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.
by keeping ourselves hid, or defending ourselves by open force.”  “And what is this punishment,” said Hippias, “which it is impossible for fathers, who marry with their own children, to avoid?” “It is very great,” said Socrates; “for what can be more afflicting to men, who desire to have children than to have very bad ones?” “And how do you know,” pursued Hippias, “that they will have bad children?  What shall hinder them, if they are virtuous themselves, from having children that are so likewise?” “It is not enough,” answered Socrates, “that the father and the mother be virtuous:  they must, besides, be both of them in the vigour and perfection of their age.  Now, do you believe, that the seed of persons who are too young, or who are already in their declining age, is equal to that of persons who are in their full strength?” “It is not likely that it is,” said Hippias.  “And which is the best?” pursued Socrates.  “Without doubt,” said Hippias, “that of a man in his strength.”  “It follows, then,” continued Socrates, “that the seed of persons who are not yet come to their full strength, or who are past it, is not good.”  “In all appearance it is not.”  “In those ages, then, we ought not to get children?” said Socrates.  “I think so.”  “Such, therefore, as indulge their lust in such untimely fruition will have very weakly children?” “I grant they will.”  “And are not weakly children bad ones?” “They are,” said Hippias.

“Tell me, further,” said Socrates, “is it not an universal law to do good to those who have done good to us?” “Yes,” said Hippias, “but many offend against this law.”  “And they are punished for it,” replied Socrates, “seeing their best friends abandon them, and that they are obliged to follow those who have an aversion for them.  For are not they the best friends who do kindnesses whenever they are desired?  And if he who has received a favour neglect to acknowledge it, or return it ill, does he not incur their hate by his ingratitude?  And yet, finding his advantage in preserving their goodwill, is it not to them that he makes his court with most assiduity?” “It is evident,” said Hippias, “that it is the gods who have ordered these things; for, when I consider that each law carries with it the punishment of the transgressor, I confess it to be the work of a more excellent legislator than man.”  “And do you think,” said Socrates, “that the gods make laws that are unjust?” “On the contrary,” answered Hippias, “it is very difficult for any but the gods to make laws that are just.”  “Therefore, Hippias,” said Socrates, “according to the gods themselves ‘to obey the laws is to be just.’”

This is what Socrates said on the subject of justice, and his actions being conformable to his words, he from day to day created a greater love of justice in the minds of those who frequented him.


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