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in saying that the Jews“ knew them.” The end of those rites was the new dispensation introduced by the Gospel; of this, Seneca asserts the majority of the nation to be ignorant. The great apostle of the Gentiles could not have pronounced a judgement more just and appropriate; he doubtless was the fountain whence it flowed. The following passage is most worthy of attention:

“ He is the man that is truly honourable, who, though unadorned with the mitre or the purple, or with a suite of lictors, (though he is not inferior to any of these,) looks at death when approaching him, and is not dismayed at it as a strange spectacle; who, when his body, in all its parts, is to be exposed to tortures, when his mouth is to take in the devouring flame, or his hands to be extended on a cross, is not anxious what he may suffer, but how well he suffers. He who worships God endures these things, nor does he fear them*.” Tortures like these were inflicted by Nero on the Christians : Tacitus describes, and Juvenal alludes to them; and their peculiar nature and cruelty, inflicted as they were on good men, would warrant us in concluding that Seneca meant by the sufferers the followers of Jesus. Why did those good men undergo such cruelties? The principal cause, assuredly, was their strenuous attempt to set aside the pagan system, and substitute in the room the knowledge and wor

* “ Hic est ille homo honestus, non apice, purpurave, non lictorum insignis ministerio, sed nulla re minor : qui cum mortem in vicino videt, non sic perturbatur, tamquam rem novam viderit; qui, sive toto corpore tormenta patienda sunt, sive fiamma ore recipienda est, sive extendendæ per patibulum manus, non quærit quid patiatur, sed quam bene. Qui autem Deuni colit, hæc patitur, nec timet.” Apud Lactan. lib. vi. c. 20.

ship of the one true God. This was the object for which the Christians submitted to persecution : no other class of people but these suffered in the cause of God. Seneca therefore must mean the disciple of Christ, when he says that "he who worships God suffers these things, nor does he fear them." This testimony is as true as it is honourable. Thousands of Christians, with the apostles at their head, braved every species of torture in the service of their divine master: and their chief concern, as this amiable philosopher asserts of them, was, that no extremity of pain which the ingenuity or the malice of their enemies might heap upon them, should induce them to dishonour the great cause in which they were engaged.

This philosopher believed in a future state, which he inculcates in various parts of his works. But there is one place in which he seems to refer to it as a doctrine propagated by the teachers of the Gospel. Consoling Lucilius on the death of a friend,

“Let us then, my dear Lucilius, reflect that we are soon to go to that place where we grieve that our friend is gone; and where perhaps he, whom we supposed to have perished, is sent before us ;-if indeed the report of wise men be true, who say that such a place is to receive us*.”

It is here observable, that Seneča builds his notion of a future state on “the report of wise men." The followers of Christ did circulate such a report, grounding it on the resurrection of their divine master: and though some philosophers taught it as

Cogitemus ergo, Lucili carissime, cito nos eo perventuros, quo illum pervenisse mæremus. Et fortasse (si modo sapientuni vera fama est, recipitque nos locus aliquis) quem putamus perisse, præmissus est." Epist. 63.

he says:

a deduction of reason, no one disseminated it as a fact but the teachers of the Gospel. I shall only add the following interesting and beautiful passage:

“ God is near thee; he is with thee. Yes, Lucilius, I say a holy spirit resides within us, the observer of good and evil, and our constant guardian. And as we treat him, he treats us; at least no good man is without God. Could any one ever rise above the power of fortune without his assistance ? It is he that inspires us with thoughts upright, just and pure. We do not indeed pretend to say what God; but that a God dwells in the breast of every good man is certain.

“ If you see a man unterrified with danger, untainted with lustful desires, happy in adversity, calm and composed amidst a storm, looking down as from an eminence upon men, and on a level with the Gods,-seems he not a subject of veneration ? Will you not own that you observe something in him too great and noble to bear any similitude to the little body of the man that it inhabiteth? Yes, a divine power descendeth hither from above: a soul of such excellence and moderation, as to look down with a noble scorn on earthly things, and to laugh at those trifles we are apt to wish for or fear, cannot but be enkindled by the Deity within: so great a quality cannot subsist but by the help of God: he is there in part, though still remaining above in the heavens. As the rays of the sun reach, and with their influence pierce the earth, and yet are still above in the body from whence they proceed; so a mind, great and holy, and thus humbled to give us a more adequate knowledge of divine things, dwells indeed with us, but still adheres to its original ; it depends upon that; thither tend all its views and pious endeavours, vastly superior to, however concerned in, human affairs*.

The original of the picture here given of a good man is, we have reason to believe, no other than the illustrious sufferer who, though in bonds, made known to Seneca the Gospel in the palace of Nero. First, because some of the thoughts are those of the apostle conveyed nearly in his own language. Se

.. condly, because, in the New Testament, we are assured that the holy spirit descended on the apostles; which enabled them to work miracles, to be unterrified with dangers, untainted with lustful desires, happy in adversity, calm and composed amidst storms; to look down as from an eminence upon men, and to be on a level with angels. And this communion with God, this participation of his spirit, is the basis of the character here drawn by Seneca : and it is remarkable that he calls it by

* “ Prope est a te Deus, tecum est, intus est. Ita dico, Lilcili, sacer intra nos spiritus sedet, malorum bonorumque nos. trorum observator et custos : hic prout a nobis tractatus est, ita nos ipse tractat. Bonus vir sine Deo nemo est. An potest aliquis supra fortunam, nisi ab illo adjutus, exsurgere? ille dat consilia magnifica et erecta. In unoquoque virorum bonorum (quis Deus incertum est) habitat Deus.... Si hominem videris interritum periculis, intactum cupiditatibus, inter ad. versa felicem, in mediis tempestatibus placidum, ex superiore loco homines videntem, ex æquo Deos,-pop subibit te veneratio ejus ? Non dices : Ista res major est altiorque, quam ut credi similis huic, in quo est, corpusculo possit? Vis įsthuc divina descendit, animum excellentem, moderatum, omnia tanquam minora transeuntem, quidquid timemus optamusque ridentem, cælestis potentia agitat, non potest res tanta sine adminiculo numinis stare. Itaque majore sui parte illic est, unde descendit. Quemadmodum radii solis contingunt quidem terram, sed ibi sunt inde mittuntur: sic animus magnus et sacer, et in boc demissus ut propius divina noscamus, conversatur quidem nobiscum, sed hæret origini suæ," Epist. xli.

that very name, saying that the holy spirit resideth in a good man. Lastly, because the good man here described is the same with him whom Seneca has already mentioned as suffering tortures without dismay in the cause of God. Persons of this description, we have seen, were the Christian advocates in Rome, of whom the apostle was the chief.

This brief view of the sentiments of Seneca respecting Christianity and its teachers, serves to illustrate two circumstances connected with his history. When Nero persecuted the Christians, as related by Tacitus, Seneca asked leave of the emperor to retire into the country. This partiality for the sufferers could not have been unknown to the

persecutor; and his motive in retiring must have been to avoid seeing the abuse of men whose sentiments he approved, and whose character he esteemed; and perhaps to avoid sharing the same fate with them. There are still extant some letters which are said to have passed between Seneca and Paul: but these are unquestionably spurious. The forgery, however, supposes it to have been a fact notorious in antiquity, that some friendly intercourse had taken place between the philosophic Seneca and the apostle of the Gentiles. It is gratifying to discover that this fact is rendered extremely probable from that philosopher's own writings: yet it is but just to observe, that however he might approve of the Gospel, or admire its advocates, he had not the magnanimity to avow his faith. This consideration throws a shade around the character of this illustrious and amiable man, and at the same time reflects a frights ful light on the evils which stood in the way of Christianity.

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