g. Ep. Mor. lxxix. 12, reading the treatise ad Marciam, to ac

lxxxvi i, cii. 22, 28 sq. quit him of inconsistency.

* Holzherr DerPhiloiophL. Annaus

indeed more than questionable whether (as Gibbon implies) the growth of the Church was directly due to the inducements of the offer; for (looking only to self-interest) it has a repulsive as well as an attractive side: but without doubt it added enormously to the moral power of the Gospel in commending it to the hearts and consciences of men. Deterring, stimulating, reassuring, purifying and exalting the inward and outward life, 'the power of Christ's resurrection' extends over the whole domain of Christian ethics. Us indif- On the other hand it was a matter of indifference to the

stoicism. Stoic whether he doubted or believed or denied the immortality of man; for the doctrine was wholly external, to his creed, and nothing could be lost or gained by the decision. Not life but death was the constant subject of his meditationa His religious director was summoned to his side, not to prepare him for eternity, but to teach him how to die1. This defect alone would have rendered Stoicism utterly powerless with the masses of men: for the enormous demands which it made on the faith and self-denial of its adherents could not be sustained without Conse- the sanction and support of such a belief. The Epicurean ladoxes motto, 'Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,' base *"exities of thougli it was, had at least this recommendation, that the Stoicism, conclusion did seem to follow from the premisses: but the moral teaching of the Stoic was practically summed up in the paralogism, 'Let us neither eat nor drink, for to-morrow we die,' where no wit of man could bridge over the gulf between the premisses and the conclusion. A belief in man's immortality might have saved the Stoic from many intellectual paradoxes and much practical perplexity: but then it would have made him other than a Stoic. He had a profound sense of the reign of moral order in the universe. Herein he was right. But the postulate of man's immortality alone reconciles this belief with many facts of actual experience; and, refusing to extend his views beyond the present life, he was obliged to misstate or deny these facts in order to save his thesis1. He staunchly maintained the inherent quality of actions as good or bad (irrespective of their consequences), and he has deserved the gratitude of mankind as the champion of a morality of principles. But he falsely supposed himself bound in consequence to deny any force to the utilitarian aspect of ethics, as though it were irrreconcilable with his own doctrine; and so he was led into the wildest paradoxes, calling good evil and evil good. The meeting-point of these two distinct lines of view is beyond the grave, and he refused to carry his range of vision so far. It was inconsistent with his tenets to hold out the hope of a future life as an incentive to well-doing and a dissuasive from sin; for he wholly ignored the idea of retribution. So far, there was more substantial truth and greater moral power in the crude and gross conceptions of an afterworld embodied in the popular mythology which was held up to scorn by him, than in the imposing philosophy which he himself had devised to supplant them.

1 Socrates (or Plato) said that with ing the &ro6ir/)<""ly and forgetting the

true philosophers oiStv 4XXo m/rol In- reBvinai, robbed the saying of its rii

triSeiovatr rj &r 08 rfa Kei v re Kal te6rdvai tue. (Phado 64 A). The Stoic, by accept

4. Attention was directed above to an instructive parallel <• Absence which Seneca's language presents to our Lord's image of the torical vine and the branches8. Precepts, writes the philosopher, asiswither unless they are grafted in a sect. By this confession Seneca virtually abandons the position of self-isolation and self-sufficiency, which the Stoic assumes. He felt vaguely the want of some historical basis, some bond of social union, in short some principle of cohesion, which should give force and vitality to his ethical teaching. No mere abstract philosophy has influenced or can influence permanently large masses of

men. A Bible and a Church—a sacred record and a religious A sacred

record and a religious

1 Butler argues from the fact that The Stoic denied what the Christian

'the divine government which we ex- philosopher assumes, and contradicted

perience ourselves under in the present experience by maintaining that it s

state, taken alone, is allowed not to be perfect, taken alone, the perfection of moral government.' - See above, p. 267. commu- community—are primary conditions of extensive and abiding

mtv H6CC8

sai^r. success. An isolated spirit here and there may have dispensed

with such aids; but, as a social power, as a continuous agency, mere doctrine, however imposing, will for the most part be ineffective without such a support.

So far we have been speaking of conditions of success which were wanting indeed to Stoicism, but which nevertheless are not peculiar to Christianity. All creeds, which have secured any wide and lasting allegiance, have had their sacred books

Christian- and their religious organization. But our Lord's language, of

itv cpntrts

in a Per- which Seneca's image is a partial though unconscious echo,

points to the one distinguishing feature of Christianity. It is not a record nor a community, but a Person, whence the sap spreads to the branches and ripens into the rich clusters. I have already alluded to Gibbon's account of the causes which combined to promote the spread of the Church. It will seem strange to any one who has at all felt the spirit of the Gospel, that a writer, enumerating the forces to which the dissemination and predominance of Christianity were due, should omit

Christ the all mention of the Christ. One might have thought it imsource of ., , , . , . , „ ,

the moral possible to study with common attention the records of the

Christian- Apostles and martyrs of the first ages or of the saints and it;y heroes of the later Church, without seeing that the consciousness

of personal union with Him, the belief in His abiding presence, was the mainspring of their actions and the fountain of all their strength. This is not a preconceived theory of what should have happened, but a bare statement of what stands recorded on the pages of history. In all ages and under all circumstances, the Christian life has ever radiated from this central fire. Whether we take St Peter or St Paul, St Francis of Assisi or John Wesley, whether Athanasius or Augustine, Anselm or Luther, whether Boniface or Francis Xavier, here has been the impulse of their activity and the secret of their moral power. Their lives have illustrated the parable of the vine and the branches. Diutinc- It j8 this which differentiates Christianity from all other religions, and still more from all abstract systems of philosophy, ture of Those who assume the entire aim and substance of the Gospel jty, to have been the inculcation of moral precepts, and who there- Not amorfore rest its claims solely or chiefly on the purity of its ethical code, often find themselves sorely perplexed, when they stumble upon some noble and true utterance of Jewish or Heathen antiquity before the coming of Christ. A maxim of a Stoic philosopher or a Rabbinical schoolman, a saying of Plato or Confucius, startles them by its resemblance to the teaching of the Gospel. Such perplexity is founded on a twofold error. On the one hand they have not realised the truth that the same Divine Power was teaching mankind before He was made flesh: while on the other they have failed to see what is involved in this incarnation and its sequel. To those who have felt how much is implied in St John's description of the pre-incarnate Word as the life and light of men; to those who allow the force of Tertullian's appeal to the 'witness of a soul naturally Christian'; to those who have sounded the depths of Augustine's bold saying, that what we now call the Christian religion existed from the dawn of the human race, though it only began to be named Christian when Christ came in the flesh1; to those who can respond to the sentiment of the old English


'Many man for Cristes love

Was martired in Romayne,

Er any Cristendom was knowe there

Or any oros honoured';

it cannot be a surprise to find such flashes of divine truth in men who lived before the coming of our Lord or were placed beyond the reach of the Gospel. The significance of Christ's moral precepts does not lose but gain by the admission: for we learn to view Him no longer as one wholly apart from our race, but recognising in His teaching old truths which 'in manhood darkly join,' we shall only be the more prompt to

'Yield all blessing to the name Of Him that made them current ooin.'

1 Retract, i. 13.

b?t,a,ir,i.n." But the mere ethical teaching, however important, is the cipleoflife . ...'..

centred in least important, because the least distinctive part of Chnsti

a erson. an£^y jf there be any meaning in the saying that Christ appeared to ' bring life and immortality to light,' if the stedfast convictions of St Peter and St Paul and St John were not a delusion, and their lives not built upon a lie, then obviously a deeper principle is involved. The moral teaching and the moral example of our Lord will ever have the highest value in their own province; but the core of the Gospel does not lie here. Its distinctive character is, that in revealing a Person it reveals also a principle of life—the union with God in Christ, apprehended by faith in the present and assured to us hereafter by the Resurrection. This Stoicism could not give; and therefore its dogmas and precepts were barren. Its noblest branches bore neither flowers nor fruit, because there was no parent stem from which they could draw fresh sap.

The Letters of Paul and Seneca.

THE spurious correspondence between the Apostle and the The correphilosopher to which reference is made in the preceding essay, described, consists of fourteen letters, the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, and 13th written in the name of Seneca, and the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 14th of St Paul. In the address of the 6th the name of Lucilius is added to that of Seneca, and in the same way in the address of the 7th Theophilus is named along with St Paul.

I have not thought it worth while to reprint these letters, as Editions they may be read conveniently in the recent edition of Seneca's iettereg works by F. Haase (ill. p. 476 sq.) included in Teubner's series, and are to be found likewise in several older editions of this author. They have been printed lately also in Fleury's St Paul et Seneque (il. p. 300 sq.) and in Aubertin's Seneque et St Paul (p. 409 sq.), and still more recently in an article by Kraus, entitled Der Brieftoechsel Pauli init Seneca, in the Theologische Quartahchrift Xlix. p. 601 (1867).

The great popularity of this correspondence in the ages before The Mss the Reformation is shown by the large number of extant Mss. tions. Fleury, making use of the common catalogues, has enumerated about sixty; and probably a careful search would largely increase the number. The majority, as is usual in such cases, belong to the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, but two at least are as early as the ninth. Haase used some fresh collations, from which however he complains that little was to be got (p. xxii.); and Fleury also collated three Mss from Paris and one from Toulouse. Haase directed attention to the two most ancient, Ambrosianus C. 90 and Argentoratensis C. vi. 5, both belonging to the ninth century (which had not yet been examined), but had no opportunity of collating them himself. Collations from these (together with another later Strassburg Ms, Argentoratensis C. vi. 7) were afterwards used by Kraus for his text, which is thus constructed of better materials

than any other. But after all, it remains in an unsatisfactory

state, which the worthlessness of the letters themselves may well


Probable This correspondence was probably forged in the fourth century,

motive of ejtner to recommend Seneca to Christian readers or to recommend the forgery. Christianity to students of Seneca. In favour of this view may be

urged the fact that in several Mss these spurious letters precede the genuine works of Seneca1. Nor does any other motive seem consistent with the letters themselves; for they have no doctrinal bearing at all, and no historical interest of sufficient importance to account for the forgery. They are made up chiefly of an interchange of compliments between the Apostle and the philosopher; and the only historical thread which can be said to run through them is the endeavour of Seneca to gain the ear of Nero for the writings of St Paul. Reference It is commonly said that St Jerome, who first mentions these to the let- letter had no suspicion that they were spurious. This statement Jerome, however is exaggerated, for he does not commit himself to any opinion at all about their genuineness. He merely says, that he 'should not have given a place to Seneca in a catalogue of saints, unless challenged to do so by those letters of Paul to Seneca and from Seneca to Paul which are read by very many persons' (de Vir. III. 12 'nisi me illae epistolae provocarent quae leguntur a plurimis'). When it is remembered how slight an excuse serves to bring other names into his list, such as Philo, Josephus, and Justus Tiberiensis, we cannot lay any stress on the vague language which he uses in this case. The more probable inference is that he did not deliberately accept them as genuine. Indeed, if he had so accepted them, his profound silence about them elsewhere would be wholly Augnstino, inexplicable. St Augustine, as generally happens in questions of historical criticism, repeats the language of Jerome and perhaps had not seen the letters (Epist. cliii . 14 'Seneca cujus quaedam ad Faulum apostolum leguntur epistolae"). Throughout the middle

1 As for instance Argent. C. vi. 5 is not uncommon to find them imme

described by Krans. So in Born. 251 diately before the genuine epistles. (British Museum), which I have ex- • Another passage quoted Philip

amined, they are inoluded in a collec- pians, p. 29, note 2, in which Augus

tion of genuine and spurious works of tine remarks on Seneca's silence about

Seneca, being themselves preceded by the Christians, is inconsistent with a

the notice of Jerome and followed by conviction of the genuineness of these

the first of the epistles to Lucilius. It letters.

ages they are mentioned or quoted, most frequently as genuine, but and later occasionally with an expression of doubt, until the revival of learning, wri *re' when the light of criticism rapidly dispelled the illusion1.

As they are now universally allowed to be spurious, it will be These letunnecessary to state at length the grounds of their condemnation, manifest It is sufficient to say that the letters are inane and unworthy forgery, throughout; that the style of either correspondent is unlike his genuine writings; that the relations between the two, as there represented, are highly improbable ; and lastly, that the chronological notices (which however are absent in some important Mss) are wrong in almost every instance. Thus, independently of the unbroken silence of three centuries and a half about this correspondence, internal evidence alone is sufficient to condemn them hopelessly.

Yet the writer is not an ignorant man. He has read part of Yet the Seneca and is aware of the philosopher's relations with Lucilius; he not j,TM. is acquainted with the story of Castor and Pollux appearing to one rant nor Vatinius (or Vatienus); he can talk glibly of the gardens of Sallust; careless, he is acquainted with the character of Caligula whom he properly calls Gaius Caesar; he is even aware of the Jewish sympathies of the empress Poppsea and makes her regard St Paul as a renegade*; and lastly, he seems to have had before him some account of the Neronian fire and persecution3 which is no longer extant, for he speaks of 'Christians and Jews' being punished as the authors of the conflagration and mentions that 'a hundred and thirty-two houses and six insulae were burnt in six days.'

Moreover I believe he attempts, though he succeeds ill in the attempt, to make a difference in the styles of Seneca and St Paul, the writing of the latter being more ponderous. Unfortunately he betrays himself by representing Seneca as referring more than once to St Paul's bad style; and in one letter the philosopher mentions sending the Apostle a book de Copia Verborum, obviously for the purpose of improving his Latin.

I mention these facts, because they bear upon a theory main- Theory of The arguments for this view stated

tained by some modern critics'1, that these letters are not the same s,ome m.°" * dern cri

1 See Fleury i. p. 269 sq. for a in the numbers, which appear too

catena of references. small.

1 Ep. 5 'Indignatio dominae, quod 4 An account of these views will be

a ritu et secta voted recesseris et [te] found in Fleury n. p. 225 sq. He

aliorsum con vert eris'; comp. Ep. 8, himself holds that the letters read by

where however the reading is doubt- these fathers were not the same with

ML our correspondence, but questions whe

* Yet there must be some mistake ther those letters were genuine.

and answered.


Account of de Copia Verborum.

with those to which Jerome and Augustine refer; that they had before them a genuine correspondence between St Paul and Seneca, which has since perished; and that the extant epistles were forged later (say about the ninth century), being suggested by the notices in these fathers and invented in consequence to supply their place. The only specious arguments advanced in favour of this view, so far as I know, are these: (1) A man like Jerome could not possibly have believed the extant correspondence to be genuine, for the forgery is transparent; (2) The de Copia Verborum is a third title to a work otherwise known as de Formula Honestae YUae or de Quatuor Virtutibus, written by Martinus Bragensis or Dumiensis (t circ. A. D. 580), but ascribed in many Mss to Seneca. Sufficient time therefore must have elapsed since this date to allow the false title and false ascription to take the place of the true and to be generally circulated and recognised1.

To both these arguments a ready answer may be given : (1) There is no reason to suppose that Jerome did believe the correspondence to be genuine, as I have already shown. He would hardly have spoken so vaguely, if he had accepted the letters as genuine or even inclined to this belief. (2) A much better account can be given of the false title and ascription of Martin's treatise, if we suppose that they arose out of the allusion in the letters, than on the converse hypothesis that they were prior to and suggested this allusion. This Martin, whose works appear to have had a very large circulation in the middle ages, wrote on kindred subjects and seems occasionally to have abridged and adapted Seneca's writings. For this reason his works were commonly bound up with those of Seneca, and in some instances came to be ascribed to the Stoic philosopher. This is the case at all events with the de Moribus, as well as the de Quatuor Virtutibus, and perhaps other spurious treatises bearing the name of Seneca may be assigned to the same author. A copy of the de Quatuor Virtutibus, either designedly abridged or accidentally mutilated, and on this account wanting the title, was bound up so as to precede or follow the correspondence of Paul and Seneca*;

1 This argument is urged by Fleury ii. p. 267 sq. The de Formula Honestae Vitae is printed in Haase's edition of Seneca (m. p. 468) together with other spurious works.

- It is found in some extant Mss (e.g. Flor. PI. xlv. Cod. iv) immediately

before the letters, and it may perhaps occur in some others immediately after them. [Since the first edition appeared, in which this conjecture was hazarded, I have found the treatise immediately after the letters, Bodl. Laud. Uiic. 383, fol. 77 a, where it is anonymous, 1869.] and, as Seneca in one of these letters mentions sending the de Copia Verborum, a later transcriber assumed that the neighbouring treatise must be the work in question, and without reflecting gave it this title1. Whether the forger of the correspondence invented an imaginary title, or whether a standard work bearing this name, either by Seneca himself or by some one else, was in general circulation when he wrote, we have no means of deciding; but the motive in the allusion is clearly the improvement of St Paul's Latin, of which Seneca more than once complains. On the other hand the de Quatuor Virtutibus is, as its name implies, a treatise on the cardinal virtues. An allusion to this treatise therefore would be meaningless; nor indeed has any reasonable explanation been given, how it got the title de Copia Verborum, on the supposition that this title was prior to the allusion in the correspondence and was not

1 The work, when complete, consists ol (1) A dedication in Martin's name to Miro king of Gallicia, in which he mentions the title of the book Formula Vitae Honestae; (2) A short paragraph enumerating the four cardinal virtues; (3) A discussion of these several virtues and the measure to be observed in each. In the Mss, so far as I have learnt bom personal inspection and from notifies in other writers, it is found in three different forms; (1) Complete (e.g. Cambridge Univ. Libr. Dd. xv. 21; Bodl. Laud. Misc. 444, fol. 146), in which case there is no possibility of mistaking its authorship; (2) Without the dedicatory preface, so that it begins Quatuor virtutum species etc. In this form it is generally entitled de Quatuor Virtutibus and ascribed to Seneca. So it is for instance in three British Museum Mss, Burn. 251 fol. 33 a (xmth cent.; the treatise being mutilated at the end and concluding 'In has ergo maculas prudentia immensnrata perducet'), Burn. 360, fol. 35 a (xivth cent.?), and Harl. 233 (xmth or xivth cent.?; where however the general title is wanting and the treatise has the special heading Seneca de prudentia). The transcriber

of Annul. 249 (xvth cent.) also gives it in this form, but is aware of the true author, for the heading is Incipit tractates libri honeste vite editus a Martino episcopo Qui a multu intitulatur de quatuor virtutibus et attribuitur Senece; but he ends it Explicit tractatus de quatuor virtutibus Annei Senece Cordubensis, as he doubtless found it in the copy which he transcribed. In Bodl. Land. Lat. 86, fol. 58 a, where it occurs in this form, it is ascribed to its rightauthor; whileagaininBodl.iauii. Misc. 280, fol. 117 a, it is anonymous. TheseUssIhaveexamined. (3)Itoccurs without either the dedicatory preface or the general paragraph on the four virtues, and some extraneous matter is added at the end. Only in this form, so far as I can discover, does it bear the strange title de Verborum Copia. So in one of the Gale Mss at Trinity College Cambridge (0.3.31) it begins' Senece de quatuorvirtutibusprimo (?) deprudentia. Quisquis prudentiam...' and ends '... jactura que per negligentiam fit. Explicit liber Senece de verborum copia '; and the Ms described by Haase (in. p. xxii) belongs to the same type. These facts accord with the account of the title which I have suggested in the text.

itself suggested thereby, for it is wholly alien to the subject of the treatise. Direct But other strong and (as it seems to me) convincing argument*

re*8°?th" lnay ke bright against this theory: (1) Extant Mss of the corretheory. spondence date from the ninth century, and in these the text is already in a corrupt state. (2) The historical knowledge which the letters show could hardly have been possessed, or turned to such account, by a writer later than the fourth or fifth century. (3) Jerome quotes obliquely a passage from the letters, and this passage is found in the extant correspondence. To this it is replied, that the forger, taking the notice of Jerome as his starting-point, would necessarily insert the quotation to give colour to his forgery. But I think it may be assumed in this case that the pseudo-Seneca would have preserved the words of Jerome accurately or nearly so; whereas, though the sense is the same, the difference in form is considerable1. It may be added also that the sentiment is in entire keeping with the pervading tone of the letters, and has no appearance of being introduced for a distinct purpose. (4) It is wholly inconceivable that a genuine correspondence of the Apostle could have escaped notice for three centuries and a half; and not less inconceivable that, having once been brought to light at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, it should again have fallen into oblivion and been suffered to disappear. This theory therefore may be confidently rejected.

1 The reference in St Jerome is tianos.' The words stand in the letters '(Seneca) optare se dioit ejus esse loci (no. 11),'[Uti]namquiineus, tuns apart apud suog, cujus sit Paulus apud Chris- te locus, qui tnus, velim ut mens.'

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