Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.
["Herb Alpert - Mexican Shuffle "]
Scientific or political progress without moral progress is no progress. And it wasn't religion that failed Western civilization; instead it was that part of religion which abandoned morals in favor of spirit people magic and supernaturalism; thus discrediting religion.
Lying and deception, taken casually, are forms of spiritual pollution, and the more their use increases, the dirtier and more befouled society becomes; thus putting it at risk of more and other sicknesses -- such as corruption, violent crime, and sundry kinds of injustice. In short, if you can't get rid of brazen falsehood, hell and damnation, what good is all the rest of it?
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." ~ Isaiah 1:18
Allowing for the viciously brutal, harsh, and maligned sort of life he's been forced to live for decades now, Charles Manson, if you happen to follow his website, has developed into an at times powerful free verse poet and ecological visionary. True, the guy is beat up as badly as you would expect him to be, and his writing suffers from the occasional and incomprehensible rant. Yet there is something touching and admirable in his surmounting the many challenges that have been dumped on him, and in the midst of all the chaos and abuse, he manages not infrequently to be one of the most eloquent and deeply profound LIFE spokesmen of our time.
For more, see:
The danger is not so much in their being insincere, dishonest, hypocritical, and or hardly rational; nor even in their possessing unimaginable wealth, power, and privilege. The problem rather is their being in a position to force themselves on and dictate to the lives of others who, for obvious reason and understandable, want nothing to do with them.
Someone I know on Face Book posted this quotation.
"'Grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.' ~St. Augustine"
To which I responded:
Yes, but if a person isn't doing good works then they evidently are not very well off in grace.
I noticed this was yanked off YouTube; which is a real shame because the video it came from is very funny and no less enjoyable and pathos and mirth filled as the music itself. In case then you missed it from earlier...(and download it while you still can using the URL:)
[ch. 4] “Again the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid.” [Matthew 13:44] The former parables He spoke to the multitudes; but this and the two which follow it, which are not parables but similitudes in relation to the kingdom of heaven, He seems to have spoken to the disciples when in the house. In regard to this and the next two, let him who “gives heed to reading” [1 Timothy 4:13] inquire whether they are parables at all. In the case of the latter the Scripture does not hesitate to attach in each case the name of parable; but in the present case it has not done so; and that naturally. For if He spoke to the multitudes in parables, and “spoke all these things in parables, and without a parable spoke nothing to them,” [Matthew 13:34] but on going to the house He discourses not to the multitudes but to the disciples who came to Him there, manifestly the things spoken in the house were not parables: for, to them that are without, even to those to whom “it is not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” [Matthew 13:11] He speaks in parables. Some one will then say, If they are not really parables, what are they? Shall we then say in keeping with the diction of the Scripture that they are similitudes (comparisons)? Now a similitude differs from a parable; for it is written in Mark, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or in what parable shall we set it forth?” [Mark 4:30] From this it is plain that there is a difference between a similitude and a parable. The similitude seems to be generic, and the parable specific. And perhaps also as the similitude, which is the highest genus of the parable, contains the parable as one of its species, so it contains that particular form of similitude which has the same name as the genus. This is the case with other words as those skilled in the giving of many names have observed; who say that “impulse” is the highest genus of many species, as, for example, of “disinclination” and “inclination,” and say that, in the case of the species which has the same name as the genus, “inclination” is taken in opposition to and in distinction from “disinclination.”
[ch. 7] “Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls.” [Matthew 13:45] There are many merchants engaged in many forms of merchandise, but not to any one of these is the kingdom of heaven like, but only to him who is seeking goodly pearls, and has found one equal in value to many, a very costly pearl which he has bought in place of many. I consider it reasonable, then, to make some inquiry into the nature of the pearl. Be careful however to note, that Christ did not say, “He sold all the pearls that he had,” for he sold not only those which one seeking goodly pearls had bought, but also everything which he had, in order to buy that goodly pearl. We find then in those who write on the subject of stones, with regard to the nature of the pearl, that some pearls are found by land, and some in the sea. The land pearls are produced among the Indians [of Asia] only, being fitted for signet-rings and collets and necklaces; and the sea pearls, which are superior, are found among the same Indians, the best being produced in the Red Sea. The next best pearls are those taken from the sea at Britain; and those of the third quality, which are inferior not only to the first but to the second, are those found at Bosporus off Scythia. Concerning the Indian pearl these things further are said. They are found in mussels, like in nature to very large spiral snail-shells; and these are described as in troops making the sea their pasture-ground, as if under the guidance of some leader, conspicuous in colour and size, and different from those under him, so that he has an analogous position to what is called the queen of the bees. And likewise, in regard to the fishing for the best— that is, those in India— the following is told. The natives surround with nets a large circle of the shore, and dive down, exerting themselves to seize that one of them all which is the leader; for they say that, when this one is captured, the catching of the troop subject to it costs no trouble, as not one of those in the troop remains stationary, but as if bound by a thong follows the leader of the troop. It is said also that the formation of the pearls in India requires periods of time, the creature undergoing many changes and alterations until it is perfected. And it is further reported that the shell -- I mean, the shell of the animal which bears the pearl -- opens and gapes, as it were, and being opened receives into itself the dew of heaven; when it is filled with dew pure and untroubled, it becomes illumined and brings forth a large and well-formed pearl; but if at any time it receives dew darkened, or uneven, or in winter, it conceives a pearl cloudy and disfigured with spots. And this we also find that if it be intercepted by lightning when it is on the way towards the completion of the stone with which it is pregnant, it closes, and, as it were in terror, scatters and pours forth its offspring, so as to form what are called “physemata.” And sometimes, as if premature, they are born small, and are somewhat cloudy though well-formed. As compared with the others the Indian pearl has these features. It is white in colour, like to silver in transparency, and shines through as with a radiance somewhat greenish yellow, and as a rule is round in form; it is also of tender skin, and more delicate than it is the nature of a stone to be; so it is delightful to behold, worthy to be celebrated among the more notable, as he who wrote on the subject of stones used to say. And this is also a mark of the best pearl, to be rounded off on the outer surface, very white in colour, very translucent, and very large in size. So much about the Indian pearl. But that found in Britain, they say, is of a golden tinge, but somewhat cloudy, and duller in sparkle. And that which is found in the strait of Bosporus is darker than that of Britain, and livid, and perfectly dim, soft and small. And that which is produced in the strait of Bosporus is not found in the “pinna” which is the pearl-bearing species of shells, but in what are called mussels; and their habitat -- I mean those at Bosporus -- is in the marshes. There is also said to be a fourth class of pearls in Acarnania in the “pinnae” of oysters. These are not greatly sought after, but are irregular in form, and perfectly dark and foul in colour; and there are others also different from these in the same Acarnania which are cast away on every ground.
[ch. 8] Now, having collected these things out of dissertations about stones, I say that the Saviour with a knowledge of the difference of pearls, of which some are in kind goodly and others worthless, said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man that is a merchant seeking goodly pearls;” [Matthew 13:45] for, if some of the pearls had not been worthless, it would not have been said, “to a man seeking goodly pearls.” Now among the words of all kinds which profess to announce truth, and among those who report them, he seeks pearls. And let the prophets be, so to speak, the mussels which conceive the dew of heaven, and become pregnant with the word of truth from heaven, the goodly pearls which, according to the phrase here set forth, the merchantman seeks. And the leader of the pearls, on the finding of which the rest are found with it, is the very costly pearl, the Christ of God, the Word which is superior to the precious letters and thoughts in the law and the prophets, on the finding of which also all the rest are easily taken. And the Saviour holds converse with all the disciples, as merchant-men who are not only seeking the goodly pearls but who have found them and possess them, when He says, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” [Matthew 7:6] Now it is manifest that these things were said to the disciples from that which is prefixed to His words, “And seeing the multitudes He went up into the mountain, and when He had sat down His disciples came unto Him;” [Matthew 5:1] for, in the course of those words, He said, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine.” [Matthew 7:6] Perhaps, then, he is not a disciple of Christ, who does not possess pearls or the very costly pearl, the pearls, I mean, which are goodly; not the cloudy, nor the darkened, such as the words of the heterodox, which are brought forth not at the sunrise, but at the sunset or in the north, if it is necessary to take also into the comparison those things on account of which we found a difference in the pearls which are produced in different places. And perhaps the muddy words and the heresies which are bound up with works of the flesh, are the darkened pearls, and those which are produced in the marshes, not goodly pearls.
[ch. 15] Now since “every scribe who has been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven is like a man that is a householder who brings forth out of his treasury things new and old,” [Matthew 13:52] it clearly follows, by “conversion of the proposition,” as it is called, that every one who does not bring forth out of his treasury things new and old, is not a scribe who has been made a disciple unto the kingdom of heaven. We must endeavour, therefore, in every way to gather in our heart, “by giving heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching,” [1 Timothy 4:13] and by “meditating in the law of the Lord day and night,” not only the new oracles of the Gospels and of the Apostles and their Revelation, but also the old things in the law “which has the shadow of the good things to come,” [Hebrews 10:1] and in the prophets who prophesied in accordance with them. And these things will be gathered together, when we also read and know, and remembering them, compare at a fitting time things spiritual with spiritual, not comparing things that cannot be compared with one another, but things which admit of comparison, and which have a certain likeness of diction signifying the same thing, and of thoughts and of opinions, so that by the mouth of two or three or more witnesses [Matthew 18:16] from the Scripture, we may establish and confirm every word of God. By means of them also we must refute those who, as far as in them lies, cleave in two the Godhead and cut off the New from the Old, so that they are far removed from likeness to the householder who brings forth out of his treasury things new and old...
[ch. 17]...And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did [from] this James [the Just, also "the Less," son of Alphaeus] arise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the “Antiquities of the Jews” in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James. And Jude, who wrote a letter of few lines, it is true, but filled with the healthful words of heavenly grace, said in the preface, “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James.” [Jude 1] With regard to Joseph and Simon we have nothing to tell; but the saying, “And His sisters are they not all with us,” [Matthew 13:56] seems to me to signify something of this nature -- they mind our things, not those of Jesus, and have no unusual portion of surpassing wisdom as Jesus has. And perhaps by these things is indicated a new doubt concerning Him, that Jesus was not a man but something diviner, inasmuch as He was, as they supposed, the son of Joseph and Mary, and the brother of four, and of the others -- the women -- as well, and yet had nothing like to any one of His kindred, and had not from education and teaching come to such a height of wisdom and power. For they also say elsewhere, “How knows this man letters having never learned?” [John 7:15] which is similar to what is here said. Only, though they say these things and are so perplexed and astonished, they did not believe, but were offended in Him; as if they had been mastered in the eyes of their mind by the powers which, in the time of the passion, He was about to lead in triumph on the cross.
[ch. 18]...Now if any one who attends carefully to these things be hated and attacked, because of his living with rigorous austerity, and his reproof of sinners, as a man who is persecuted and reproached for the sake of righteousness, he will not only not be grieved, but will rejoice and be exceeding glad, being assured that, because of these things, he has great reward in heaven from Him who likened him to the prophets on the ground of his having suffered the same things. Therefore, he who zealously imitates the prophetic life, and attains to the spirit which was in them, must be dishonoured in the world, and in the eyes of sinners, to whom the life of the righteous man is a burden.
~ Origen (185-232 A.D.), Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Book X