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This then is a fair account of the ordinary Greek orthodoxy. It was not the faith of mystics, nor an absorption of the mind in the contemplation of Divine perfections and Divine mysteries, but rather the religion of a shrewd and practical people, who based their worship upon their wants, and blessed God, not like Fenelon, because he was ideally perfect, but like Bossuet, because they received from him many substantial favours. We have no reason to think that the faith of Xenophon's speakers was a decaying faith, nay rather I fancy that after the fever of the Peloponnesian war was over, when the novelty of the sophists had gone by, when the hard and selfish generation of Pericles had passed away, there may have been a reaction towards positive belief, and towards old-fashioned views. This seems to me the attitude of the orator Lycurgus, so far as we can judge from his one remarkable speech remaining to us. It seems also implied by an argument in his contemporary Hypereides, whose whole speech Ὑπὲρ Εὐξενίππου turns upon what we should call a state superstition, as to the special way in which individuals should announce important dreams to the state, and as to the verification of these professed dreams by sending to Delphi1.

1 Hypereides, pp. 36 sq. (ed. Blass), 'The people directed Euxenippus with two others to be put to sleep in the temple, but he having slept there says he saw a dream, which he says he will announce to the people. If you considered this to be true, and that he announced to the people what he (really) saw in the dream, how is he in fault in telling the Athenians what the god directed him. But if, as you now say, you think be belied the god, and made a false report to the people in favour of certain (friends of his own), you should not have proposed a decree about

Thus the Demosthenic public was probably more orthodox than the Periclean, certainly not less so, and the supposed destruction of the Greek religion was like the supposed destruction of the Christian faith in the eighteenth century—a phase in speculation, a fashion among philosophers, but no national abdication of faith. It was no doubt similar to the newer outburst of scepticism under the influence of Epicurus and Menander, who embraced an atheistical philosophy from lassitude and for pleasure's sake, not as their ancestors had done, from hard selfishness and engrossment in the cares and ambitions of public life. For though even the cooks of the New Comedy profess philosophy, and tell us that Epicurus had raised their profession to the highest in life, yet the victory of Stoicism at the same period, and the appearance and success of moral reformers like S. Paul and Dio Chrysostom, show that scepticism had taken no firm hold even then. It was, as it has ever been, and probably will ever be, a transient state of the human mind, and even as such unable to retain the mass of mankind.

I have thus brought before the reader what may be regarded as important analogies between the religion professed by the Greeks and that professed in the present day I do not mean in the dogmas themselves, but in the attitude assumed towards these venerable traditions, and towards their positive teaching of morals in old Greek days, as compared with our own. It seems

to me that no branch of our enquiry has demonstrated

the dream, but as the former speaker said, (you should have proposed) to send to Delphi, and enquire the truth of the God.' The whole argument turns upon the treatment of this report of Euxenippus.

more clearly the modernness of Attic life, and the contrast of what we call the Middle Ages to both that life and to our own. The world has not been progressing with even and steady step, but has gained from time to time great vantage ground, and has again been thrown back by the tide of circumstances. Thus we are in some respects only coming up to the level attained by the Greeks; in some respects they were striving to attain our level, but we should class both the Greeks and ourselves as developed nations, whereas medieval culture was rather an early and blind groping towards politics and humane society.

These reflections would however be incomplete were we not to take into account the points of contrast between Greek religion and our own. And here I still use religion in its subjective sense, as a state of mind, not as a collection of dogmas; for in this latter sense to discuss the contrasts with Christianity were a mere idle enumeration of differences. But in the other sense of devout feeling, of reverence in the presence of awful and unseen powers, which wield weapons for the destruction and for the chastisement, as well as for the happiness of the human race—we may find likenesses and contrasts quite apart from the particular objects adored, and may compare the manner of worship, even though the matter be totally at variance.

I think the first contrast that strikes us from this point of view is the love of mystery in our modern religions, and its absence, or at least rare appearance, in the religion of the Greeks. On the surface indeed of the epic and gnomic poems, there is no trace of it at all. The gods assume mortal forms, and act with

human feelings. They speak and argue like men, and with men. When we compare the main dogmas of our own religion, the subtleties which brought fire and blood upon the world in the Middle Ages, the secrets of the Incarnation, of the Atonement, of the Trinity, of the Intermediate State, we stand in the presence of two mental attitudes totally and thoroughly opposed. The one got rid of all mystery, and made all things plain. The other adored mystery as such, regarded it as necessary to true religion, and made all things abstract and difficult. So far Greek religion is in thorough consonance with Greek art. The great reason why the Greek chefs d'œuvres have been everlasting, and have spoken to all cultivated men in all ages, is that their conception was everywhere clear and precise. Whether in poetry, in architecture, or in painting, strict form, distinctness of view, chastened imagination, are the eternal features of true Greek art. And this was the spirit in which their early poets treated religion also. We have inherited other traditions. The sublime

vagueness of the Egyptian priest, the conscious selfprostration of the Semite shepherd, the fine-drawn subtleties of the Orientalised Hellenist, all these passed in the ferment of Alexandrian days into our creeds, and leavened the whole lump.

But the Greek mind was too full and diverse to be satisfied by mere clearness and beauty. However hard and precise we may be in thinking, however strict we may be in defining the outlines and bounds of our ideas, there is still the vagueness of yearning, the longing of unsatisfied desire, which haunts all natures in their highest moods, and makes them feel

after the perfect, and seek an union with the Pure and the Good,-an union closer and more passionate than arises from the fulfilment of a moral law, or the performance of a moral duty. The earliest Greek form of this deep longing and vain regret was the reflection on the moral imperfections of the world's course, and the seeming random distribution of good and ill. I have above noted (p. 85) this prominent feature in the poets of the lyric age. Here is such a passage, which I quote as a fair specimen from Theognis:

'Kyrnus! believe it, Fortune, good or ill,
No mortal effort, intellect or skill
Determine it; but heaven's superior will.
We struggle onward, ignorant and blind,
For a result unknown and undesigned;
Avoiding seeming ills, misunderstood,
Embracing seeming evil as a good:
In our own plans unable to detect
Their final, unavoidable effect.
Tormented with unsatisfied desire
The fortunate to farther aims aspire
Beyond the bounds of mortal happiness;
Restless and wretched in their own success!

We live like children, and the Almighty plan
Controls the froward children of weak man1!'

This want, which was not absent from Greek nature, they strove to satisfy by those religious Mysteries, of which we hear so often but know so little. It seems, however, nearly certain that they substituted the knowledge and belief in new revelations, in hidden dogmas, as a higher ground of action, and a more all-embracing rule of life, for the calm computation of duty or higher

I transcribe this from Mr. Frere's Theognis Restitutus in his Works, 2nd ed. iii. p. 383.

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