Congress Hall Cafe
Cicero “For nothing can be expedient which is not at the same time morally right; neither can a thing be morally right just because it is expedient, but it is expedient because it is morally right.” B3.110.de.off
Cicero “ Is there, then, any object of such value or any advantage so worth the winning that, to gain it, one should sacrifice the name of a “good man” and the lustre of his reputation? What is there that your so-called expediency can bring to you that will compensate for what it can take away, if it steals from you the name of a “good man” and causes you to lose your sense of honour and justice?” 82.de.off.
Cicero “For that is an absurd position which is taken by some people, who say that they will not rob a parent or a brother for their own gain, but that their relation to the rest of their fellow-citizens is quite another thing. Such people contend in essence that they are bound to their fellow-citizens by no mutual obligations, social ties, or common interests. This attitude demolishes the whole structure of civil society. Others again who say that regard should be had for the rights of fellow-citizens, but not of foreigners, would destroy the universal brotherhood of mankind; and, when this is annihilated, kindness, generosity, goodness, and justice must utterly perish; and those who work all this destruction must be considered as wickedly rebelling against the immortal gods. For they uproot the fellowship which the gods have established between human beings, and the closest bond of this fellowship is the conviction that it is more repugnant to Nature for man to rob a fellow-man for his own gain than to endure all possible loss, whether to his property or to his person . . . or even to his very soul — so far as these losses are not concerned with justice; a for this virtue is the sovereign mistress and queen of all the virtues.” B3.28
Self Denial – Jesus and Cicero
Jesus “He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Cicero “ They who direct the affairs of state, then, can win the good-will of the masses by no other means more easily than by self-restraint and self-denial. But they who pose as friends of the people, and who for that reason either attempt to have agrarian laws passed, in order that the occupants may be driven out of their homes, or propose that money loaned should be remitted to the borrowers, are undermining the foundations of the connnonwealth.” B2.77-78
Socrates “investigation of the beautiful and the good.” 763..
Jesus “Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16
Cicero “And because that very quality which we term moral goodness and propriety is pleasing to us by and of itself and touches all our hearts both by its inward essence and its outward aspect and shines forth with most lustre through those virtues named above, we are, therefore, compelled by Nature herself to love those in whom we believe those virtues to reside.” Deoff.b2.32
Science for an Improved Society
Cicero “And yet scholars, whose whole life and interests have been devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, have not, after all, failed to contribute to the advantages and blessings of mankind. For they have trained many to be better citizens and to render larger service to their country. So, for example, the Pythagorean Lysis taught Epaminondas of Thebes; Plato, Dion of Syracuse; and many, many others. As for me myself, whatever service I have rendered to my country — if, indeed, I have rendered any — I came to my task trained and equipped for it by my teachers and what they taught me. And not only while present in the flesh memorials of their learning they continue the same service after they are dead. For they have overlooked no point that has a bearing upon laws, customs or political science; in fact, they seem to have devoted their retirement to the benefit of us who are engaged in public business. The principal thing done, therefore, by those very devotees of the pursuits of learning and science is to apply their own practical wisdom and insight to the service of humanity.” 155/56.deoff
Paul “Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Cor.11.1
Cicero “As, therefore, a musical ear detects even the slightest falsity of tone in a harp, so we, if we wish to be keen and careful observers of moral faults, shall often draw important conclusions from trifles. We observe others and from a glance of the eyes, from a contracting or relaxing of the brows, from an air of sadness, from an outburst of joy, from a laugh, from speech from silence, from a raising or lowering of the voice, and the like, we shall easily judge which of our actions is proper, and which is out of accord with duty and Nature. And, in the same manner, it is not a bad plan to judge of the nature of our every action by studying others, that so we may ourselves avoid anything that is unbecoming in them. For it happens somehow or other that we detect another’s failings more readily than we do our own.” 146.de off
Socrates says that the multitudes have never seen the nature of man balanced and assimilated in virtue perfectly either in word and deed, nor have they seen a like city. 734
Beginning with clean slate, Socrates says the constitution of the city should be drawn combing on one hand justice, beauty, sobriety, and other virtuous qualities with the nature of humanity which appeared in men – the image and likeness of God. 736
Socrates says that in writing a constitution for the city, using the divine model, one would erase one touch or stroke and paint it another until in the measure of the possible they had made the characters of men pleasing and dear to God as may be. 736
Jesus “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ….that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us.” John 17:3/21
Socrates says that man whose mind is fixed on eternal realities has no time to turn his eyes downward upon the petty affairs of men, and so engaging in worldly strife, they fall into envy and hate, but he fixes his eyes intently upon the eternal and unchanging order, a place of no one does wrong doing, but all abide in harmony. He works to imitate them, and to conform himself in their likeness and assimilate himself to them. 735
Deuteronomy 22:5 “A woman shall not wear men’s clothing, neither shall a man put on women’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh your God.”
Cicero “Again, there are two orders of beauty: in the one, loveliness predominates; in the other, dignity; of these, we ought to regard loveliness as the attribute of woman, and dignity as the attribute of man. Therefore, let all finery not suitable to a man’s dignity be kept off his person, and let him guard against the like fault in gesture and action… Now dignity of mien is also to be enhanced by a good complexion; the complexion is the result of physical exercise. We must besides present an appearance of neatness — not too punctilious or exquisite, but just enough to avoid boorish and ill-bred slovenliness. We must follow the same principle in regard to dress. In this, as in most things, the best rule is the golden mean.”
Paul “Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
Brutus 1 (1787) “In a republic, the manners, sentiments, and interests of the people should be similar. If this be not the case, there will be a constant clashing of opinions; and the representatives of one part will be continually striving against those of the other. This will retard the operations of government, and prevent such conclusions as will promote the public good.” 172
Paul “… but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is partial will be done away with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known. ” 1 Corinthians 13:10-12
Sidney “But such is the condition of mankind, that nothing can be so perfectly framed as not to give some testimony of human imbecility, and frequently to stand in need of reparation and amendments. Many things are unknown to the wisest, and the best men can never wholly divest themselves of passions and affections. By this means the best and wisest are sometimes led into error, and stand in need of successors like to themselves, who may find remedies for the faults they have committed, and nothing can or ought to be permanent but that which is perfect.” 461
Jesus “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.” Matt.7:1-2
Note: Jesus is moving society from a state of nature to a state of civil society by removing the right of blood feuds. In the state of nature where no constituted authority exist the work of justice was a patriarchal right. Private vengeance for a crime done to one family member could be punished by another member against the accused. However, taking the law in your own had violated the principle that no one should be the judge of his own case since infuriated passion often caused rightful vengeance to exceed justice thereby exasperating the feud into reciprocal acts. Jesus, in drawing families into constituted civil society, removed the right of personal vengeance and if someone took the law into one’s own hands a judge or higher authority will judge the avenger according to the same “measure.”
Maitland and Pollock in “The History of the English Law” write about the truce of God. In France, the right of personal justice or vengeance in a blood feud was curtailed by the early church which began to limit it by putting persons under the protection of the church. King Alfred limited blood feuds by setting a wergild, a price of redemption, on accused assailants. If one man slay another man and paid the wergild vengeance could not be taken by the injured family. Anglo-Saxon used of the wergild as redemption violated the commandments which allowed for no pity for murder. (75)
Paul “If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind…” Philippians2:1-2
Socrates says a the greatest evil for a state is when it is distracted and this distraction makes it many instead of one, but the greatest good for a state is that which binds it together and makes it one.” 701
Paul “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” 1 Corinthians 12 -14
Socrates says the city is the best ordered which the greatest number share the same value (mine or not mine) and the city that is most like that is a state that is like an individual man. For example, if one part of the body is injured the entire body feels the pain. 701
America was founded on a homogenous Christian culture which defined good and evil according to the Bible. This created a strong, prosperous, and moral nation. But ever since the poison of diversity has set in, dividing Americans in various camps, the result has been weakness, division, insurrection, and convulsion within the American Federation. Historically, diversity is simply a short lived political artifice to gain access into forbidden political territory, and once in control, the new arrivals will raise a banner of intolerance. For example, it was claimed that teaching only creationism in public schools to the exclusion of evolution was intolerant. However, today, evolution is taught in public schools and the Bible and creationism is locked out – a successful operation of the tool “diversity.” Unless American’s restore the original principles of unity and oneness based on God and justice, a new intolerant unity of godless socialism will continue to emerge touting “diversity” to the lost of life, liberty, and property.
John of Salisbury writes that comprehension of truth and the cultivation of public virtue is the necessary safeguard of each and every person. The opposite is ignorance which springs a hateful and injurious child called vice. Ignorance is the mother of vice because it is not benign but provides a harvest of miserable objects. 16
Jesus “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:15-16
John of Salisbury writes that Jesus, the Celestial Master, teaches that mankind should love his fellow man as himself. And it is apparent that the disciple who fails to rejoice with the truth and fails to burn with anger against the enemies of public welfare is unworthy of so great a master. 13
Bruno ask,”What exactly is the meaning of “the law of nature” and how to you even bring together “nature” and “God” in the same sentence? “
Joel’s Response: “ The law of nature is the nature of man in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:17). Man’s nature in Eden was free of guilt and existing according to John Winthrop in the “law of innocence.” The ‘law of innocence” is the law of nature which is mankind’s process of right reasoning, a divine nature without blemish or sin. This is how we bring together the law of nature and God. The Apostle Paul in Romans saw this connection in Romans 2:14-15, “for when Gentiles who don’t have the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying with them, and their thoughts among themselves accusing or else excusing them.” However, the law of nature has an adversary in the nature of ignorance, prejudice, vice, and criminal desire. We see the serpent in the garden using desire in order to deceive Adam and Eve into criminal theft.
Bruno asks, “It’s nature that lions kill prey for their food. It is nature for human’s too to prey for their food but is it acceptable for humans (in a civilized society) to hunt down other humans for food?
Joel’s Response: The Hebrew word for soul is nesesh. The soul of man is not the same as the soul of a lion. The soul of man was made in the image and likeness of Elohim (God, gods or judges) according to Genesis 1.27. The gift that God imputed into man is the gift of divinity. This gift is mankind’s process of reasoning. Man can calculate right and wrong, good and evil. This sets man above the animal kingdom. The lion is not guilty of sin or crime when he kills for food just as man is not guilty when it kills animals for food, but there is guilt for a man to kill man outside of self defense. (Genesis 9:3-5)
Bruno asks, “Is it permissible for us to hunt down animals in public places such as game parks, Zoo’s and in our backyards without permits; on the explanation that we need food or we are following nature’s law to the right of food?”
Joel’s Response: Mankind in a state of nature – without civil government – was free to take what was common to all (minerals, plants, land and animals life) and make it his personal property, but when man left the state of nature and compacted with other men to form civil society, by agreement, each member delegated a portion of his authority away to new sovereign power – requiring each member to live under the laws of the community. So it would be required to get permits for fishing and hunting if the law of the community required it. *See John Locke
Bruno asks, “Should we all be compelled to live by Christian law and Christian values so your prophesies of God’s law come to pass?”
Joel’s Response: When the God of Israel established his law in Israel it was by the mutual consent of the nation of Israel as seen in Exodus 19:7-8”Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him. All the people answered together, and said, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.” Revealed law is an inferior law to the “law of innocence.” It was given a support to corrupted. Revealed law is the minimum requirement of justice while Love is the perfect law. Reveal law can not be compelled but must be chosen by a nation.
Bruno Response: “The law should be in its essence a function of societies needs and aspirations for a creation of a civilized society; The law should seek to promote harmony not division, liberty not tyranny.”
Joel’s Response: The law is first and foremost about justice in civil society. The first principle of justice is the definition of good and evil, right and wrong. If this definition is not accurately made then civil authority, a the most dangerous force in the human community, will be used against the innocent while protecting the guilty. Reason being corrupted by criminal impulses and ignorance requires a divine law. The thunder and lightning on Mt.Sinai was divine interposition to give mankind a standard of justice to content with those who violate the light of reason. The goal of God’s law is holiness (removal of criminal elements) and holiness is what supports liberty against the face of tyranny.
Bruno response:”Justice not injustice so that all of us as a whole are greater than each of us individually.”
Joel’s Response: Society is a composition of institutions, public and private. Each institution is construct of living stones. Each member of society is a living stone built up into civil structures. If any one living stone is corrupted then the edifice defective. It is the work of true religion which is justice to forge individual stones that are worthy of monumental structure. This requires stones that are morally pure and free from vice. The bigger the edifice the more pure the building blocks are required. This is why Christianity has been able to build large governmental and economic civil structures, by forging good stones, and this is why under the weight of paganism and secular humanism society civil society is collapsing.
Bruno response: Nature’s law gives us the right to fight in the pursuit of self preservation.
Joel’s Response: An act of self defense for self preservation is a law in the state of nature existing in a state of society. The right to self defense is based on God’s commandment “Do not murder” God’s punishment for murder is death. Self defense in its fullness is acting out this judgment.
Bruno response: Man’s law, affords us a conscious not to harm others even in the pursuit of self interest and self preservation.”
Joel’ Response: Man’s law is based on reason. Reason is fallible. It suffers from vice, lust, greed and self interest. We see today the law of man sanctioning acts of tyranny in such human rights as abortion, incest, pornography, drug use, and self suicide. The loss of divine law among the nations has allow nations to sanction acts of depravity, act of tyranny.
God of Israel “You shall rise up before the gray head, and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God. I am Yahweh.” Leviticus 19:32:
Cicero “It is our duty also to show proper respect to old age” 149.de.off
Socrates says the young ought to stand silent in the presence of their elders and to give place to them and to rise up before them. 66*.
Note: This requirement of respect for elders may seem insignificant until you perceive that the individual as well as society as a whole is being pulled in opposite directions by two countervailing spirits, each spirit yanking the soul of the individual and the soul of the nation either towards improvement and moral perfection or towards depravity and destruction. These pulls are spiritual, mechanical, conforming, and deliberate, if not providential. When respect for elders by the young begin to diminish, and when decency of language becomes polluted, community leaders are alerted that the mechanism of Satan is taking hold of the individual, and if left uncontested, will take hold of society, but when the young of society show respect for elders, and when the language of the soul is purified from all impurities, then leadership will know that by their efforts in moral education, they are realizing the fruit of God’s spirit and witnessing the advancement of perfection in society.
Socrates says visual arts reflect the disposition of the soul. Also, he says that the very manifestations of culture: art,manufacturing, architecture and music, insensibly influence the mind causing imitation in the soul. Laws should censure manifestations of evil and uphold the presentation of grace and beauty. 646
John of Salisbury ‘The ears hearing me and the eyes seeing me blessed me.’ He elegantly described the apparatus of the body, through which the soul’s perception principally flourishes; for in fact knowledge of the external world passes into the soul most faithfully by means of the eyes and ears, and the incautious tongue too frequently divulges the treasures of the heart.” 72
Cicero “First of all, Nature seems to have had a wonderful plan in the construction of our bodies. Our face and our figure generally, in so far as it has a comely appearance, she has placed in sight; but the parts of the body that are given us only to serve the needs of Nature and that would present an unsightly and unpleasant appearance she has covered up and concealed from view. Man’s modesty has followed this careful contrivance of Nature’s; all right-minded people keep out of sight what Nature has hidden and take pains to respond to Nature’s demands as privately as possible; and in the case of those parts of the body which only serve Nature’s needs, neither the parts nor the functions are called by their real names. To perform these functions — if only it be done in private — is nothing immoral; but to speak of them is indecent. And so neither public performance of those acts nor vulgar mention of them is free from indecency.” de.off.126/7
Socrates says also that nothing beyond the kiss between a lover and her beloved extending no farther than can be seen in an honorable kiss between a father and a son ought be the legal standard of the city to avoid be stigmatized for tastelessness 648. The Book of Ephesians legislates the same standard in Eph. 5:3-4 “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not appropriate; but rather giving of thanks.”
Cicero “But as we have a most excellent rule for every phase of life, to avoid exhibitions of passion, that is, mental excitement that is excessive and uncontrolled by reason; so our conversation ought to be free from such emotions: let there be no exhibition of anger or inordinate desire, of indolence or indifference, or anything of the kind. We must also take the greatest care to show courtesy and consideration toward those with whom we converse.” 136