Congress Hall Cafe
JESUS EXPLAINED BY THE SAGES
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Jn 6:35
Plato says that the ignorance resulting in folly is due to the emptiness of soul by lack of habits toward understanding reality and knowledge, and he who partakes of nourishment and gets wisdom fills the void in the soul and is filled. Republic 812
Socrates says that neither city, polity, nor man will ever be perfected until events compel the uncorrupted philosophers to take control of the state. 734
Socrates says that there can be no cessation of trouble for the city or citizen nor a polity based on a divine model be brought to pass until philosophers win control of the state. 737
Socrates says perfect polities and cities can only be built if philosophers become kings and kings become philosophers. 713
I’m building a public policy ministry for a better city based on time tested principles…your discourse is what I am looking for; free debate leads to enlightenment. Your reference of Thomas Jefferson and the Law of Nature is admirable. We need this kind of discourse in our nation, especially now. History is full of lessons making us sensible to the realities of man’s nature, his weakness and strengths, and the requirements and tools needed for universal felicity. I encourage you to move forward in philosophy, political principles supported by historic evidence for the work of community development. Several good places to start is the history of Israel as recorded in the Bible and Jesus’ message in the gospels, read Plato’s laws, discover the words of Socrates, hear the voice of Cicero and the read the letters of American Founding Fathers while continually asking the question, can this principle or law beneficial and useful to the perfection of society? If you do this you will find history useful. But be forewarned, journeys of the mind without God’s guidance will gather up only fools gold; therefore, call for the holy spirit, the counselor of the soul, that leads toward wisdom.
Epictetus: “If what charms you is nothing but abstract principles, sit down and turn them over quietly in your mind: but never dub yourself a Philosopher, nor suffer others to call you so. Say rather: He is in error; for my desires, my impulses are unaltered. I give in my adhesion to what I did before; nor has my mode of dealing with the things of sense undergone any change.” sic
Cicero: “The other error is that some people devote too much industry and too deep study to matters that are obscure and difficult and useless as well.” de/off19.vi
The work of a true philosopher, in order to be a sensible trained citizen as one part of the sovereignty of the state, requires a systemic study of useful law and principles.
Thomas Jefferson 1787 “I should tell you stories one thousand years old. I should detail to you the intrigues of the courts of the Caesars, how they affect us here… I am immersed in antiquities from morning to night. ” pg 416
Each week I work on Greek, Hebrew and Latin; I have an on going library of 8-10 books on history, constitutional law and municipal law, reading a little each day looking for and recording pearls of useful wisdom. To expand this conversation we can add “Discourses concerning Government” by Algernon Sidney, Letters by Thomas Jefferson, Hallam on England’s parliamentary history, and Livy on the history of Rome to mention just a few. This is the way of enlightenment and fulfills Jesus’ command to be a lamp that lights a room or a city upon a hill. However, if we stumble in our duty to make ourselves sensible of the political lessons of history, we exist in the darkness of ignorance and our minds will be foolishly convinced of every wind of doctrine, even those of tyranny, and if we forsake the science of morality, we become demons seducing others into irregular passion in defiance of God’s moral rectitude. Ignorance is the root of tyranny.
Seneca: “The only people really at leisure are those who take time for philosophy. They alone really live. It is not their lifetime alone of which they are careful stewards: they annex every age to their own and exploit all the years that have gone before. Unless we prove ingrate, it was for us that the illustrious founders of divine schools of thought came into being, for us they prepared a ways of life. By the exertions of others we are led to the fairest treasures, raised to the light out of the darkness in which they were mined. No age is forbidden us, we have admittance to all, and if we choose to transcend the narrow bounds of human frailty by loftiness of min, there is a vast stretch of time for us to roam. ” 65 sic
Jesus:” Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you haven’t labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” John 4:35-38
Jesus:” “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls, who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matthew 13:44-46
Note: The kingdom of God is a covenanted or constitutional society beginning with municipalities of ten persons or families called neighborhood and extending into bigger constitutional republics of 50, 100, 1000 and then city, county, state and nation. All these constitutional polities are built upon constitutional principles and it is the work of members of this federal republic to seek out those principles discoverable in the history of nations.
Philosophy is the study of wisdom. In this study I recommend having the wisdom of God’s revelation to Israel in one hand and the history of the nations in the other. Jesus spoke of purchasing pearls and treasures. The pearls he spoke of were in the ground. These are the pearls or political principles hidden in rock piles of past nations and can be discovered through the historian and philosopher of those nations, for example, Plato and Aristotle for the Greeks, and Cicero, Livy, and Tacitus for Rome. The treasures to be purchased were from the merchant and they are the political principles discovered in existing foreign nations. They are worth the price to be paid because that nations paid the price for them. The Federalist Papers is a great example of such gathering of pearls and treasure when Hamilton, Jay and Madison glen political lessons from ancient Greek leagues, and contemporaneously, from the structure of England’s government in order to build a base of principles in support of the US Constitution. But how dangerous is it to enter the vast sea of ancient history and pagan empires without the security of a divine compass to guide one through the tempestuous rise and fall of nations, the worship and praise of numerous gods, the tyranny of self interest while searching for personal sacrifice and heroism and the golden nugget of the perfect principle that can be added to the Kingdom of God.
John of Salisbury asks, who is so unworthy as one who insults the Creator by squandering time, that which is handed out in sparing quantities for the use in life and which alone cannot be restored….? 9
Socrates ”very nature belong the study of philosophy and political leadership…” 713
Henry I laws states that no one should be a judge who fails to have wisdom and integrity…”107
Socrates says lazy minds are I the habit to feast themselves on their own thoughts when they walk alone.” 697
James Madison “that our hemisphere must be still more enlightened before many of the sublime truths which are seen thro’ the medium of Philosophy, become visible to the naked eye of the ordinary Politician.” fconst.
Isaiah “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, and the holy of Yahweh honorable; and shall honor it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words…” isa.58.13
Note: Socrates describes a doxophilists (a perpetual theatergoer) from a philosopher (someone seeking knowledge.) The difference is striking. The learned Roman Cicero was sensible, judicious, and wise, and a philosopher while the corrupted theater going and actor, and murderer Nero was a doxophilists. The righteous and just Jesus demonstrated by his parables that he was a philosopher of peculiar insight while the base emperor Tiberius indulged in perverse entertainment was certainly a doxophilist. The divinely inspired Plato did the work of the philosopher while Diogenes the Cynic was reported to have lounged in the sun. The difference in character, of mind, and nature speaks of difference in spirit – one of liberty by the illumination of divine wisdom and the other of tyranny by indolence leading to darkness which leads to the acceptance of criminal folly. The God of Israel commanded that every man may work six days and one day a week is set aside for rest. This rest is not for personal pursuit and pleasure but for the work of philosophy – love of wisdom or study of justice. Paul speaks of a daily rest, this is for those public servants who are paid to serve the community in the daily work of justice. (Soc.720)
Jesus “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matt 5:3
Socrates says when a man’s desires have been taught to flow in the direction of learning, they are responding to the pleasures of the soul, and being indifferent to the body, will be a true philosopher.” 722
Socrates in the Republic teaches the safety of the city requires that the people choose worthy guardians; the credentials for a guardian according to Socrates is that he must be innately just and must have a love for philosophy (political wisdom). We can find examples of such philosopher kings in names like Cicero, Jesus, and Thomas Jefferson. Socrates also gives a description of someone unsuitable for the guardianship of the city, and that is someone who is naturally inclined toward wickedness, and having no love for wisdom, loves personal entertainment. Americans must ask themselves, why is America losing the protection of their laws? Because the American people have failed to secure good guardians of the law; they have failed in electing philosopher kings and have handed the most dangers force in the human community, the police power of the state, over to unaccountable agents who lack a natural inclination toward justice and fail to the wisdom. Article VIII to the US Constitution restores the philosopher king as guardian over the laws of the Union.
Socrates asks if anyone one can deny that the lovers of wisdom are also the lovers of reality and truth.” 737
Parable of the Sower
Jesus “ Behold, a farmer went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Matt.131-9
Socrates says that no polity of his time was worthy of the philosophical nature. There are only civil polities made by human nature and its practices, and this causes the perversion and alteration of true philosophy – it is as if a foreign seed is sown in an alien soil – the foreigner seed philosophy is bound to be overcome and die out in the native growth of human polities, for the seed philosophy cannot preserve its quality but falls away and degenerates into an alien type called sophism. But if philosophy finds the best polity to thrive it will be apparent it will be a divine polity. 733
Note: We see historical reference of philosophy gaining ground then departing. Rome had Romulus and Puma but this descended to Tarquin the Proud. Israel had King David who wrote the Psalms and Solomon who is credited with Ecclesiastics but philosophically fell before Rehoboam and Jeroboam. In the United State we have the philosophy of the George Washington in his Farewell Address and the letters of Thomas Jefferson but the philosophical decline was forthcoming. Philosophers as true religion is the study of justice according to the wisdom of God and in good soil or as Socrates says in a ‘divine polity” will flourish.
Jesus “Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ Jn.3:7
Socrates say some will come to that life in which they will be born again and have philosophical discussions. 734
Note: Jesus is speaking of being born of the Spirit or Holy Spirit which is a counselor to the soul. This Spirit is a philosophical spirit or Spirit that reveals the wisdom of God.
Socrates says that the lover of wisdom associating with the divine order will himself become orderly and divine in the measure permitted to man.”736
Cicero “For what, in the name of heaven, is more to be desired than wisdom? What is more to be prized? What is better for a man, what more worthy of his nature? Those who seek after it are called philosophers; and philosophy is nothing else, if one will translate the word into our idiom, than “the love of wisdom.” Wisdom, moreover, as the word has been defined by the philosophers of old, is “the knowledge of things human and divine and of the causes by which those things are controlled.” And if the man lives who would belittle the study of philosophy, I quite fail to see what in the world he would see fit to praise. For if we are looking for mental enjoyment and relaxation, what pleasure can be compared with the pursuits of those who are always studying out something that will tend toward and effectively promote a good and happy life? Or, if regard is had for strength of character and virtue, then this is the method by which we can attain to those qualities, or there is none at all.” bii.5-6.offic
God of Israel “If his offering is a burnt offering… shall offer it at the door of the Tent of Meeting, that he may be accepted before Yahweh….The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar, and lay wood in order on the fire…The priest shall burn all of it on the altar, for a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh.’ Lev.1:3-8
Homer writes through Phoenix that the gods are appeased by burnt offerings upon their particular altars, by humble prayers, reverent libations, and savory smoke by the supplicant sinner has broken the law. 153
Jesus “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father… But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24
Note: Homer describe a worship similar to God of Israel, except the God of Israel rightly forbade in alcohol in the temple services which is a contradistinction to the Greeks libations. Jesus by his death and resurrection did away with appeasing God by animal sacrifices replacing them with sacrifices based on repentance of sin and a worship in spirit and truth which is applied philosophy or the wisdom of God in community construction.