Seekers after God eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about Seekers after God.

Such were some of the thoughts which Marcus Aurelius wrote in his diary after days of battle with the Quadi, and the Marcomanni, and the Sarmatae.  Isolated from others no less by moral grandeur than by the supremacy of his sovereign rank, he sought the society of his own noble soul.  I sometimes imagine that I see him seated on the borders of some gloomy Pannonian forest or Hungarian marsh; through the darkness the watchfires of the enemy gleam in the distance; but both among them, and in the camp around him, every sound is hushed, except the tread of the sentinel outside the imperial tent; and in that tent long after midnight sits the patient Emperor by the light of his solitary lamp, and ever and anon, amid his lonely musings, he pauses to write down the pure and holy thoughts which shall better enable him, even in a Roman palace, even on barbarian battlefields, daily to tolerate the meanness and the malignity of the men around him; daily to amend his own shortcomings, and, as the sun of earthly life begins to set, daily to draw nearer and nearer to the Eternal Light.  And when I thus think of him, I know not whether the whole of heathen antiquity, out of its gallery of stately and royal figures, can furnish a nobler, or purer, or more lovable picture than that of this crowned philosopher and laurelled hero, who was yet one of the humblest and one of the most enlightened of all ancient “Seekers after God.”


A sceptical writer has observed, with something like a sneer, that the noblest utterances of Gospel morality may be paralleled from the writings of heathen philosophers.  The sneer is pointless, and Christian moralists have spontaneously drawn attention to the fact.  In this volume, so far from trying to conceal that it is so, I have taken pleasure in placing side by side the words of Apostles and of Philosophers.  The divine origin of Christianity does not rest on its morality alone.  By the aid of the light which was within them, by deciphering the law written on their own consciences, however much its letters may have been obliterated or dimmed, Plato, and Cicero, and Seneca, and Epictetus, and Aurelius were enabled to grasp and to enunciate a multitude of great and memorable truths; yet they themselves would have been the first to admit the wavering uncertainty of their hopes and speculations, and the absolute necessity of a further illumination.  So strong did that necessity appear to some of the wisest among them, that Socrates ventures in express words to prophesy the future advent of some heaven-sent Guide.[70] Those who imagine that without a written revelation it would have been possible to learn all that is necessary for man’s well-being, are speaking in direct contradiction of the greatest heathen teachers, in contradiction even of those very teachers to whose writing they point as the proof of their assertion.  Augustine was expressing a very deep conviction when

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Seekers after God from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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