SOCRATES OR JESUS|
In one of Benjamin Franklinís books, he considered Jesus and Socrates as his ideals. Those two men had much in common. They were born of humble parents. For a long period their lives were virtually unknown. Each thoroughly prepared for his work and then plunged into great fame. Neither traveled much more than one hundred miles from his birthplace nor wrote a book for followers to read. They advocated new principles which were critically and severely challenged. They alike met hatred and jealousy, and suffered injustice at the hands of wicked men. Both became martyrs instead of compromising their cause. Socrates drank hemlock. Jesus died on a cross.
With these men being so very similar, we would ask, why not worship Socrates as well as Jesus? But is there not a difference? Concerning his birth did Homer ever prophesy of Socrates saying, "unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of Peace."
Search the writings
of Pericles and see if he philosophically or spiritually predicted of a coming Socrates who would be conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of a virgin. None of the Greek mythologists ever said, his name shall be called Socrates for he shall save his people from their sins. All this was said of Jesus and more. At his birth an angel announced to watchful shepherds, "unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord."
Angelic hosts burst out of the heavens with a "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Mary said of him, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Savior." Wise men ask, where is he that is born king of the Jews, and at his feet they laid gold, frankincense and myrrh. Aged Simeon sang with Jesus in his arms, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." What of their works? The natural was similar, but the Supernatural?
In the storm the disciples had lost faith in the wind, in the sea, in the boat, in themselves and almost in Jesus. The wind seemed to say, Iíll destroy you; the sea, Iíll swallow you; the boat, I canít help you; the disciples, we perish; but Jesus arose and said, "peace, be still." The angry wind quietly withdrew from
the arena. The restless sea peacefully lay down on the bosom of nature. The hopeless boat perfectly corrected its posture. The fearful disciples wondered, what manner of man is this.
In the tombs near the seashore Legionís eyes danced. His shaggy head wagged back and forth, while his scarred breast heaved with a stream of hate. A strange and powerful personality had climbed out of the boat, walked up from the peaceful sea and stood not far in the distance. These devils no longer held their peace. They recognized, they pled, they departed and the Gaderenes found wild Legion quiet as a lamb, clothed and in his right mind.
On the other side of the sea a little pale, boney hand bore its way through compact humanity and very delicately and tenderly touched the hem of his robe. She tremblingly met the gaze of a sympathetic healer and arose with assurance of faith for soul and body. While near this same multitude, a messanger ran right on up to Jesus and Jairus. At once the ruler recognized his servant. The breathless body, the joyless face, the sad countenance related the news, "Thy daughter is dead."
"Fear not," was the answer. At the home, three disciples with Jairus and his wife silently looked on while Jesus took the damsel by the hand and said unto her, "Talitha Cumi," which is being interpreted, "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise." Death lost its power at his word and that very evening she ate supper in a happy joyful home. In these examples we learn Jesus to be Lord over nature, Victor over devils, Healer of incurables and Conquorer of death. We wonder if either of these claims could be made of the Greek teacher.
The Philosopher was full of wisdom, teaching virtue as the secret leading to the higher life. He pulled information out of men by questions and opened windows to greater knowledge by pointing toward truth, which he found on every tree, over every door and in every home. He, like Jesus, taught from the known to the unknown, from the simple to the complex. On one occasion he raced down the streets shouting, "I am the only man in Athens who knows anything; because I am the only one who knows that he doesnít know anything." Socrates knew not and knew that he knew not.
But Jesus knew and knew that he knew. Socrates was limited, Jesus unlimited. Jesus was the embodiment of eternal truth. By his wisdom were the worlds framed, nor was it robbery for him to claim equality with God or say, before Socrates was, I am. Concerning their tragic death, both could have escaped it. Socrates could have fled away. Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels. However, if either had yielded to the temptation his cause would have suffered loss. Socrates drank the hemlock and laid down to die. As he gradually sank away, nature without was quiet and undisturbed; mountains unmoved, skies undarkened, veils untorn.
When the blood of Jesus dripped out on the brow of Golgotha, the mountains were moved, skies were darkened, the veil was torn. Men were influenced; the obstinate shook their heads in defiance; the disciples were scattered as sheep without a shepherd; the centurion believed the dying man to be the Son of God; the guilty thief accepted Jesus as his eternal salvation. Above, jagged prongs of lightening cut through dark clouds with a thousand teeth. On the throne of heaven, God withdrew his aid and allowed the God-man to bare the stroke of punishment for the sins of all humankind. Justice, red with bloody wrath, receded in perfect satisfaction, while the door of hope was eternally opened to Adamís condemned posterity.
After death the brains of the ancient Democrat dried away in his skull. His flesh slipped away from his bones. But the body of Jesus saw no corruption. It was held neither by death, grave nor hell. He arose as the supreme victor over all creation to reign forever.
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." It had been better if our Benjamin Franklin had pulled out the large sacred white sheet of his soul and written in bold head lines, "Jesus, the Christ, my Ideal and Savior." And somewhere in a little hidden file on a small card, "Socrates, to be remembered."
©1944 by R.O.Corvin - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED