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Socrates

The following character of Socrates is to be found in the Matanasiana. It deserves to be snatched from that oblivion in which it lies sunk.

Socrates, whom the Oracle of Delphos had pronounced to be the wisest of men, inculcated this maxim, that Science alone was Wealth, and Ignorance, Evil. Born in the depth of obscurity, his genius broke out like a superior luminary amongst his fellow-citizens. He had as many disciples as he had auditors. Ever bold, yet moderate, chaste, patient, and amiable, his continual application to study had rendered every virtue familiar to him. Yet he was so modest, that he affirmed he knew nothing perfectly but one thing, which was—that he was very ignorant. Such was his consummate prudence, that he could predict future events. It was this deep foresight into human affairs which occasioned the Athenians to attribute a familiar demon to him who was careful to instruct him of the future. He entertained so sublime an idea of friendship, that, according to him, no inheritance was so precious as the possession of a friend. In a word, he was so enlightened. and so resolute, that he triumphed over his natural evil inclinations, and vanquished every opposition to virtue by his science and his fortitude. So deep a tranquillity had pervaded his soul, that the necessity of swallowing poison, by the edict of the tyrants, never disturbed his repose the evening before it was to take place.