Past Postings

Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.


Why doesn't society band together to fight the devil? Why, I would think the answer to that was obvious. Because so many of them are in his pay! And as if looking to il diablo for their livelihood and (would be) security weren't bad enough, they have no shame punishing, sometimes mercilessly, their fellow man for both real and imagined transgressions while leading the rest of us on the road to hoped for progress or else, in the case of others of basically the same ilk, the end of the world!


Although Hendrix plays guitar in the background here, this is only incidental; and the music, not to mention dancing, with Buddy and Stacey is fun and catchy in and for itself.

["Jimi Hendrix First TV Appearance 1965" -- with Buddy and Stacey and the Upsetters]


I'm just about through reading Robinson Crusoe, and to say I am extremely impressed by the masterly craftsmanship of the book, including the delineation and psychological development of its main character, hardly expresses the deep awe and admiration I feel towards Defoe's work. It is hard to believe that Defoe imagined much of his story because it comes across as so vividly real; not least of which in the minutiae and fine detail he carefully recounts. What a subtle stroke of portraiture, for instance, that it is only just before being rescued that the merchant ship's captain informs him that Crusoe might have made ink by combining charcoal and water; with the otherwise clever and inventive Crusoe, after 28 years, somewhat surprised that he hadn't thought of that himself.

As for the rescue itself, and which required Crusoe's earning it (his salvation wasn't just handed to him), I was almost on the verge of tears; in particular accompanied as it was with his Rip Van Winkle-like lonely return to "normal" life. It brought up that same old question, why should Job or Jonah be especially grateful if they had to go through all that ordeal to begin with? And what about the others who suffered, Robinson Crusoe's animals or his dutiful and more pious servant Friday; whom Crusoe speaks highly of for his unsurpassed Christian humility and fidelity; yet still refuses to treat as an equal?

There is so much to ponder and praise about this book, but I at least wanted to jot down a few remarks on how it prompted me to wonder.


Too good to be true. (Now you know why they are billionaires and you aren't.)

["Discover the Unexpected" - Sony "Make Believe" ad 2012]


He effectually dedicated his entire life to bothering and pestering people. And guess what? He's very powerful at bothering people. And by such means he now has all the money and riches he needs to kick back and live the good life he's always dreamed of.


(Here's a no brainer for, no doubt, many of you.)

If the devil tricked you into thinking all wealth and prosperity came from and originated with him, would you believe him?


[This was posted at the Lee's Legion page last week.]

One of the few we think of as a hero of the Napoleonic Wars was Pope Pius VII, and yet Emperor Napoleon, attempting to play the role of Charlemagne, could have counted him among his most formidable political adversaries; as Pius was indomitable in standing up to efforts to bring the Catholic Church in France and Italy under Napoleon's iron control. Did you know, for example, that in 1809 Napoleon was excommunicated? When he learned of it, the Emperor responded "So the pope has aimed an excommunication against me. No more half measures; he is a raving lunatic who must be confined. Have Cardinal Pacca and other adherents of the pope arrested." And indeed for this and other "offenses," Napoleon took the Pope into custody; at one point forcing him as prisoner to live in France. It is interesting to note that among what might be deemed his own offenses, it was Napoleon who actually first brought about the demise and formal end of the Holy Roman Empire, and less so Germany itself as perhaps some are inclined to assume.

It was during Pius VII's pontificate also that new Catholic dioceses were inaugurated in the United, including at Richmond, VA. and Cincinnati, OH; with the Roman Catholic Church expanding so rapidly in the U.S. in the early part of the 19th century that Catholics gradually became a major voting block; with this in some instances leading to some anti-Catholic sentiments and proponents (which ironically included both the otherwise brilliant Samuel F.B. Morse AND the "Know Nothing Party") of conspiracy theories by some American Protestants, particularly in New England. For more on these topics, see the Catholic Encyclopedia online at:


    From Napoleon's coronation mass by Paisiello:

    ["Paisiello: Mass for Napoleon Coronation - Domine salvum"]


    If this Staff Sgt. brought up on charges in Afghanistan is as guilty as they say, then we cannot help but belatedly bemoan his missing out on what doubtless would have been a highly successful and very lucrative career in films and or video game design.


    How can one not be utterly astounded at incorrigible dumbbells and witchcraft people these past 20 to 30 taking over (almost) everything? Unbelievable! But the secret of their seeming success is, as you know, con-artist and bullying spirit people and whom they have allied themselves with.


    Memories of our youth...and what a youth it was! (Check out on YT also the club house victory interviews of the same year.)

    ["The Mets Win 1969 World Series" -- from Ken Burns' "Baseball"]


    As much rhetorician, politician, and sometime poet, as a philosopher and theologian, Augustine is a thinker and author one needs to be especially careful to discern which power it is he is (most) availing himself at a given point in his writings. What a gentle soul and disciple uncanonized Origen is by comparison, and yet observe in letters 19 and (leaping ahead of ourselves here to) 143 how Augustine the tenacious fighter makes no denial of his own potential fallibility -- a point well to bear in mind when reading him (particularly when he comes to topics like pre-destination or infant baptism.) Like Thales, both knew that truth for us is, as much as anything, an innate thirst that must be quenched and satisfied; in order for it to be what it is and or (for us) must be.


    ...Meanwhile it is otherwise. I have given to the brother by whom I have sent this letter the charge of submitting all my writings to your eminent wisdom and charity, that they may be read by you. For nothing written by me will find in you a reluctant reader; for I know the goodwill which you cherish towards me. Let me say, however, that if, on reading these things, you approve of them, and perceive them to be true, you must not consider them to be mine otherwise than as given to me; and you are at liberty to turn to that same source whence proceeds also the power given you to appreciate their truth. For no one discerns the truth of that which he reads from anything which is in the mere manuscript, or in the writer, but rather by something within himself, if the light of truth, shining with a clearness beyond what is men's common lot, and very far removed from the darkening influence of the body, has penetrated his own mind. If, however, you discover some things which are false and deserve to be rejected, I would have you know that these things have fallen as dew from the mists of human frailty, and these you are to reckon as truly mine. I would exhort you to persevere in seeking the truth, were it not that I seem to see the mouth of your heart already opened wide to drink it in. I would also exhort you to cling with manly tenacity to the truth which you have learned, were it not that you already manifest in the clearest manner that you possess strength of mind and fixedness of purpose. For all that lives within you has, in the short time of our fellowship, revealed itself to me, almost as if the bodily veil had been rent asunder. And surely the merciful providence of our God can in no wise permit a man so good and so remarkably gifted as you are to be an alien from the flock of Christ.
    ~ Letter 19

    3. As for you, however, who love me warmly, if, in opposing those by whom, whether through malice or ignorance or superior intelligence, I am censured, you maintain the position that I have nowhere in my writings made a mistake, you labour in a hopeless enterprise — you have undertaken a bad cause, in which, even if myself were judge, you must be easily worsted; for it is no pleasure to me that my dearest friends should think me to be such as I am not, since assuredly they love not me, but instead of me another under my name, if they love not what I am, but what I am not; for in so far as they know me, or believe what is true concerning me, I am loved by them; but in so far as they ascribe to me what they do not know to be in me, they love another person, such as they suppose me to be. Cicero, the prince of Roman orators, says of some one, "He never uttered a word which he would wish to recall." This commendation, though it seems to be the highest possible, is nevertheless more likely to be true of a consummate fool than of a man perfectly wise; for it is true of idiots,' that the more absurd and foolish they are, and the more their opinions diverge from those universally held, the more likely are they to utter no word which they will wish to recall; for to regret an evil, or foolish, or ill-timed word is characteristic of a wise man. If, however, the words quoted are taken in a good sense, as intended to make us believe that some one was such that, by reason of his speaking all things wisely, he never uttered any word which he would wish to recall -- this we are, in accordance with sound piety, to believe rather concerning men of God, who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, than concerning the man whom Cicero commends. For my part, so far am I from this excellence, that if I have uttered no word which I would wish to recall, it must be because I resemble more the idiot than the wise man. The man whose writings are most worthy of the highest authority is he who has uttered no word, I do not say which it would: be his desire, but which it would be his duty to recall. Let him that has not attained to this occupy the second rank through his humility, I since he cannot take the first rank through his wisdom. Since he has been unable, with all his: care, to exclude every. expression whose use may be justly regretted, let him acknowledge his regret for anything which, as he may now have discovered, ought not to have been said.
    4. Since, therefore, the words spoken by me which I would if I could recall, are not, as my very dear friends suppose, few or none, but perhaps even more than my enemies imagine, I am not gratified by such commendation as Cicero's sentence, "He never uttered a word which he would wish to recall," but I am deeply distressed by the saying of Horace, "The word once uttered cannot be recalled." This is the reason why I keep beside me, longer than you wish or patiently bear, the books which I have written on difficult and important questions on the book of Genesis and the doctrine of the Trinity, hoping that, if it be impossible to avoid having some things which may deservedly be found fault with, the number of these may at least be smaller than it might have been, if, through impatient haste, the works had been published without due deliberation; for you, as your letters indicate (our holy brother and co-bishop Florentius having written me to this effect), are urgent for the publication of these works now, in order that they may be defended in my own lifetime by myself, when, perhaps, they may begin to be assailed in some particulars, either through the cavilling of enemies or the misapprehensions of friends. You say this doubtless because you think there is nothing in them which might with justice be censured, otherwise you would not exhort me to publish the books, but rather to revise them more carefully. But I fix my eye rather on those who are true judges, sternly impartial, between whom and myself I wish, in the first place, to make sure of my ground, so that the only faults coming to be censured by them may be those which it was impossible for me to observe, though using the most diligent scrutiny.
    ~ Letter 143

    5... Nay, has not He given expression to His will? Hear the gospel: it declares, “Jesus stood and cried.” [John 7:37] “Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: so shall you find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30] If these words are not heard, or are heard only with the ear, do you, Licentius, expect Augustine to issue his command to his fellow-servant, and not rather complain that the will of his Lord is despised, when He orders, nay invites, and as it were entreats all who labour to seek rest in Him? But to your strong and proud neck, forsooth, the yoke of the world seems easier than the yoke of Christ; yet consider, in regard to the yoke which He imposes, by whom and with what recompense it is imposed. Go to Campania, learn in the case of Paulinus, that eminent and holy servant of God, how great worldly honours he shook off, without hesitation, from neck truly noble because humble, in order that he might place it, as he has done, beneath the yoke of Christ; and now, with his mind at rest, he meekly rejoices in Him as the guide of his way. Go, learn with what wealth of mind he offers to Him the sacrifice of praise, rendering unto Him all the good which he has received from Him, lest, by failing to store all that he has in Him from whom he received it, he should lose it all.
    6. Why are you so excited? Why so wavering? Why do you turn your ear away from us, and lend it to the imaginations of fatal pleasures? They are false, they perish, and they lead to perdition. They are false, Licentius. “May the truth,” as you desire, “be made plain to us by demonstration, may it flow more clear than Eridanus.” The truth alone declares what is true: Christ is the truth; let us come to Him that we may be released from labour. That He may heal us, let us take His yoke upon us, and learn of Him who is meek and lowly in heart, and we shall find rest unto our souls: for His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. The devil desires to wear you as an ornament. Now, if you found in the earth a golden chalice, you would give it to the Church of God. But you have received from God talents that are spiritually valuable as gold; and do you devote these to the service of your lusts, and surrender yourself to Satan? Do it not, I entreat you. May you at some time perceive with what a sad and sorrowful heart I have written these things; and I pray you, have pity on me if you have ceased to be precious in your own eyes.
    ~ Letter 26

    3...I have been reading also some writings, ascribed to you, on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. In reading your exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, that passage came to my hand in which the Apostle Peter is called back from a course of dangerous dissimulation. To find there the defence of falsehood undertaken, whether by you, a man of such weight, or by any author (if it is the writing of another), causes me, I must confess, great sorrow, until at least those things which decide my opinion in the matter are refuted, if indeed they admit of refutation. For it seems to me that most disastrous consequences must follow upon our believing that anything false is found in the sacred books: that is to say, that the men by whom the Scripture has been given to us, and committed to writing, did put down in these books anything false. It is one question whether it may be at any time the duty of a good man to deceive; but it is another question whether it can have been the duty of a writer of Holy Scripture to deceive: nay, it is not another question— it is no question at all. For if you once admit into such a high sanctuary of authority one false statement as made in the way of duty, there will not be left a single sentence of those books which, if appearing to any one difficult in practice or hard to believe, may not by the same fatal rule be explained away, as a statement in which, intentionally, and under a sense of duty, the author declared what was not true.
    4. For if the Apostle Paul did not speak the truth when, finding fault with the Apostle Peter, he said: “If you, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”— if, indeed, Peter seemed to him to be doing what was right, and if, notwithstanding, he, in order to soothe troublesome opponents, both said and wrote that Peter did what was wrong; [Galatians 2:11-14] — if we say thus, what then shall be our answer when perverse men such as he himself prophetically described arise, forbidding marriage, [1 Timothy 4:3] if they defend themselves by saying that, in all which the same apostle wrote in confirmation of the lawfulness of marriage, [1 Corinthians 7:10-16] he was, on account of men who, through love for their wives, might become troublesome opponents, declaring what was false,— saying these things, forsooth, not because he believed them, but because their opposition might thus be averted? It is unnecessary to quote many parallel examples. For even things which pertain to the praises of God might be represented as piously intended falsehoods, written in order that love for Him might be enkindled in men who were slow of heart; and thus nowhere in the sacred books shall the authority of pure truth stand sure. Do we not observe the great care with which the same apostle commends the truth to us, when he says: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain: yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ; whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.” [1 Corinthians 15:14-15] If any one said to him, “Why are you so shocked by this falsehood, when the thing which you have said, even if it were false, tends very greatly to the glory of God?” would he not, abhorring the madness of such a man, with every word and sign which could express his feelings, open clearly the secret depths of his own heart, protesting that to speak well of a falsehood uttered on behalf of God, was a crime not less, perhaps even greater, than to speak ill of the truth concerning Him? We must therefore be careful to secure, in order to our knowledge of the divine Scriptures, the guidance only of such a man as is imbued with a high reverence for the sacred books, and a profound persuasion of their truth, preventing him from flattering himself in any part of them with the hypothesis of a statement being made not because it was true, but because it was expedient, and making him rather pass by what he does not understand, than set up his own feelings above that truth. For, truly, when he pronounces anything to be untrue, he demands that he be believed in preference, and endeavours to shake our confidence in the authority of the divine Scriptures...
    [Note. This last perspective above diverges from Origen; in that the latter does not feel he can always assume a given portion of scripture's historical accuracy.]
    ~ Letter 28