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Necessity is one of the Stoic names for God, this does not mean that God is Himself subject to a Necessity supposed higher than Himself, but that His own Reason constitutes the universal law which He Himself and all things obey'. Some Stoics, such as Boethus, even denied the animality of the universe, and said that it was guided by the Deity, as the car by the charioteer or the ship by the pilot; and it would be hard to say that the hymn of Cleanthes is addressed to an impersonal God. On the other hand, it must be granted that, though we never find a Stoic going so far as to say, with Strauss, that the universal Reason only becomes self-conscious in man, we do find Chrysippus asserting the equality of reason in man and reason in God, and speaking of the wise man as the equal of Zeus, no less useful to Zeus than Zeus to him, both being alike divine”.
Still more marked is the opposition between the Christian and the Stoic idea of the character of God. To the Stoic He is perfect reason and justice, to the Christian He is preeminently the God of love. So, while the Logos represents both to Stoic and to Christian the rational element in the universe, the light that lighteth every man, the latter regards Him, first, as existing with the Father before all worlds, and secondly, as made
1 The Stoics were the first to discuss with any fulness the difficulties connected with the doctrine of Necessity, see Heinze l. c. pp. 153-172.
Compare Cic. N. D. 11. 154, ‘The life of the wise man is in no respect inferior to that of the Gods except in duration, and other passages cited by Zeller, p. 2523. Yet, objectionable as is the tone of these passages, they need not be regarded as asserting more than the doctrine of a Divine presence in the heart of man, and of the sameness of the Divine nature under all circumstances.
man in the person of Jesus Christ, and so revealing the truly Divine under the perfectly human.
If we turn now to man and compare the teaching of the two systems in reference to the ideal of man, his duty and his happiness, we find again great apparent agreement. There is the same uncompromising tone in both; the one thing needful is a righteous will; Stoicism is no less emphatic than Christianity in asserting that the gain of the whole world can never counterbalance the loss of the soul. Both demand from their followers the practice of stern self-denial, they call upon them to make the will of God their rule of life, and to shine as lights in the midst of prevailing darkness. Both use the same language in reference to the corruption of the unregenerate man.
If we read in the Bible 'the whole world lieth in wickedness,' there is none that doeth good, no, not one;' we find Cleanthes in like manner saying that, though man is the highest being on earth, it is plain there must be somewhere a higher and more perfect being, for ‘man walks in wickedness all his life through, or at least for the greater part of it, only attaining to virtue in late oldage*;' and Seneca still more strongly 'we are all thoughtless and foolish, all ambitious and complaining, in a .word, we 'are all wicked;' we have all sinned, some more, some less grievously, some in malice, some in haste, some led away by others. Even if there be one who has so cleansed his heart that nothing can henceforth agitate or deceive it, still it was through sin that he finally arrived at innocence;' also Cicero, “Even an
1 Hence the Stoics held that every wrong action was an act of impiety, Tập đuáp mua dc687ua, Stob. Ecl. II. p. 2 16.
2 Sext. Math. IX. 90..
Aristides was not perfect in justice, nor a Scipio in courage, nor a Laelius in wisdom; all have fallen short of the standard of the sage?' On the other hand
. the excellency of the ideal life is described by both in equally glowing terms. The Wise Man of the Stoics is the only freeman, he alone is self-sufficient, he possesses all things, he is the true king and the true priest : whatever he does, though it be no more than the putting forth of a finger, is done in accordance with perfect virtue and the highest reason: there is no mean between virtue and vice; he who is guilty of one vice is guilty of all, and he who can act rightly in one point must act rightly in all; it is impossible for him to sin, as it is impossible for him to lose his firm conviction that the only evil is vice, the only good virtue®; virtue is the ground of all his preferences; what is virtuous he loves however far removed from him, what is vicious he hates however closely connected: he knows no ties but those of virtue. In like manner the Christian holds that he whom the truth has made free is the only freeman, that we are made kings and priests unto God, that all things are ours; and St Paul speaks of himself and the other Apostles 'as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as beggars, yet making many rich; as having nothing, but yet possessing all
1 Seneca De Ira, 111. 26, De Clementia, 1. 6, Benef. iv. 27, Cic. Of. III. 16, cited among other passages by Zeller, p. 253, foll.
2 The question of Final Perseverance, so much debated among Christians afterwards, was not unknown to the Stoics; Cleanthes with the Cynics maintaining it, Chrysippus on the other hand arguing that it was possible for the Wise Man to fall away and become a reprobate ; see Zeller, p. 271.
Diog. L. VII. 33.
things'. He tells his converts that, whether they eat or drink or whatever they do, they may do all to the glory of God; and St John asserts boldly that 'whatsoever is born of God cannot commit sin,' of which we have the converse again in St Paul's “whatever is not of faith is sin,' and in St James's 'whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point is guilty of all.' Again the weakness of earthly ties, as contrasted with that which unites men to Christ and to each other, as members of Christ's body, appears in the constant allusion to brotherly love in the Epistles, as well as in the words of Christ himself “Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother and my sister and mother, and still more strongly in the warning ‘if any man come to me and hate not father and mother...yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.'
Yet on closer examination we find a great gulf concealed under this apparent agreement. The Christian, while he claims all these high prerogatives, owns that none of them are his by his own right; in himself he is poor and blind and naked; all the good that is in him flows to him from Christ, through whom he is made a partaker in the divine nature, and with whom he is connected as the branch with the vine, as the hand
1 Compare Plutarch's paradoxical account of the Stoic Wise Man (Mor. p. 1057) with St Paul's description of himself in 2 Cor. vi. 4-10.
ο Στωικών σοφός εγκλειόμενος ου κωλύεται, και κατακρημνιζόμενος ουκ αναγκάζεται, και στρεβλούμενος ου βασανίζεται, και πηρούμενος ου βλάπτεται, και πίπτων εν τω παλαίειν αήττητός εστιν, και περιτειχιζόμενος απολιόρκητος, και πωλούμενος υπο των πολεμίων ανάλωτος, and just above, άφοβος δε μένει και άλυπος και αήττητος και αβίαστος, τιτρωσκόμενος, άλγών, στρεβλούμενος, δεν κατασκαφαίς πατρίδος, εν πάθεσι τοιούτοις.
with the body. Once alone has the ideal life been fully revealed on earth, in the man Christ Jesus; but each Christian is encouraged to strive after it as that to which he is called, and to which he may continually approximate in proportion as he yields himself to the sanctifying influence of Christ's Spirit within him.
On the other hand, while some of the Stoics, as we have seen, claimed for their wise man a moral equality with God; most of them confessed that they were unable to point to any actual example of the ideal life; or, if some thought that they saw it exemplified in a Hercules, a Socrates or a Diogenes, they never imagined that virtue was attainable for themselves only through the virtue of one of these. The victory of Socrates might be an encouragement to another to struggle against weakness after his example, but it contained no ground or assurance of victory, as that of Christ does to the Christian. There is no personal feeling of loyalty or devotion to Socrates as to an ever-present, all-powerful Saviour and friend. Again, while Christian and Stoic both agree in regarding pleasure in itself as utterly worthless in comparison with virtue and the calm of mind which accompanies self-mastery; Stoic apathy is, in the first place, a very poor and colourless substitute for the Christian 'peace that passeth all understanding,' 'the joy unspeakable and full of glory;' in the next place, it is itself un-Christian, since the Gospel stimulates to the utmost the unselfish affections which Stoicism represses, and makes virtue consist at least as much in warmth and energy of feeling as in rational self-control; thirdly, though the mere life of pleasure, the living for pleasure, is everywhere condemned in the New Testament, yet