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When you do
concerning the conduct of this mortal you, it seems as if you yourself were life. Some of these reflections I re present; in fact, I have the feeling that gard as original with yourself; other's you are always with us. as rather transmitted than originated begin to come, I trust we shall meet by you. The sentiments are so majes- frequently. tic, they breathe such extraordinary no “Hoping this will find you well, I bility, that the life of man does not remain,” etc. seem to me long enough to fathom and The next note, from Seneca, is supacquire them perfectly.
posed to refer to the relations of Paul “With best wishes for your good with the chief rabbi of the synagogue health, I remain, my brother,
at Rome: “Yours,” etc.
“I am distressed at your keeping so By way of answer, we have:
obstinately in the background. What “MY DEAR SENECA, - I was very makes you so reserved ? If it be the glad to receive your letter yesterday, indignation of the master at your havand should have replied immediately if ing withdrawn from the old faith and I had had a messenger at hand. You ritual, and fixed your affections elsewill understand that care has to be ex where, you will have an opportunity to ercised concerning the person to whom claim that you did it, not lightly, but letters are entrusted, and the when after mature deliberation." and the how. Pray do not think me The confused and feeble answer to insensible to your kindness, therefore, this mysterious appeal purports to have if I exercise some caution in select- been addressed by Paul to Seneca and ing a messenger. As to your flattering his friend Lucilius conjointly : remarks regarding the reception of my "Concerning the subject of your letletters in a certain place, I can but ter I cannot write with
pen and ink, congratulate myself on having won the of which the former marks and emapproval of so distinguished a judge; phasizes matters, and the latter blazons for I do not think that you, censor, them abroad; the less since I know sophist, and master of a great prince, that there are certain persons of and would say such things unless you be among you who are with us and underlieved them.
stand me perfectly. Respect must be “May you live long and prosper." paid to all, and the more scrupulously Seneca to Paul:
the more readily they take offense. If “I have arranged and classified a we can but be patient with them, we number of selections from certain vol shall win them over at last, provided umes with special reference to their be- only they be capable of repentance. ing read by Cæsar; and if I should be “Greeting to you both.” so happy as to secure his attention and Seneca then writes to Paul and Theinterest, perhaps you also may be pre- ophilus : sent. Otherwise I will appoint a day “My reading of your epistles to the when you and I may go over this work Galatians, Corinthians, and Achaians together. Perhaps it would even be was very well received; and now may better for me to communicate with you, we so live as to illustrate them to the if I could do so safely, before bringing glory of God. The indwelling Spirit these writings to his notice, in order is holier and mightier than you; it lifts that you might be sure that you had you out of yourself, and enables you to been fairly represented.
give a new and loftier utterance to sub“Believe me, my dearest Paul,” etc. lime ideas of antiquity. I could wish, Paul to Seneca:
therefore, since your matter is so fine, “Every time I peruse a letter from that the dignity of your style were on
a level with it. To be perfectly can- cedence has been much disputed, but did with you, my brother, and also con- it really makes very little difference scientious with myself, I must tell you which one we take first. Two of them that the Augustus was greatly struck are chiefly complimentary: one containby your ideas, but that he exclaimed, ing the passage quoted by St. Jerome when he had heard your exordium to about Paul's predominance in his own virtue, 'It is a marvelous thing that sect; the other expressing great ada man who has never been properly miration for the allegorical and inteinstructed can think and speak like rior sense to be detected in so many this!' I reminded him that the gods of the Apostle's writings, but also sugare wont to speak by the mouths of 'in- gesting once again that he would do nocents,' or even of those who are ca- well to improve his style. The third pable of misrepresenting their doctrine, letter of this group looks, at first sight, and I cited the example of a simple especially interesting. It begins with rustic, Vaticanus of Reate, to whom a profession of deep concern for Paul's they who were in fact Castor and Pol- personal safety, and a general exhortalux appeared as two men, which seems tion, à la mode stoïque, to constancy in to have convinced him. Farewell." misfortune. It then alludes to extenPaul to Seneca :
sive fires in Rome, for which it more “However satisfactory it may be to than hints at Nero's own responsibilknow that Cæsar is interested in our ity, and to the dangers encompassing doctrines, I beg that you will not be the whole Christian community. Supdismayed, but simply put upon your posing the letter to be genuine, this guard, if, hereafter, he should become could not refer to the great conflagraless friendly. You took, as I think, tion; for the details which follow cona very grave step in merely bringing to cerning the amount of ground burned his notice a mode of worship so con- over and the number of dwellings detrary to that in which he was brought stroyed are inconsistent with those given up; for even if he does worship the by the unimpeachable chroniclers of the gods of the Gentiles, I do not see why time; and, moreover, the tenor of the you should force the fact on his atten- letter implies that it was addressed to tion, — unless, indeed, you do it out of Paul in Rome, whereas the great fire excessive attachment to me. For the occurred in 64, when we know he was future I beg you to desist. You must
not there. not allow your partiality for myself to The fourteenth and last letter of compromise you with your master." the correspondence purports to be from
After this insult to the memory of Paul to Seneca, and runs as follows: the intrepid Apostle, the reader will “There have been revealed to your perhaps feel that he has had enough. meditative spirit such things as the But let us over rapidly the re- Divinity has disclosed to few. I theremaining numbers of this correspon- fore sow good seed in a fertile field; dence. They are few and short. Se- speaking not in a material sense, of neca replies with vague assurances that that which is corruptible, but of the he will be more careful in future, and stable word which cometh forth from Paul then offers a sort of apology, in God, who liveth and increaseth [!] forhis turn, for having written with a free
The fruit of your wisdom can dom hardly consistent with the princi- never fail you, provided only you give ples of humility inculcated by his own no heed to the objections whether of religion.
Jews or Gentiles. A new career will Then follow three letters from Se- be open to you as an author when you neca to Paul, of which the order of pre- begin to set forth with the refinements
of rhetoric the irreproachable wisdom the cheat, abused the credulity of the of Jesus Christ. It will be yours to simple by according them such notice recommend your new attainment to the as he did; ” explodes in righteous wrath king of the world, his friends and at at the chétif and shuffling figure which tendants; but their conversion will be “the bravest of gospel warriors" is no smooth nor easy task, for the great- made to cut in these lines; and apoloer part will resist arguments instinct gizes to the reader, at the end of his with that vital essence of God's truth diatribe, for having said “nimis multa which bringeth forth a man freed from de re nihili,” corruption, and a soul ever ready for Modern Catholic writers, on the the coming of the Lord.
other hand, have usually rather yearned “Farewell, my best beloved Seneca." to establish the orthodoxy of Seneca.
One does not quite see why; for, as Such are the letters which were held Erasmus points out, he was surely a by that one of the four great fathers more striking moralist, and may be of the church who was best versed in read with more profit, as a pagan than the pagan classics to give Seneca some as a Christian.
Amédée Fleury, who claim to a place among the holy. One has consecrated two laborious volumes wonders how he could have thought to the relations of this eminent pair, so, how he, of all men, should have and who thinks that there have been failed to suspect an imposture. To us two sets of spurious letters, and that it seems as if no warm admirer of either the one which we possess is not even correspondent could ever have wished the same which was read by SS. Jeto believe them genuine; and indeed rome and Augustine, sums up his own St. Jerome's use of the present tense, position by saying that he is by no quæ leguntur a plurimis, -- which are
means as fully convinced of
inter(now) read by very many people, - change of letters between Paul and appears in itself to point to the fact Seneca as he is of the reality of their that they had been put forth as a re friendship; while that gloriously overcent discovery some time in the fourth bearing idealist, Count Joseph de Maiscentury. St. Augustine uses almost tre, has seldom given himself a more precisely the same language; nor has delightful démenti than on this very it ever been customary to include the subject : correspondence among the undisputed Do
believe,' the senator asks works either of the Apostle or the phi- him, in the ninth of the Petersburg losopher, except for that short period “evenings,' “in the Christianity of Seimmediately succeeding the revival of neca, and his epistolary correspondence learning, from 1475, say, to 1550, with St. Paul?' when sacred and profane lore were so
“ 'I should be very unwilling,' rewildly and uncritically confounded, in plies the count, “to speak positively one the first glow of humanistic enthusiasm. way or the other, but I believe that Erasmus, indeed, who inserted the let there is a foundation of truth in both ters in his edition of the works of Se- suppositions; and I am just as sure neca, printed at Bâle in 1529, clears that Seneca heard Paul preach as that himself conclusively, in his trenchant you hear me at this moment.' ” commentary, from the imputation of Considering that the senator was an accepting them as genuine. He de- imaginary interlocutor, this does not nounces them roundly as a forgery appear greatly to strengthen the case "both frigid and inept; " permits him in favor of Seneca's Christian priviself even to say that “the divine Hie- leges. ronymus, who must have seen through Fifty years after De Maistre, and
fifteen or so after Fleury, Charles Au- fluence, and who through that of Pombertin, in his Étude sur les Rapports pey; what a skinflint Cæcilius is, and Supposés between St. Paul and Seneca, how his very relatives cannot get money disposed with little ceremony of the from him at less than twelve per cent.” theory of a second false correspondence, In 65, Nero, now perfectly enslaved and, after an exceedingly minute and to the whims of Poppæa, made use of learned inquiry into the source of those the discovery of Piso's conspiracy to expressions in the philosophical writ- charge his old tutor with complicity in ings of Seneca which have been thought the plot, and so rid himself of a silent to savor most of Christian influence, but none the less inconvenient censor. announced it as his conclusion that if Seneca was respectfully permitted to Seneca were a Christian, so were Ci- be his own executioner, and to choose cero, Zeno, and the entire Porch; even the manner of his death; and he folMenander, in his New Comedy, might lowed the example of Thrasea, and so lay some claim to the title, and Plato many more of the best Romans of that was more Christian than they all.1 bitter epoch, in electing to open his
Paul left Rome in the year 63, not veins in the presence of his weeping returning until 68,- whether volunta- friends, and of the centurion who had rily or under a second arrest we do not been sent to him, probably in his villa know, to meet, in the serene spirit on the Via Nomentana, a few miles of the grand passage, “I am now ready from Rome, “to announce,
as Tacitus to be offered,” etc., the death of a says, "the last necessity.” He died Christian martyr. Seneca lived on for like a brave pagan, encouraging his attwo years from the time of Paul's de- tendants, and endeavoring to console parture, in the semi-retirement which his beloved wife Paulina, whom, with he courted ever after the death of Bur true consideration, he besought to rus. During this interval he composed leave the room, that she might not the treatises De Otio, De Providentia, witness his lingering agony. and the Quæstiones Naturales, a few pagan we find him honorable and adtragedies, and also, it is thought, al- mirable in his end; while the aphomost all of those Letters to Lucilius risms which follow, and which are sewhich contain a full exposition of his lected almost at random from his grave philosophy. The singular poverty of and sententious letters, may be read, these last in personal details, or illus as Erasmus says, with all the more protrations of the life of the time, will ex fit, if we regard them as the indepencite no wonder when we find how super dent utterances of unassisted pagan wisciliously Seneca regarded the gossiping dom. propensities of Cicero.
"All that we have, dear Lucilius, "I am never at a loss,” he says, belongs to others. There is but one "for the wherewithal to fill my letters, thing which is truly our own, and that. without having recourse to such mat is time.” ters as abound in the epistles of Cicero, “'T is not the man who has little such as: who is going to stand for of that is poor, but he who desires to have fice; who trusts to his own powers, and who to another's; who expects to “There is a tricksy element even get the consulate through Cæsar's in in misfortune. It may come; it may
| As a specimen of those“ echoes” of Chris lightning by an appeal to the gods, “whom we tianity which the enthusiastic supporters of ought always to implore to accord us good and the theory of Seneca's conversion have detect deliver us from evil.” The last clause has aced in his works, we may give the following. tually been cited as borrowed from the Lord's It is possible, he says, to avert danger from Prayer.
Meanwhile, let us hope for the “Leisure without letters is death; best."
or, rather, it is being buried alive.” "Philosophy teaches us to act, not “What am I to do? Life flies from to talk.”
me, and death pursues.
Is there no “What is wisdom? It is always to remedy? Yes. If I do not fly from choose the same thing, and always to death, life will not fly from me. refuse the same. And we need not “I enjoy life because I am ready to even add the small proviso that the leave it.' thing chosen be the right thing, for no "Long time we have been scattering. one can, by any possibility, find a last- Now, surely, in our old age, we may
being pleasure in that which is not right.” gin without reproach to gather in. We “The pang
which I can bear is light; have lived at sea; let us die in port.” that which I cannot bear is brief.'
“That death which we so dread and “My friend Demetrius says that a shun interrupts life, does not destroy it. perfectly safe life, and one exempt from A day is coming which will restore us all reverses, would be a Dead Sea. to the light.
Harriet Waters Preston.
NOTES FROM THE WILD GARDEN.
was it doing ? Leading its own life, a
world of pleasure and enterprise within The latest word in botany will have itself; incidentally a joy to the chance
; a it that flowers are but modified leaves; discoverer. that their colors, markings, and even The last time I saw our earliest and honey-sweets are but so many lures to commonest of violets blooming in the obtain the service of insects as pollen grass, its flowers were touched with a distributers. Be it so. Still unim- strange ethereality, to my eye suggestpaired is the lovely mystery of flowers. ing so many gleams of purple light shot Their household economies the poet will from a prism into the more earthly and not despise, their diplomacies towards
opaque greenness of the surrounding the insect world the poet will not ar- grass. Contemplation of this appearraign. Their value to the imagination ance (subjective and of mood as it may and the heart is not lessened, that they have been) caught back a subtle half know and pursue their own affairs un- memory, half-visionary effect, treasured, aware of our delectation. Recently a doubtless, in farthest childhood : a plot lady told me of her wonder, and how of tender April grass, seen as through a she of her “wonder made religion,” in moist depth of various colors, — ineffable finding among
of a city park blue, violet, mauve, and green, such a flower so small (speedwell ?) that its as would have been produced had a perfect symmetry and purple pansy-like rainbow been wrecked, and there poured beauty were fully revealed only by the out in aerial liquid suffusion! Violets microscope. The sum of her wonder amid the grass, and all blended in a seemed to be: What was this flower spring rain, may have been the genesis doing there in the grass, invisible, or of this dream-memory. Indeed, if there so minute as to contribute nothing to is any flower dear to Mnemosyne and the human observer at large? What suitable for her emblem, the violet would