Philosophical (and Theological) Classifications

"Philosophical classifications are not like labels for political parties that people officially join; at best, they point to a salient feature that systems that differ in many other ways have in common. Such groupings fail to rise to the level of natural kinds; they are closer to what Wittgenstein thought of as concepts based upon family resemblances. They should be understood as handy devices for abbreviated referenced rather than as the product of a deep analysis of a philosophical tendency.

Charles Landesman, Skepticism – The Central Issues, 2.

Lowly, not servile

"Manly persons are disgusted, and suspect hypocrisy when they hear a preacher talking molasses. Let us be bold and outspoken, and never address our hearers as if we were asking a favour of them, or as if they would oblige the Redeemer by allowing Him to save them. We are bound to be lowly, but our office as ambassadors should prevent our being servile" (Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 344).   

HT: Blog & Mablog

Cicero on Treachery

No treachery is more insidious than that which is hidden under a pretence of loyalty, or under the name of kinship. For against an open adversary you could be on your guard and thus easily avoid him; but this hidden evil, within the house and family, not only arises before you are aware but even overwhelms you before you can catch sight of it and investigate it.

Cicero, In Verr., 2.1.13

Cicero on Property Tax

When constant wars made the Roman treasury run short, our forefathers often used to levy a property tax. Every effort must be made to prevent a repetition of this; and all possible precautions must be taken to ensure that such a step will never be needed. What I am going to say now will refer to the world in general and not specifically to Rome, because when I am making ominous forecasts I would rather that they were directed towards other countries and not our own. But if any government should find itself under the necessity of levying a tax on property, the utmost care has to be devoted to making it clear to the entire population that this simply has to be done because no alternative exists short of complete national collapse.

Cicero, On the Good Life, On Duties, Book II

The Man of Learning

…Children ought to be provided with property and resources of a kind [referring to the tools of philosophic knowledge and learning] that could swim with them even out of a shipwreck. These are indeed the true supports of life, and neither Fortune’s adverse gale, nor political revolution, nor ravages of war can do them any harm. Developing the same idea, Theophrastus, urging men to acquire learning rather than to put their trust in money, states the case thus: “The man of learning is the only person in the world who is neither a stranger when in a foreign land, nor friendless when he has lost his intimates and relatives; on the contrary, he is a citizen of every country, and can fearlessly look down upon the troublesome accidents of fortune. But he who thinks himself entrenched in defenses not of learning but of luck, moves in slippery paths, struggling through life unsteadily and insecurely.”

~Vitruvius, De architectura (The Ten Books on Architecture), book VI. 1st century B.C.

All the gifts which fortune bestows she can easily take away; but education, when combined with intelligence, never fails, but abides steadily on to the very end of life.

Ibid

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling, — rejoicing — sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.


~ BY Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A House of Singing

“I don’t remember that I ever have passed that house,” he said, “without hearing some one singing. Does it go on all the time?”
Yes, unless mother is sick.”
“And what is it all about?”
“Oh just joy! Gladness that we are alive, that we have things to do that we like, and praising the Lord.”
“Umph!” Said Mr. Pryor.
“It’s just letting out what our hearts are full of, “I told him. “Don’t you know that song: ‘Tis the old time religion
And you cannot keep it still?’ “

-Laddie

Lordship of Jesus Christ

This world belongs to our Saviour, and we have been given custodial charge of it. We are responsible to him for how we use it. The problem of sin includes not only questions of personal morality but also the careless use of Christ’s environment. A host of matters, in the personal, political and social arenas, are transformed when we see Christ’s mediatorial kingship in this way.

-Robert Letham,
The Work of Christ – Contours of Christian Theology, 208.

Sirach

Though Sirach is not scripture, it is very interesting, and contains much wisdom (as well as some very humorous sayings!). Here are a few I wrote down during my reading.

“When an intelligent person hear a wise saying, he praises it and adds to it;
when a fool hears it, he laughs at it and throws it behind his back.”
Sirach 21: 15

“Whoever teaches a fool is like one who glues potsherds together, or who rouses
a sleeper from deep slumber. Whoever tells a story to a fool tells it to a
drowsy man; and at the end he will say, ‘What is it?’
Weep for the dead, for he has left the light behind; and weep for the fool, for he has left intelligence behind. Weep less bitterly for the dead, for he is at rest; but the
life of the fool is worse than death. Mourning for the dead lasts seven days,
but for the foolish or the ungodly it lasts all days of their lives.”
-Sirach 22:9-12

“There is no venom worse than a snake’s venom, and no anger worse than a woman’s wrath. I would rather live with a lion and a dragon than live with an evil woman. A woman’s wickedness changes her appearance, and darkens her face like that of a bear.”
Sirach 25:15-17 – he must have known some interesting women…

“Pamper a child, and he will terrorize you; play with him, and he will grieve you.”
Sirach 30:9 hmm…

“A joyful heart is life itself, and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span.”
Sirach 30:22

“Those who are cheerful and merry at the table will benefit from their food.”
Sirach 30:25

“Wine drunk at the proper time and in moderation is rejoicing of heart and gladness of soul.”
Sirach 31: 28

“A seal of emerald in a rich setting of gold is the melody of music with good wine.”
Sirach 32:6

“Do not be overconfident on a smooth road, and give good heed to your paths.”
Sirach 32:21-22

“The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them.”
Sirach 38:4

“A friend or companion is always welcome, but a sensible wife is better than either.”
Sirach 40:23