Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.
["Tchaikovsky - Francesca da Rimini (Part 2) HD" and "Tchaikovsky - Francesca da Rimini (Part 3) HD"]
["Byron Janis plays Rachmaninov - Paganini Rhapsody (2/3)" and "Byron Janis plays Rachmaninov - Paganini Rhapsody (3/3)"]
As of this morning (April 5, 2012), work has been finished updating and, where need be, slightly revising all the Continental Army series articles. If interested in any or all of the new drafts, see:
[This from yesterday's Lee's Legion page]
The following group of passages comes from Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, ch. 7, first published in that ANNO MIRABILIS ~ 1776. Gibbon was far from one supportive of the revolting colonists, and here we read his most interesting defense of monarchical government; and which follows with a lead in into the curious career beginnings of Emperor Maximinus Thrax (c. 173 – 238 A.D.)
"Of the various forms of government which have prevailed in the world, an hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule. Is it possible to relate without an indignant smile, that, on the father's decease, the property of a nation, like that of a drove of oxen, descends to his infant son, as yet unknown to mankind and to himself; and that the bravest warriors and the wisest statesmen, relinquishing their natural right to empire, approach the royal cradle with bended knees and protestations of inviolable fidelity? Satire and declamation may paint these obvious topics in the most dazzling colors, but our more serious thoughts will respect a useful prejudice, that establishes a rule of succession, independent of the passions of mankind; and we shall cheerfully acquiesce in any expedient which deprives the multitude of the dangerous, and indeed the ideal, power of giving themselves a master.
"In the cool shade of retirement, we may easily devise imaginary forms of government, in which the sceptre shall be constantly bestowed on the most worthy, by the free and incorrupt suffrage of the whole community. Experience overturns these airy fabrics, and teaches us, that in a large society, the election of a monarch can never devolve to the wisest, or to the most numerous part of the people. The army is the only order of men sufficiently united to concur in the same sentiments, and powerful enough to impose them on the rest of their fellow-citizens; but the temper of soldiers, habituated at once to violence and to slavery, renders them very unfit guardians of a legal, or even a civil constitution. Justice, humanity, or political wisdom, are qualities they are too little acquainted with in themselves, to appreciate them in others. Valor will acquire their esteem, and liberality will purchase their suffrage; but the first of these merits is often lodged in the most savage breasts; the latter can only exert itself at the expense of the public; and both may be turned against the possessor of the throne, by the ambition of a daring rival.
"The superior prerogative of birth, when it has obtained the sanction of time and popular opinion, is the plainest and least invidious of all distinctions among mankind. The acknowledged right extinguishes the hopes of faction, and the conscious security disarms the cruelty of the monarch. To the firm establishment of this idea we owe the peaceful succession and mild administration of European monarchies. To the defect of it we must attribute the frequent civil wars, through which an Asiatic despot is obliged to cut his way to the throne of his fathers. Yet, even in the East, the sphere of contention is usually limited to the princes of the reigning house, and as soon as the more fortunate competitor has removed his brethren by the sword and the bowstring, he no longer entertains any jealousy of his meaner subjects. But the Roman empire, after the authority of the senate had sunk into contempt, was a vast scene of confusion. The royal, and even noble, families of the provinces had long since been led in triumph before the car of the haughty republicans. The ancient families of Rome had successively fallen beneath the tyranny of the Caesars; and whilst those princes were shackled by the forms of a commonwealth, and disappointed by the repeated failure of their posterity, it was impossible that any idea of hereditary succession should have taken root in the minds of their subjects. The right to the throne, which none could claim from birth, every one assumed from merit. The daring hopes of ambition were set loose from the salutary restraints of law and prejudice; and the meanest of mankind might, without folly, entertain a hope of being raised by valor and fortune to a rank in the army, in which a single crime would enable him to wrest the sceptre of the world from his feeble and unpopular master. After the murder of Alexander Severus, and the elevation of Maximin, no emperor could think himself safe upon the throne, and every barbarian peasant of the frontier might aspire to that
"About thirty-two years before that event, the emperor Severus, returning from an eastern expedition, halted in Thrace, to celebrate, with military games, the birthday of his younger son, Geta. The country flocked in crowds to behold their sovereign, and a young barbarian of gigantic stature earnestly solicited, in his rude dialect, that he might be allowed to contend for the prize of wrestling. As the pride of discipline would have been disgraced in the overthrow of a Roman soldier by a Thracian peasant, he was matched with the stoutest followers of the camp, sixteen of whom he successively laid on the ground. His victory was rewarded by some trifling gifts, and a permission to enlist in the troops. The next day, the happy barbarian was distinguished above a crowd of recruits, dancing and exulting after the fashion of his country. As soon as he perceived that he had attracted the emperor's notice, he instantly ran up to his horse, and followed him on foot, without the least appearance of fatigue, in a long and rapid career. 'Thracian,' said Severus with astonishment, 'art thou disposed to wrestle after thy race?' 'Most willingly, sir,' replied the unwearied youth; and, almost in a breath, overthrew seven of the strongest soldiers in the army. A gold collar was the prize of his matchless vigor and activity, and he was immediately appointed to serve in the horseguards who always attended on the person of the sovereign."
Hollywood groans under the insupportable weight of him for whom there is no real demand or interest. But then money is no object, and you have seen for yourselves for many years how much money they have to throw away without the least concern or apprehension of ever losing any of it.
As I've grown older, I've come to believe that the pre-socratics ought to be more known, quoted, and revered like scripture. Here is one maxim, for instance, of timeless application from Heraclitus:
"The sun will not overstep his bounds, for if he does, the Erinyes,* helpers of justice, will find him out."
[SOURCES--Plutarch, de Exil. II, p. 604. Context:--Each of the planets, rolling in one sphere, as in an island, preserves its order. "For the sun," says Heraclitus, "will not overstep his bounds," etc. -- http://www.classicpersuasion.org/pw/heraclitus/herpate.htm ]
So that my point is simply this, that what then is said of Helios can certainly be no less true of the glad magician and his masked super hero friend.
* The Action Extreme Team of classical antiquity.
All significant errors of premediated (as opposed to extemporaneous or impromptu) judgment of fact and or value spring from assuming the single and indivisible unity of anyone and anything; when in truth the only true single and indivisible unity is the trinity.
Going to and being qualified to remain in heaven is not unlike leaving the water to go live on dry land. And yet how many will recall (and grateful and appreciative in light of the fact) that we were ever once fish?
Excerpts from Augustine's epistles continued.
[ch. 7] 23. Aaron bears with the multitude demanding, fashioning, and worshipping an idol. Moses bears with thousands murmuring against God, and so often offending His holy name. David bears with Saul his persecutor, even when forsaking the things that are above by his wicked life, and following after the things that are beneath by magical arts, avenges his death, and calls him the Lord's anointed, because of the venerable right by which he had been consecrated. Samuel bears with the reprobate sons of Eli, and his own perverse sons, whom the people refused to tolerate, and were therefore rebuked by the warning and punished by the severity of God. Lastly, he bears with the nation itself, though proud and despising God. Isaiah bears with those against whom he hurls so many merited denunciations. Jeremiah bears with those at whose hands he suffers so many things. Zechariah bears with the scribes and Pharisees, as to whose character in those days Scripture informs us. I know that I have omitted many examples: let those who are willing and able read the divine records for themselves: they will find that all the holy servants and friends of God have always had to bear with some among their own people, with whom, nevertheless, they partook in the sacraments of that dispensation, and in so doing not only were not defiled by them, but were to be commended for their tolerant spirit, “endeavouring to keep,” as the apostle says, “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Ephesians 4:3] Let them also observe what has occurred since the Lord's coming, in which time we would find many more examples of this toleration in all parts of the world, if they could all be written down and authenticated: but attend to those which are on record. The Lord Himself bears with Judas, a devil, a thief, His own betrayer; He permits him, along with the innocent disciples, to receive that which believers know as our ransom. The apostles bear with false apostles; and in the midst of men who sought their own things, and not the things of Jesus Christ, Paul, not seeking his own, but the things of Christ, lives in the practice of a most noble toleration. In fine, as I mentioned a little while ago, the person presiding under the title of Angel over a Church, is commended, because, though he hated those that were evil, he yet bore with them for the Lord's name's sake, even when they were tried and discovered.
~ Letter 43
[ch. 5] 10. I then returned to the argument used in my former letter, in which I laboured to show that it was not right either for us to reproach them with atrocities of which some of their party had been guilty, or for them to reproach us if any such deeds were found by them to have been done on our side. For I granted that no example could be produced from the New Testament of a righteous man putting any one to death; but I insisted that by the example of our Lord Himself, it could be proved that the wicked had been tolerated by the innocent. For His own betrayer, who had already received the price of His blood, He suffered to remain undistinguished from the innocent who were with Him, even up to that last kiss of peace. He did not conceal from the disciples the fact that in the midst of them was one capable of such a crime; and, nevertheless, He administered to them all alike, without excluding the traitor, the first sacrament of His body and blood. [Matthew 26:20-28] When almost all felt the force of this argument, Fortunius attempted to meet it by saying, that before the Lord's Passion that communion with a wicked man did no harm to the apostles, because they had not as yet the baptism of Christ, but the baptism of John only. When he said this, I asked him to explain how it was written that Jesus baptized more disciples than John, though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples, that is to say, baptized by means of His disciples? [John 4:1-2] How could they give what they had not received (a question often used by the Donatists [a strict and, as construed by some, "unforgiving" sect; much like the Novationists] themselves)? Did Christ baptize with the baptism of John? I was prepared to ask many other questions in connection with this opinion of Fortunius; such as— how John himself was interrogated as to the Lord's baptizing, and replied that He had the bride, and was the Bridegroom? [John 3:29] Was it, then, lawful for the Bridegroom to baptize with the baptism of him who was but a friend or servant? Again, how could they receive the Eucharist if not previously baptized? Or how could the Lord in that case have said in reply to Peter, who was willing to be wholly washed by Him, “He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit”? [John 13:10] For perfect cleansing is by the baptism, not of John, but of the Lord, if the person receiving it be worthy; if, however, he be unworthy, the sacraments abide in him, not to his salvation, but to his perdition. When I was about to put these questions, Fortunius himself saw that he ought not to have mooted the subject of the baptism of the disciples of the Lord.
~ Letter 44
2. We exhort you in the Lord, brethren, to be steadfast in your purpose, and persevere to the end; and if the Church, your Mother, calls you to active service, guard against accepting it, on the one hand, with too eager elation of spirit, or declining it, on the other, under the solicitations of indolence; and obey God with a lowly heart, submitting yourselves in meekness to Him who governs you, who will guide the meek in judgment, and will teach them His way. Do not prefer your own ease to the claims of the Church; for if no good men were willing to minister to her in her bringing forth of her spiritual children, the beginning of your own spiritual life would have been impossible. As men must keep the way carefully in walking between fire and water, so as to be neither burned nor drowned, so must we order our steps between the pinnacle of pride and the whirlpool of indolence; as it is written, “declining neither to the right hand nor to the left.” [Deuteronomy 17:11] For some, while guarding too anxiously against being lifted up and raised, as it were, to the dangerous heights on the right hand, have fallen and been engulphed in the depths on the left. Again, others, while turning too eagerly from the danger on the left hand of being immersed in the torpid effeminacy of inaction, are, on the other hand, so destroyed and consumed by the extravagance of self-conceit, that they vanish into ashes and smoke. See then, beloved, that in your love of ease you restrain yourselves from all mere earthly delight, and remember that there is no place where the fowler who fears lest we fly back to God may not lay snares for us; let us account him whose captives we once were to be the sworn enemy of all good men; let us never consider ourselves in possession of perfect peace until iniquity shall have ceased, and “judgment shall have returned unto righteousness.”
3. Moreover, when you are exerting yourselves with energy and fervour, whatever you do, whether labouring diligently in prayer, fasting, or almsgiving, or distributing to the poor, or forgiving injuries, “as God also for Christ's sake has forgiven us,” [Ephesians 4:32] or subduing evil habits, and chastening the body and bringing it into subjection, [1 Corinthians 9:27] or bearing tribulation, and especially bearing with one another in love (for what can he bear who is not patient with his brother?), or guarding against the craft and wiles of the tempter, and by the shield of faith averting and extinguishing his fiery darts, [Ephesians 6:16] or “singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,” or with voices in harmony with your hearts; [Ephesians 5:19] — whatever you do, I say, “do all to the glory of God,” [1 Corinthians 10:31] who “works all in all,” [1 Corinthians 12:6] and be so “fervent in Spirit” Romans [12:11] that your “soul may make her boast in the Lord.” Such is the course of those who walk in the “straight way,” whose “eyes are ever upon the Lord, for He shall pluck their feet out of the net.” Such a course is neither interrupted by business, nor benumbed by leisure, neither boisterous nor languid, neither presumptuous nor desponding, neither reckless nor supine. “These things do, and the God of peace shall be with you.” [Philippians 4:9]
~ Letter 48
Now matter how good your arguments, in life you are still always and potentially a sitting duck. (From which some would conclude that one had better behave oneself.) But then whose will should decide?
Yes, Satan is the most cruel and most evil. But he is also among the most childish (if not most utterly childish there is himself.) Even so, God, to our horror, indulges him just the same.
Justice that favors us -- now that's justice!