outworking character, but a passive resistance to irrational reality. Man may retreat into himself. The Stoic is indifferent to pleasure and pain, not because he believes in a divine government, or in a divine love for mankind, but as a proud defiance of the irrational world. He has no need of God or of redemption. As the Epicurean gives himself to enjoyment of the world, the Stoic gives himself to contempt of the world. In all afflictions, each can say, ?The door is open.? To the Epicurean, the refuge is intoxication; to the Stoic, the refuge is suicide: If the house smokes, quit it.? Wuttke, Christian Ethics, 1:62-161, from whom much of this account of the Greeks systems is condensed, describes Epicureanism and Stoicism as alike making morality subjective, although Epicureanism regarded spirit as determined by nature, while Stoicism regarded nature as determined by spirit.
The Stoics were materialists and pantheists. Though they speak of a personal God, this is a figure of speech. False opinion is at the root of all vice. Chrysippus denied what we now call the liberty of indifference, saying that there could not be an effect without a cause. Man is enslaved to passion. The Stoics could not explain how a vicious man could become virtuous. The result is apathy. Men act only according to character, and this a doctrine of fate. The Stoic indifference or apathy in misfortune is not a bearing of it at all, but rather a cowardly retreat from it. It is in the actual suffering of evil that Christianity finds ?the soul of good.? The office of misfortune is disciplinary and purifying; see Seth, Ethical Principles, 417. ?The shadow of the sage?s self, projected on vacancy, was called God, and, as the sage had long since abandoned interest in practical life, he expected his Divinity to do the same.?
The Stoic reverenced God just because of his unapproachable majesty. Christianity sees in God a Father, a Redeemer, a carer for our minute wants, a deliverer from our sin. It teaches us to see in Christ the humanity of the divine, affinity with God, God?s supreme interest in his handiwork. For the least of his creatures Christ died. Kinship with God gives dignity to man. The individuality that Stoicism lost in the whole, Christianity makes the end of the creation. The State exists to develop and promote it. Paul took up and infused new meaning into certain phrases of the Stoic philosophy about the freedom and royalty of the wise man, just as John adopted and glorified certain phrases of Alexandrian philosophy about the Word. Stoicism was lonely and pessimistic. The Stoics said that the best thing was not to be born; the next best thing was to die. Because Stoicism had no God of helpfulness and sympathy, its virtue was mere conformity to nature, majestic egoism and self-complacency. In the Roman Epictetus (89), Seneca (65), and Marcus Aurelius (121-180), the religious element
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