|Exiled from the true
home of the spirit, imprisoned in the body, disordered by passion, and
beclouded by sense, the soul has yet longings after that state of perfect
knowledge, and purity, and bliss, in which it was first created.
Its affinities are still on high. It yearns for a
higher and nobler form of life. It essays to rise but its eye is darkened
by sense, its wings are besmeared by passion and lust; it is 'borne
downward until it falls upon and attaches itself to that which is material
and sensual,' and it flounders and grovels still amid the objects of
|And now, Plato asks: How may the
soul be delivered from the illusions of sense, the distempering influence
of the body, and the disturbances of passion, which becloud its vision of
the real, the good, and the true?
believed and hoped that this could be accomplished by philosophy.
This he regarded as a grand intellectual discipline for the
purification of the soul. By this it was to be disenthralled from the
bondage of sense, and raised into the empyrean of pure thought, 'where
truth and reality shine forth.'
All souls have the faculty of knowing, but it is
only by reflection and self knowledge, and intellectual discipline, that
the soul can be raised to the vision of eternal truth, goodness, and
beauty--that is, to the vision of God.
--B. F. Cocker, Christianity and Greek
Philosophy (New York, 1870), pp. 351-2.