The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 177 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.
nor more pious a way of honouring the gods than that, since they themselves ordain and approve it.  It is indeed a truth that we ought not to spare anything of what we are able to offer, for that would be a manifest contempt.  When, therefore, a man has done all that is in his power to do, he ought to fear nothing and hope all; for, from whence can we reasonably hope for more, than from those in whose power it is to do us the greatest good?  And by what other way can we more easily obtain it, than by making ourselves acceptable to them?  And how can we better make ourselves acceptable to them, than by doing their will?”

This is what Socrates taught, and by this doctrine, which was always accompanied with an exemplary devotion, he greatly advanced his friends in piety.

CHAPTER IV.  INSTANCES OF THE INVIOLABLE INTEGRITY OF SOCRATES.—­HIS CONVERSATION WITH HIPPIAS CONCERNING JUSTICE.

Concerning justice, it cannot be said that Socrates concealed his opinion of it, for he plainly revealed his sentiments by his actions, as well in public as in private, making it his business to serve every man, and to obey the magistrates and the laws; insomuch, that as well in the army as in the city, his obedience and uprightness rendered him remarkable above all others.  He fully discovered the integrity of his soul, when he presided in the assemblies of the people; he would never pass a decree that was contrary to the laws; he alone defended the cause of justice against the efforts of the multitude, and opposed a violence which no man but himself was able to resist.  Again, when the Thirty commanded him anything that was unjust, he did not obey them.  Thus, when they forbid him to speak to the young men, he regarded not their inhibition, and when they gave orders to him, as well as to some other citizens, to bring before them a certain man, whom they intended to put to death, he alone would do nothing in it, because that order was unjust.  In like manner when he was accused by Melitus, though in such occasions others endeavour to gain their judges by flatteries and ignominious solicitations, which often procure them their pardon, he would not put in practice any of these mean artifices that are repugnant to the laws, and yet he might very easily have got himself acquitted, if he could have prevailed with himself to comply in the least with the custom, but he chose rather to die in an exact observance of the laws, than to save his life by acting contrary to them, for he utterly abhorred all mean or indirect practices; and this was the answer he gave to several of his friends who advised him to the contrary.

Since I am now illustrating the character of Socrates with regard to justice, I will, at the same time, relate a conversation I remember he had with Hippias of Elis on that subject.

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