Friday, December 09, 2011

Hereafter, the Effects on Human Life in Belief or in Disbelief.


when a man thinks himself to be near death, fears and cares enter into his mind which he never had before; the tales of Hereafter and the punishment which is exacted there of deeds done here were once a laughing matter to him, but now he is tormented with the thought that they may be true: either from the weakness of age, or because he is now drawing nearer to that other place, he has a clearer view of these things; suspicions and alarms crowd thickly upon him, and he begins to reflect and consider what wrongs he has done to others. And when he finds that the sum of his transgressions is great he will many a time like a child start up in his sleep for fear, and he is filled with dark forebodings. But to him who is conscious of no sin, sweet hope, as Pindar charmingly says, is the kind nurse of his age:

Hope, he says, cherishes the soul of him who lives in justice and holiness and is the nurse of his age and the companion of his journey; --hope which is mightiest to sway the restless soul of man.

How admirable are his words! And the great blessing of riches,  not to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally; and when he departs to Hereafter he is not in any apprehension about offerings due to the Gods or debts which he owes to men. Now to this peace of mind the possession of wealth greatly contributes; and therefore, setting one thing against another, of the many advantages which wealth has to give, to a man of sense the greatest, whether the wealth his own hard earn or from possession inheritent.

Source: The Republic by Plato (360 BCE); Translated-Benjamin Jowett.

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