Now if the illustrious people of the one true God, the recipients of His confirmations, the objects of His Divine assistance, should put forth all their strength, and with complete dedication, relying upon God and turning aside from all else but Him, should adopt procedures for spreading the Faith and should bend all their efforts to this end, it is certain that His Divine light would envelop the whole earth. A few, who are unaware of the reality below the surface of events, who cannot feel the pulse of the world under their fingers, who do not know what a massive dose of truth must be administered to heal this chronic old disease of falsehood, believe that the Faith can only be spread by the sword, and bolster their opinion with the Tradition, "I am a Prophet by the sword.
According to the Divine Law of Muhammad , it is not permissible to compel the People of the Book to acknowledge and accept the Faith. Remember when the holy breaths of the Spirit of God Jesus were shedding their sweetness over Palestine and Galilee, over the shores of Jordan and the regions around Jerusalem, and the wondrous melodies of the Gospel were sounding in the ears of the spiritually illumined, all the peoples of Asia and Europe, of Africa and America, of Oceania, which comprises the islands and archipelagoes of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, were fire-worshipers and pagans, ignorant of the Divine Voice that spoke out on the Day of the Covenant.
Following the declaration of Jesus, the pure. It has now by the above irrefutable proofs been fully established that the Faith of God must be propagated through human perfections, through qualities that are excellent and pleasing, and spiritual behavior. If a soul of his own accord advances toward God he will be accepted at the Threshold of Oneness, for such a one is free of personal considerations, of greed and selfish interests, and he has taken refuge within the sheltering protection of his Lord.
He will become known among men as trustworthy and truthful, temperate and scrupulous, high-minded and loyal, incorruptible and God-fearing. In this way the primary purpose in revealing the Divine Law--which is to bring about happiness in the after life and civilization and the refinement of character in this--will be realized.
As for the sword, it will only produce a man who is outwardly a believer, and inwardly a traitor and apostate. We shall here relate a story that will serve as an example to all. Then he set apart two days out of the year, in memory of the two companions, and he called one of them the Day of Evil and one the Day of Grace.
Every year on these two appointed days he would issue forth with pomp and circumstance and sit between the monuments. If, on the Day of Evil, his eye fell on any soul, that person would be put to death; but on the Day of Grace, whoever passed would be overwhelmed with gifts and benefits. Such was his rule, sealed with a mighty oath and always rigidly observed. Suddenly in the distance he caught sight of a wild donkey.
As night approached, the king was hopelessly lost. Time passed, and famine fell on the land of Tayy. By a strange coincidence he arrived on the Day of Evil. He began to reproach his friend, saying, "Why did you come to your friend on this day of all days? Now ask me whatever favor you will. As for the gifts of this life, they are meant for the living, and since I at this hour must drink of death, what can all the world's storehouses avail me now? Next year I shall return, on the Day of Evil. Is there any escape from death?
O brother of every afflicted one! O brother of him who is brotherless! He said, "Thou fool! Thou didst slip away once from the clutching fingers of death; must thou provoke him now a second time? I follow the. And they said, "Alas, a thousand times alas, that up to now we were careless of this infinite mercy and veiled away therefrom, and were bereft of this rain from the clouds of the grace of God.
Observe how one individual, and he a man of the desert, to outward seeming unknown and of no station--because he showed forth one of the qualities of the pure in heart, was able to deliver this proud sovereign and a great company of others from the dark night of unbelief and guide them into the morning of salvation; to save them from the perdition of idolatry and bring them to the shores of the oneness of God, and to put an end to practices of the sort which blight a whole society and reduce the peoples to barbarism.
One must think deeply over this, and grasp its meaning. My heart aches, for I note with intense regret that the attention of the people is nowhere directed toward that which is worthy of this day and time. The Sun of Truth has risen above the world but we are ensnared in the dark of our imaginings. The waters of the Most Great Sea are surging all around us, while we are parched and weak with thirst.
The divine bread is coming down from. One of the principal reasons why people of other religions have shunned and failed to become converted to the Faith of God is fanaticism and unreasoning religious zeal. See for example the divine words that were addressed to Muhammad , the Ark of Salvation, the Luminous Countenance and Lord of Men, bidding Him to be gentle with the people and long-suffering: "Debate with them in the kindliest manner. In these words, likewise, were Moses and Aaron commanded to challenge Pharaoh, Lord of the Stakes: 30 "Speak ye to him with gentle speech.
Although the noble conduct of the Prophets and Holy Ones of God is widely known, and it is indeed, until the coming of the Hour, 32 in every aspect of life. For the attributes of the people of faith are justice and fair-mindedness; forbearance and compassion and generosity; consideration for others; candor, trustworthiness, and loyalty; love and loving-kindness; devotion and determination and humanity. If therefore an individual is truly righteous, he will avail himself of all those means which will attract the hearts of men, and through the attributes of God he will draw.
Today we have closed our eyes to every righteous act and have sacrificed the abiding happiness of society to our own transitory profit. We regard fanaticism and zealotry as redounding to our credit and honor, and not content with this, we denounce one another and plot each other's ruin, and whenever we wish to put on a show of wisdom and learning, of virtue and godliness, we set about mocking and reviling this one and that.
So-and-so's opinions smack of Europe. Fundamentally, Blank thinks of nothing but his own name and fame. Last night when the congregation stood up to pray, the row was out of line, and it is not permissible to follow a different leader. No rich man has died this month, and nothing has been offered to charity in memory of the Prophet. The edifice of religion has crumbled, the foundations of faiths have been blown to the winds. The carpet of belief has been rolled up, the tokens of certitude blotted out; the whole world has fallen into error; when it comes to repelling tyranny all are soft and remiss.
Days and months have passed away, and these villages and estates still belong to the same owners as they did last year. In this town there used to be seventy different governments functioning in good order,. With words such as these they assault the minds of the helpless masses and disturb the hearts of the already bewildered poor, who know nothing of the true state of affairs and the real basis for all such talk, and remain completely unaware of the fact that a thousand selfish purposes are concealed behind the supposedly religious eloquence of certain individuals.
They imagine that speakers of this type are motivated by virtuous zeal, when the truth is that such individuals keep up a great hue and cry because they see their own personal ruin in the welfare of the masses, and believe that if the people's eyes are opened, their own light will go out. Only the keenest insight will detect the fact that if the hearts of these individuals were really impelled by righteousness and the fear of God, the fragrance of.
The third element of the utterance under discussion is, "opposes his passions. This is the very foundation of every laudable human quality; indeed, these few words embody the light of the world, the impregnable basis of all the spiritual attributes of human beings. This is the balance wheel of all behavior, the means of keeping all man's good qualities in equilibrium.
For desire is a flame that has reduced to ashes uncounted lifetime harvests of the learned, a devouring fire that even the vast sea of their accumulated knowledge could never quench. How often has it happened that an individual who was graced with every attribute of humanity and wore the jewel of true understanding, nevertheless followed after his passions until his excellent qualities passed beyond moderation and he was forced into excess.
His pure intentions changed to evil. All the peoples of Europe, notwithstanding their vaunted civilization, sink and drown in this terrifying sea of passion and desire, and this is why all the phenomena of their culture come to nothing. Let no one wonder at this statement or deplore it. The primary purpose, the basic objective, in laying down powerful laws and setting up great principles and institutions dealing with every aspect of civilization, is human happiness; and human happiness consists only in drawing closer to the Threshold of Almighty God, and in securing the peace and well-being of every individual member, high and low alike, of the human race; and the supreme agencies for accomplishing these two objectives are the excellent qualities with which humanity has been endowed.
A superficial culture, unsupported by a cultivated morality, is as "a confused medley of dreams," 35 and. The peoples of Europe have not advanced to the higher planes of moral civilization, as their opinions and behavior clearly demonstrate. Notice, for example, how the supreme desire of European governments and peoples today is to conquer and crush one another, and how, while harboring the greatest secret repulsion, they spend their time exchanging expressions of neighborly affection, friendship and harmony.
There is the well-known case of the ruler who is fostering peace and tranquillity and at the same time devoting more energy than the warmongers to the accumulation of weapons and the building up of a larger army, on the grounds that peace and harmony can only be brought about by force. Peace is the pretext, and night and day they are all straining every nerve to pile up more weapons of war, and to pay for this their wretched people must sacrifice most of whatever they are able to earn by their sweat and toil.
How many thousands have given up their work in useful industries and are laboring day and night to produce new and deadlier weapons which would spill out the blood of the race more copiously than before. Be just: can this nominal civilization, unsupported by a genuine civilization of character, bring about the peace and well-being of the people or win the good pleasure of God?
Does it not, rather, connote the destruction of man's estate and pull down the pillars of happiness and peace? At the time of the Franco-Prussian War, in the year of the Christian era, it was reported that , men died, broken and beaten, on the field of battle. How many a home was torn out by the roots; how many a city, flourishing the night before, was toppled down by sunrise.
How many a child was orphaned and abandoned, how many an old father and mother had to see their sons, the young fruit of their lives, twisting and dying in dust and blood. How many women were widowed, left without a helper or protector. And then there were the libraries and magnificent buildings of France that went up in flames, and the. Only too many such instances are available to demonstrate the fact that Europe is morally uncivilized. Since the writer has no wish to cast aspersions on anyone He has confined Himself to these few examples.
It is clear that no perceptive and well-informed mind can countenance such events. Is it right and proper that peoples among whom, diametrically opposed to the most desirable human behavior, such horrors take place, should dare lay claim to a real and adequate civilization? Especially when out of all this no results can be hoped for except the winning of a transient victory; and since this outcome never endures, it is, to the wise, not worth the effort. Time and again down the centuries, the German state has subdued the French; over and over, the kingdom of France has governed German land.
Is it permissible that in our day , helpless creatures should be offered up as a sacrifice to such nominal and temporary uses and results? No, by the Lord God! True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost heart of the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and high-minded sovereigns--the shining exemplars of devotion and determination--shall, for the good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace.
They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking--the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world-- should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant.
In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the. Observe that if such a happy situation be forthcoming, no government would need continually to pile up the weapons of war, nor feel itself obliged to produce ever new military weapons with which to conquer the human race. A small force for the purposes of internal security, the correction of criminal and disorderly elements and the prevention of local disturbances, would be required--no more. In this way the entire population would, first of all, be relieved of the crushing burden.
A few, unaware of the power latent in human endeavor, consider this matter as highly impracticable, nay even beyond the scope of man's utmost efforts. Such is not the case, however. On the contrary, thanks to the unfailing grace of God, the loving-kindness of His favored ones, the unrivaled endeavors of wise and capable souls, and the thoughts and ideas of the peerless leaders of this age, nothing whatsoever can be regarded as unattainable.
Endeavor, ceaseless endeavor, is required. Nothing short of an indomitable determination can possibly achieve it. Many a cause which past ages have regarded as purely visionary, yet in this day has become most easy and practicable. Why should this most great and lofty Cause--the daystar of the firmament of true civilization and the cause of the glory, the advancement, the well-being and the success of all humanity--be regarded as impossible of achievement?
Surely the day will come when its beauteous. The apparatus of conflict will, as preparations go on at their present rate, reach the point where war will become something intolerable to mankind. It is clear from what has already been said that man's glory and greatness do not consist in his being avid for blood and sharp of claw, in tearing down cities and spreading havoc, in butchering armed forces and civilians. What would mean a bright future for him would be his reputation for justice, his kindness to the entire population whether high or low, his building up countries and cities, villages and districts, his making life easy, peaceful and happy for his fellow beings, his laying down fundamental principles for progress, his raising the standards and increasing the wealth of the entire population.
Consider how throughout history many a king has sat on his throne as a conqueror. And what was gained by. With his Divine gift of intellect, he laid the foundations of justice, uprooting oppression and tyranny and gathering the scattered peoples of Persia under the wings of his dominion. Thanks to the restoring influence of his continual care, Persia that had lain withered and desolate was quickened.
No power on earth can prevail against the armies of justice, and every citadel must fall before them; for men willingly go down under the triumphant strokes of this decisive blade, and desolate places bloom and flourish under the tramplings of this host. There are two mighty banners which, when they cast their shadow across the crown of any king, will cause the influence of his government quickly and easily to penetrate the whole earth, even as if it were the light of the sun: the first of these two banners is wisdom; the second is justice.
Against these two most potent forces, the iron hills cannot prevail, and Alexander's wall will break before them. It is clear that life in this fast-fading world is as fleeting and inconstant as the morning wind, and this being so, how fortunate are the great who leave a good name behind them, and the memory of a lifetime spent in the pathway of the good pleasure of God. It is all one, if it be a throne Or the bare ground under the open sky, Where the pure soul lays him Down to die. The fourth phrase of the aforementioned Utterance which points out the way of salvation is: "obedient to the commandments of his Lord.
Religion is the light of the world, and the progress, achievement, and happiness of man result from obedience to the laws set down in the holy Books. Briefly, it is demonstrable that in this life, both outwardly and inwardly the mightiest of structures, the most solidly established, the most enduring, standing. It is true that there are foolish individuals who have never properly examined the fundamentals of the Divine religions, who have taken as their criterion the behavior of a few religious hypocrites and measured all religious persons by that yardstick, and have on this account concluded that religions are an obstacle to progress, a divisive factor and a cause of malevolence and enmity among peoples.
They have not even observed this much, that the principles of the Divine religions can hardly be evaluated by the acts of those who only claim to follow them. For every excellent thing, peerless though it may be, can still be diverted to the wrong ends. A lighted lamp in the hands of an ignorant child or of the blind will not dispel the surrounding darkness nor light up the house--it will set both the bearer and the house on fire. Can we, in such an instance, blame the lamp? To the seeing, a lamp is a guide and will show him his path; but it is a disaster to the blind.
Among those who have repudiated religious faith was the Frenchman, Voltaire, who wrote a great number of books attacking the religions, works which are no better than children's playthings. This individual, taking as his criterion the omissions and commissions of the Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic religion, and the intrigues and quarrels of the spiritual leaders of. It is certain that the greatest of instrumentalities for achieving the advancement and the glory of man, the supreme agency for the enlightenment and the redemption of the world, is love and fellowship and unity among all the members of the human race.
Nothing can be effected in the world, not even conceivably, without unity and agreement, and the perfect means for engendering fellowship and union is true religion. With the advent of the Prophets of God, their power of creating a real union, one which is both external and of the heart, draws together malevolent peoples who have been thirsting for one another's blood, into the one shelter of the Word of God.
Then a hundred thousand souls become as one soul, and unnumbered individuals emerge as one body. Once they were as the waves of the sea That the wind made many out of one. Then God shed down on them His sun, And His sun but one can never be. Souls of dogs and wolves go separately, But the soul of the lions of God is one.
Since, however, all events from the days of Moses until the present time are contained in. To preclude once and for all objections on the part of any of the world's peoples, We shall conduct Our discussion conformably to those authoritative accounts which all nations are agreed upon. At a time when the Israelites had multiplied in Egypt and were spread throughout the whole country, the Coptic Pharaohs of Egypt determined to strengthen and favor their own Coptic peoples and to degrade and dishonor the children of Israel, whom they regarded as foreigners.
Over a long period, the Israelites, divided and scattered, were captive in the hands of the tyrannical Copts, and were scorned and despised by all, so that the meanest of the Copts would freely persecute and lord it over the noblest of the Israelites. The enslavement, wretchedness and helplessness of the Hebrews reached such a pitch that they were never, day or night, secure in their own persons nor able to provide any defense for their wives and families against the tyranny of their Pharaohic captors.
Then their food was the fragments of their own broken hearts, and their drink a river of tears. They continued on in this anguish until suddenly Moses, the All-Beauteous, beheld the. It is furthermore a matter of record in numerous historical works that the philosophers of Greece such as Pythagoras, acquired the major part of their philosophy, both divine and material, from the disciples of Solomon. And Socrates after having eagerly journeyed to meet with some of Israel's most illustrious scholars and divines, on his return to Greece established the concept of the oneness of God and the continuing life of the human soul after it has put off its elemental dust.
Ultimately, the ignorant among the Greeks denounced this man who had fathomed the inmost mysteries of wisdom, and rose up to take his life; and then the populace forced the hand of their ruler, and in council assembled they caused Socrates to drink from the poisoned cup.
After the Israelites had advanced along every level of civilization, and had achieved success in the highest possible degree, they began little by little to forget the root-principles of the Mosaic Law and Faith, to busy themselves with rites and ceremonials and to show forth unbecoming conduct. In the days of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, terrible dissension broke out among them; one of their number, Jeroboam, plotted to get the throne, and it was he who introduced the worship of idols.
The strife between Rehoboam and Jeroboam led. Our purpose is to show how true religion promotes the civilization and honor, the prosperity and prestige, the learning and advancement of a people once abject, enslaved and ignorant, and how, when it falls into the hands of religious leaders who are foolish and fanatical, it is diverted to the wrong ends, until this greatest of splendors turns into blackest night.
When for the second time the unmistakable signs of Israel's disintegration, abasement, subjection and annihilation had become apparent, then the sweet and holy breathings of the Spirit of God Jesus were shed across Jordan and the land of Galilee; the cloud of Divine pity overspread those skies, and rained down the copious waters of the spirit, and after those swelling showers that came from the most great Sea, the Holy Land put forth its perfume and blossomed with the knowledge of God.
Then the solemn Gospel song rose up till it rang in the ears of those who dwell in the chambers of heaven, and at the touch of Jesus' breath the unmindful dead that lay in the graves of their ignorance lifted up their heads to receive eternal life. For the space of three years, that Luminary of perfections walked about the fields of Palestine and in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, leading all men into the dawn.
Alas, of what avail was it; they turned away and opposed Him. They rose up and tormented that Source of Divine knowledge, that Point where the Revelation had come down--all except for a handful who, turning their faces toward God, were cleansed of the stain of this world and found their way to the heights of the placeless Realm. They inflicted every agony on that Wellspring of grace until it became impossible for Him to live in the towns, and still He lifted up the flag of salvation and solidly established the fundamentals of human righteousness, that essential basis of true civilization.
In the fifth chapter of Matthew beginning with the thirty-seventh verse He counsels: "Resist not evil and injury with its like; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Many were the counsels of this kind that were uttered by that Dayspring of Divine wisdom, and souls who have become characterized with such attributes of holiness are the distilled essence of creation and the sources of true civilization.
Jesus, then, founded the sacred Law on a basis of moral character and complete spirituality, and for those who believed in Him He delineated a special way of life which constitutes the highest type of action on earth. And while those emblems of redemption were to outward seeming abandoned to the malevolence and persecution of their tormentors, in reality they had been delivered out of the hopeless darkness which encompassed the Jews and they shone forth in everlasting glory at the dawn of that new day.
That mighty Jewish nation toppled and crumbled away, but those few souls who sought shelter beneath. Consider whether there exists anywhere in creation a principle mightier in every sense than religion, or whether any conceivable power is more pervasive than the various Divine Faiths, or whether any agency can bring about real love and fellowship and union among all peoples as can belief in an almighty and all-knowing God, or whether except for the laws of God there has been any evidence of an instrumentality for educating all mankind in every phase of righteousness.
Those qualities which the philosophers attained when they had reached the very heights of their wisdom, those noble human attributes which characterized them at the peak of their perfection, would be exemplified by the believers as soon as they accepted the. For this reason they stand in need of symbols and parables telling of rewards and punishments in the next world.
A confirmatory evidence of this is that today we observe a people called Christians, who believe devoutly in rewards and punishments in a future state. This group show forth excellent actions, similar to the actions of an individual who is a true philosopher. For example, we all see with our own eyes that they have no fear of death, and their passion for justice and fair-dealing is so great that they should be considered true philosophers. The station of a philosopher, in that age and in the mind of Galen, was superior to any other station in the world.
Consider then how the enlightening and spiritualizing power of divine religions impels the believers to such heights of perfection that a philosopher like. One demonstration of the excellent character of the Christians in those days was their dedication to charity and good works, and the fact that they founded hospitals and philanthropic institutions. For example, the first person to establish public clinics throughout the Roman Empire where the poor, the injured and the helpless received medical care, was the Emperor Constantine. This great king was the first Roman ruler to champion the Cause of Christ.
He spared no efforts, dedicating his life to the promotion of the principles of the Gospel, and he solidly established the Roman government, which in reality had been nothing but a system of unrelieved oppression, on moderation and justice. His blessed name shines out across the dawn of history like the morning star, and his rank and fame among the world's noblest and most highly civilized is still on the tongues of Christians of all denominations. What a firm foundation of excellent character was laid down in those days, thanks to the training of holy souls who arose to promote the teachings of the Gospel.
How many primary schools, colleges, hospitals, were established, and institutions where fatherless and indigent children received their education. How many were the individuals who sacrificed their own personal advantages and "out of desire to please the Lord" 51 devoted the days of their lives to teaching the masses. The noted historians of Europe, in describing the conditions, manners, politics, learning and culture, in all their aspects, of early, medieval and modern times, unanimously record that during the ten centuries constituting the Middle Ages, from the beginning of the sixth century of the Christian era till the close of the fifteenth, Europe was in every respect and to an extreme degree, barbaric and dark.
The principal cause of this was that the monks, referred to by European peoples as spiritual and religious leaders, had given up the abiding glory that comes from obedience to the sacred commandments and heavenly teachings of the Gospel, and had joined forces with the presumptuous and tyrannical rulers of the temporal governments of those times.
They had turned their eyes away from everlasting glory, and were devoting all their efforts to the furtherance of their mutual worldly interests and passing and perishable advantages. Ultimately things reached a point where the masses were hopeless prisoners in the hands of these two groups, and all this. When the unworthy acts and thoughts and the discreditable purposes of the leaders had stilled the sweet savors of the Spirit of God Jesus and they ceased to stream across the world, and the darkness of ignorance and bigotry and of actions that were displeasing to God, encompassed the earth, then the dawn of hope shone out and the Divine spring drew on; a cloud of mercy overspread the world, and out of the regions of grace the fecund winds began to blow.
Then the earth of human potentialities was transformed, and the words "The earth shall shine with the light of her Lord," 52 were fulfilled. The old world turned new again, and its dead body rose into abundant life. Then tyranny and ignorance were overthrown, and towering palaces of knowledge and justice were reared in their place.
A sea of enlightenment thundered, and science cast down its rays. In all the histories, their depraved and vicious practices, their ferocity and their constant feuds, are a matter of record. In those days the civilized peoples of. Observe the influence on material situations of that training which is inculcated by the true Educator. The Arabs then excelled all the peoples of the world in science and the arts, in industry and invention, in philosophy, government and moral character.
And truly, the rise of this brutish and despicable element, in such a short interval, to the supreme heights of human perfection, is the greatest demonstration of the rightfulness of the Lord Muhammad 's's Prophethood. Today, numerous copies of the works of Muslim scholars which are not to be found in Islamic countries, are available in the libraries of Europe. Furthermore, the laws and principles current in all European countries are derived to a considerable degree and indeed virtually in their entirety from the works on jurisprudence and the legal decision of Muslim theologians.
Were it not for the fear of unduly lengthening the present text, We would cite these borrowings one by one. The beginnings of European civilization date from the seventh century of the Muslim era. The particulars were these: toward the end of the fifth century of the hegira, the Pope or Head of Christendom set up a great hue and cry over the fact that places sacred to the Christians, such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth, had fallen under Muslim rule, and he stirred up the kings and the commoners of Europe to undertake what he considered a holy war.
His impassioned outcry waxed so loud that all the countries of Europe responded, and crusading kings at the head of innumerable hosts passed over the Sea of Marmara and made their way to the continent of Asia. Briefly, the kings of the West with their unnumbered armies fell upon Syria and Egypt, and there was continuous warfare between the Syrian rulers and those of Europe for a period of two hundred and three years. Finally Saladin, in the year A. Hopelessly beaten, they went back to Europe.
In the course of these wars of the Crusades, millions of human beings perished. To sum up, from A. How long will your torpor and lethargy last? You were once the lords of the whole earth; the world was at your beck and call. How is it that your glory has lapsed and you have fallen from favor now, and crept away into some corner of oblivion?
You were the fountainhead of learning, the unfailing spring of light for all the earth, how is it that you are withered now, and quenched, and faint of heart?
- Divine Institutes, Book III (Of the False Wisdom of Philosophers);
- Chapter 2. Of Philosophy, and How Vain Was Its Occupation in Setting Forth the Truth..
- Father Divine?
- Rock Iron Steel: The Book of Strength.
- Father Divine - Wikipedia.
You who once lit the world, how is it that you lurk, inert, bemused, in darkness now? Open your mind's eye, see your great and present need. Rise up and struggle, seek education, seek enlightenment. Is it meet that a foreign people should receive from your own forbears its culture and its knowledge, and that you, their blood, their rightful heirs, should go without? How does it seem, when your neighbors. In essence, the author shows how the totality of Europe's civilization--its laws, principles, institutions, its sciences, philosophies, varied learning, its civilized manners and customs, its literature, art and industry, its organization, its discipline, its behavior, its commendable character traits, and even many of the words.
The purpose of these references is to establish the fact that the religions of God are the true source of the spiritual and material perfections of man, and the fountainhead for all mankind of enlightenment and beneficial knowledge. If one observes the matter justly it will be found that all the laws of politics are contained in these few and holy words:. These are of the righteous. These are they with whom it shall be well.
He warneth you that haply ye may be mindful. God loveth the doers of good. By the Lord God, and there is no God but He, even the minutest details of civilized life derive from the grace of the Prophets of God. What thing of value to mankind has ever come into being which was not first set forth either directly or by implication in the Holy Scriptures?
Alas, of what avail is it. When the weapons are in cowards' hands, no man's life and property are safe, and thieves only grow the stronger. When, in the same way, a far-from-perfect priesthood acquire control of affairs, they come down like a massive curtain between the people and the light of Faith.
Sincerity is the foundation-stone of faith. That is, a religious individual must disregard his personal desires and seek in whatever way he can wholeheartedly to serve the public interest; and it is impossible for a human being to turn aside from his own selfish advantages and sacrifice his own good for the good of the community except through true religious faith.
For self-love is kneaded into the very clay of man, and it is not possible that, without any hope of a substantial reward, he should neglect his own present material. There are some who imagine that an innate sense of human dignity will prevent man from committing evil actions and insure his spiritual and material perfection. That is, that an individual who is characterized with natural intelligence, high resolve, and a driving zeal, will, without any consideration for the severe punishments consequent on evil acts, or for the great rewards of righteousness, instinctively refrain from inflicting harm on his fellow men and will hunger and thirst to do good.
And yet, if we ponder the lessons of history it will become evident that this very sense of honor and dignity is itself one of the bounties deriving from the instructions of the Prophets of God. We also observe in infants the signs of aggression and lawlessness, and that if a child is deprived of a teacher's instructions his undesirable qualities increase from one moment to the next. It is therefore clear that the emergence of this natural sense of human dignity and honor is the result. Aside from this, if that rare individual who does exemplify such a faculty should also become an embodiment of the fear of God, it is certain that his strivings toward righteousness would be strongly reinforced.
Universal benefits derive from the grace of the Divine religions, for they lead their true followers to sincerity of intent, to high purpose, to purity and spotless honor, to surpassing kindness and compassion, to the keeping of their covenants when they have covenanted, to concern for the rights of others, to liberality, to justice in every aspect of life, to humanity and philanthropy, to valor and to unflagging efforts in the service of mankind.
It is religion, to sum up, which produces all human virtues, and it is these virtues which are the bright candles of civilization. If a man is not characterized by these excellent qualities, it is certain that he has never attained to so much as a drop out of the fathomless river of the waters of life that flows through the teachings of the Holy Books, nor caught the faintest breath of the fragrant breezes that blow from the gardens of God; for nothing on earth can be demonstrated.
The purpose of these statements is to make it abundantly clear that the Divine religions, the holy precepts, the heavenly teachings, are the unassailable basis of human happiness, and that the peoples of the world can hope for no real relief or deliverance without this one great remedy. This panacea must, however, be administered by a wise and skilled physician, for in the hands of an incompetent all the cures that the Lord of men has ever created to heal men's ills could produce no health, and would on the contrary only destroy the helpless and burden the hearts of the already afflicted.
That Source of Divine wisdom, that Manifestation of Universal Prophethood Muhammad , encouraging mankind to acquire sciences and arts and similar advantages has commanded them to seek these even in the furthermost reaches of China; yet the incompetent and caviling doctors forbid this, offering as their justification the saying, "He who imitates a people is one of them.
Whoever expresses himself to the contrary has never drunk of the nectar of knowledge. Judge this aright: which one of these modern developments, whether in themselves or in their application, is contrary to the Divine commandments? If they mean the establishment of parliaments, these are enjoined by the very text of the holy verse: "and whose affairs are guided by mutual counsel.
The great advantages of consultation can be established by logical arguments as well. Can they say that it would be contrary to the laws of God to make a death sentence conditional on the most careful investigations, on the sanction of numerous bodies, on legal proof and the royal order? At one time the population of Persia exceeded fifty millions. This has been dissipated partly through civil wars, but predominantly because of the lack of an adequate system of government and the despotism and unbridled authority of provincial and local governors.
With the passage of time, not one-fifth of the population has survived, for the governors would select any victim they cared to, however innocent, and vent their wrath on him and destroy him. Or, for a whim, they would make a pet out of some proven mass murderer. Not a soul could speak out, because the governor was in absolute control. Can we say that these things were in conformity with justice or with the laws of God? Can we maintain that it is contrary to the fundamentals of the Faith to encourage the acquisition of useful arts and of general knowledge, to inform oneself as to the truths of such physical sciences as are beneficial to man, and to widen the scope of industry and increase the products of commerce and multiply the nation's avenues of wealth?
Would it conflict with the worship of God to establish law and order in the cities and organize the rural districts, to repair the roads and build railroads and facilitate transportation and travel and thus increase the people's well-being? Would it be inconsistent with the Divine commands and prohibitions if we were to work the abandoned mines which are the greatest source of the nation's wealth, and to build factories, from which come the entire people's comfort, security and affluence?
Or to stimulate the creation of. By the All-Glorious! I am astonished to find what a veil has fallen across their eyes, and how it blinds them even to such obvious necessities as these. And there is no doubt whatever that when conclusive arguments and proofs of this sort are advanced, they will answer, out of a thousand hidden spites and prejudices: "On the Day of Judgment, when men stand before their Lord, they will not be questioned as to their education and the degree of their culture--rather will they be examined as to their good deeds.
Will it not be said to them: "O chiefs and leaders! Why did ye cause this mighty nation to fall from the heights of its former glory, to pass from its place at the heart and center of the civilized world? Ye were well able to take hold of such measures as would lead to the high honor of this people. This ye failed to do, and ye even went on to deprive them of the common benefits enjoyed by all.
Did not this people once shine out like stars in an auspicious heaven? How have ye dared to quench their light in darkness! Ye could have lit the lamp of temporal and eternal glory for them; why did ye fail to strive for this with all your hearts? And when by God's grace a flaming Light flared up, why did ye fail to shelter it in the glass of your valor, from the winds that. Again, is there any deed in the world that would be nobler than service to the common good?
Is there any greater blessing conceivable for a man, than that he should become the cause of the education, the development, the prosperity and honor of his fellow-creatures? The highest righteousness of all is for blessed souls to take hold of the hands of the helpless and deliver them out of their ignorance and abasement and poverty, and with pure motives, and only for the sake of God, to arise and energetically devote themselves to the service of the masses, forgetting their own worldly advantage and working only to serve the general good.
Glory be to God! What an extraordinary situation now obtains, when no one, hearing a claim advanced, asks himself what the speaker's real motive might be, and what selfish purpose he might not have hidden behind the mask of words. You find, for example, that an. Utterly disregarding the evil of his own ways, he considers the very cause of cleanliness and refinement as wicked and foolish. O People of Persia! Open your eyes! Pay heed! Release yourselves from this blind following of the bigots, this senseless imitation which is the principal reason why men fall away into paths of ignorance and degradation.
See the true state of things. Rise up; seize hold of such means as will bring you life and happiness and greatness and glory among all the nations of the world. Among those matters which require thorough revision and reform is the method of studying the various branches of knowledge and the organization of the academic curriculum. From lack of organization, education has become haphazard and confused.ssllabel-admin.wecan-group.com/2006-seadoo-sportster-manual-de-reparacin-libera.php
CHURCH FATHERS: Divine Institutes, Book III (Lactantius)
Trifling subjects which should not call for elaboration receive undue attention, to such an extent that students, over long periods of time, waste their minds and their energies on material that is pure supposition,. Because this matter requires further elucidation and a thorough hearing, so that it can be fully established that some of the subjects which today are neglected are extremely valuable, while the nation has no need whatever of various other, superfluous studies, the point will, God willing, be developed in a second volume.
Our hope is that a reading of this first volume will produce fundamental changes in the thinking and the behavior. To resume: As for that group who maintains that in effecting these necessary reforms we must proceed with deliberation, exercise patience and gain the objectives one at a time, just what do they mean by this? If by deliberation they are referring to that circumspection which the science of government requires, their thought is timely and appropriate.
It is certain that momentous undertakings cannot be brought to a successful conclusion in haste; that in such cases haste would only make waste. The world of politics is like the world of man; he is seed at first, and then passes by degrees to the condition of embryo and foetus, acquiring a bone structure, being clothed with flesh, taking on his own special form, until at last he reaches the plane where he can befittingly fulfill the words: "the most excellent of Makers.
Rather, qualified individuals must strive by. When, through the Divine bestowals, three things appear on earth, this world of dust will come alive, and stand forth wondrously adorned and full of grace. These are first, the fruitful winds of spring; second, the welling plenty of spring clouds; and third, the heat of the bright sun. When, out of the endless bounty of God, these three have been vouchsafed, then slowly, by His leave, dry trees and branches turn fresh and green again, and array themselves with many kinds of blossoms and fruits.
It is the same when the pure intentions and the justice of the ruler, the wisdom and consummate skill and statecraft of the governing authorities, and the determination and unstinted efforts of the people, are all combined; then day by day the effects of the advancement, of the far-reaching reforms, of the pride and prosperity of government and people alike, will become clearly manifest. If, however, by delay and postponement they mean this, that in each generation only one minute section of the necessary reforms should be attended to, this is nothing but lethargy and inertia, and no results would be forthcoming from such a procedure, except the endless repetition of idle words.
If haste is harmful, inertness and indolence are a thousand times worse. A middle course is best, as it is written: "It is incumbent upon. The primary, the most urgent requirement is the promotion of education. It is inconceivable that any nation should achieve prosperity and success unless this paramount, this fundamental concern is carried forward.
The principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples is ignorance. Today the mass of the people are uninformed even as to ordinary affairs, how much less do they grasp the core of the important problems and complex needs of the time. It is therefore urgent that beneficial articles and books be written, clearly and definitely establishing what the present-day requirements of the people are, and what will conduce to the happiness and advancement of society.
These should be published and spread throughout the nation, so that at least the leaders among the people should become, to some degree, awakened, and arise to exert themselves along those lines which will lead to their abiding honor.
- Michel Vaillant - tome 28 - Le secret de Steve Warson (French Edition).
- Dermatologic Ultrasound with Clinical and Histologic Correlations.
- Virgil, Aeneid, 4.1–299.
The publication of high thoughts is the dynamic power in the arteries of life; it is the very soul of the world. Thoughts are a boundless sea, and the effects and varying conditions of existence are as the separate forms and individual limits of the waves; not until the sea boils up will the waves. But if they were to think that some one was about to descend who would prove them to be mad and false, they would never discuss those subjects at all which they cannot possibly know. Nor, however, is their shamelessness and audacity to be regarded as more successful because they are not refuted; for God refutes them to whom alone the truth is known , although He may seem to connive at their conduct, and He reckons such wisdom of men as the greatest folly.
Zeno and the Stoics , then, were right in repudiating conjecture. For to conjecture that you know that which you do not know , is not the part of a wise, but rather of a rash and foolish man. Therefore if nothing can be known , as Socrates taught, or ought to be conjectured, as Zeno taught, philosophy is entirely removed. Why should I say that it is not only overthrown by these two, who were the chiefs of philosophy , but by all, so that it now appears to have been long ago destroyed by its own arms?
Philosophy has been divided into many sects ; and they all entertain various sentiments. In which do we place the truth? It certainly cannot be in all. Let us point out some one; it follows that all the others will be without wisdom. Let us pass through them separately; in the same manner, whatever we shall give to one we shall take away from the others. For each particular sect overturns all others, to confirm itself and its own doctrines : nor does it allow wisdom to any other, lest it should confess that it is itself foolish; but as it takes away others, so is it taken away itself by all others.
For they are nevertheless philosophers who accuse it of folly. Whatever sect you shall praise and pronounce true , that is censured by philosophers as false. Shall we therefore believe one which praises itself and its doctrine, or the many which blame the ignorance of each other? That must of necessity be better which is held by great numbers, than that which is held by one only. For no one can rightly judge concerning himself, as the renowned poet testifies; for the nature of men is so arranged, that they see and distinguish the affairs of others better than their own.
Since, therefore, all things are uncertain, we must either believe all or none: if we are to believe no one, then the wise have no existence , because while they separately affirm different things they think themselves wise; if all, it is equally true that there are no wise men, because all deny the wisdom of each individually. Therefore all are in this manner destroyed; and as those fabled sparti of the poets, so these men mutually slay one another, so that no one remains of all; which happens on this account, because they have a sword, but have no shield.
If, therefore, the sects individually are convicted of folly by the judgment of many sects , it follows that all are found to be vain and empty; and thus philosophy consumes and destroys itself. And since Arcesilas the founder of the Academy understood this, he collected together the mutual censures of all, and the confession of ignorance made by distinguished philosophers , and armed himself against all. Thus he established a new philosophy of not philosophizing. From this founder, therefore, there began to be two kinds of philosophy : one the old one, which claims to itself knowledge ; the other a new one, opposed to the former, and which detracts from it.
Between these two kinds of philosophy I see that there is disagreement, and as it were civil war. On which side shall we place wisdom, which cannot be torn asunder? If the nature of things can be known , this troop of recruits will perish; if it cannot, the veterans will be destroyed: if they shall be equal, nevertheless philosophy , the guide of all, will still perish, because it is divided; for nothing can be opposed to itself without its own destruction. But if, as I have shown, there can be no inner and peculiar knowledge in man on account of the frailty of the human condition, the party of Arcesilas prevails.
But not even will this stand firm, because it cannot be the case that nothing at all is known. For there are many things which nature itself, and frequent use, and the necessity of life, compel us to know. Accordingly you must perish, unless you know what things are useful for life, in order that you may seek them; and what are dangerous, that you may shun and avoid them.
Moreover, there are many things which experience finds out. For the various courses of the sun and moon, and the motions of the stars, and the computation of times, have been discovered, and the nature of bodies, and the strength of herbs by students of medicine, and by the cultivators of the land the nature of soils, and signs of future rains and tempests have been collected. In short, there is no art which is not dependent on knowledge. Therefore Arcesilas ought, if he had any wisdom, to have distinguished the things which were capable of being known , and those which were incapable.
Divine Institutes, Book VII (Of a Happy Life)
But if he had done this, he would have reduced himself to the common herd. For the common people have sometimes more wisdom, because they are only so far wise as is necessary. And if you inquire of them whether they know anything or nothing, they will say that they know the things which they know , and will confess that they are ignorant of what they are ignorant.
He was right, therefore, in taking away the systems of others, but he was not right in laying the foundations of his own. For ignorance of all things cannot be wisdom, the peculiar property of which is knowledge. And thus, when he overcame the philosophers , and taught that they knew nothing, he himself also lost the name of philosopher , because his system is to know nothing. For he who blames others because they are ignorant , ought himself to have knowledge ; but when he knows nothing, what perverseness or what insolence it is, to constitute himself a philosopher on account of that very thing for which he takes away the others!
For it is in their power to answer thus: If you convict us of knowing nothing, and therefore of being unwise because we know nothing, does it follow that you are not wise, because you confess that you know nothing? What progress, therefore, did Arcesilas make, except that, having dispatched all the philosophers , he pierced himself also with the same sword? Does wisdom therefore nowhere exist? Yes, indeed, it was among them, but no one saw it.
Some thought that all things could be known : these were manifestly not wise. Others thought that nothing could be known ; nor indeed were these wise: the former, because they attributed too much to man; the latter, because they attributed too little. A limit was wanting to each on either side. Where, then, is wisdom? It consists in thinking neither that you know all things, which is the property of God ; nor that you are ignorant of all things, which is the part of a beast. For it is something of a middle character which belongs to man , that is, knowledge united and combined with ignorance.
Knowledge in us is from the soul , which has its origin from heaven; ignorance from the body, which is from the earth: whence we have something in common with God , and with the animal creation. Thus, since we are composed of these two elements, the one of which is endowed with light, the other with darkness, a part of knowledge is given to us, and a part of ignorance. Over this bridge, so to speak, we may pass without any danger of falling; for all those who have inclined to either side, either towards the left hand or the right, have fallen.
But I will say how each part has erred. The Academics argued from obscure subjects, against the natural philosophers , that there was no knowledge ; and satisfied with the examples of a few incomprehensible subjects, they embraced ignorance as though they had taken away the whole of knowledge , because they had taken it away in part. But natural philosophers , on the other hand, derived their argument from those things which are open, and inferred that all things could be known , and, satisfied with things which were manifest, retained knowledge ; as if they had defended it altogether, because they had defended it in part.
And thus neither the one saw what was clear, nor the others what was obscure; but each party, while they contended with the greatest ardour either to retain or to take away knowledge only, did not see that there would be placed in the middle that which might guide them to wisdom. But Arcesilas, who teaches that there is no knowledge , when he was detracting from Zeno, the chief of the Stoics , that he might altogether overthrow philosophy on the authority of Socrates, undertook this opinion to affirm that nothing could be known.
And thus he disproved the judgment of the philosophers , who had thought that the truth was drawn forth, and found out by their talents — namely, because that wisdom was mortal, and, having been instituted a few ages before, had now attained to its greatest increase, so that it was now necessarily growing old and perishing, the Academy suddenly arose, the old age, as it were, of philosophy , which might dispatch it now withering.
And Arcesilas rightly saw that they are arrogant, or rather foolish, who imagine that the knowledge of the truth can be arrived at by conjecture. But no one can refute one speaking falsely , unless he who shall have previously known what is true ; but Arcesilas, endeavouring to do this without a knowledge of the truth , introduced a kind of philosophy which we may call unstable or inconstant. For, that nothing may be known , it is necessary that something be known.
For if you know nothing at all, the very knowledge that nothing can be known will be taken away. Therefore he who pronounces as a sentiment that nothing is known , professes, as it were, some conclusion already arrived at and known : therefore it is possible for something to be known. Of a similar character to this is that which is accustomed to be proposed in the schools as an example of the kind of fallacy called asystaton ; that some one had dreamt that he should not believe dreams.
For if he did believe them, then it follows that he ought not to believe them. But if he did not believe them, then it follows that he ought to believe them. Thus, if nothing can be known , it is necessary that this fact must be known , that nothing is known. But if it is known that nothing can be known , the statement that nothing can be known must as a consequence be false. Thus there is introduced a tenet opposed to itself, and destructive of itself.
But the evasive man wished to take away learning from the other philosophers , that he might conceal it at his home. For truly he is not for taking it from himself who affirms anything that he may take it from others: but he does not succeed; for it shows itself, and betrays its plunderer. How much more wisely and truly he would act, if he should make an exception, and say that the causes and systems of heavenly things only, or natural things, because they are hidden, cannot be known , for there is no one to teach them; and ought not to be inquired into, for they cannot be found out by inquiry!
For if he had brought forward this exception, he would both have admonished the natural philosophers not to search into those things which exceeded the limit of human reflection; and would have freed himself from the ill-will arising from calumny , and would certainly have left us something to follow. But now, since he has drawn us back from following others, that we may not wish to know more than we are capable of knowing , he has no less drawn us back from himself also.
For who would wish to labour lest he should know anything? Or to undertake learning of this kind that he may even lose ordinary knowledge? For if this learning exists, it must necessarily consist of knowledge ; if it does not exist, who is so foolish as to think that that is worthy of being learned, in which either nothing is learned, or something is even unlearned?
Wherefore, if all things cannot be known , as the natural philosophers thought, nor nothing, as the Academics taught, philosophy is altogether extinguished. Let us now pass to the other part of philosophy , which they themselves call moral, in which is contained the method of the whole of philosophy , since in natural philosophy there is only delight, in this there is utility also. And since it is more dangerous to commit a fault in arranging the condition of life and in forming the character, greater diligence must be used, that we may know how we ought to live. For in the former subject some indulgence may be granted: for whether they say anything, they bestow no advantage; or if they foolishly rave, they do no injury.
But in this subject there is no room for difference of opinion, none for error. All must entertain the same sentiments, and philosophy itself must give instructions as it were with one mouth; because if any error shall be committed, life is altogether overthrown. In that former part, as there is less danger, so there is more difficulty; because the obscurity of the subject compels us to entertain different and various opinions.
But in this, as there is more danger, so there is less difficulty; because the very use of the subjects and daily experiments are able to teach what is truer and better. Let us see, therefore, whether they agree, or what assistance they give us for the better guidance of life. It is not necessary to enlarge on every point; let us select one, and especially that which is the chief and principal thing, in which the whole of wisdom centres and depends.
Epicurus deems that the chief good consists in pleasure of mind , Aristippus in pleasure of the body. Callipho and Dinomachus united virtue with pleasure, Diodorus with the privation of pain, Hieronymus placed the chief good in the absence of pain; the Peripatetics, again, in the goods of the mind , the body, and fortune. The chief good of Herillus is knowledge ; that of Zeno, to live agreeably to nature; that of certain Stoics , to follow virtue. Aristotle placed the chief good in integrity and virtue. These are the sentiments of nearly all. In such a difference of opinions, whom do we follow?
Whom do we believe? All are of equal authority. If we are able to select that which is better, it follows that philosophy is not necessary for us; because we are already wise, inasmuch as we judge respecting the opinions of the wise. But since we come for the sake of learning wisdom, how can we judge, who have not yet begun to be wise?
Especially when the Academic is close at hand, to draw us back by the cloak, and forbid us to believe any one, without bringing forward that which we may follow. What then remains, but that we leave raving and obstinate wranglers, and come to the judge, who is in truth the giver of simple and calm wisdom?
Which is able not only to mould us, and lead us into the way, but also to pass an opinion on the controversies of those men. This teaches us what is the true and highest good of man; but before I begin to speak on this subject, all those opinions must be refuted, that it may appear that no one of those philosophers was wise. Since the inquiry is respecting the duty of man , the chief good of the chief animal ought to be placed in that which it cannot have in common with the other animals.
But as teeth are the peculiar property of wild beasts, horns of cattle, and wings of birds, so something peculiar to himself ought to be attributed to man , without which he would lose the fixed order of his condition. For that which is given to all for the purpose of life or generation, is indeed a natural good; but still it is not the greatest, unless it be peculiar to each class. Therefore he was not a wise man who believed that pleasure of the mind is the chief good, since that, whether it be freedom from anxiety or joy , is common to all.
I do not consider Aristippus even worthy of an answer; for since he is always rushing into pleasures of the body, and is only the slave of sensual indulgences, no one can regard him as a man: for he lived in such a manner that there was no difference between him and a brute, except this only, that he had the faculty of speech. But if the power of speaking were given to the ass, or the dog, or swine, and you were to inquire from these why they so furiously pursue the females , that they can scarcely be separated from them, and even neglect their food and I drink; why they either drive away other males, or do not abstain from the pursuit even when vanquished, but often, when bruised by stronger animals, they are more determined in their pursuit; why they dread neither rain nor cold; why they undertake labour, and do not shrink from danger — what other answer will they give, but that the chief good is bodily pleasure?
Shall we then seek precepts of living from these men, who have no other feelings than those of the irrational creatures? The Cyrenaics say that virtue itself is to be praised on this account, because it is productive of pleasure. True, says the filthy dog, or the swine wallowing in the mire. For it is on this account that I contend with my adversary with the utmost exertion of strength, that my valour may procure for me pleasure; of which I must necessarily be deprived if I shall come off vanquished.
Shall we therefore learn wisdom from these men, who differ from cattle and the brutes, not in feeling, but in language? To regard the absence of pain as the chief good, is not indeed the part of Peripatetic and Stoic, but of clinical philosophers. For who would not imagine that the discussion was carried on by those who were ill, and under the influence of some pain? What is so ridiculous, as to esteem that the chief good which the physician is able to give? We must therefore feel pain in order that we may enjoy good; and that, too, severely and frequently, that afterwards the absence of pain may be attended with greater pleasure.
He is therefore most wretched who has never felt pain, because he is without that which is good ; whereas we used to regard him as most happy , because he was without evil. He was not far distant from this folly, who said that the entire absence of pain was the chief good. For, besides the fact that every animal avoids pain, who can bestow upon himself that good, towards the obtaining of which we can do no more than wish? But the chief good cannot make any one happy , unless it shall be always in his power; and it is not virtue , nor learning, nor labour, which affords this to man , but nature herself bestows it upon all living creatures.
They who joined pleasure with virtuous principle, wished to avoid this common blending together of all, but they made a contradictory kind of good; since he who is abandoned to pleasure must of necessity be destitute of virtuous principle, and he who aims at principle must be destitute of pleasure. The chief good of the Peripatetics may possibly appear excessive, various, and — excepting those goods which belong to the mind , and what they are is a great subject of dispute — common to man with the beasts.
For goods belonging to the body — that is, safety, freedom from pain, health — are no less necessary for dumb creatures than for man; and I know not if they are not more necessary for them, because man can be relieved by remedies and services, the dumb animals cannot. The same is true of those which they call the goods of fortune; for as man has need of resources for the support of life, so have they need of prey and pasture.
Thus, by introducing a good which is not within the power of man , they made man altogether subject to the power of another. Let us also hear Zeno, for he at times dreams of virtue. The chief good, he says, is to live in accordance with nature. Therefore we must live after the manner of the brutes. For in these are found all the things which ought to be absent from man: they are eager for pleasures, they fear , they deceive, they lie in wait, they kill; and that which is especially to the point, they have no knowledge of God.
Why, therefore, does he teach me to live according to nature, which is of itself prone to a worse course, and under the influence of some more soothing blandishments plunges headlong into vices? Or if he says that the nature of brutes is different from the nature of man , because man is born to virtue , he says something to the purpose; but, however, it will not be a definition of the chief good, because there is no animal which does not live in accordance with its nature. He who made knowledge the chief good, gave something peculiar to man; but men desire knowledge for the sake of something else, and not for its own sake.
For who is contented with knowing , without seeking some advantage from his knowledge? The arts are learned for the purpose of being put into exercise; but they are exercised either for the support of life, or pleasure, or for glory. That, therefore, is not the chief good which is not sought for on its own account. What difference, therefore, does it make, whether we consider knowledge to be the chief good, or those very things which knowledge produces from itself, that is, means of subsistence, glory , pleasure? And these things are not peculiar to man , and therefore they are not the chief goods; for the desire of pleasure and of food does not exist in man alone, but also in the brutes.
How is it with regard to the desire of glory? Is it not discovered in horses, since they exult in victory, and are grieved when vanquished? So great is their love of praises, so great is their eagerness for victory. Nor without reason does that most excellent poet say that we must try what grief they feel when overcome, and how they rejoice in victory.
But if those things which knowledge produces are common to man with other animals, it follows that knowledge is not the chief good. Moreover, it is no slight fault of this definition that bare knowledge is set forth. For all will begin to appear happy who shall have the knowledge of any art, even those who shall know mischievous subjects; so that he who shall have learned to mix poisons, is as happy as he who has learned to apply remedies. I ask, therefore, to what subject knowledge is to be referred. If to the causes of natural things, what happiness will be proposed to me, if I shall know the sources of the Nile, or the vain dreams of the natural philosophers respecting the heaven?
Why should I mention that on these subjects there is no knowledge , but mere conjecture, which varies according to the abilities of men? It only remains that the knowledge of good and evil things is the chief good. Why, then, did he call knowledge the chief good more than wisdom, when both words have the same signification and meaning? But no one has yet said that the chief good is wisdom, though this might more properly have been said.
For knowledge is insufficient for the undertaking of that which is good and avoiding that which is evil , unless virtue also is added. For many of the philosophers , though they discussed the nature of good and evil things, yet from the compulsion of nature lived in a manner different from their discourse, because they were without virtue.
Chapter 2. Of the Error of the Philosophers, and of the Divine Wisdom, and of the Golden Age.
But virtue united with knowledge is wisdom. It remains that we refute those also who judged virtue itself to be the chief good, and Marcus Tullius was also of this opinion; and in this they were very inconsiderate. For virtue itself is not the chief good, but it is the contriver and mother of the chief good; for this cannot be attained without virtue. Each point is easily understood. For I ask whether they imagine that it is easy to arrive at that distinguished good, or that it is reached only with difficulty and labour? Let them apply their ingenuity, and defend error. If it is easily attained to, and without labour, it cannot be the chief good.
For why should we torment ourselves, why wear ourselves out with striving day and night, seeing that the object of our pursuit is so close at hand, that any one who wishes may grasp it without any effort of the mind?
But if we do not attain even to a common and moderate good except by labour, since good things are by their nature arduous and difficult, whereas evil things have a downward tendency, it follows that the greatest labour is necessary for the attainment of the greatest good. And if this is most true , then there is need of another virtue , that we may arrive at that virtue which is called the chief good; but this is incongruous and absurd, that virtue should arrive at itself by means of itself.
If no good can be reached unless by labour, it is evident that it is virtue by which it is reached, since the force and office of virtue consist in the undertaking and carrying through of labours. Therefore the chief good cannot be that by which it is necessary to arrive at another. But they, since they were ignorant of the effects and tendency of virtue , and could discover nothing more honourable , stopped at the very name of virtue , and said that it ought to be sought, though no advantage was proposed from it; and thus they fixed for themselves a good which itself stood in need of a good.
From these Aristotle was not far removed, who thought that virtue together with honour was the chief good; as though it were possible for any virtue to exist unless it were honourable , and as though it would not cease to be virtue if it had any measure of disgrace. But he saw that it might happen that a bad opinion is entertained respecting virtue by a depraved judgment, and therefore he thought that deference should be paid to what in the estimation of men constitutes a departure from what is right and good, because it is not in our power that virtue should be honoured simply for its own deserts.
For what is honourable character, except perpetual honour , conferred on any one by the favourable report of the people? What, then, will happen, if through the error and perverseness of men a bad reputation should ensue? Shall we cast aside virtue because it is judged to be base and disgraceful by the foolish? And since it is capable of being oppressed and harassed, in order that it may be of itself a peculiar and lasting good, it ought to stand in need of no outward assistance, so as not to depend by itself upon its own strength, and to remain steadfast.
And thus no good is to be hoped by it from man, nor is any evil to be refused. I now come to the chief good of true wisdom, the nature of which is to be determined in this manner: first, it must be the property of man alone, and not belong to any other animal; secondly, it must belong to the soul only, and not be shared with the body; lastly, it cannot fall to the lot of any one without knowledge and virtue.
Now this limitation excludes and does away with all the opinions of those whom I have mentioned ; for their sayings contain nothing of this kind. I will now say what this is, that I may show, as I designed, that all philosophers were blind and foolish, who could neither see, nor understand, nor surmise at any time what was fixed as the chief good for man.
Anaxagoras, when asked for what purpose he was born, replied that he might look upon the heaven and the sun. This expression is admired by all, and judged worthy of a philosopher. But I think that he, being unprepared with an answer, uttered this at random, that he might not be silent. But if he had been wise, he ought to have considered and reflected with himself; for if any one is ignorant of his own condition, he cannot even he a man. But let us imagine that the saying was not uttered on the spur of the moment.
Let us see how many and what great errors he committed in three words. First, he erred in placing the whole duty of man in the eyes alone, referring nothing to the mind , but everything to the body. But if he had been blind, would he lose the duty of a man , which cannot happen without the ruin of the soul? What of the other parts of the body? Will they be destitute, each of its own duty? Why should I say that more depends upon the ears than upon the eye, since learning and wisdom can be gained by the ears only, but not by the eyes only?
Were you born for the sake of seeing the heaven and the sun? Who introduced you to this sight? Or what does your vision contribute to the heaven and the nature of things? Doubtless that you may praise this immense and wonderful work. Therefore confess that God is the Creator of all things, who introduced you into this world, as a witness and praiser of His great work.
You believe that it is a great thing to behold the heaven and the sun: why, therefore, do you not give thanks to Him who is the author of this benefit? Why do you not measure with your mind the excellence, the providence , and the power of Him whose works you admire? For it must be, that He who created objects worthy of admiration, is Himself much more to be admired. If any one had invited you to dinner, and you had been well entertained, should you appear in your senses, if you esteemed the mere pleasure more highly than the author of the pleasure?
So entirely do philosophers refer all things to the body, and nothing at all to the mind , nor do they see beyond that which fails under their eyes. But all the offices of the body being put aside, the business of man is to be placed in the mind alone. Therefore we are not born for this purpose, that we may see those things which are created, but that we may contemplate, that is, behold with our mind , the Creator of all things Himself.
Wherefore, if any one should ask a man who is truly wise for what purpose he was born, he will answer without fear or hesitation, that he was born for the purpose of worshipping God , who brought us into being for his cause , that we may serve Him. But to serve God is nothing else than to maintain and preserve justice by good works. But he, as a man ignorant of divine things, reduced a matter of the greatest magnitude to the least, by selecting two things only, which he said were to be beheld by him. But if he had said that he was born to behold the world, although he would comprise all things in this, and would use an expression of greater sound, yet he would not have completed the duty of man; for as much as the soul excels the body, so much does God excel the world, for God made and governs the world.
Therefore it is not the world which is to be contemplated by the eye, for each is a body; but it is God who is to be contemplated by the soul : for God , being Himself immortal , willed that the soul also should be everlasting. But the contemplation of God is the reverence and worship of the common Parent of mankind. And if the philosophers were destitute of this, and in their ignorance of divine things prostrated themselves to the earth, we must suppose that Anaxagoras neither beheld the heaven nor the sun, though he said that he was born that he might behold them.
The object proposed to man is therefore plain and easy, if he is wise; and to it especially belongs humanity. For what is humanity itself, but justice? What is justice , but piety? And piety is nothing else than the recognition of God as a parent. Therefore the chief good of man is in religion only; for the other things, even those which are supposed to be peculiar to man , are found in the other animals also.
For when they discern and distinguish their own voices by peculiar marks among themselves, they seem to converse: they also appear to have a kind of smile, when with soothed ears, and contracted mouth, and with eyes relaxed to sportiveness, they fawn upon man, or upon their own mates and young. Do they not give a greeting which bears some resemblance to mutual love and indulgence? Again, those creatures which look forward to the future and lay up for themselves food, plainly have foresight. Indications of reason are also found in many of them.
For since they desire things useful to themselves, guard against evils , avoid dangers, prepare for themselves lurking-places standing open in different places with various outlets, assuredly they have some understanding. Can any one deny that they are possessed of reason, since they often deceive man himself? For those which have the office of producing honey, when they inhabit the place assigned to them, fortify a camp, construct dwellings with unspeakable skill, and obey their king; I know not if there is not in them perfect prudence.
It is therefore uncertain whether those things which are given to man are common to him with other living creatures: they are certainly without religion. I indeed thus judge, that reason is given to all animals, but to the dumb creatures only for the protection of life, to man also for its prolongation.
And because reason itself is perfect in man, it is named wisdom, which renders man distinguished in this respect, that to him alone it is given to comprehend divine things. And concerning this the opinion of Cicero is true : Of so many kinds of animals, he says, there is none except man which has any knowledge of God ; and among men themselves, there is no nation either so uncivilized or so savage, which, even if it is ignorant of due conceptions of the Deity, does not know that some conception of Him ought to be entertained.
From which it is effected, that he acknowledges God , who, as it were, calls to mind the source from which he is sprung. Those philosophers , therefore, who wish to free the mind from all fear , take away even religion, and thus deprive man of his peculiar and surpassing good, which is distinct from living uprightly, and from everything connected with man, because God , who made all living creatures subject to man , also made man subject to Himself. What reason is there why they should also maintain that the mind is to be turned in the same direction to which the countenance is raised?
For if we must look to the heaven, it is undoubtedly for no other reason than on account of religion; if religion is taken away, we have nothing to do with the heaven. Therefore we must either look in that direction or bend down to the earth. We are not able to bend down to the earth, even if we should wish, since our posture is upright.
We must therefore look up to the heaven, to which the nature of the body calls us. And if it is admitted that this must be done, it must either be done with this view, that we may devote ourselves to religion, or that we may know the nature of the heavenly objects. But we cannot by any means know the nature of the heavenly objects, because nothing of that kind can be found out by reflection, as I have before shown. We must therefore devote ourselves to religion, and he who does not undertake this prostrates himself to the ground, and, imitating the life of the brutes, abdicates the office of man.
Therefore the ignorant are more wise; for although they err in choosing religion, yet they remember their own nature and condition. It is agreed upon, therefore, by the general consent of all mankind , that religion ought to be undertaken; but we have to explain what errors are committed on this subject. God willed this to be the nature of man , that he should be desirous and eager for two things, religion and wisdom.
But men are mistaken in this, that they either undertake religion and pay no attention to wisdom, or they devote themselves to wisdom alone, and pay no attention to religion, though the one cannot be true without the other. The consequence is, that they fall into a multiplicity of religions , but false ones, because they have left wisdom, which could have taught them that there cannot be many gods; or they devote themselves to wisdom, but a false wisdom, because they have paid no attention to the religion of the Supreme God , who might have instructed them to the knowledge of the truth.
Thus men who undertake either of these courses follow a devious path, and one full of the greatest errors , inasmuch as the duty of man , and all truth , are included in these two things which are inseparably connected. I wonder, therefore, that there was none at all of the philosophers who discovered the abode and dwelling-place of the chief good. For they might have sought it in this manner.
Whatever the greatest good is, it must be an object proposed to all men. There is pleasure, which is desired by all; but this is common also to man with the beasts, and has not the force of the honourable , and brings a feeling of satiety, and when it is in excess is injurious, and it is lessened by advance of age, and does not fall to the lot of many: for they who are without resources, who constitute the greater part of men , must also be without pleasure.
Therefore pleasure is not the chief good; but it is not even a good. What shall we say of riches? This is much more true of them. For they fall to the lot of fewer men, and that generally by chance; and they often fall to the indolent, and sometimes by guilt, and they are desired by those who already possess them.
What shall we say of sovereignty itself? That does not constitute the chief good: for all cannot reign, but it is necessary that all should be capable of attaining the chief good. Let us therefore seek something which is held forth to all. Is it virtue?
It cannot be denied that virtue is a good, and undoubtedly a good for all men. But if it cannot be happy because its power and nature consist in the endurance of evil , it assuredly is not the chief good. Let us seek something else. But nothing can be found more beautiful than virtue , nothing more worthy of a wise man. For if vices are to be avoided on account of their deformity, virtue is therefore to be desired on account of its beauty. What then?
Can it be that that which is admitted to be good and honourable should be requited with no reward, and be so unproductive as to procure no advantage from itself? That great labour and difficulty and struggling against evils with which this life is filled, must of necessity produce some great good. But what shall we say that it is? But nothing that is base can arise from that which is honourable.
Shall we say that it is riches? Or commands? But these things are frail and uncertain. Is it glory? Or honour? Or a lasting name? But all these things are not contained in virtue itself, but depend upon the opinion and judgment of others. For virtue is often hated and visited with evil. But the good which arises from it ought to be so closely united with it as to be incapable of being separated or disunited from it; and it cannot appear to be the chief good in any other way than if it belongs peculiarly to virtue , and is such that nothing can be added to it or taken from it.
Why should I say that the duties of virtue consist in the despising of all these things? For not to long for, or desire, or love pleasures, riches, dominions, and honours, and all those things which are esteemed as goods, as others do overpowered by desire, that assuredly is virtue. Therefore it effects something else more sublime and excellent; nor does anything struggle against these present goods but that which longs for greater and truer things. Let us not despair of being able to find it, if we turn our thoughts in all directions; for no slight or trifling rewards are sought.
But our inquiry is as to the object for which we are born: and thus we are able to trace out what is the effect of virtue. There are two parts of which man is made up, soul and body. There are many things peculiar to the soul , many peculiar to the body, many common to both, as is virtue itself; and as often as this is referred to the body, it is called fortitude for the sake of distinction. Since, therefore, fortitude is connected with each, a contest is proposed to each, and victory held forth to each from the contest: the body, because it is solid, and capable of being grasped, must contend with objects which are solid and can be grasped; but the soul , on the other hand, because it is slight and subtle, and invisible, contends with those enemies who cannot be seen and touched.
But what are the enemies of the soul , but lusts , vices , and sins? And if virtue shall have overcome and put to flight these, the soul will be pure and free from stain. Whence, then, are we able to collect what are the effects of fortitude of soul? Doubtless from that which is closely connected with it, and resembles it, that is, from fortitude of the body; for when this has come to any encounter and contest, what else does it seek from victory but life? For whether you contend with a man or beast, the contest is for safety. Therefore, as the body obtains by victory its preservation from destruction, so the soul obtains a continuation of its existence ; and as the body, when overcome by its enemies, suffers death, so the soul , when overpowered by vices , must die.
What difference, therefore, will there be between the contest carried on by the soul and that carried on by the body, except that the body seeks for temporal, but the soul eternal life? If, therefore, virtue is not happy by itself, since its whole force consists, as I have said, in the enduring of evils ; if it neglects all things which are desired as goods; if in its highest condition it is exposed to death, inasmuch as it often refuses life, which is desired by others, and bravely undergoes death, which others fear ; if it must necessarily produce some great good from itself, because labours, endured and overcome even until death, cannot fail of obtaining a reward; if no reward, such as it deserves, is found on earth, inasmuch as it despises all things which are frail and transitory, what else remains but that it may effect some heavenly reward, since it treats with contempt all earthly things, and may aim at higher things, since it despises things that are humble?
And this reward can be nothing else but immortality. With good reason, therefore, did Euclid, no obscure philosopher , who was the founder of the system of the Megareans, differing from the others, say that that was the chief good which was unvarying and always the same. He certainly understood what is the nature of the chief good, although he did not explain in what it consisted; but it consists of immortality , nor anything else at all, inasmuch as it alone is incapable of diminution, or increase, or change.
Seneca also unconsciously happened to confess that there is no other reward of virtue than immortality. For in praising virtue in the treatise which he wrote on the subject of premature death, he says: Virtue is the only thing which can confer upon us immortality , and make us equal to the gods. But the Stoics also, whom he followed, say that no one can be made happy without virtue. Therefore, the reward of virtue is a happy life, if virtue , as it is rightly said, makes a happy life.
Virtue, therefore, is not, as they say, to be sought on its own account, but on account of a happy life, which necessarily follows virtue. And this argument might have taught them in what the chief good consisted. But this present and corporeal life cannot be happy , because it is subjected to evils through the body. Epicurus calls God happy and incorruptible, because He is everlasting. For a state of happiness ought to be perfect, so that there may be nothing which can harass, or lessen, or change it. Nor can anything be judged happy in other respects, unless it be incorruptible.
But nothing is incorruptible but that which is immortal. Immortality therefore is alone happy , because it can neither be corrupted nor destroyed. But if virtue falls within the power of man , which no one can deny, happiness also belongs to him. For it is impossible for a man to be wretched who is endued with virtue. If happiness falls within his power, then immortality , which is possessed of the attribute of happiness , also belongs to him. The chief good, therefore, is found to be immortality alone, which pertains to no other animal or body; nor can it happen to any one without the virtue of knowledge , that is, without the knowledge of God and justice.
And how true and right is the seeking for this, the very desire of this life shows: for although it be but temporary, and most full of labour, yet it is sought and desired by all; for both old men and boys, kings and those of the lowest station, in fine, wise as well as foolish, desire this. Of such value, as it seemed to Anaxagoras, is the contemplation of the heaven and the light itself, that men willingly undergo any miseries on this account. Since, therefore, this short and laborious life, by the general consent not only of men , but also of other animals, is considered a great good, it is manifest that it becomes also a very great and perfect good if it is without an end and free from all evil.
In short, there never would have been any one who would despise this life, however short it is, or undergo death, unless through the hope of a longer life. For if virtue despises opulence and riches because they are frail, and pleasures because they are of brief continuance, it therefore despises a life which is frail and brief, that it may obtain one which is substantial and lasting.
Therefore reflection itself, advancing by regular order, and weighing everything, leads us to that excellent and surpassing good, on account of which we are born. And if philosophers had thus acted, if they had not preferred obstinately to maintain that which they had once apprehended, they would undoubtedly have arrived at this truth , as I have lately shown. And if this was not the part of those who extinguish the heavenly souls together with the body, yet those who discuss the immortality of the soul ought to have understood that virtue is set before us on this account, that, lusts having been subdued, and the desire of earthly things overcome, our souls , pure and victorious, may return to God , that is, to their original source.
For it is on this account that we alone of living creatures are raised to the sight of the heaven, that we may believe that our chief good is in the highest place. Therefore we alone receive religion, that we may know from this source that the spirit of man is not mortal, since it longs for and acknowledges God , who is immortal. Therefore, of all the philosophers , those who have embraced either knowledge or virtue as the chief good, have kept the way of truth , but have not arrived at perfection. For these are the two things which together make up that which is sought for.
Knowledge causes us to know by what means and to what end we must attain; virtue causes us to attain to it. The one without the other is of no avail; for from knowledge arises virtue , and from virtue the chief good is produced. Therefore a happy life, which philosophers have always sought, and still do seek, has no existence either in the worship of the gods or in philosophy ; and on this account they were unable to find it, because they did not seek the highest good in the highest place, but in the lowest.
Related Rivals (Divines Book 1)
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