“Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2. Thess. iv. 15.)
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any.” (Col. iii. 13.)
Nay, are they not even in full accordance with the mind and spirit of Him who said,—
“If thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee thou hast gained thy brother.”
In the life of Marcus Aurelius, as in so many lives, we are able to trace the great law of compensation. His exalted station, during the later years of his life, threw him among many who were false and Pharisaical and base; but his youth had been spent under happier conditions, and this saved him from falling into the sadness of those whom neither man nor woman please. In his earlier years it had been his lot to see the fairer side of humanity, and the recollection of those pure and happy days was like a healing tree thrown into the bitter and turbid waters of his reign.
THE LIFE AND THOUGHTS OF MARCUS AURELIUS (continued).
Marcus was now the undisputed lord of the Roman world. He was seated on the dizziest and most splendid eminence which it was possible for human grandeur to obtain.
But this imperial elevation kindled no glow of pride or self-satisfaction in his meek and chastened nature. He regarded himself as being in fact the servant of all. It was his duty, like that of the bull in the herd, or the ram among the flocks, to confront every peril in his own person, to be foremost in all the hardships of war and the most deeply immersed in all the toils of peace. The registry of the citizens, the suppression of litigation, the elevation of public morals, the restraining of consanguineous marriages, the care of minors, the retrenchment of public expenses, the limitation of gladitorial games and shows, the care of roads, the restoration of senatorial privileges, the appointment of none but worthy magistrates—even the regulation of street traffic—these and numberless other duties so completely absorbed his attention that, in spite of indifferent health, they often kept him at severe labour from early morning till long after midnight. His position indeed often necessitated his presence at games and shows, but on these occasions he occupied himself either in reading, or being read to, or in writing notes. He was one of those who held that nothing should be done hastily, and that few crimes were worse than the waste of time. It is to such views and such habits that we owe the compositions of his works. His Meditations were written amid the painful self-denial and distracting anxieties of his wars with the Quadi and the Marcomanni, and he was the author of other works which unhappily have perished. Perhaps of all the lost treasures of antiquity there are few which we should feel a greater wish to recover than the lost autobiography of this wisest of Emperors and holiest of Pagan men.