The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.
“that, if I believed the gods interested themselves in human affairs, I should not neglect to worship them.”  “How!” replied Socrates, “you do not believe the gods take care of men, they who have not only given to man, in common with other animals, the senses of seeing, hearing, and taste, but have also given him to walk upright; a privilege which no other animal can boast of, and which is of mighty use to him to look forward, to remote objects, to survey with facility those above him, and to defend himself from any harm?  Besides, although the animals that walk have feet, which serve them for no other use than to walk, yet, herein, have the gods distinguished man, in that, besides feet, they have given him hands, the instruments of a thousand grand and useful actions, on which account he not only excels, but is happier than all animals besides.  And, further, though all animals have tongues, yet none of them can speak, like man’s; his tongue only can form words, by which he declares his thoughts, and communicates them to others.  Not to mention smaller instances of their care, such as the concern they take of our pleasures, in confining men to no certain season for the enjoying them, as they have done other animals.

“But Providence taketh care, not only of our bodies, but of our souls:  it hath pleased the great Author of all, not only to give man so many advantages for the body, but (which is the greatest gift of all, and the strongest proof of his care) he hath breathed into him an intelligent soul, and that, too, the most excellent of all, for which of the other animals has a soul that knows the being of the Deity, by whom so many great and marvellous works are done?  Is there any species but man that serves and adores him?  Which of the animals can, like him, protect himself from hunger and thirst, from heat and cold?  Which, like him, can find remedies for diseases, can make use of his strength, and is as capable of learning, that so perfectly retains the things he has seen, he has heard, he has known?  In a word, it is manifest that man is a god in comparison with the other living species, considering the advantages he naturally has over them, both of body and soul.  For, if man had a body like to that of an ox the subtilty of his understanding would avail him nothing, because he would not be able to execute what he should project.  On the other hand, if that animal had a body like ours, yet, being devoid of understanding, he would be no better than the rest of the brute species.  Thus the gods have at once united in your person the most excellent structure of body and the greatest perfection of soul; and now can you still say, after all, that they take no care of you?  What would you have them do to convince you of the contrary?” “I would have them,” answered Aristodemus, “send on purpose to let me know expressly all that I ought to do or not to do, in like manner as you say they do give you notice.”  “What!” said Socrates, “when they pronounce any oracle

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The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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