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Charlotte Mason in Modern English

Charlotte Mason's ideas are too important not to be understood and implemented in the 21st century, but her Victorian style of writing sometimes prevents parents from attempting to read her books. This is an imperfect attempt to make Charlotte's words accessible to modern parents. You may read these, print them out, share them with your local study group--but they are copyrighted to me, so please don't post or publish them without asking.
~L. N. Laurio

Ourselves, Volume 4 of the Charlotte Mason Series

Contents of Book I: Self-Knowledge
Preface
Introduction
   Ch 1 - The Country of Mansoul . . . pg 1
   Ch 2 - The Perils Of Mansoul . . . pg 5
   Ch 3 - The Government of Mansoul . . . pg 9
Part I - The House of the Body . . . pg 11
   Ch 1 - The Assistants Of The Body: Hunger . . . pg 11
   Ch 2 - The Assistants Of The Body: Thirst . . . pg 15
   Ch 3 - The Assistants Of The Body: Restlessness and Rest . . . pg 18
   Ch 4 - Assistants of the Body: Chastity . . . pg 21
   Ch 5 - The Attendants Of The Body: The Five Senses . . . pg 24
Part II - The House of Mind . . . pg 33
   Ch 1 - Ourselves . . . pg 33
   Ch 2 - My Lord Intellect . . . pg 35
   Ch 3 - The Demons Of The Intellect . . . pg 45
   Ch 4 - My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination . . . pg 48
   Ch 5 - The Beauty Sense . . . pg 54
   Ch 6 - My Lord Chief Attorney-General, Reason . . . pg 56
   Ch 7 - Managers of the Revenue, The Desires (Part 1) . . . pg 66
   Ch 8 - Managers of the Revenue, The Desires (Part 2) . . . pg 73
Part III - The House of Heart: Love . . . pg 81
   Ch 1 - The Ways Of Love . . . pg 81
   Ch 2 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Pity . . . pg 87
   Ch 3 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Goodwill . . . pg 91
   Ch 4 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Sympathy . . . pg 95
   Ch 5 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Thoughtfulness . . . pg 99
   Ch 6 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Magnanimity . . . pg 103
   Ch 7 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Gratitude . . . pg 108
   Ch 8 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Courage . . . pg 112
   Ch 9 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Loyalty . . . pg 118
   Ch 10 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Humility . . . pg 126
   Ch 11 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Cheerfulness . . . pg 131
Part III - The House of Heart: Justice . . . pg 136
   Ch 12 - Justice, Universal . . . pg 136
   Ch 13 - Justice To Others . . . pg 140
   Ch 14 - Truth: Justice In Word . . . pg 150
   Ch 15 - Spoken Truth . . . pg 156
   Ch 16 - Some Causes Of Lying . . . pg 163
   Ch 17 - Integrity: Justice In Action . . . pg 167
   Ch 18 - Opinions: Justice In Thought . . . pg 179
   Ch 19 - Principles: Justice In Our Motives . . . pg 187
   Ch 20 - Justice To Ourselves: Self-Control . . . pg 191
Part IV - Vocation . . . pg 204

Contents of Book II: Self-Direction
Introduction . . . pg 1
Part I - The Conscience
   Ch 1 - The Court Of Appeal . . . pg 5
   Ch 2 - Teaching the Conscience . . . pg 9
   Ch 3 - Conscience's Rulings In The House Of The Body: Moderation . . . pg 12
   Ch 4 - The Rulings of Conscience in the House of the Body: Purity (Part 1) . . . pg 21
   Ch 5 - The Rulings Of the Conscience In the House Of The Body: Purity (Part 2) . . . pg 29
   Ch 6 - The Rulings of Conscience in the House of the Body: Purity (part 3) . . . pg 33
   Ch 7 - The Rulings of the Conscience in the House of the Body: Fortitude . . . pg 41
   Ch 8 - The Rulings of the Conscience in the House of the Body: Prudence . . . pg 49
   Ch 9 - Opinions in the Air . . . pg 56
   Ch 10 - The Untaught Conscience . . . pg 60
   Ch 11 - The Instructed Conscience . . . pg 68
   Ch 12 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: Poetry, Novels and Essays . . . pg 71
   Ch 13 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: History and Philosophy . . . pg 74
   Ch 14 - Some of Conscience's Instructors: Theology . . . pg 79
   Ch 15 - Some Instructors of Conscience: Nature, Science, Art . . . pg 97
   Ch 16 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: Sociology, Self-Knowledge . . . pg 104
   Ch 17 - Conviction of Sin . . . pg 109
   Ch 18 - Temptation . . . pg 114
   Ch 19 - Duty and Law . . . pg 121
Part II - The Will
   Ch 1 - The Will-less Life . . . pg 126
   Ch 2 - The Will And Willfulness . . . pg 129
   Ch 3 - The Will Itself Is Neither Moral Nor Immoral . . . pg 137
   Ch 4 - The Will and Its Friends . . . pg 141
   Ch 5 - The Functions of the Will . . . pg 143
   Ch 6 - The Scope of the Will . . . pg 147
   Ch 7 - Self-Control, Self-Restraint, Self-Command, Self-Denial . . . pg 151
   Ch 8 - The Effort of Decision . . . pg 156
   Ch 9 - Intention, Purpose, Resolution . . . pg 160
   Ch 10 - A Way Of The Will . . . pg 165
   Ch 11 - Freewill . . . pg 170
Part III - The Soul
   Ch 1 - What The Soul is Capable Of . . . pg 174
   Ch 2 - The Disabilities Of The Soul . . . pg 177
   Ch 3 - The Knowledge of God . . . pg 182
   Ch 4 - Prayer . . . pg 188
   Ch 5 - Thanksgiving . . . pg 191
   Ch 6 - Praise . . . pg 194
   Ch 7 - Faith in God . . . pg 197
Appendix - Discussion Questions . . . pg 203
               

Self-Knowledge: Book I of Ourselves, Volume 4 of the Charlotte Mason Series

vol 4 paraphrase preface

Preface to the 'Home Education' Series

The future of education both in England and overseas is vague and depressing. We hear various urgent pleas--science should be the focus of education, we need to reform the way we teach foreign language or math, we should incorporate more crafts and nature study to train the eye and hand, students need to learn how to write English and must therefore be familiar with history and literature. And on the other hand, we're being pressured to make education more vocational and utilitarian. But there's no coherent principle, no real aim. There's no philosophy of education. A stream can't rise any higher than the lake it flows from. In the same way, no educational work can rise above the thought and purpose behind it. Maybe this is the reason for all the failures and disappointments of our educational system.

Those of us who have spent many years researching the gentle, elusive vision of education have come to understand that various approaches have a law behind them, but we haven't yet discovered what it is. We can make out a dim outline of it, but that's it. We know that it's all-encompassing. There's no part of a child's home life or school work that isn't affected by that law. It's illuminating. It shows the value (or worthlessness) of all the thousands of various educational systems and programs. It isn't just a light, it's also a measure. It sets the standard by which to measure all educational work, whether small or great. That law is impartial and gracious. It will embrace anything that's true, honest, and respected. It sets no limits or obstacles, except where too much would be harmful. And the educational path that the law reveals is continuous and always advancing forward. There is no magical transition stage, progress is steady from birth to old age, except that, whatever habits are learned in youth will determine what choices are made even in adulthood. When we finally see the law for what it is, we'll find that certain German thinkers--Kant, Herbart, Lotze, Froebel--were right when they said that it's necessary to believe in God, so the most important thing to learn is knowledge of God. That should be the priority of education. There's one more way that we'll be able to recognize this perfect law that gives educational freedom when we see it. It's been said that, 'The best thing about absolute truth is that it works under every condition we can think of.' And that will be true of this law. No matter what experimental test or logical investigation we give it, it will pass.

We still haven't seen an outline or summary of this law. So, until we have something definite, we'll have to fall back on Froebel or Herbart, or, if we adhere to a different school of thought, Locke or Spencer. But we aren't content. We feel dissatisfied. Is it a divine discontent? If we found a workable, effective philosophy of education, we'd welcome it as deliverance from our perplexity. Before we find this great deliverance, there will probably be lots of tentative attempts. They'll all have the characters of a philosophy, more or less. Specifically, they'll have a central idea, a basic concept with various details working in harmony with it. This workable, effective theory of education could be called a system of psychology. It would have to work well with the accepted ideas of the time. It wouldn't think of education as an isolated, shut-off compartment, but as a natural part of life, like birth, growing, marriage, or work. It would create a bond between the student and the great wide world, connected at many different points where interest was sparked. I know that some educational experts want to create that connection in many subjects, but their attempts are too random. They give a saying here, an idea there, but there's no common foundation to unify and support education as a complete unit.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I don't want to seem presumptuous. I hope that there will be lots of ideas submitted towards a working philosophy of education, and that each one will bring us one step closer to discovering the best possible education. In that spirit, I offer my idea. The central foundational thought of my idea will sound rather obvious: the child is a whole, complete person with all the possibilities and capabilities already included in his personality. Some of the implications of this idea have been exploited by educational experts, and fragments of this idea are already pretty commonly accepted by common sense. For instance, take the aspect that education is the science of making relationships. That concept seems to solve the curriculum question. It shows that the main purpose of education is putting the child in living touch with as much of nature and thoughts as possible. If you add a couple of skills that help the child self-educate, then the student will go into the world after graduation with some ability to manage and control himself, a few hobbies to enrich his leisure time, and an interest in lots of things. I have two reasons for even attempting to offer my educational idea, even if my idea is tentative and will probably be replaced by an even better idea. For the last 30-40 years, I've worked unceasingly to come up with a philosophical educational theory that works practically. Also, each of the following educational principles is something that came about by inductive processes, and has been proved with long and varied experiments. I hesitate to share my findings because I know that, in the field of education, there are many workers more capable and more knowledgeable than I am. Even they aren't bold enough to offer answers because the footing is so precarious! They are like the 'angels who fear to tread.'

But, if only to encourage their effort, I offer an amended version of a synopsis I included in the other volumes of my 'Home Education Series.' My approach isn't methodic. It's more incidental--here a little, there a little. That seemed like the best way to make it practical for parents and teachers. I should add that the various essays in this book were originally written for the Parents National Educational Union (PNEU) to provide the society with a unified theory.

'As soon as the soul spots truth, the soul recognizes it as her first and oldest friend.'
'The repercussions of truth are great. Therefore we must not neglect to correctly judge what's true, and what's not.'
-- Benjamin Whichcote

Whichcote said that the end result of truth is so great that we must be careful to make sure that what we live by is, indeed, the truth.

1. Children are born persons - they are not blank slates or embryonic oysters who have the potential of becoming persons. They already are persons.

2. Although children are born with a sin nature, they are neither all bad, nor all good. Children from all walks of life and backgrounds may make choices for good or evil.

3. The concepts of authority and obedience are true for all people whether they accept it or not. Submission to authority is necessary for any society or group or family to run smoothly.

4. Authority is not a license to abuse children, or to play upon their emotions or other desires, and adults are not free to limit a child's education or use fear, love, power of suggestion, or their own influence over a child to make a child learn.

5. The only three means a teacher may use to educate children are the child's natural environment, the training of good habits and exposure to living ideas and concepts. This is what CM's motto "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" means.

6. "Education is an atmosphere" doesn't mean that we should create an artificial environment for children, but that we use the opportunities in the environment he already lives in to educate him. Children learn from real things in the real world.

7. "Education is a discipline" means that we train a child to have good habits and self-control, both in actions and in thought.

8. "Education is a life" means that education should apply to body, soul and spirit. The mind needs ideas of all kinds, so the child's curriculum should be varied and generous with many subjects included.

9. The child's mind is not a bucket to be filled with facts that bunch up into thought-groups, as Herbart said.

10. The child's mind is also not a bag for holding knowledge. It is a living thing and needs knowledge to grow. As the stomach was designed to digest food, the mind is designed to digest knowledge and needs no special training or exercises to make it ready to learn.

11. This is not just splitting hairs; Herbart's philosophy that the mind is like an empty stage waiting for bits of information to be inserted puts too much responsibility on the teacher to prepare detailed lessons. Students taught this way have lots of knowledge taught at them, without getting much out of it.

12. Instead, we believe that children's minds are capable of digesting real knowledge, so we provide a rich, generous curriculum that exposes children to many interesting, living ideas and concepts. From this principle, we can deduce that--

13. "Education is the science of relations," which means that children have minds capable of making their own connections with knowledge and experiences, so we make sure the child learns about nature, science and art, knows how to make things, reads many living books and that they are physically fit. Our job isn't to teach everything about everything, but to inspire interests that will help children make connections with the world around him.

14. Children have two guides to help them in their moral and intellectual growth--"the way of the will," and "the way of reason."

15. Children must learn the difference between "I want" and "I will." They must learn to distract their thoughts when tempted to do what they may want but know is not right, and think of something else, or do something else, interesting enough to occupy their mind. After a short diversion, their mind will be refreshed and able to will with renewed strength.

16. Children must learn not to lean too heavily on their own reasoning. Reasoning is good for logically demonstrating mathematical truth, but unreliable when judging ideas because our reasoning will justify all kinds of erroneous ideas if we really want to believe them.

17. Knowing that reason is not to be trusted as the final authority in forming opinions, children must learn that their greatest responsibility is choosing which ideas to accept or reject. Good habits of behavior and lots of knowledge will provide the discipline and experience to help them do this.

Principles 15, 16 and 17 should save children from the sort of careless thinking that causes people to exist at a lower level of life than they need to.

18. We teach children that all truths are God's truths, and that secular subjects are just as divine as religious ones. Children don't go back and forth between two worlds when they focus on God and then their school subjects; there is unity among both because both are of God and, whatever children study or do, God is always with them.

These books are called the 'Home Education Series' based on the title of the first volume, not because they deal wholly or in principle with 'home' as opposed to 'school' education.

Preface

'Who was it who said that the appeal to 'know thyself' came straight from heaven? They were right, it's as true as Gospel. It came straight from God to the person who originated the saying.' ~ Life of Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Perhaps the reason we fail to pass on moral, Christian principles to our youth is because our own understanding is sketchy and based mostly on appeals to the emotions through songs and stories. Those may be inspiring, but we can't rely only on them. Emotional response is short-lived, and the heart is dulled and hardened with too much repetition. On the other hand, intellectual knowledge gleaned from clear and ordered teaching seems to be long-lasting and steady. Children and youths are as able to take in what's presented to their minds as adults are. And, like adults, they enjoy an intellectual appeal to their understanding when it reveals to them the basics of human nature, which we all share.

In this volume, I've assumed that everyone has the potential for all beautiful and noble possibilities--but that each person is also subject to attacks and obstacles in various forms. We need to be aware of what they are so that we can 'watch and pray.' Rules about do's and don'ts are boring to children and adults alike, but a well-planned presentation of the possibilities that lie in human nature and their corresponding risks are sure to be enlightening and stimulating. This book is intended as an appeal to students to make the most of themselves. God's law tells them to do this and they have vast possibilities within themselves to succeed.

Book I (Self-Knowledge) was written for students under age sixteen. Book II (Self-Direction) might appeal to students of all ages. Young men and women especially might welcome the opportunity to work through some of the questions that puzzle them in their own minds. This book can be used by parents and elementary teachers to help with formation of character [starting with children as young as 8 or 9]. If even six students in every school using this book got a vision of what was possible for them, and what to aim for, we would see some improvement in character across the entire nation in a single generation. Our moral teaching has this in common with our intellectual education: we focus too much on utilitarian purposes. But something deeper than earning a wage is needed if we want to inspire students and see profound changes. My intended audience is boarding school students in the middle to upper forms (Forms III and up, which correspond to grades 7-12), as well as those indicated above.

The two books have been published separately so that the appropriate volume can be put in the hands of the students who need it. But, since parents and teachers should study this material themselves before they teach it to their students, both books count as one single volume (Volume 4) in the 'Home Education' series. There are questions at the back for more serious students. The casual ordering of students by adults might have more meaning if it were done according to the laws of human nature as outlined in these books. The scheme of thought seems like common sense morality, as laid out in Scripture.

I've expanded the systems of morality that expert ethics authors formulated. I wanted to include every possible kind of goodness that might be lying dormant in normal human beings. I've tried to define certain limits of reason, conscience and the will. Disregarding those elements is a common cause for bad conduct.

The existence of God, man's capacity to relate to God, and the crippled and incomplete character that results when man fails to relate to God are all discussed in the book. These issues are the kind of knowledge that relates to the purpose of man. The allusions and quotes that enhance and illuminate the text were carefully chosen from sources that would be familiar to everyone. The object is to hold the reader's attention and focus it on the teaching of Sir Walter Scott, or Plutarch, rather than to use unknown sources. Most people feel more comfortable with what they already know something about.

AMBLESIDE, May 1905

A rather arbitrary use of terms like 'demon' has been used where it would make the point clearly.

vol 4 paraphrase: introduction

Introduction

'Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control--these are the only way to sovereign power.' -- TENNYSON

A Dual Self

The very concept of self-management and self-perception implies that we have a duality within ourselves. There's a part of us that reverences, and a part that is reverenced. There's a part of ourselves who knows, and a part who is known. Part of us controls, and part is controlled. This dual self is probably our deepest, most intimate consciousness, yet our least-acknowledged. We're a little intimidated by metaphysics, but even more afraid of self-consciousness, and we don't bother to consider why we're intimidated.

It's a good thing that we're hesitant to wander into the regions of the mind that we don't understand because we wouldn't know how to bring back anything good from there. And it's good that we shrink from the kind of consciousness of self that makes us aware of our individual quirks so that we become sensitive, or embarrassed, or even proud. We've let our fear of danger, like monsters on the right and on the left, keep us from entering the path at all--yet this path is the way to the haven where we want to be.

This isn't the time or place to try to give psychological explanations of our two selves. Our task at hand is to gain a clear idea of what we'll call our objective self, whose behavior is controlled by our just-as-troublesome subjective self, which we're all unpleasantly too much aware of.

The Unlovable Self

One of the causes of misery for sensitive children and youths is a sense of worthlessness of their poor, aspiring and all-too-prominent self. They're painfully aware that they're irritable, awkward, rude and hateful. How can anybody like them? If their mother does, then it must be because she doesn't see how unlikable they really are. Vanity, which seeks for the approval of others, is possible for anyone, even a good-natured child. But I doubt that conceit is possible for anyone other than unexceptional minds who are content to shape their opinions upon what they think those around them think, even when it comes to their own opinion of themselves.

But for the uneasy youth whose primary job in life is navigating an unknown boat, a little bit of knowledge about what the boat can carry and what it can do are helpful. It also helps to relieve a person from being obsessed with the subjective self. We become aware of it on the day we eat fruit from the tree of knowledge, and leave the bliss of unconscious awareness as innocent children. That awakening happens to all of us. It isn't necessarily something to feel guilty about, but it does make many of us uneasy and causes us to doubt our worth.

The Great Self

Any attempt to figure out where each of the selves starts and stops baffles us. We can't tell where one starts and the other one ends. But after convincing ourselves that we're just one person, we become aware again of ourselves as two. Maybe we can say that one is the unsatisfactory self, and the other is the self of great and beautiful possibilities, which we sense is an integral part of us. That may be the best we can do at understanding this difficult concept about our nature. It might help to think of the human soul as a huge country estate that we have to manage. By soul, I mean all that we are, both inside and out: all our powers of thought, knowing, loving, making decisions, appreciating, willing, achieving. What is a human soul worth? There's only one authoritative estimate. When the soul is put on a scale against the whole world, then the whole world, with all its beauty and glory, is as if it weighed nothing in comparison. But we miss the value of these words of Jesus because we assume He's speaking of a relative value, not an intrinsic value. We don't realize that the soul of a man is infinitely great, beautiful and precious. This is partly because religion mostly teaches self-abasement and reserve, even though that's not what Jesus taught.

Emily Bronte

M. Maeterlinck, a wise author from Belgium, proved how great the soul is. His proof is all the more remarkable because he doesn't approach it from a religious perspective, but as an outside witness. He probably hasn't added anything new to the field of psychology, but he has reminded us of the great things about life. We need to be reminded of this again and again, so he's done us a service. His evidence is Emily Bronte. She was a delicate girl raised practically in isolation, in a remote parsonage. Yet she was able to write about the depths of human passion, feel human tragedy, and articulate fruits of human wisdom. That shows the immeasurable range of the human soul. It's even more surprising because she wasn't especially virtuous, nor especially accomplished as compared to someone like Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, Rembrandt, Dante, Darwin or Howard. When we consider them, we begin to see how immense the soul really is, and how large God must be to be able to measure all things, and affect all people. But we don't give enough credit to the great men in the world because we can only measure their greatness against our own souls. We can't even conceive of how great they really were.

Is there any such thing as a little-minded person? Maybe not. Perhaps all the qualities that make a person great exist in varying amounts in all of us, but some are developed more than others. That seems to be what Christ taught, and many poor, seemingly insignificant souls have proven to be large enough to make room for His greatness.

But here is another example of the lesser being blessing (or cursing?) the greater being. Our own under-developed souls are distressfully lacking. Yet, with our pitiful souls, we determine the eternal destiny of our greater self, whose limits have never been discovered. It's like the relationship between a country and its government. The country is the more important of the two, but the country has to depend on its government, for better or worse, to develop it.

The Governing Powers

If the soul is like a country depending on its government to fulfill all it can be as a person, then who's doing the governing? I can't use any answers from psychology yet because psychology is still trying to decide whether the spirit exists or not! Intuition tells me that our ancient guide, philosophy, won't provide the full answer. What all people have found to be true of human nature should help in deciding how to conduct our inner life in the same way that what's found to be true of the world (like, the times of the rising of the sun) helps us plan our physical life. The way it seems is more useful for our purposes, even if it isn't psychologically accurate.

I don't know of any book to recommend for parents to help teach their children how to live the way I've indicated. The books I know of are either specifically religious, or specifically about ethics. So I've written an outline myself of the kind of teaching I have in mind. It can be used with bright children, or youths from ages 8 or 9 and up.

How To Use This Book

I think that, when mothers want to teach something to their children, they should learn what they want to teach, and then talk about it, a little at a time, perhaps as informal Sunday talks. This would help children to have a sense that our relationship with God is something that embraces every facet of our lives. Older students might prefer to read the book to themselves, or with their parents. If the book is done as a family, the more advanced teaching that's appropriate for the older students will go over the heads of their younger siblings.


Self-Direction: Book II of Ourselves, Volume 4 of the Charlotte Mason Series

Book I––Self-Knowledge

vol 4 paraphrase pg 1

'Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
These three are the only way your life can have sovereign power.'
-- from Tennyson

Introduction

Chapter 1 - The Country of Mansoul

The Riches in Mansoul

'Don't you like fair lands?' asks King Alfred, and then he answers himself, 'Why shouldn't I like fair lands? They're the most beautiful part of God's creation.' And of all the beautiful places God has made, the most beautiful is the Kingdom of Mansoul [i.e., the region within our minds.]

Almost everywhere there, the soil is rich and fertile. Wherever it's cultivated, there are meadows, corn fields, and orchards with all kinds of different fruits. There are wild hidden crevices, with rippling streams bordered by forget-me-nots and buttercups, and birds sing there and build their nests. There are hazel bushes where you can gather nuts, and forests with huge trees. There are also wildernesses. They're desolate, unsightly swamps,

vol 4 paraphrase pg 2

but they only need a pair of reliable, industrious hands to reclaim them and make them as fertile and beautiful as the rest of the country. Deep under the ground are oil wells for the taking to provide heating fuel so that every home can be kept warm and cozy. There are mines, too, where there are practical metals like copper and metal, and beautiful riches like silver, gold and precious jewels. When the miners are tired, they can stop and rest right there because those places have shade trees and pleasant fields for recreation. If you listen, you can hear the laughter of children as they play games and sports.

The Rivers and Cities

This place has broad, deep rivers for wading and swimming. Ships can sail on them to carry the things produced in Mansoul to other countries, and to bring back people and goods from faraway ports. Mansoul has bustling cities that are pleasant because, although there are the necessary factories to make the things that are needed for living and for exporting, there are also beautiful buildings, valued for the treasures they hold. There are art galleries full of wonderful rare paintings by the best artists from all different countries, statues of respected heroes, symphony halls with grand pianos that can roar like thunder, or tinkle like a baby's laugh, and all kinds of other instruments. Great musicians come here to play wonderful compositions they've written. The people of Mansoul listen to these pieces and great, inspiring thoughts swell inside them. Each person feels as if he could get up and do something heroic.

vol 4 paraphrase pg 3

The Books and Playgrounds

Mansoul has impressive libraries that contain every worthy, delightful book that was ever written. Whenever somebody takes a book off the shelf and sits down to read, the author comes up to him, leans over his shoulder, and talks to him about the book. In fact, artists do the same thing in the art galleries. They come and explain what they meant in each of their paintings.

None of Mansoul's cities is so built-up that there's no room for parks, baseball fields, game fields, and places for people to get together for picnicking, dancing and singing. Nobody needs to be poor in Mansoul. If anybody is poor, or neglected or malnourished, it's for reasons we'll discuss later.

Its Churches and its Delectable Mountains

The most valuable treasures of this country are kept in its most beautiful buildings, which are its churches. The churches are always open so that people can go in and come out any time of day and talk with God as often as they want, and God comes and speaks with them there. But He doesn't speak to them only in the church. He walks around everywhere in that country--in the workshops, in the art galleries, in the fields. People consult Him about everything, no matter how trivial or how great, and He advises the people about all of them.

There's a lot more I could say about this Kingdom of Mansoul, but I don't want to leave out the most important thing--the 'Delectable Mountains' where people go to breathe the mountain air, gather the lovely mountain wildflowers, and stimulate their lungs and limbs with the refreshing effort of climbing. From the top, they get a spectacular view that fills them with joy. They can see a good portion of

vol 4 paraphrase pg 4

Mansoul from there, but not all of it. Oddly enough, no map has ever been made of the country because so much of it is unexplored, and nobody has discovered how far its boundaries go. That's exciting and pleasant for the people because, even though here and there they border another country just like theirs, there are other places where the country goes on and on farther than the eye can see, where no man has ever been. Those parts of the country might also be rich and beautiful.

vol 4 paraphrase pg 5

Chapter 2 - The Perils Of Mansoul

It's Government's Fault

You're probably thinking of how beautiful and rich a country Mansoul must be. But, like any other country, it's subject to many dangers. But, unlike many other countries, Mansoul has the means to escape from any of the dangers that threaten it from time to time. In other countries, the government is blamed if the poor go hungry, or if the rich are annoyed because a rooster crows too early in the morning. Those accusations are usually nonsense, but in Mansoul it isn't nonsense to blame the government for everything that goes wrong because Mansoul's government actually has the power to prevent most of the evils that happen in its country. You'll hear more about how the country is governed later. But for now, here are some of the dangers that can overtake Mansoul and its citizens.

Danger of Laziness

Perhaps the most common danger is an epidemic of laziness that spreads over the whole country. The garbage collectors sit around and doze with folded arms, letting trash and filth accumulate in the streets. The farmers and harvesters say, 'Who cares?' and don't even go out to plow or plant seeds. Fruit drops off the trees and rots because nobody bothers to pick it up.

vol 4 paraphrase pg 6

The ships lie abandoned in the harbors because nobody is interested in anything from overseas. The librarians leave the books to get dusty and eaten by insects, and they don't go out to find new books. Paintings get faded and tattered because nobody takes care of them. Nobody thinks it's worthwhile to do anything at all. The people still play, but play without work gets boring after awhile, and soon they don't even bother doing that anymore. So, the people, no matter what job they're supposed be doing, sit around with dull eyes and folded arms, nodding off to sleep.

Danger of Fire

Another risk in the country of Mansoul is the threat of great blazes. Sometimes a subversive troublemaker will land at one of Mansoul's ports from some foreign country, perhaps with the intent of deliberately setting fire to the best things in Mansoul. Or someone may set fire to things by accident because he doesn't know how flammable they are. And once the fire has started, the wind carries the flames over miles and miles of countryside. Everything in its path is consumed--distinguished buildings, precious works of art, farms with corn already stacked. Only devastation and ruin are left in its blackened path. Sometimes those fires are started right beneath the ground of Mansoul itself. I mentioned earlier that the country has great underground pools of fuel. Sometimes flammable gases rise up from them. If a spark is dropped anywhere near these gasses, that's all it takes to cause a wide blaze. Mansoul needs to be as careful as the people of Switzerland, where a strong wind called the Fohn sometimes blows and everyone has to put out their fires and lamps.

Danger of Plague, Flood, and Famine

Sometimes there's a plague epidemic because

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the houses, the streets and barns aren't kept clean and fresh, and the drains are allowed to back up.

Sometimes the springs swell and overflow in the hills, the rivers rise and rush over the banks, and there's a flood. But that's not always a bad thing because a lot of rotten garbage is swept away. land that's been washed by floodwaters is very fertile afterwards.

Sometimes crops may fail even though the land has been diligently tended and good seed has been planted. But neighboring regions are kind and willing to help Mansoul in times of need, and the next year's crops are usually abundant.

Danger of Dissent

Another occasional cause for misery in Mansoul is that a spirit of contention breaks out among a community's citizens. It sometimes becomes so violent that it results in a devastating civil war. Servants and employees refuse to obey their masters, the masters don't consider their workers, and even bicker among themselves. One employee refuses to do his own job and insists on doing someone else's job. All necessary work is neglected, and the people are easy targets for envy and discontent. I could tell you more causes of misery in Mansoul, but I'll only mention one more. It is by far the worst evil to overtake the country.

Danger of Darkness

As lovely and pleasant as Mansoul is when things are going well, sometimes chilling, soaking mists come from it. They're so dense and dark that not even a ray of sun can penetrate. There's no light, no warmth. Nobody can see where they're going for so long that people begin to say, 'The sun doesn't exists any more,' and some of the more foolish people say, 'There never was a sun

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and there never will be.' If they can't see the sun, then of course, they can't see each other, either, and they bump into each other in the darkness. It's not uncommon for some places, especially low-lying valleys, to have frequent fog. But no fog is as thick and heavy, or lasts as long, as the mists in the Kingdom of Mansoul. The interesting thing about these mists is that they can be controlled by the government, especially the Prime Minister. I can't fully explain why that's true here, but I'll explain more later.

But, just because these dangers threaten Mansoul, we shouldn't think that it's an unhappy place. On the contrary, it's radiant and beautiful, busy and happy, full of lots of different interests and the joy of living--as long as the government takes care of its responsibilities.

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Chapter 3 - The Government of Mansoul

There's a Kingdom of Mansoul Within Each of Us

I'm going to quit talking about the Kingdom of Mansoul in riddles. You've probably found it difficult to figure all of the details out, but that's okay. Whatever doesn't make sense now will be clearer some day. You might even come up with a better, truer meaning than I originally had in mind! There's a Kingdom of Mansoul inside every human being, no matter how old or how young. Being born as a human being is like inheriting a huge, beautiful estate--that's how much possibility we have within us for goodness, greatness, heroism, wisdom, and knowledge. That's why I said that the boundaries of Mansoul have never been discovered. Nobody knows the limits of a person's possibilities. Many people go through their entire lives and never realize this. They have no idea how much they're capable of doing, feeling, knowing, being. So their lives turn out poor, stifled and disappointing.

Mansoul is like a great, rich country with a more or less powerful, peaceful government. There's a part of each of us that has the job of managing and making the best use of all that's within us. We'll call that part of ourselves the Government.

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Officers of State

There are many Officers of State in Mansoul. Each has his own distinct job to do to keep Mansoul running smoothly. If every one does his own work, and if they all work together, then the Kingdom of Mansoul is happy and prosperous. I'll list the Officers, and later in the book we'll discuss what each one's job is. The lowest ones are the Assistants of the Body, or what we call appetites. Then come the Managers of the Revenue, also called Desires. Then the Managers of the Treasury, also called the Affections. Then the Foreign Secretary, or the Intellect, and his co-workers, My Lord Chief Explorer (the imagination), and My Lord President of The Arts (the beauty sense). Then is the Lord Attorney-General, that is, the Reason. Then the Lords of the House of Heart, which are the Lord Chief Justice (the conscience), and the Prime Minister (the will). There are various other Officers of State that we won't name now, but these are the main ones. Above and beyond all of these is the King. Mansoul is a kingdom, after all.

The Four Houses

We might think of the various Officers as sitting in the specific House of Government where they're needed. There are four Houses. They are the House of Body, the House of the Mind, the House of the Heart, and the House of the Soul.

Keep in mind that these aren't different parts of a person. People aren't divided into separate parts. No, they are different abilities that every person has. Each person must use them if they're going to make the most of the great inheritance they have--the inheritance that every person comes into because they were born as a human being.

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PART I - The House Of The Body

Chapter 1 - The Assistants Of The Body: Hunger

The Work of the Appetites

First, we'll consider the Assistants of the Body, not because they're the most important Officers of State, but because in Mansoul, as in every other country in the world, so much is influenced by the least important people. The Assistants of the Body have the power to make everything else in Mansoul go smoothly or miserably.

The well-being of the whole country depends on them. They build up the Body, and they make sure that there will be other Mansouls to replace this one when it passes away. If each Assistant took care of its own work and didn't meddle with someone else's business, everything would be fine. But there's a lot of rivalry in the government. Every one of the members tries to convince the Prime Minister that Mansoul's happiness depends on him. But if one of these members gets too much power, disorder is the result.

How Hunger Behaves

The Assistant called Hunger is the first of the appetites we notice. He's

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very helpful. If he doesn't join us for breakfast in the morning, not enough food is taken in and neither work nor play goes well in Mansoul that day. If Hunger doesn't sit down to meals for whole weeks at a time, the Body will begin to show thin fingers and hollow cheeks as evidence that a good servant hasn't been doing his job. He is easily offended. If someone says, 'I hate' bread and milk, or eggs, or chicken, or whatever, and the person dwells on it, Hunger is repulsed and leaves. But if a person sits down to meals without dwelling too much on what they're eating, and thinks of something more interesting, Hunger will help them little by little to clear their plate. And the result is that nutrients and energy are taken in to build up the Body. Hunger isn't only fond of treats. He likes things plain and good. But if a person eats too many sweets and rich foods, Hunger changes his character and becomes gluttony.

Hunger is a Servant, But Gluttony is a Ruler

When Hunger becomes Gluttony, he tries to get the ear of the Prime Minister. He says, 'Leave it all to me, I'll make Mansoul happy. The only thing he'll want is what I can give him.' Then the trouble begins. When Hunger was a helpful servant, Mansoul didn't spend too much effort thinking about his meals until meal time, and then he ate what was set before him with a healthy appetite. But Gluttony is different. Gluttony leads his victim to the bake shop window and makes him think how much he'd like this or that treat. All his pocket money goes for cookies, donuts and candy. During breakfast, he thinks about what he wants for dessert at dinner. And then he can't wait for it, and he pleads to have it before dinner! He's always begging for a little bit of cake, or a spoonful of jelly.

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or an extra piece of chocolate. He doesn't pay attention to his lessons because he has a dollar in his pocket and is preoccupied thinking about what he'll buy with it. Or, if he's older, he might have a few dollars, but his thoughts are the same. Gluttony gets it all. A greedy person snubs his nose at healthy meals and doesn't care about working or playing because Gluttony has the ear of the Prime Minister. Almost all of Mansoul's attention is on one thing - 'What can I eat?' Gluttony begins with a little boy, and sticks with him his whole life. But, as an adult, instead of obsessing over chocolate caramels, he thinks about multi-course gourmet dinners that last for hours.

How Gluttony Affects the Body

But you might think, if Hunger is supposed to build up the body, then doesn't Gluttony do the job that much faster? It's true that gluttony helps a person to put on weight, but it does it by adding fat instead of the muscles that make the body strong and useful. Gluttony doesn't build muscle, and it causes illness and health risks.

How to Avoid Gluttony

The best way to keep this enemy at bay is to stick to Hunger's rules. The most important one is--don't obsess over your meals until it's meal time, and, during the meal, talk and think about something more interesting than food. As far as treats, we all want treats now and then. But we should enjoy the chocolate or fruit we get at the table, and not think any more about it. Sweets and fruits aren't always a part of the daily routine and there's nothing wrong with using a certain amount of pocket money for them, especially in order to share them. But a child who spends all or most

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of his week's allowance on things to eat, or who is always begging for a snack, is a poor victim of Gluttony. The best plan is to have something else to spend your money on, a collection, perhaps, or savings to buy a present or some major purchase that's worth having. Gluttony will leave you alone when you stop thinking of only food and treats.

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Chapter 2 - The Assistants Of The Body: Thirst

Thirst Likes Cool Water

Another very helpful Assistant of the Body is Thirst. You'll see how useful he really is when you remember that the major part of the human body's weight is made up of water. The water in the body is always being used up in one way or another, and Thirst's job is to make up for that loss. Thirst is a pretty simple guy. His favorite drink is pure, cold water. Actually, he's got the right idea. When you stop to think about it, water is the only thing we drink, although we like it with things mixed in it. Sometimes nature does the mixing, as in milk or fruit. Sometimes we do the mixing, as in tea or coffee. Some of these mixtures are healthy because they have food value as well as liquid, most notably in the case of milk.

But Thirst doesn't need or want anything himself in the water he drinks. He likes it best clear and cool. If we live in hot climates, we know how delicious cold water is. All little children like water, but older boys and girls sometimes prefer the variety of something like lemon juice to give it flavor. There's nothing

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wrong with this, but it's a bit of a shame that they've lost their taste for plain water itself.

Drunkenness Craves Alcohol

You wouldn't think that such a simple, useful Assistant could ever be a source of danger to Mansoul. But Thirst gets the ear of the Prime Minister and says, 'Leave Mansoul to me, and he'll never want anything more than what I can give him.' And he would be correct, except that, instead of calling him Thirst any longer, we'd have to call him Drunkenness. Once Drunkenness has a person in his grip, that person only wants nothing but drink from morning til night.

The furniture in his house, his children's food, clothes for their mother, it all goes to buy more drink. The man's time, health and strength are all wasted getting more drink until he finally becomes homeless, friendless, sick and outcast. And all for the sake of drink. But he doesn't care about his home or his friends. All he cares about is more and more drink. By far, the majority of the world's sin, misery and poverty are caused by Drunkenness.

Why People Abstain

As you know, it isn't fresh, pure water that causes drunkenness. Men long ago discovered how to ferment a substance called alcohol, and it's alcohol that ruins thousands of men and women. Many conscientious people, even as children, make a solemn vow that they'll never even taste beer or wine or other strong drink, except for medicinal purposes. They don't abstain because they're afraid they might become alcoholics, although it's a fact that there's no way of knowing who might fall into that terrible trap, or when it might happen. They also abstain because every small

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act of good helps to stop the spread of evil in the world by setting a good example to someone else. It's possible that every good example is noticed and followed by someone, even though the person who set the example might never know it.

That's one good reason to keep your taste for cold, pure water, and to appreciate how delicious it is.

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Chapter 3 - The Assistants Of The Body: Restlessness and Rest

Restlessness Helps Strengthen the Body

I'm not sure what the best name is for the two Assistants I'm going to introduce to you now. They're both good servants to the Body. I guess Restlessness and Rest are as good as any other names. You may have noticed that babies are hardly ever perfectly still when they're awake. They kick, play with their fingers or toes, crawl, grab, throw, pick things up, laugh, coo, or cry. Children, too, have a hard time staying still for very long for lessons. They want to run out in the yard and see what their pet frog is doing. When school is over, they love to play outside, racing or tumbling head over heels. Older children like to play baseball or football, or ride bikes, or hike in the mountains. They think they're doing these things just for fun, but there's more to it than that. Restlessness, their helpful Assistant, doesn't leave them alone. He makes them feel uncomfortable if they go too long without doing something challenging and exhilarating. He's being a faithful servant by helping to make Mansoul's body strong and supple, able to swim,

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ride, jump, run, walk a good distance, hit well, and do every other thing that the Prime Minister may need him to do. Restlessness has the job of strengthening and toning the muscles that Hunger has fed.

Restlessness Can be a Hard Master

Instead of being a good servant, Restlessness sometimes goes too far and compels people to do things that are too hard for them. He might push them to row too hard, climb too high, run too far, or jump too energetically. Or, even worse, the Demon of Restlessness might possess a person so that they can't settle down to do any one thing, whether work or play, because they always wish they were doing something else. That's a sad state to be in. It's only by continuing and persisting at doing one thing steadily that we master it and learn to do it well, whether it's baseball or algebra. So it's good to be on guard for the moment that Restlessness ceases being a faithful servant and turns into the turbulent Demon who drives people from one activity to the next and won't let them settle into anything all their lives.

Rest is a Good Servant

Generally, his brother and co-worker, Rest, steps in to say, 'It's my turn now,' and makes the person feel tired so that they're glad to sit down and be a spectator for awhile, or settle on the couch with a book, or, better yet, get a good night's sleep so that they wake up refreshed and ready for anything. In this way, the muscles take turns resting and working. That keeps them healthy and helps them grow strong.

You'd probably be glad to hear of one Assistant who isn't followed by a black shadow that threatens to ruin Mansoul. But it isn't so. Even Rest has his Demon. His name is Sloth, and he says, 'A little more sleep, a little

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more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep.' That's what he asks the Prime Minister for. Once Sloth rules in Mansoul, the person doesn't want to drag himself out of bed in the morning. He dawdles over getting dressed, is late getting breakfast, is too tired to go for a walk, finds games too much of a bother, drags his feet over starting a project, finds making boats or whistles too much trouble, doesn't feel like collecting stamps, lags in his school lessons so that he's behind, mills around the baseball field with his hands in his pockets instead of playing. He never goes out of his way to help anybody--not because he's unkind or disagreeable, but because it's too much trouble.

Poor guy! He doesn't even realize that, every day, he's falling more and more deeply in the clutches of a hard taskmaster. The less he exerts himself, the less he's able to exert himself even when he wants to. Restlessness is supposed to keep his muscles healthy and in good order, but Sloth relaxes and weakens them until it becomes a chore just to raise the hand to the head, or drag one foot after the other. People used to be very afraid of Sloth. They called him one of the Seven Deadly Sins. But it seems like we don't about him much anymore. Maybe we have so many things to do that we can't stand being lazy. Nevertheless, if your friends accuse you of being idle about play or work, or if they call you indolent, or, even worse, lazy, then don't waste another minute. Pull yourself together, because the Demon Sloth is upon you. Once you get into his clutches, you're in a bad way. Your life is very much in danger of being ruined, just as much as if it were Gluttony or Drunkenness who had a hold on you. But take heart. It's easy to escape. Restlessness is always on the alert to save you from Sloth right from the beginning. Get up! Do something, whether it's work or play.

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Chapter 4 - Assistants of the Body: Chastity

How to Rule the Appetites

We've seen how each of the appetites--Hunger, Thirst, Restlessness and Rest--is a helpful servant to the body. They work together to build up and refresh the body. We've also seen that, if any one of these appetites is allowed to gain control, it can ruin the life of the person. To save ourselves from this fate, we need to eat, drink, and sleep at regular times. We need to not even allow ourselves to think about taking it easy, indulging in treats, or wishing for tastier drinks throughout the day. Instead, we should have something worthwhile to think about so we won't spend our time dwelling on things that don't really matter.

Each Appetite has its Own Proper Time

There's another appetite that's subject to the same rules. It has its own proper time, just like eating and sleeping. But its proper time isn't until after marriage. In the same way that eating, drinking and resting help make us strong, healthy and attractive, this appetite helps to make sure that people have children. That way, there will always be new people coming into the world as older people pass away. This appetite has to do with a specific

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part of the body. I wouldn't normally discuss it here, but one of our duties is to keep our bodies pure. It's similar to the case of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that was planted in the Garden of Eden.

Uncleanness

You remember that Adam and Eve weren't supposed to eat fruit from that tree. If they did, they would surely die. And you remember how the serpent came and told Eve that they wouldn't die if they ate it. They'd be like gods, knowing good and evil. I'm afraid that, in the same way, people may do their best to make you find out about things you shouldn't know about yet. They may tempt you to talk about and read about and do things you shouldn't. They'll tell you that these things are only natural, that you wouldn't have those parts of your body, or those feelings about them, if you weren't meant to think and do those things. It might help you to know that this sin is the sin of Uncleanness. It's the most offensive and hateful of all sins. It's the sin that good men and women hate and avoid more than any other.

Purity

The opposite virtue is called Purity. Jesus said, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' That isn't just referring to seeing Him after they die. That means 'seeing' Him with the eye of the soul. They'll sense that He's with them, all around and beside them. When they're tempted with this appetite, they'll remember that, 'You always see me, God.' And when they think of that, they won't be able to make themselves unclean with even a thought or a word. They'll turn their eyes away from seeing anything evil. They won't allow themselves to read, or hear, or say anything that causes impure thoughts.

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Glorify God in your Bodies

This is the way they glorify God with their physical bodies. Every child who understands this is a hero in God's eyes. They're fighting the good fight and making the world better. When people who remain pure get married, their children will be blessed. They'll be good, healthy and happy because they have pure parents. God places the choice between good and evil in front of every one of us, just like He did with Adam and Eve. We can choose to obey, or disobey. Adam and Eve sinned and death came into the world as a result. If you allow this sin in yourself, if you even begin to have a thought that you'd be ashamed to tell your mother about, then death will begin in you. Something in your body and soul will begin to die. Fight the good fight. Don't be a victim of unholy curiosity, like Adam and Eve were.

Our Appetites Are Our Servants, Not Our Masters

Be careful that your appetites, which are necessary to your body, serve you and don't become your master. Above all, remember that sin and slavery to any of our appetites begins in our thoughts. It's our thoughts that we have to rule and keep in control. How do we rule them? It's very simple. When an evil thought comes, just think of something else, something really interesting and nice. And say a little prayer in your heart that God will help you as you do that.

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Chapter 5 - The Attendants Of The Body: The Five Senses

The Assistants of the Body have their own Attendants, who act like pages. They have a useful role, but, like the Assistants, they need to be watched carefully for two reasons. First, to be sure they do their work. And second, to be sure they don't become tyrants. Even though they're just servants, if they're indulged too much, they'll try to get total control and rule of Mansoul. People sometimes call these Attendants our feelings, but we'll call them sensations, since they work through the five senses.

The Sense of Taste is Pleasing and Useful

One of these, the sense of taste, is not only pleasing, but is very useful. When food doesn't taste good, it can be a signal that it's not healthy. Taste is an excellent servant. People who know how to manage him well will be satisfied and enjoy simple foods like milk, bread and butter.

But, if Taste is Pampered, It Becomes Our Master

People who pamper their taste become a servant of their sense of taste. They complain that they don't like oatmeal, or they don't like chicken or potatoes or eggs. Things have to have strong flavors to satisfy their sense of taste. And, the older they get,

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the more difficult it will be to please them until it takes a professional gourmet cook to make things good enough for them. The best rule is not to allow yourself to get picky about food. Just eat whatever is set in front of you. A wise person will even be glad when something is served that he doesn't really like, or when he has to take bad-tasting medicine. It gives him the opportunity to keep his sense of taste in proper perspective, and make sure that it remains a servant and not a master. It's a good idea not to talk about our likes and dislikes. In fact, it's good to not even know which flavor of jelly is our favorite.

Smell Can Be Lazy

The sense of smell is another assistant. He's really a pretty good guy, and he doesn't usually try to get control of Mansoul except as an ally of taste. When he goes around smelling wonderful foods and making Taste crave them, he's annoying. Other than that, he's harmless. But he does have one fault that's bad in a servant. He can be lazy. Since his job is important, his lazy habit has to be dealt with.

Smell Should Give Mansoul a Lot of Pleasure

Smell could be the source of a great deal of pleasure. There are so many subtle, wonderful odors in the world, such as the evergreen scent of the box-hedge, or lime trees in bloom, or bayberry leaves that can be carried around to add a pleasant scent as we go about our day. But that's not all smell does.

Smell Should Serve on the Board of Health

Smell should be quick to detect when there's any foulness in the air, or any unpleasant, unhealthy odor around, no matter how faint. All odors are really tiny particles floating in the air. By

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breathing them, we're taking them into our bodies. We only eat three or four times a day, but we breathe in and out countless times every day and night. It's probably even more hazardous to our health to breathe in toxic odors than it is to eat food that isn't quite healthy, although neither one is good. But, in some people, the sense of smell has become so inactive that they're able to lean over an open sewage drain and not notice any bad smell. The next thing we know, we hear that they're sick, and it doesn't occur to anyone to blame that lazy servant, Smell, for causing the trouble.

Practice in Detecting Odors

It's a good idea to practice catching every sweet, wonderful fragrance, and learning to differentiate the leaves of different trees, various flowers, food smells, clothing materials, by smell alone. This would keep the sense of Smell in good working order. Then he'd be able to detect whether the air is fresh or foul as soon as he walks into a room.

Touch is All Over

The Five Senses include five assistants, but the next three aren't so much Attendants to the appetites--they're Assistants themselves. Touch is very pervasive. he's all over the body at the same time. There are only a couple of places, like the nails and teeth, where he isn't. He collects a lot of useful information. He's the one who figures out whether things are hard or soft, hot or cold, rough or smooth, piercing or scratching, pricking or burning.

Touch is Very Useful

You can understand how necessary Touch's job is. Without him, a person might accidentally put their finger into the fire and never know it was burning.

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Knives could cut, pins could prick, frost could bite, and fire could burn, and we'd be oblivious, even while the body was being seriously injured. Some people have a delicate, extra sensitive sense of touch, especally on their fingertips. This helps them to work with delicate things like watch springs and fine lace.

The Touch of the Blind

Blind people learn to get the information from their fingertips that their eyes would normally tell them. They can even learn to identify the faces of their friends by touch, and whether they're well or sick, happy or sad. Sometimes you hear that a person has a 'soft touch' when he plays piano, and it really does seem as if his fingers aren't just feeling the keys of the instrument, but the music itself.

A Kind Touch

Some people, especially mothers, have such a kind touch that their hands seem to smooth away our troubles. This kind of touch is only learned by loving. Shakespeare thought that little Prince Arthur had it. And many children do have comforting hands.

Practicing Touch

The people who have the keenest and most delicate senses are also the most fully alive. They get more interest from life. So it's worth our while to practice using our senses. For example, we can shut our eyes and learn to tell the difference between different kinds of cloth, wood, metal, leaves, hair, anything at all, by feeling it.

Touch Tries To Gain Control of Mansoul

It might come as a surprise to learn that a simple, useful servant like Touch is no different from the rest. He watches for a chance to rule the rest of of Mansoul. Have you ever found it

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hard to focus on your lessons or other work because something was pricking, or you had a sting, or a cut that was hurting? When people allow themselves to dwell on these trivial things that can't be changed, they have no attention left to think of worthwhile things. That's how one of the least members becomes tyrant over all the rest. Do you remember the story of the Spartan boy and the fox? (Plutarch mentions it in his Life of Lysander; the boy died rather than complain of the pain of scratches while trying to conceal a fox under his cloak). We don't need to go as far as the Spartans. After all, if something painful can be taken care of, we should say something, or do something to fix it.

It's Good to Have Little Things to Put Up With

And yet, I think we should be glad to have opportunities to tolerate little discomforts once in a while--a scratch, a cast, a scratchy sweater--to help us learn not to dwell on such trivial matters. One time, a man had to have his leg cut off. This was before Sir James Simpson had discovered chloroform. The man was determined to simply not think about the pain. He managed to keep his mind preoccupied on other things so well that he wasn't even aware of the operation. That would be too much for most of us, but it's not too much to try to bear a pin prick, or even a bee sting, without making a fuss about it.

Sight Brings Half Our Joy

The last two senses bring a lot of joy to Mansoul. I don't think they have any serious faults as servants except for laziness and failing to pay attention. Half of our joy in life come through our sight. The faces of the friends we love, bright sunshine, lovely flowers, green grass, flickering sunlight on leaves, pretty clothes,

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small treasures, pictures, mountains, rivers, the vast ocean--our joy in these things wouldn't be as great if we couldn't see them. Kind friends would read to us, of course, but it wouldn't be the same as taking a copy of the book and nestling in the branches of an apple tree, or curling up in the corner of a window seat to read. The blind are to be pitied. But there are others who are just as bad off, or even worse, than blind people.

Eyes And No-Eyes

Do you remember how Eyes and No-Eyes went out for a walk? No-Eyes said it was boring and there was nothing to see. But Eyes saw a hundred interesting things and collected all kinds of treasures in his handkerchief. The people I know are either like Eyes, or No-Eyes. Do you want to find out which one you're most like? I'll ask a couple of questions. If you can answer them, then we can say you're like Eyes. If you can't answer them, then you need to learn to answer them, and a thousand other similar questions. Describe your living room from memory without leaving out any details. Name a tree (it can't be a shrub) that has green leaf buds. Do you know of any birds that have white feathers in their tails? If you don't know things like these, then you have some work to do. The world is a huge treasure chest full of fascinating things to see, and every one of them is a new source of enjoyment.

Hearing is Another Source of Joy

There's also a lot of enjoyment to be had from listening. But it's a joy that many people miss because, for them, Hearing is a lazy servant who doesn't do his job.

Have you ever been outside on a spring day and thought that the only sound was the voices of you and your friends? And then suddenly everyone was silent and you realized that nature had been putting on a whole concert and you hadn't even noticed a single note of it? At first

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you may have picked up the calls of birds. Then, little by little, you began to detect high voices, low voices, middle voices, small notes, loud notes, and you wished you knew who was singing each of the songs you heard.

The More We Listen, the More We Hear

Then, as you listened more, you heard more. The hum of the grasshoppers became so noisy that you wondered how you were able to hear your friends earlier. Then the buzzing of bees caught your attention, and then you noticed the droning and trumpeting of smaller insects, and maybe the bubbling and gurgling of a stream. The place you thought was so quiet was really full of lots of different sounds and you wondered how you could have been there for so long without even hearing them. That's what happens when Hearing falls asleep on the job. Keep him awake and occupied. Make him try to hear, and to discover a new sound every day without any help from sight. It's a good idea to practice listening with the eyes closed.

Some Nice Sounds

Have you ever heard beech leaves fall, one by one, in the fall? That's a beautiful sound. How about the tap, tap of a woodpecker, or a thrush breaking the shells of snails on a rock? You can probably tell the difference between a car and a motorcycle by the sound. But can you tell a van from a car, or a delivery truck from a bus? Can you recognize the different footsteps of all the members of your family? Do you know the sound of every buzz and beep in your house? Do you really listen to people's voices, and can you tell from their tone whether they're sad or happy or pleased or annoyed?

Music, the Great Joy We get From Hearing

Hearing should tell us lots of interesting things,

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but the one great and perfect joy that hearing gives us is music. Lots of people have put their most beautiful thoughts into books, paintings, and architecture. And some have put those thoughts into musical scores, to be sung with the voice, or played on instruments. And these musical compositions are so filled with the thoughts of their writers that people who love music can tell who composed the music they're listening to, even if it's the first time they've heard that particular piece. So, in a way, it's like the composer is speaking to them and they love hearing what he has to say. Even the youngest children can sometimes get some of this ability. For example, I once knew a little boy, three years old, who could tell when a piece his mother played was by Wagner. She played for him a lot, and he listened. Some people are better at this than others, but we could all improve our ability to do this to some extent if we listened.

How to Get a Hearing Ear

Take every opportunity you can to really listen to music. I don't just mean songs, although those are nice, too. When you're listening, ask whose music is being played. Little by little, you'll discover that one particular composer has one kind of thing to say, and another composer speaks in a different way. These messages of the musicians can't be put into words, so it's impossible for us to hear them if we don't train our ears to listen. One thing that helps to hear music is learning the notes so that you're able to tell with your eyes closed what any note is that's played on a piano or sung the voice. That can be as much fun as doing a puzzle. If you aren't very good at it at first, don't be discouraged. Hearing, like anything else, comes with practice. The time will come when, from a whole

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group of singing birds, you'll be able to tell the difference between the different voices. You'll know which is the thrush, which is the blackbird, which is the white-throat, which is the black-cap, which is the wren, which is the chaffinch. Imagine how happy it must make a person when every bird's note sounds like the voice of a familiar friend!

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PART II - The House of the Mind

Chapter 1 - Ourselves

'Ourselves' is a Vast Country Still Unexplored

When we think about our bodies and the amazing things they can do, we can't help saying to ourselves, 'Your works are great and marvelous, God!' Now let's consider that inner self, which is even more wonderful. We can't see it or touch it like we can our physical bodies. It's the part of us that thinks and loves and prays, and is happy or sad, or good or not so good. The inner self is like a vast country, and most of it is still unexplored. Or, it's like a great big house with halls and hidden rooms and closets around corners, so that it's hard to find your way around it. People generally speak of 'Ourselves' as being made up of Body, Mind, Heart, and Soul. We'll do the same. It isn't the only way to think of it, but it's the most convenient, in the same way that it's more convenient to say, 'The sun rises at six and sets at nine,' than, 'The earth revolves around the sun every day and the part of the earth where we live first gets in sight of the sun at about six o'clock in the morning in March.' Saying, 'The sun rises and sets' is a better way to describe

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it. It's not only easier to say, but it's how most people are used to thinking of it. In the same way, everybody seems to know about his own heart and soul and mind. Although it may be truer that we aren't divided into parts, but our whole person has different abilities and can do many different things at different times.

Self-control, Self-knowledge, Self-reverence

Sometimes it feels like we have two selves inside us. One wants to do something wrong or foolish, and the other one says, 'You shouldn't.' One of the most important things we need to learn in life is how, when and where to use that other self. We call it Self-control. But before we can have true self-control, we need to know about ourselves. We need self-knowledge. A lot of people think they're different from everybody else, but that's not true. Self-knowledge teaches us that what's true for other people is also true for us. Then, when we discover the wonderful abilities and immense possibilities of Mansoul, we won't be filled with pride. Instead, we'll be self-reverent, and we'll have reverence and pity for even the lowest, most reprobate people because we'll understand that each one of them is also a great Mansoul, although their Mansoul might be neglected, ruined, or decayed. Man's most important duty is governing his own Mansoul. Now let's look at the Members of the Government.

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Chapter 2 - My Lord Intellect

Introduces Mansoul to Delightful Realms

We'll begin with My Lord Intellect. As the Foreign Secretary, he's the one who manages dealings and establishes relations with other foreign kingdoms. Through him, Mansoul enjoys more freedom because his provinces are plentiful and his states are stronger.

Science: a Vast and Joyous Region

One of those provinces is science. This is where stars are measured, the ocean depths are sounded, the wind's energy is harnessed to serve man, flowers reveal the secret of how they grow, and the grains of sand tell their history. Science is a huge, happy realm. The people there are always discovering new things, and each new thing is wonderful because each thing isn't a separate, isolated event, but is part of a whole. The realm of science is so immense that one of the wisest, greatest travelers there who discovered many things said, when he was an old man, that he felt like he was only a little child playing with pebbles on the beach. Do you, too, want to travel in the pleasant land of Science? My Lord Intellect will introduce you to the people you need to know, and do everything he can to make your path smoother.

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Imagination Adds Enjoyment to the Traveler

Intellect's partner is My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination. I mentioned him earlier. He usually goes with travelers and cheers them by bringing wonderful new visions before their eyes.

History is a Pleasant Place

Another domain that Lord Intellect has the key to is History. He sends Imagination as a messenger and companion to the eager traveler. Of all the wonderful places in the mind, I think the domain of History might be the most appealing. In an old movie, you see people living and moving, dancing, walking, whatever they happened to be doing at the time the movie was filmed. History is a little bit like that, only it's even more interesting. In old movies, the people are small and not very clear. No matter how closely you look, they don't get any clearer. But history shows you people wearing what people used to wear, moving, looking and talking like they really used to, doing important business or having fun. The closer you look at and study any one person, the more sharply he comes into focus until he might seem even more real to you than the people you live with.

History Shows

Think for a minute about all the centuries that have gone by, and every country with its own population of living, moving people. Think of all the little tidbits you hear and read that bring to life some of the interesting things that happened and make those people seem very real, like that letter that a little boy sent to his father 4000 years ago in Egypt. He wrote that he

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wouldn't be good or do his lessons unless his father took him to a great festival that was coming up. It seems that even little boys who lived in Egypt 4000 years ago weren't always good! From one story, we can imagine Alcibiades walking the streets of Athens, handsome, amusing, charming--yet so reckless, proud and unprincipled that not even Socrates could make him good. Or maybe we can imagine King Henry VIII walking arm-in-arm with Sir Thomas More in his garden at Chelsea, and More's beloved daughter Margaret staying close by, and bringing her father candy after the king had left.

We are Making History

We can imagine the workers, the blacksmith at his forge, the farmer plowing his field, and the maypole with children dancing around it. Once our Intellect has opened our minds to history, we feel like we're in a great, exciting world, full of fun things, sometimes full of sad things, too. Finally it dawns on us that, just like those people, we're making history! We're all part of the world. The people who lived before us were very much like us. If they weren't, we wouldn't be able to understand them as much as we do. Some of the people might have been worse than us and they might have lived through worse times than we do, but we also meet a few great, noble people who make our hearts yearn to be like them. And that makes it easier for us to understand our own times. We see that we live in an age and country as great as theirs. There are plenty of opportunities for heroes, and if some of those heroes do their great deeds in a quiet way so that the world never hears about it, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. Any time something good or heroic is done, no matter how small, many people will be better because of it. In fact, it's

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been said that the whole world is better because of one life lived dutifully, and that will be true until the end of time.

We Can't Feel Comfortable with History Unless We Use Our Imagination

But, in order to understand how this works, we need to read history and think about what we're reading. We're indebted to historians, such as Heroditus, the first historian, who used their imaginations to mentally picture people and events from the past after they had read and studied about them. They could imagine that everything was happening right before their very eyes, and then write it down for us to read. But their effort in seeing and writing down history doesn't do us much good unless our own Lord Intellect invites our Imagination to join us as we think of things and try to figure them out in our minds until they become real and alive to us.

Mathematics, a Land of Mountains

Another realm that's open to Intellect has an uninviting name. Traveling there can be difficult because of steep rock faces that have to be scaled, and deep ravines to be crossed. The land of Mathematics is full of mountains, but the air is crisp and refreshing, and great for the health, although some people find it too thin for their lungs. It's different from most mountainous countries. It's impossible to get lost, and every step is on firm ground so you can't fall over a cliff. People who work or play here are exhilarated from the effort of climbing, and satisfied because they find Truth. Once in a while Imagination needs to accompany travelers, but not very often. More often, Lord Attorney Reason goes along.

Philosophy Explores Mansoul

Another domain that makes things interesting for Intellect

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is lovely Philosophy. We already know a little bit about this land because it's the land of Mansoul itself, with its mountains, dark forests and unexplored wildernesses. Philosophy offers fascinating and fun journeys. The traveler who goes there learns many lessons about life, although the footing isn't as stable and firm as it is in the mountains of Mathematics. Still, precise certainty isn't everything. To seek, to venture, and to find a foothold step by step is also exhilarating. Every step forward is a place to rest and relax.

Literature, a Rich, Glorious Kingdom

The most easily accessible as well as the most pleasant and satisfying of all the realms that Intellect travels in, is the lavish, magnificent Kingdom of Literature. Intellect can't travel here alone, Imagination has to come, too. It helps when The Beauty Sense joins, too. It's wonderful to be with good company. When Intellect travels in the lovely land of Literature, he becomes intimate with the best people from all ages of history, and all countries of the world. Poets and novelists paint pictures for him, and fill his world with profoundly fascinating and engaging people who live their entire lives right before his very eyes. He has lots of acquaintances, and a few friends who tell him their secrets. He meets Miranda (The Tempest), melancholy Jacques (As You Like It), terrible Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Fenella (Peveril of the Peak by Sir Walter Scott), the Fair Maid of Perth (by Sir Walter Scott). A whole crowd of people, each uniquely different, lives in his thoughts.

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How to Recognize Which Books are Truly Literature

Notice that there's a rundown place nearby where you're introduced to people and they paint pictures for you. But the pictures aren't so intense and full of meaning that you can still see them even when you close your eyes, and the people you meet don't captivate you enough for you to imagine what they're doing and saying in your thoughts. There's as much difference between this place and the Kingdom of Literature, as there is between a scenic snapshot and the real place the picture is supposed to represent. It's an insipid waste of time to wander around in that outer region. Yet lots of people spend a large part of their lives there, and never once even get within sight of the beauties and joys of the real Kingdom of Literature.

Besides comparing the two places and the people in them, there's another way to tell the difference between Literature and the barren land on its borders. If Intellect wants to try this test, he'll need to let the Beauty Sense help him. Read the next two examples and see if you notice any difference in their 'flavor.' See if the first one gives you a sense of delight and joy in the very sound of its words, separate from the actual meaning they represent. Do the words sing to you?

'That time of year, you may see in me
That yellow leaves, either a few or none at all, hang
Upon the branches as they shake from the cold,
Like bare ruins of choir lofts where the sweet birds sang so recently.'

Now read the next passage:

'Household gods!
Happiness will only exist on earth
When men feel your sacred power, and love
Your peaceful joys.'

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Do you notice that, although the second example is true, thoughtful, and expressed well, yet it lacks a certain charm in the words that makes the verse strike our hearts with living power? If you can't see any difference in them, maybe you will some day. The trick is to focus on the words themselves and wait to feel their force and beauty. When words seem so perfectly suited that no other words can be substituted, and there are so few words that not even one can be removed without spoiling the meaning, and the words are so fresh and musical that they awaken a sense of joy within you, then you know--you're reading real Literature, whether it's prose or poetry. A lot of wonderful literature can only be discerned by using this test.

The Beauty Sense

Intellect has one more region where he can go. This region is very beautiful and wonderful. Intellect can't go here without Imagination. And even more important, he'll need an educated ear and eye that can recognize the lyrical quality and beauty in words and how they're arranged. It's the Beauty Sense who holds the key to this delightful palace. There are few joys in life greater than beauty, or more constant. Yet it's impossible to define what beauty consists of. Some of its elements are color, form, proportion, and harmony. Words can have those qualities, and therefore, words can be beautiful. That's why the Beauty Sense is needed to fully enjoy Literature.

Beauty in Nature

Beauty doesn't just exist in Literature. It's everywhere--in fluffy white clouds in a blue sky, the gray trunk of a beech tree, a kitten playing, the graceful flight

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and lovely colors of birds, the hills, valleys, streams, golden fields of buttercups, and a broom tree in full bloom. Nature is full of beauty and enjoyment. People like the poet William Wordsworth who watch nature closely and know her intimately will always have an active Beauty Sense, and it will always bring them joy.

We can't get away from Beauty. Perhaps the most beautiful thing of all is the face of someone we love.

The Palace of Art

We can find beauty in the way a tasteful room is arranged, and its color scheme, or a nice dress, a pretty book cover, the metal hinges and knob on a door, if they're done artistically. And here's another region of beauty that can be entered by people whose Beauty Sense allows them to do more than just see the beauty in things--their souls become so filled with the beauty that that they see and hear, that it spills out in their own beautiful creations. They create paintings, statues, glorious churches, elaborate decorations, symphonies, sonatas and simple tunes. If we stop to consider how much there is for us to enjoy, we can't help but admire how good God is for putting us in a world so full of beauty, and for giving us a Sense of Beauty that lets us see and hear and, in a single moment, be overwhelmed with pleasure. There's beauty in art and in nature (maybe because nature is God's art?).

The Hall of Imitations

Like every other of the good gifts we've received, this one is also subject to neglect and wrong use. It's not enough to live in the midst of beauty. We also have to keep our Beauty Sense sharp and alert, and make sure that it's always

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quick to discern what's truly beautiful. A poet says this about a man who had lost his Beauty Sense:

'A primrose by the river's brim
Was just another rose to him
Just that, and nothing more.'

He totally missed the subtle aspect of beauty. He saw a river, and a flower, but not the pretty way it grew right there. The danger for us is that, in the same way that a bleak, barren land lies right on the border of the Kingdom of Literature, there's also a dull, dreary place that we can go into and mistake for the Palace of Art. It's called the Hall of Imitation. In this hall, people are busy painting, sculpting, molding and making things, Even the sun itself works many hours so they can take photographs. And the sun is as good an artist here as anyone else. You see, in this hall, people have the notion that the purpose of art is to make an exact copy of what they see in life. The 'artists' work hard trying to get the color and shape exactly like it is in real life. They paint photo-quality pictures, or life-like figurines. Yet, the whole time, they're missing the whole point. They don't see the subtle presence of Beauty in what they're looking at. Many people allow themselves to be deceived this way. They live their entire lives without even once entering the Palace of Art, and they only perceive a little bit of the Beauty of nature. It takes training to really see and to have our eyes opened to take in the joy that was created for us in this beautiful life.

Intellectual Life

I can't tell you any more right now about the wonderful and boundless pleasures that are open to Intellect and his Assistants. But if you've understood any of what I've already said so far, you'll be surprised

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to find out that many people live in a narrow confined space. They rarely step out into one of the two worlds we've been considering. The Intellect finds happiness in knowing, thinking, imagining and understanding. Its joy comes from the variety of different things we know, think, imagine and understand. Everybody's mind is busy thinking about one thing or another, but lots of people spend their time knowing and thinking about small things. There's nothing wrong with thinking of trivial matters sometimes, but some people think about them all the time and don't have room for the kind of great thoughts we get from seeing or hearing great things.

A boy can be so preoccupied with his baseball card collection, or the next soccer game, that there's no room in his mind for bigger things. Baseball cards and soccer are okay, but it's wrong to miss opportunities as great interests come and go, and aren't even noticed because we're too busy thinking of these other things. Or, students can be so obsessed with school grades, being top in their class, or getting a scholarship, that they never realize that their lessons are supposed to unlock doors into fascinating, intellectual wonderlands. Once they graduate, they close their books forever. As adults, they live lives of narrow interests. They hardly have any interest in the great, wide world, either past or present. That's what it means to be a slave of knowledge instead of its joyful master. It's much better to be like the man that the Bishop of London wrote about: 'He had the rare gift of being able to master knowledge and make it his servant. He didn't let knowledge make him its weary slave.'

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Chapter 3 - The Demons Of The Intellect

Laziness Keeps us from Starting

Just like the physical body, the mind has its own demons. There are two that plague the intellect. One is a kind of sluggish inertia that makes us not feel like starting anything except the routine, mundane matters of our everyday life. But if we only get up and begin, our Intellect will rouse himself, strong and eager, to begin his work. Marlowe's Faust says,

'Are you sincere? Seize this very minute.
Whatever you can do, or dream about doing, begin it!
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Just get started, it will seem to be fun.
Once you begin, the work is soon done.'

Once started, the work is fun, we enjoy the project, and time flies. Yet, the very next time we face a project, Intellect does the same thing. He drags his feet and procrastinates. We have to spur him to get him started, but, once he begins, the project goes along fine. It's good to remember this, because if we give in, Intellect will balk every time a project presents the merest challenge.

Habit Goes Over and Over the Same Ground

The other demon of Intellect is Habit. As you know, Habit is a good servant but a bad master for both the mind and the body. When he's allowed to act like a bad master and override the Intellect, he ruins life and makes it very narrow. When Habit rules, the Intellect

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is not at all lazy. He works and works--but he keeps going over and over the same ground! Day after day, year after year, he repeats the same thing. The material may be worthwhile. It may even be necessary. But the mistake is in never learning about anything else. It might be the same routine of school lessons, studied mechanically without ever really considering what's being learned. It might be constantly thinking about household crafts, business, racing, football, fashion. Those things all have their place, but to confine the mind to them is like harnessing a sleek thoroughbred racehorse to a circular pony ride.

We Shouldn't Spend All Our Time in One Field of Thought

It isn't just the mundane affairs of daily life that keep our minds too preoccupied to have a wide range of interests. Some people get into one of the great fields of thought that we've already mentioned. They are so interested there, and find so much to do, that they stay there until they're incapable of finding their way to any of the other great fields. The greatest man of science in our age was one of those unfortunate people. He lost himself in science so that he could no longer enjoy poetry, appreciate paintings, or even reflect on God. [Darwin??] And all because he couldn't tear his mind from the study he had spent his life immersed in. The people who lived during the Renaissance, when the greatest things were accomplished, the greatest pictures were painted, the greatest buildings were designed, the greatest discoveries made, were very insistent on one point. One man was expected to be an architect, a painter, a sculptor, a poet, and a scholar besides. Everything he did was done well. Everything he learned became part of his daily thoughts and added to the enjoyment of his life.

Vasari, who wrote a biography of Da Vinci, wrote, 'He had a divine and marvelous mind. He was excellent at geometry

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and was thus able to not only sculpt . . . but to prepare many architectural plans for buildings. Even though he was still young, he was the first to propose using the Arno to make a canal from Pisa to Florence. He made designs for mills and other machines that could be run with water power. And, since painting was going to be his livelihood, he studied drawing from real life.'

A Magnanimous Mind

It might be a mistake to think that, in order to do one thing well, you have to be single-minded and do just that one thing, and think about that one thing, all the time. The truth is, we should learn about everything we can. We need to spend some of our time learning more about Nature, Art, Literature, Mankind, and history and the times we live in. That's one of the ways that we become better people. The more a person is, the better he'll be able to do whatever it is that he's supposed to do. Let us be like Leonardo Da Vinci -- let's have a spirit that's 'always noble and magnanimous.'

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Chapter 4 - My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination

Living Pictures

We've mentioned My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination, as a companion of Intellect, but he really deserves his own introduction. He's amazing and, as mentioned earlier, he has the ability to create a whole series of living pictures about any region that the Intellect can think of. Great artists who create poetry, stories, paintings, architecture or music are able to express and show the rest of us part of the wonderful visions that Imagination has revealed to them. And we can appreciate and enjoy their work because our own Imagination does the same thing for us in a lesser degree. Our Imaginations make us pictures and poems inside the private room of our minds. Little children try to express what they see in their minds by playing. They act out things, but often in strange ways. Since they don't know the complete facts, they jumble things up. They might call a cow a hyena, and they sincerely expect to meet lions and tigers in every cluster of bushes.

The Cultivated Imagination

The more we know, the richer and more fleshed out our Imagination will be. Have you read Feats

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on the Fjord? The author, Harriet Martineau, never even visited Norway. Yet nobody could describe life on the fjords more vividly than she did. That's because her imagination felt comfortable in foreign lands and in different historical eras. Have you ever considered that Sir Walter Scott must have lived in all the different times and places in his imagination that he wrote about? No wonder people called him a wizard! In order to have a well-stocked collection of pictures in our imagination, we have to read a lot and work to imagine the things we read about to ourselves in our minds.

Imagination Must Not Make Pictures of Self

Imagination is wonderful at adding to the joy and depth of life. But, unfortunately, it too has its demons. They are Sin and Self. Every person imagines. You might imagine that you're a Princess with golden hair and blue eyes and a long, beautiful silk dress. The Prince comes and accomplishes some great heroic deeds that make the world stand in awe. Then he kneels in front of you and asks you to marry him:

'Little Ellie with a sigh
Says, I want a noble lover
Riding on the best of steeds.
His love shall bear no trace of lie
And with him I will discover
The swan's nest among the reeds.'

Or maybe you imagine that you are Prince Valiant himself. You conquer the Paynim and capture many lands. The King makes you his chief man in war and sits next to you at the celebration feast. These are lovely dreams, and there's not much harm in them, unless you spend so much time dreaming that you aren't doing. Remember that life is made of doing, not dreaming. When people criticize us,

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it can be comforting to dream of all the wonderful, beautiful things we'll do, such as caring for the sick and building homes for the poor, and buying gifts for the parent who found fault with us. We like to imagine how everyone will admire us for our beauty, or kindness, or cleverness--especially people who made fun of us. It's satisfying to imagine how kind we'll be to them and the presents we'll buy them--and to picture to ourselves how sorry they'll be for treating us badly!

I don't think it's right to use our Imagination in this way. For one thing, while we're preoccupied in our dreams, we're missing opportunities to do. And, after we've dreamed of ourselves as a superior and lofty person, so good and wonderful, we become easily offended. Then our Imagination stops creating visions of our goodness and starts magnifying the faults of our friends. Imagination tells us that Mom doesn't understand us and can't see what a great person we are. Or Dad isn't very nice, or Shelby is always noticed more than we are, or school lessons are too hard, or going for a walk is too much of a chore, or visitors are bothering us, or any book that isn't just stories will be boring. And, little by little, we begin to turn into the very people that we imagined to be so displeasing.

And then even our best friends will have to admit that we're boring and disagreeable, irritable and resentful. They'll say there's no pleasing us. They'll complain that we won't join in games, or get interested in any kind of plans. They'll say that we don't care to be pleasant with anyone, and that we don't care about helping anybody. Children will say that we're always grouchy, and they won't try to coax us to play with them. Older children will think we're grumpy

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and they'll leave us alone. It frustrates us because, in our own minds, we see ourselves as wonderful people. We have beautiful thoughts about the kind things we'll do for all those people, and we can't understand why people won't show a little gratitude!

Disarming the Demons

The truth is, the others are more accurate in their assessment of us. Consider -- who is the main person in all the fantastic scenarios you create, and in all the plans you imagine? If you have to admit that the main person is you, yourself, then your Imagination has been spending too much time making pleasure-houses for Self, when it should have been collecting images of the wide, rich world all around. Correct Imagination's vision, and put this glorious servant to work doing his rightful duty. Then your friends will look forward to seeing you because you'll have so much to say, and you'll be interested in so many things. You'll no longer trouble them (or yourself!) with that touchy, critical, grudging Self who can be such a tyrant. In fact, you'll discover so many fascinating things to think about, that you'll hardly have a spare minute to think about yourself! Throw Self out as soon as he intrudes on any vision in the Imagination. One good tactic is to take your Self by the shoulders, look him right in the face, and laugh at him for being so ridiculous. That's what's called 'the saving grace of a sense of humor.' People who can laugh at themselves don't make themselves seem absurd by putting on airs and forced manners. Another help, though not quite as effective, is when the people you live with can laugh at you and tease you. Learn from their laughter. Put up with their teasing with good humor.

Living Pictures of Sin

The second demon of Imagination is Sin. Have you ever heard people remark that 'there seems to be an epidemic of burglaries' or 'an epidemic of murders'? They might be right.

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These things can run in epidemics. They're contagious in a curious way. People read about a crime in the newspaper. They let their Imagination dwell on the graphic details. The incident becomes a living image in their mind that they can't get rid of. And sometimes, the end result is that they attempt the same crime themselves! That's why it's not always wise to read newspaper accounts of crimes. Even if you aren't tempted to copy the wickedness, the horrid image of it remains in your mind once you've allowed your Imagination to paint a living picture of it inside you.

Unclean Imaginings

There's one kind of sin that we have to be especially careful not to impress into our mind. Once we do, that kind of sin will haunt us all our lives. That kind of sin is uncleanness. If people talk about those kinds of sins, don't listen. Walk away and find something else to do. If you come across the mention of these sins in your reading, even if it's in a book of poetry, or classics, or history, teach yourself to shut the eyes of your Imagination so that your thoughts won't become defiled. Never knowingly read anything, or listen to anything that might lead to unclean imaginings. I once visited a young dying woman. She was married, nice, and good, but she told me an awful thing. She said that her preparation for death had been made miserable, and she couldn't even pray because horrible images of uncleanness would come to her mind. She said she had never thought of such things before, but I wonder if at some time in her life, maybe years and years before, she had allowed her mind to wander to such thoughts. She had forgotten all about it, but an evil spirit took this opportunity as she was dying to bring them back to her memory. Stay away from all unclean talk, and all unclean reading. Avoid them even more than you would avoid a deadly plague.

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Living Pictures of Horrors

This isn't really a sin, but it's foolish to let your Imagination create living pictures of horrors, tragic accidents, falls from steep cliffs, ghosts, and other frightening things. Once we make a picture in our mind, it's there to stay, and it may show up at any moment to torment us.

Someone who has a tendency to be afraid of such things might say, 'But how can I help it?' That's a foolish question. It's foolish to ask that about any evil we might fall into. Yes, we can help it. Resisting them is what the battle of life is all about. In this particular case, you can find help by hurrying away from those thoughts and thinking about something else. If such terrors come at night when you can't do anything or read anything, you can still try to think about something else. One idea might be to think about the last story you read. Go over it in your mind.

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Chapter 5 - The Beauty Sense

The Demon of Exclusiveness

Our Beauty Sense adds so much joy to our lives that it's hard to imagine any danger attached to it. But there is one. It's Exclusiveness that makes the beauty Sense too hyper-sensitive, whether in music, painting, one's surroundings, or even natural scenery. Exclusiveness seeks to persuade the Prime Minister that the joys of Beauty are so full, and so satisfying, that nothing else is necessary to make life complete. The Intellect has no luck trying to interest the person in exciting new fields of research. Good, useful work presents itself, but to no avail. Urgent duties clamor for attention, but are ignored. A person who gives himself up to the intoxicating effect of Beauty makes himself believe that Beauty and Goodness are one and the same. And he comes to think that a person's Duty is to seek pleasure in whatever way he likes best. Even people are pushed aside to make way for Beauty.

We Are Not Allowed to Choose Our Lives

Instead of accepting the relatives, friends and neighbors that God sends into our lives, the person devoted to beauty chooses them for himself. He doesn't care to know about anyone except those who have the same view of life that

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he does. It's the same with places. He can't tolerate anything that's unpleasant or ugly, so he refuses to go where working people and poor people have to live. And the result is that he misses out on the happiness that his Beauty Sense was supposed to bring him. True happiness comes from doing work, being useful, having wide interests, and, last and least of all, enjoying pleasure. When people put enjoying pleasure above everything else, even when the pleasure is Beauty, they miss the very thing they seek. They become weakened physically, and fretful and discontented in their spirits.

A Paradise of Pleasure

But fear of that pitfall shouldn't keep us from enjoying the paradise of pleasure that our Beauty Sense can bring us to. We just need to be careful of two things. First, we shouldn't allow ourselves to get any notions about being superior to our neighbors. And, we need to make it our duty, as much as we can, to bring Beauty to places where it doesn't exist. If we keep these two thoughts in mind, then the Demon of Exclusiveness won't have any danger for us.

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Chapter 6 - My Lord Chief Attorney-General, Reason

Reason is an Advocate

I mentioned My Lord Attorney-General earlier, as a partner of Intellect. But, really, he's a very important person in Mansoul. In fact, he's so important that he sometimes gets control of the entire government. Reason has impressive abilities, and an independent character. You can get an idea of how Reason acts by watching a great lawyer promote his cause in court. He brings up one argument after another to prove his point, and he articulates each one with skillful clarity. His arguments bring those listening to an inevitable conclusion - at least, it seems inevitable, until the lawyer for the other side speaks! Have you ever witnessed your own thought processes? It can seem as if another person, an appointed attorney assigned to your defense, was bringing up point after point, until you couldn't help coming to a conclusion. Do you remember Prospero from Shakespeare's The Tempest? He neglected his duties as a ruler, and his brother intended to kill him, but exiled him instead on a desolate island, with his little daughter, Miranda.

How We Reason

I imagine that this is the kind of thing Prospero's Reason said to him: 'The part of man that thinks

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is the most important part of him. It's better to live around thinkers than common, everyday people. The greatest thinkers in the world are found in books, not in my court. I should let common, everyday people worry about the affairs of common, everyday people. My brother Antonio is capable of governing as well as I can. But he can't read for me, or think for me, or devote his time to improving my mind for me. Those are things that I have to do for myself. And there's my child to consider. I want her to grow up to be a thinker, so I need to prepare myself to be a fit teacher for her. Considering all these things, it's obvious that I need to give up my affairs and devote my time to my books.'

As these thoughts went through Prospero's mind, it wasn't him saying them to himself. It was his Reason saying it to him, and for him. Every point that his Reason brought up is true--but not the whole truth. Prospero's Reason wouldn't have used those specific arguments if he hadn't been a student and lover of books. Reason usually starts with a notion that was already in the person's mind to begin with.

Now let's imagine what Antonio's Reason might have said to him: 'It's shameful the way my brother neglects his dukedom. The government is going to ruin. Every man just does whatever he wants. He expects me to rule for him, but everybody knows I'm not a Duke. I have no real authority. If he died, I would inherit the dukedom, and I'd do my best to straighten everything out. His neglected subjects would be so relieved! Come to think of it, taking his life wouldn't really be such a crime because the sacrifice of the one man would mean the benefit of the entire dukedom. Things are getting worse and worse every day. Something has to be done. There's nobody else to get rid of him, so I'll have to do it myself.' Antonio's Reason rushed to provide him with all the

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arguments he needed to justify the ambitious idea he already had secretly entertained in his mind.

How a Good Man's Reason Works

A good man's Reason rushes to provide him with undeniable arguments for the good actions that his good heart wants to do. John Howard was undoubtedly convinced by many sound reasons that the difficult task he thought of was a simple, direct course. He saw the inside of a prison by chance, and he couldn't shake thoughts of its misery. His Reason probably said, 'People have no idea that such horrors exist. Someone needs to tell them. Whoever tells them needs to know his facts. He'll need to know the conditions of more than one or two prisons. When the plight is fully known and discussed, and when Parliament considers it, I'm sure that new laws will be written and reforms set in motion. Prisoners will start to be treated like human beings, instead of kept in such filth, misery, sickness and sin that I saw. And why shouldn't the man who exposes this plight be me? The idea first came to me; maybe it's my calling. It's true, I'm in rather delicate health. But, if I die, what better way to die than doing my duty? Yes, it's true, I'm grieving, but at least I have no ties to keep me home. And I have plenty of money for the costs. I'll do it. I'll sacrifice my life for this duty.'

In this way, the good man's Reason argued for what he wanted to do. But if God's compassion hadn't put the concept of pity into his heart, his Reason could just as easily have taken the opposite line of reasoning. He might have been persuaded that this job wasn't right for one man, but needed the governments of countries to take care of.

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Reason's Role in Good Works and Great Inventions

Every great work of kindness that benefits the sick, helpless, sad or ignorant is the result of a chain of arguments that some person's Reason provided for him. And his Reason did this because, in each case, a notion of pity first came to the man. Every great work or invention has been reasoned out step by step. Have you ever been to a museum and seen the trunk of a tree that was hollowed out by burning to use as a canoe? That was the result of some impressive reasoning, as brilliant as Marconi's wireless radio. The man who discovered how to make the canoe had never seen a boat before. He had to figure out a way to cross the waters all by himself. He had no prior examples to get inspired from because his was the first boat that existed. We'll think about how he got his idea later. His reason worked it all out for him.

What is Meant by Common Sense

Most of the routine, simple things we do--like brushing our teeth, combing our hair, using manners at the table, were originally reasoned out. We have no idea who worked them out in the beginning. People don't reason them out any more. They just accept them by what's known of as common sense. In other words, just about everyone agrees that certain ways of doing specific things are the best ways. Every once in a while, a reformer comes along who reasons out the old things with a fresh perspective, and comes to a different conclusion. His conclusion might be right or wrong. For example, perhaps common sense has told most people that it's best to wear boots or shoes. But then a reformer comes along and persuades everyone, with a good line of reasoning, that it's

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even better to wear sandals. Someone else will disagree and say that it's better to go with bare feet, and now people are forced to stop and think about the issue and use their Reason on something they assumed was settled a long time ago.

Everything We Use Has Been Thought Out by Someone

It's interesting to look around a room or out in the street and try to consider the line of reasoning taken by the person who made the first chair, or key, or wheelbarrow. We appreciate things more when we remember that somebody had to think out each thing. But thinking things out like that is fun, you know that yourself. Maybe you've said, 'I have a great idea! Something my uncle said gave me the idea, and then the whole plan came to me quite clearly, one step at a time.' Perhaps it was an idea for a new game, or for building a ship, or for designing apartments to give lower income families more space. Whatever the idea is, it's exciting and fun to just sit still and listen as Reason does his work and creates the whole plan complete before your very eyes.

It's no wonder that so many people think that there's nothing in heaven or earth that's greater than human Reason. Nothing else is more surprising in the way it works, or more searching in its conclusions!

You remember how revolutionary France put Reason on a pedestal. They practically worshiped Reason. The French nation believed that no man had a duty to do anything except what his own Reason told him to do. If his Reason dictated it, then it was his solemn duty to do it. And you remember that some pretty horrible things were done in the name of Reason.

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In fact, that period of history is known as the Reign of Terror, even though all the atrocities that were committed were justified by the Reason of the men who did them. People don't say that Reason reigns anymore, but many thoughtful and good people believe that there is no higher authority than man's Reason. They believe that acting according to one's Reason is the most that can be expected of anyone.

Good, Sensible People Can Come to Opposite Conclusions

It's true that good laws, projects for the public good, great inventions are all the result of Reason. But you might be surprised to hear good people talk and try to convince others of something that their own Reason has told them. The Reason of equally good, intelligent people can bring them to totally opposite conclusions about war, peace, politics, religion, education, public works, fashion, diet--in fact, intelligent people can disagree on any subject you can think of. That's the reason there's controversy in the world. People think they can convince other people by using the same arguments that their own Reason used to convince them. And they could, if everyone else didn't already have arguments just as convincing on their own side. In fact, the side of an argument a person is on, generally depends on his own Will:

'Convince a man against his will.
He'll have the same opinion still.'

We need to remember that Reason is a personal servant to every person, and will play on his master's side. A person's Reason will work to convince him of what he was already inclined to believe in.

Reason is not Infallible

You know that the Pope is said to be infallible. That means that he can't be wrong, and that every decision he makes has to be

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the right decision. Many people say that of Reason. They say that Reason is infallible. But if two equally intelligent and equally good people are passionately convinced by their Reason of two things exactly opposite, then their Reason can't both be infallible. At least one of them has to be wrong. Perhaps one of them believes that a certain war is the duty of his country, and the other believes that the war is a crime. They can't both be right. Since all men (unless they're idiots or insane) have this same ability to Reason, then we can only conclude that Reason is not infallible. Not all final conclusions are correct. It all depends on the notion from which the reasoning began.

Anarchists

We've all been saddened to learn that there are some people in the world who believe that their one duty in life is to take the life of some royal person or ruler. These people are anarchists. Although we're horrified to even think about their crimes, it's not difficult to follow the chain of logic that makes it look reasonable in their own eyes, no matter how wrong it may seem to us. The word anarchist means 'without rule.' The goal of anarchists is to put an end to all national rule and government, whether it's a kingdom or republic. Why? Because, they say, every man has his own Reason and can rule himself. No person should have a ruler over him. This example shows how an error in thinking can lead to the worst of crimes.

Reason in Math

Reason is never more delightful or perfect

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than in math. In math, people don't begin their line of logic with a notion that influences them to lean towards one side or the other. In math, little by little, truth unfolds itself to us. We're designed so that absolute, certain truth is a perfect joy to us. And that's the kind of joy we get from math. And there's great satisfaction from standing and witnessing our own mind work out a difficult problem. There's a case recorded where a mathematician went to bed with a difficult problem on his mind. He put a pencil and paper beside his bed, and thought he slept peacefully all night. But when he woke up, there was the problem worked out very clearly. He must have done it in his sleep.

Reason Must be Used for Good Purposes

Not much demonstrates the amazing greatness and ability of man as much as Reason. But, like all divine gifts, we're entrusted to use it for its best purpose. But we should never rely on it as a failsafe guide. After all, we can logically prove and justify both worthy and unworthy things. A quick-tempered person can go through a long chain of logical reasons that convince him that he's been treated unfairly and has every right to be mad. A burglar has logical reasons for his crimes. A naughty, vindictive child has logical reasons for playing a practical joke. Reason is totally subservient to us, and can therefore be used by us however we please. We can make Reason justify whatever we want, whether noble or corrupt, great or small. Since we have such a great gift, let's use it to reason out great matters. If we do, then some day, we'll be given the opportunity to think out some great service for the world. The chance to do something great usually comes when we're ready for it.

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Reason Justifies Notions That Have Been Accepted by the Will

'The kettle started it,' is how Dickens begins The Cricket on the Hearth. The point is, Reason never starts it. Reason continues it and finishes it, but it doesn't start it. What starts it and sets Reason into motion, is usually an idea that the Prime Minister (the Will) has allowed in. Once it's admitted, Reason grabs it and puts it through all his assembly lines until it comes out as a finished product. In other words, our conclusions can't really be blamed on Reason. Reason just works with whatever he's given. Ultimately, our Will is responsible for our conclusions. It's our Will who takes in [or chooses to reject] the foundational idea.

Our Will can be persuaded to admit a concept because it's traditional and old, or because it's new and novel, or because a man he respects says so, or because a man he doesn't like says the opposite, or because it's in his best personal interest to have a certain opinion, or because it suits his fancy, or because it makes him look intelligent. There are a hundred good (and bad) reasons why our Will might go ahead and let an idea in. If the Will lets an idea in for any of these reasons, he'll usually tell his Reason in advance what to prove. After all, Reason's job is to logically prove for us whatever we think is right. Reason doesn't bring us to conclusions because they happen to be true.

That's why Reason has no right to have the last word on most subjects. It wasn't up to him to have the first word, and he'll always follow the lead of that first word. When you make a journey, arriving at the correct destination doesn't depend on traveling the smoothest roads, or on keeping a good pace. It depends on starting in the right direction!

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Why there are Different Schools of Philosophy

With this in mind, yet knowing that most people can't resist trusting Reason as if it was a competent, skilled counselor, it shouldn't surprise you that some philosophers who are honest and sincere, have concluded that there is no God. And other men prove that only what we can see or probe with instruments exists in man. They think that matter is all there is in the universe, and there's no such thing as spirit, either in God or man. And there are some philosophers on the opposite side who have reasoned a belief in existentialism. They claim that matter doesn't exist. They've proven conclusively to themselves that chairs, tables, trees and people don't really exist. What we think we see is really only the idea of those things, and our mind has created the vision of those things.

Practice in Reasoning

Maybe the best way to use this ability to reason things out, is to provide it with lots to do. We can do that by asking ourselves what causes this, or what causes that, and why people or animals do certain things. If Reason doesn't practice, it will get sluggish. There are some people who never wonder about things, or ask themselves questions about things they see.

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Chapter 7 - Managers of the Revenue, The Desires (Part 1)

The Mind Needs To Be Fed

We place the Managers of the Revenue (the desires) after the Intellect because their job is to do the same thing for the mind that the Appetites do for the body. The mind needs to be fed. It needs to grow and produce, just like the body. The body would never think to eat if it didn't get hungry. And the Mind would never think to feed itself what it needs if it didn't have certain desires to satisfy. You might say that the Desires gather the resources that the Mind needs, so we'll call them Managers of the Revenue.

Desire for Approval

Have you ever watched a baby playing with blocks? When he's managed to set one on its end, he turns to his mother for a smile. The little one isn't happy unless his mother or caregiver praises him. When he crawls to the window, pulls himself up on the chair leg and says, 'ma-ma, da-da,' he expects a smile for doing these things. If, instead, his caregiver looks severe and says, 'no, no!' then his little face will be crestfallen and he'll cry. No one has taught him that it matters whether the people he loves are pleased with him. It's born in him, and is just part of his make-up as a human being, as a little Mansoul.

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The Desire for Approval helps him later when he struggles with conquering a difficult math problem, or climbs a hill, or works to bring home a good report card. All this time, what he's doing is bringing raw material to the factory--he's bringing knowledge to his mind. And he's doing it because the people whose approval is worth having are concerned that he learns and knows, doesn't waste time in idleness, and develops habits of working steadily. That way, his mind will be nourished properly every day, just like his body.

The Demon of Vanity

But the proper and useful Desire for Approval has its own demons. One of them is Vanity. We can't live contentedly without the approval of somebody, but some children and adults choose to seek the approval of worthless, silly people instead of the respect of the wise and good. Some boys would rather talk and show off in order to make their playmates laugh, instead of working and playing in a way that wins the approval of their betters. People can be vain and can show off about almost anything--their rich relatives, the fancy parties they go to, their fashionable clothes, their new pocket-knife, their own cleverness. But when people show off, like a peacock spreading its tail, it's always in order to impress someone whose good opinion isn't worth having. Nice people think well of us just for doing and being our best. We know that, so we never try to show off for those people. A person who doesn't care about anybody's approval is stupid. But a person who wants the approval of unworthy people is vain.

Fame and Infamy

Another danger is that a person can allow the desire for approval to take over so much that he can't think of anything else. Everything he does, whether good or bad, is done to get them noticed by others. He'd rather that people said bad things about him than nothing

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at all. Some burglaries, murders and assassinations happen only for the sake of the infamy that the crime will bring. Sometimes heroic deeds are only done for the fame they'll bring. Infamy and fame both mean having a lot of people talking about you. When a person becomes so obsessed with his Desire for Approval that he's always wondering what other people will think about him and say about him, he loses self-respect, which is even more precious than the respect of others. A person can only have self-respect when the desires, motives and abilities of their Mansoul are in proper balance.

The Desire to Excel

Another desire that helps to feed the mind is Emulation, or the Desire to Excel. We might be learning to ice skate, and we don't give ourselves any rest until we can skate as well as another boy we know who learned the previous winter. Then we want to outdo him. Then we find a better skater and we want to skate as well as him. Then we want to skate better than him. Soon, we dream of the day when we'll be able to skate better than anyone in the neighborhood. And finally, we imagine how glorious it would be to the best skater in the whole world! It seems like some animals, especially horses, also have this desire. A horse will be annoyed if another horse is in front of him, and it motivates him to quicken his pace. And that's just what the Desire to Excel does for us. It spurs us to try harder when we get lazy. If one student reads, we decide to read more. If the other student works at his lessons, we work more. So, with a little competitive spirit, our Mind gets the food it needs to sustain itself.

Prizes and Places

The Desire to Excel has two Demons, just like the Desire to be Approved.

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First, people can get so obsessed with wanting to get ahead that they have no time to think of anything else. They could care less what they learn about, that's not what interests them. All they care about is good grades, or a prize, or being in first place or whatever. And what ends up happening is that the student who does take first place has a mind so starved that it never recovers its appetite. History, literature and science seem too uninteresting to spend time on. The whole point of life becomes getting ahead of everyone else. This is how Emulation, which was given to us to improve our mind and develop our body, defeats its own ends. All it cares about is being in first place.

Being the Best at Unworthy Things

We can err by being too competitive about things that are good in themselves. But, like any other servant, Emulation sometimes tries to gain control of Mansoul through unlawful, unworthy means. In the old days when people were hard drinkers, men wanted to be distinguished by their ability in drinking lots of wine at one sitting. A 'three-bottle man' was to be admired.

Distinctions as trivial as that are still sought after by many people, both adults and children. We should reflect on this and make sure we're not devoting our lives to a wish to be the best at something that's unworthy.

The Desire for Wealth

Everybody desires wealth, some more than others. That desire makes us willing to work to get the things we need for our bodies and minds. It's this desire that

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makes a small boy collect baseball cards, stamps, string and marbles. And it makes one rich man collect rare, valuable pictures, while another hoards his money and doesn't spend it so that he becomes a millionaire.

The Demon of Selfishness

Just like before, there are two demons waiting in the wings of this desire. One is selfishness. Once a person allows the desire of wealth to possess him, whether it manifests in hoarding stamps or art, figurines or money, he can't think of anything else. Getting more and keeping what he has consumes his life. He simply can't part with any of his treasure. He can't be generous. His mind is so preoccupied that he doesn't even have time to be kind. His focus is on gaining more for himself, and he becomes a selfish person. When a person's life becomes consumed with the Desire for Wealth, it becomes Greed. A person who is always grasping after more wealth is greedy. It may go so far that he can't part with any of his wealth, not even to take care of his own needs. A person in this condition is called a miser. But a person who makes the effort to acquire things as a small part of his life rather than the most important part, might get enough to share and thus be generous and helpful to others.

Worthless Wealth

Another risk is hoarding what's not worth anything. There's a charming story [by Anatole France] about a noble couple who spend their lives going on quick trips. First they're rushing to Palermo, then Moscow, now to Tokyo. Why are they traveling? Because they hear that one country has a matchbook cover that they don't have in their collection yet. Maybe this one is blue, or

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brown and yellow. The object of their desire is a two-inch match book. They never stop to ask what makes this ugly little match book so special. They only know that it's a little different than the rest, so, at great cost and inconvenience, they rush off to get it. The author of this story is making fun of the crazy trend that makes people have collections of one kind or another, whether worthy or not. This trend results from the natural Desire for Wealth that's inborn in every Mansoul. But it's up to us to make sure that what we collect has some real value. Let's start a collection of good books that we'll always treasure, or art prints from the great masters. Even postage stamps can be a good thing to collect--if we make the effort to be interested in the stamps themselves. We should wonder about things like why German stamps of the 1920's have an image of Germania. If a collection doesn't have an interest for the mind itself, then it's not worth having. If you always follow that principle, then you won't be the kind of person who thinks that silver plate is worth collecting just because it's silver plate. Instead, you might collect it because you can appreciate its antiquity, or its associations, or the beauty of its designs.

The Desire for Power

Another desire that comes naturally for all humans is the Desire for Power. All children have this from their preschool days in greater or lesser measure, but the one who has the most, rules the others. The other children play his games, run his errands, and tolerate him lording over them all day long. Those who love power the most will get it. But if they're good-natured, kind, helpful, generous, bright and amiable, then they'll use their power to keep everyone else happy, interested and entertained. Power is a good thing if we use it as an opportunity to serve. But it's a bad thing when all we care about is ruling everyone else.

The desire for power, also called Ambition, isn't quite the

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same as the Desire to be the Best. A child who just wants to be the Best is satisfied to be first. An ambitious child wants to lead everyone else. I think that an ambitious child is more useful to the world than one who wants to be the best because, if he wants to lead the others, he'll have to make himself worthy of taking the lead. He'll have to be the best, whether he's Class President or captain of the baseball team. But he must remember that 'pride goes before a fall.' If he lets himself become proud because he's the leader, then he'd better be careful! People don't mind following someone who's devoted and knows his duty. But they'll never follow someone who's proud and self-satisfied. Just like any other desire, the Desire for Power can ruin a life if it becomes Master. Once someone starts to be obsessed with being the leader, he'll stop caring whether he leads for a worthy or unworthy cause. He'll be just as happy to lead his co-workers in riot and disorder, as he will to lead them in a noble effort for a good cause. Many lives have been utterly ruined because of Ambition.

'Managing' People

There's another danger connected with the Desire for Power. This one is more harmful to those around us than it is to ourselves. If we always insist on taking the lead, it isn't fair to everyone else because it doesn't give them a chance to lead. We cheat them out of a part of their lives when we deny them their fair share of opportunities to practice their leadership skills. We grow stronger and more capable at their expense. As we get more and more powerful, they get weaker and weaker. Who is less noble than a person who is always trying to manage everyone else and always manipulating to get power for themselves? The best safeguard against this kind of danger is to never take the lead, but to wait until leadership is thrust on us. Instead of grabbing power, wait until it's given to us. And when we're in the position of leader, we should use our power to encourage others to make progress and to help them, rather than just looking for our own good.

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Chapter 8 - Managers of the Revenue, The Desires (Part 2)

The Desire for Community

Another thing that all people have in common is the Desire to be together. Everyone likes visitors, friends, neighbors, acquaintances. Little children like playing with other little children outside. Even as young as two years old, you can see a few of them toddling around together, talking baby talk with each other, and enjoying each other. The fun in going to public school is being with children who are the same age and in similar situations. Young men join clubs, women give parties, uneducated working class men will hang out together, even if they have very little to say to each other, and natives of some third world countries will sit silently in circles for hours. They all congregate for the same reason: everyone desires the company of others. We want to see friendly faces, hear human voices, give pleasure and receive it from each other.

We Learn from Other People

We learn when we're together, because most people have something useful to say that's good for us to hear. We owe it to others to have something to say that will interest others, maybe something

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we've seen, or read, or heard or thought. When Queen Victoria was a little girl, she was introduced to lots of interesting people so that she could talk with them. She met world travelers, scientists, inventors, soldiers, and naval men. She would read and think about the subject that they were involved with before she met them so that she'd be able to enjoy talking with them. That way, she'd have something useful to say and she would be knowledgeable enough to learn something from them. If you know a little about botany, a botanist won't mind sharing something about plant lore with you. If you know a bit of history, a historian will take time to tell you what he's doing in his studies. But if you know absolutely nothing about their subject, you could be with the greatest poet or adventurer or painter, and have nothing to discuss but the weather! Royalty and other great people understand this. They want to get most of their information first-hand, so they need to be knowledgeable about various subjects. They're able to learn about the latest discoveries in astronomy from a real astronomer who's making those discoveries, and they can learn about evolution from Darwin himself, and so on. Sometimes we envy privileged people because they have so many opportunities to hear their information first-hand. But don't forget that, in order to have any kind of productive conversation with the most capable people, there has to be a twofold preparation that princes and other dignitaries have to undergo. The amount of time and effort it takes them would surprise most students. When they enter into a discussion with a learned specialist, they bring two things to the conversation. They bring a cultivated and intelligent mind, and some working knowledge of a broad range of subjects. With those two items, we could make the most of our opportunities with anyone we meet, too. It seems to me that people usually get whatever it is they're ready for. I don't know if this is some kind of divine rule, but it seems to be true to me. At any rate, preparation is always wise, and it's a good idea to be ready for the best in conversation with whoever you might meet. If you do this, then your natural

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desire for society will do its job of collecting mental nourishment for your mind.

But it isn't just experts and specialists that we can learn from. I've seen impolite people in a room, or even sitting at the table, who didn't say a word because they didn't think the person next to them was worth talking to! Yet they think that, if only they had a chance to talk to so-and-so, who they admire from a distance, then they'd have lots to say! This isn't just bad manners and rude. It's also foolish, and they only hurt themselves. There's not a person alive who doesn't have some bit of knowledge, or experience, or who hasn't had some thought of his own. There's a good story told about Sir Walter Scott. He was traveling from London to Edinburgh on a stage coach and the man sitting next to him wouldn't talk. Scott tried bringing up the weather, crops, politics, books--every subject he could think of, and we can assume there were many from a man of such varied interests. Finally, in despair, he asked, 'Well, what can you talk about, then, sir?' 'Bent leather,' said the man. And Scott went on to have 'one of the most interesting conversations I can remember.' Everybody has his pet subject that he likes to talk about, if we only have the ability to find out what it is.

Dangers Related to the Love of Socializing

The Love of Society has two dangers related to it. One, as I said before, pertains especially to vain people who like to be flattered at any cost. They'll choose friends who are inferior to them and who will pretend to look up to them and praise them a lot. The other danger is the same one that applies to all of our other natural desires. The craving to socialize might take possession of our whole

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lives and gain control of Mansoul. One woman gossiping with her neighbor from her doorway says, 'There's no harm in it' of the girl who chats with her friends in the morning, plays tennis in the afternoon, and then goes out every evening. In fact, the girl does little but chatter here and there all day long, and has nothing to show for it. Some people are so busy running here and there, seeing and being seen, talking and being talked to, that their minds are practically starving for their own thoughts and resources. Although people don't lament over this like they do when a life is ruined over alcohol or some other sin, yet a life is still ruined just as completely, though their friends don't seem to mind.

Community is a Feast Where Everybody Brings Something

Any community, even if it only consists of two or three people, is like a potluck where each person has to bring something to the table. Young people often feel intimidated by this because they feel like they have nothing to say, unless they're with one or two close friends or family members. But be encouraged. Even intelligent listening is something worth offering, and it's something that everyone likes! There are more people who are good at talking than good at listening. You've probably been amused to see a group of people and notice that everybody is talking at the same time and nobody is listening. Listening with the entire mind is an act of delicate courtesy that draws the best from even dull people.

People who don't have much culture can only talk to their own kind, or to their own specific 'friends.' Car people have nothing to say to anyone but other car people, guys who are into dogs can't talk to anyone except other guys who are into their dogs, school boys

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can't talk to anyone but other school boys, school girls can't talk to anyone but other school girls, sailors have nothing to say to anyone but sailors, soldiers with other soldiers. This is natural, as the proverbial saying goes; 'Birds of a feather flock together.' But it's not a good idea. Why limit ourselves to our own little pond when we can have a share in the whole world?

The Desire for Knowledge

There's one Desire that truly is for the mind what hunger is for the body. I've saved that one for last. It's the Desire for Knowledge,. Everyone wants to know--but some people want to know about things worth knowing, and some people are happy knowing about unworthy, trivial things. The desire to know about unworthy things is called idle Curiosity. 'Where did you buy it?' 'How much did it cost?' 'What did she say?' 'Who was there?' 'Why aren't they on good terms?' and so on, are the kinds of questions that Curiosity asks. It seems harmless enough to satisfy your curiosity with scraps of news and gossip about one celebrity or another, or a notorious murderer, or a famous millionaire, or a politician, or military hero, or admirable lady, or dancer. Curiosity relishes newsworthy tidbits about any or all of them. Curiosity is just as eager to know and share the latest trivia about satellites, computer processing speeds, or whatever. But that's just psuedo-knowledge. The desire for real knowledge would lead a person from the thrill of processing speed to a serious study of computer technology. But idle Curiosity is content to know a few facts about a subject, instead of really understanding it.

Idle Curiosity and the Desire for Real Knowledge

In the same way that candy and pastries satisfy hunger without really nourishing and sustaining the body, so Curiosity satisfies the mind superficially with the tidbits of trivia that it gathers. The person who allows himself to be merely curious doesn't have any desire to really know. And that's too bad, because

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every person is born with a natural desire to explore the mysteries and fascinating subjects that are available to the Intellect. I mentioned them earlier. The minds feeds on knowledge about great subjects--History, Literature, Nature, Science, Art. That's what it needs to grow. The mind digests that kind of knowledge in the same way that the body digests healthy food. Great knowledge makes a person 'magnanimous,' which means a person who has a great mind is interested in lots of things, and can't be much bothered about petty, personal matters. It's a tragedy to lose out on such a wonderful possibility--and all for the sake of petty scraps of trivia about people and things that have nothing to do with each other, and not much relevance to our own lives!

Imitation and the Love of Knowledge

The love of Knowledge is the most noble of all our Desires. But if any of the other Desires gain control of Mansoul, the love of Knowledge will be squeezed out and deprived of its share in Mansoul. This is especially true when Imitation replaces the love of Knowledge. People sometimes take the trouble to learn about knowledge, or math, or history, or poetry, in a frantic, eager way--but not because they love those things. They do it because of some prize, or rating, or reward given for looking knowledgeable. But Knowledge has her own rewards, and she reserves them for those who truly love her. She only pays us lifelong joy and happiness when Knowledge is precious to us and satisfies us for her own sake. A person can't be unhappy if he delights in Knowledge, not just to show off how smart he is, or to be superior to others, but simply because Knowledge is such a worthy thing to seek. Such a person is able to say, 'My mind is like an entire kingdom to me.' No matter how displeasing his life circumstances might be, he's able to escape into the kingdom of his mind, and he can find joy and entertainment in the

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fascinating, beautiful and wonderful things he's stored there.

Grades and Knowledge

Some children enjoy going to school, not because of what they learn there, but because they get grades that make them feel superior to some of their peers. They need to understand that grades and first-place standings and passing tests are all the reward they'll get from their education. John Ruskin said, 'They cram to pass their tests, instead of to really learn. The result is that they do pass, but they don't know.' The lasting joy of real Knowledge only comes to people who love Knowledge for the sake of knowing, not to those who use knowledge only as a way to get good grades or to advance themselves in life.

All People have Powers of Mind

There's a lot more we could say about the House of Mind, but this is probably enough for now. In reading about Intellect, Imagination, the Sense of Beauty, the Desires and the rest, you might have been amazed and surprised to recognize that all of those things are a part of your own self. It's even more interesting and surprising to realize that these same amazing abilities and possibilities are a part of even the underprivileged kids living on the streets, to a lesser or greater degree. The degree varies because the more of these things that our parents and grandparents had, the more we will probably have, too--they can be hereditary, although that's not always the case. But, except in the tragic case of the mentally challenged, no child was ever born who wasn't gifted with these great possibilities to some degree, whether his parents were civilized or savages. And that's a good reason for us to give every person in the world the opportunity to be

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everything they were born to be!

Managing Our Thoughts

We don't have to let this knowledge of ourselves be like a burden we carry on our backs. Once we learn something, it will come to our mind when we need it. We don't have to strive to keep it in mind constantly. For instance, you don't have to constantly go around reminding yourself, 'If I put my finger in the socket, I'll get shocked.' You just know that's true, so you don't do such a foolish thing. In the same way, once you understand the effects of only caring about what grade you'll make, you'll naturally try to put your mind and interest into your schoolwork for the sake of learning. That information isn't a burden. It immediately makes learning become more enjoyable. A king's castle is no more of a bother to the king than a shepherd's cottage is to the shepherd. Yes, the king has lots of treasures to take care of, and he has to remember how to keep them safe, and how to use them and appreciate them. But he has no trouble making the appropriate arrangements, and everything gets taken care of without him having to worry about it. That's the way it is with managing our thoughts. That's all there is to it. Knowing that we have to manage our thoughts, knowing that we're capable of doing it, knowing when and how to interfere with our thought process--this isn't everything, but I think it's half the battle.

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PART III - The House of Heart

Lords Of The Heart: I. Love

Chapter 1 - The Ways Of Love

The Lords of the House of Heart

Every Mansoul is born into the world, not just with Rulers in his House of Mind, but also Rulers in his House of Heart. Their job is to bring him happiness. Nobody can be happy all by himself, therefore, their job includes helping him to bring joy to others. The two Lords of the House of Heart are Love and Justice.

Love

Like any king, Love has his own Lords in Waiting. They are sympathy, good will, empathy, thoughtfulness, magnanimity, thankfulness, bravery, faithfulness, modesty, and cheerfulness. Have you ever thrown a stone into the water and watched the circles it makes ripple outward? They spread all the way to the shores, and affect even the land on the farthest side. The most distant ripples become so faint that they're barely noticeable, but the ones closest to the stone are easy to see. That's the way our love is.

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Our home is the center, where our love begins. From there, our love widens until it includes everyone. Nobody except Jesus ever knew how much he could love, or how much he could do for love. But the soldier who risks his life where the fighting is the hardest to rescue his friend, or the mother who tends to her sick child and wishes she could give her own life to make him feel better, or the nurse who sacrifices her body and soul to help sick people -- these people have a taste of how much love there is in a human heart.

False Loves - Self-Love

There are lots of imitation loves going around, ready to take control of the House of Heart and usurping the rightful lord. We know what it's like to be demanding, selfish, and jealous with the people we love most, even our own mothers, and call it love. And it is love, but it's Self-love, the crudest, lowest kind of love there is. Yet it has its place and is necessary and proper to make sure we take care of our own lives, things and interests. If we didn't have Self-love, we'd become a burden and a bother to others. But too much isn't good. A person who only loves himself and thinks only (or mostly) of his own interests, pleasures and gain is called a selfish person. His mind is so preoccupied with his own feelings and matters that he doesn't have time to think about anyone else. He doesn't give much love, and he doesn't deserve to get much in return. But, sad to say, there's often a mother, sister, wife or a friend who showers great love on him, and endures a lot of hurt because of him. It's comforting to know that, in these cases, it's the one who loves who's happier, not

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the one who receives love and gives no love back. The person who loves, lives in the kingdom of God every day, but the person on the receiving end doesn't. One kind of selfishness isn't as easy to spot as the person who only thinks about his own fun and comfort. It's the person who selfishly makes demands all the time on those who love him. He wants their time, their thoughts, all of their attention, and always insists that they be with him. If he doesn't get the attention and affection he demands, then he gets irritable, offended and jealous. He imagines that he acts this way because he loves his friend so much. But the truth is, he loves himself so much that nobody, whether it be his mother or a friend, can meet his standard for the love and consideration that he thinks he deserves.

Philandering

Another false love likes to kiss and hug and touch and always be with the person he loves at the moment. Kissing and hugging are appropriate ways to express true love in the right time and place, but they don't constitute love by themselves. They aren't even always necessary in love. But some people spend their whole lives philandering, first in love with one person, then another. They're really indulging their lust, not real love. Lust can't survive on the signs of real love.

Love is a pearl of great price hidden within every heart. But, since so many people pass off counterfeits to themselves and their friends, it's a good idea to learn to recognize real love when we see it, or when we think we feel it.

Real Love Delights in the Other Person's Goodness

Love delights in the person it loves. It's natural for humans to delight in what's good. The

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hearts of even the most savage and degraded people have been won over this way. They've watched lives of goodness, unselfishness and beauty lived in front of them day in and day out, and those lives have drawn them because it's part of their nature to be drawn to goodness. Finally, they've given the love and reverence in their own hearts to the person whose goodness brought them so much joy. It isn't just that the person was good to them. In some cases, they never had a personal word or even a look. But someone was watching them, thinking, and finally loved them back. Maybe some day we'll know the full stories of all of the heroic soldiers and missionaries, the saints, who did good things simply because they themselves were good. Right now, we only know about a few--St. Francis of Assisi, Elizabeth Fry, General Charles George Gordon. Any time we hear that someone has been raised from a degraded life to civility, whether they're from a civilized country or a third-world country, we can be sure that it's because they saw somebody living a holy life in front of them. More than anything else, Love delights in the goodness of the person it loves. It would never for any price make its beloved be less loving to everyone, less dutiful, or less useful in service to others. Influencing his friend to do something unworthy would seem to Love like burning his house down around his head.

Love Seeks the Happiness of his Friend

Love always wants the one he loves to be happy. He would never make his friend uneasy by being annoyed, sullen, jealous or distrustful.

Love Seeks to Be Worthy

Love tries to be worthy of the person he loves. In the same way that his friend's goodness brings him joy, he himself will try to be a better person to make his friend happy.

Love Wants to Serve

Again, Love wants to

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give and serve. The specific gifts and service will depend on the age and position of the friends. A child's gift might be obedience. A parent's gift might be a wise rebuke. In both cases, Love makes it a priority to offer service. The Apostle says, 'Don't love in word or tongue, but in deeds and truth. That might be phrased, 'Don't be content to merely express love in words or hugs, but show your love by serving and trusting.' Any Love that doesn't trust is either misplaced, or unworthy. There are other signs of love, but these signs are evident in all true love, whether it's between a parent and child, two friends, married lovers, or those who work to ease the suffering of the degraded and distressed, and those they help. Notice the word 'degraded.' It means literally, 'to step down.' It's really a hopeful word because, if it's possible to step down, then it's possible to step back up again, too. Every heart has all the great possibilities of Love. To touch that potential in another heart, one has to give Love from their own heart.

Animosity

But in every Mansoul, both ours and everyone else's, there are opposing possibilities. We're calling those opposing qualities demons of the possibility. We're all capable of being warm and friendly, and liking and loving other people. We're all also capable of being distant, hostile, disliking and even hating others. Why? There's a hint in the old joke from Punch magazine: 'He's a stranger, let's throw a brick at him!' We often dislike people because we don't know them. The best way to get over that is to think about the person and try to imagine things from their point of view. If we do that, we'll find things about that person to kindle friendly feelings in us. It's unusual to feel real hatred, and it's usually

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caused from feeling resentful about being hurt. We need to try to remember that there's one part of The Lord's Prayer that's conditional: 'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.' There's nothing in our strength that lets us forgive. It's only when we're in the love and presence of God that we can forgive past hurts. When we forgive someone, that's a way of showing love.

Before we consider the specific ways that love is manifested, let's think about Love's wonderful Lords in Waiting.

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Chapter 2 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Pity

Heroes of Pity

Have you ever seen a baby pat his caregiver's face to make her feel better, or hug his kitten and say, 'Poor kitty!' after stepping on its tail? That's because there's a little wellspring of Pity in every baby's heart. That doesn't mean that the baby won't pull the kitty's tail to see what happens--but that's only because he's curious and wants to know. If you can make him understand that it hurts the kitty, he'll be sad and say, 'Poor kitty!' A little girl might come home and cry in her room because she saw a strange dog being beaten. Pity wells up from her heart into her eyes, and makes tears. I know a little girl who could never bear to listen to the story of Joseph in the pit. Sometimes little boys are too dignified to cry, but they might run from the room during a tragic story, or a sad sight, because they're afraid they might feel like crying if they stayed. When people get older, they often have too much self-control to cry. But even if they don't actually cry, when they see someone suffering or something sad, they still feel a pain in their hearts. That's the pain of Pity. Pity's job seems to be to inspire us to help people who are suffering. Many tender-hearted people have been so filled with Pity that they've given up their lives to comfort and help the people who are suffering. You may have heard of one Hero of Sympathy named

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Father Damien, who gave up everything in his comfortable life so that he could help and comfort the suffering lepers on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Or E. J. Peck, the 'loneliest man in Queen Victoria's dominion.' He left his family to share the love of God with the Innuit people of Alaska. If we think long and hard about any suffering people, until their suffering feels real to us, we'll have a sick pain in our hearts until we can find a way to ease their pain. The thousands and thousands of noble martyrs gave up everything they had in life to serve suffering people because they took thought of them until they had to do something. Sometimes one of these noble Heroes of Pity will work and care all day and night to care for just one suffering person. Sometimes their heart will be filled with the suffering of many poor people. Sometimes the person who needs a great act of service will be a stranger. Sometimes it will be our own father or mother, or sister, or perhaps our own child. There are many, many people suffering in this happy yet tragic world. But, thanks to God, there are also many people who feel Pity enough to help.

Idle Sympathy

I said that Pity's job is to inspire us to help. But there are some people who enjoy the luxury of feeling sympathy without ever being bothered to do anything about it. They say, 'That's so sad!' and might even shed a tear or two when they hear the sad news, but they won't lift a finger to do a thing to help the suffering person. In fact, such a person generally prefers to feel sympathy for imaginary people who don't need any help. They enjoy crying over a tragic book or movie. These people are rather pleased with themselves because they think they have sensitive hearts. But their tears are like springs in limestone that coat everything soft

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with stone. Every inclination to feel sympathy that doesn't result in some kind of action to help will add to forming a heart of stone. The most difficult people to convince to help are the ones who allow themselves the luxury of empty sympathy.

Self-Pity

There's another kind of people who have a strong, active inclination to Pity, but their sympathy is all given to one thing. No sorrow or pain or concern outside of that one object can move them. These are the people who feel sorry for themselves. Anything that happens to them is enough reason for them to be filled with self-pity. They feel sorry for themselves because their tooth hurts, or because they don't have blond hair, or because they're not pretty enough to be noticed, or because they're tall and clumsy, or because they always have to get up too early, or because breakfast isn't just what they wanted, or because their sibling gets something they don't, or because someone they admire doesn't notice them or says something like 'Hurry up,' or 'sit up straight,' or something else they don't like. They feel like these things are unbearable, and the poor pitiful person goes around all day with a long face. As they get older, they complain about all kinds of friends who offended them, neglected them, or misunderstood them. A person who feels sorry for himself thinks that 'nobody understands' them. Even if they're reasonably healthy, they may become a hypochondriac who has a pain here, or a feeling there, and they complain about every detail to the doctor constantly. The doctor might have sympathy for this unhappy patient. He knows that the real problem is more serious than the person even imagines. It's Self-Pity, and he has no medicine for that, although he might prescribe bottles of water or placebo pills to humor the person. You might feel like laughing at

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such a sad state of mind, but the Demon of Self-Pity is actually a dangerous enemy. Self-Pity has made many people, even some who seem so strong and good, waste their whole lives brooding over some imagined or magnified distress. No resident in the House of Heart has alienated more friends or done more to steal the joys of life.

How We Can Defend Ourselves

Our defense is two-fold. First, we should never let ourselves dwell on something that hurts or is uncomfortable. When we're sick or have a pain, it's up to us to keep our minds well and joyful. There are some people who are suffering a lot, but they can still be cheerful and comforting enough to be the mainstay of their home. We have to be even more careful not to let our minds revisit any incident that offended us, whether it was intended or not. We can't even let ourselves think about it for an instant. A minor little thing can be blown out of proportion in our minds so much, that, like a dime held up so that it blots out the sun, we can't see our friend's love and kindness. It can blot out entire happiness, and shut us up in a cold, dark prison of oppressive discontent. If we never allow ourselves to reflect on minor annoyances, we'll be able to handle big ones gracefully. If we don't dwell on small pains, our great pains will be easier to endure.

The other way to defend ourselves against idle pity is even more effective. We can spend our time thinking of others. We can be quick to notice their needs and sufferings, and be ready to help. It's impossible for our minds to be absorbed with two things at the same time. If our thoughts are busy considering others, both near and far away, in our own family or in another country, then we won't have the time or inclination to feel sorry for ourselves.

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Chapter 3 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Goodwill

'Change the World, or Accept It'

Normally, people talk about benevolence as if it means nothing more than giving money or help to needy people. But it's possible to give a lot of help without being benevolent, and it's also possible to be benevolent without giving a lot of financial help. Benevolence means having Goodwill towards everyone. The wise emperor Marcus Aurelius described the lowest form of Goodwill: 'Men were born to serve one another. So, either change the world, or accept it.' The very least we can do for the world is to accept it. 'The world' means people, including people we like. But Goodwill lets us accept the people who annoy us, and even to sincerely like them. There's probably nobody that we couldn't like if we knew everything about him, because all people are born with the same good qualities of the Heart and Mind that we've been talking about, some more, some less. Although the best part of a person's real nature might be buried inside him like a diamond buried under a pile of garbage, it's never too late to clean away the trash and recover the diamond. Even a depraved criminal might have a wife who loves him. She

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doesn't love his depravity, but she can see the possibilities for good and beauty within him.

A Person is More Than His Faults

People who have Goodwill understand that glaring faults and annoying habits don't make up the real person any more than sun spots make up the sun itself. Therefore, it's not difficult to put up with his faults. Even better, he tries to correct his faults while at the same time, giving the same genuine affection or love to the person as if he didn't have those faults. That's the kind of Goodwill that parents have for their children, and that brothers and sisters have for each other, that friends owe to friends, neighbors to neighbors--and, as the circle widens, we all ought to have for all the people we come in contact with, and everyone whose work and ways we come across. Goodwill doesn't call a builder rude names when his door won't shut right, or his window won't open. He understands that the builder is probably well-intentioned deep down, but isn't accustomed to making the most of himself. So he's satisfied to do slipshod work. The gaping door and the window that won't budge inspire Goodwill to raise the level of people in general so that other builders will aim higher and turn out better work.

Goodwill Stays Busy

Goodwill is no sloth! He can patiently put up with things done incorrectly, and bad manners that he doesn't like. But he can't possibly leave people alone who do the wrong thing. He cares too much about them to see them ruin themselves with one fault or another. He can't watch people grow up in ignorance, and can't tolerate sickness or suffering or loneliness anywhere in

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the world. So his hands and heart are always busy with some kind of helpful work.

As you can see, Goodwill does many things, but wherever he looks, his expression is the same. Goodwill is always gracious, sincere, pleasant, and approachable. He genuinely likes all people--grown-ups, children, male or female. He's inexhaustible, too. With so many friends with so many needs, there's always something for him to do. But he enjoys everything he does, so it's not hard for him to smile as he goes along.

Goodwill's Enemies

What a wonderful place the world would be if the wellspring of Goodwill was free to spring up unhindered in every human heart! But a whole league of Demons hinder every movement that Goodwill makes. There's the tendency to be too particular and offended by anything that's different than what we're used to. Hypersensitivity is always looking for any reason to resent offenses and insults, no matter how minor or how unintentional. Faultfinder is always nearby, ready to disapprove and blame without attempting to help correct the fault. Selfishness is ready to fill up the whole heart so that not even a corner is left to be concerned for others. Laziness is there to replace Goodwill with easy, agreeable Good Nature, who is happy with everything, as long as he doesn't have to take the trouble to do anything. Tolerance is just as easy and agreeable with opinions as Good Nature is with actions. To tolerate, or put up with, the principles and opinions that guide people's very lives is not Goodwill, it's Indifference. Real Goodwill is unbiased and fair-minded to other people's thoughts, not indifferent.

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The Peace of Goodwill

Goodwill does so many things that we can only take time to mention a few of them. But it's good to understand that it means, at the very least, active Goodwill towards everyone. When we realize this, the angels' message of 'Peace on earth and Goodwill towards men of Goodwill' will mean more to us.

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Chapter 4 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Sympathy

Sympathy is a Lord of the Heart who gets a bad rap. People think that he's sentimental and that he goes around wiping people's tears and soothing their distresses. They think that's all he does. But sympathy has deep understanding. He has great joy, even though he sometimes has great sadness. Understanding another human being so completely that you can feel what he's feeling and think what he's thinking is like taking possession of a whole new world! It's like being able to live the life of another person. It's as if the heart expanded and you could understand what it must feel like to have as much full comprehension as God's angels. Every once in a while, we find almost perfect sympathy with another person, and we let ourselves become exclusive. We know that one person, but nobody else. But that makes the gift of sympathy, which should be used for the good of others, something selfish. Every trait we discover and come to understand in a person should be used as a key to understand the same trait in others. If we discover that our words have the power to hurt that person, or a look can wound them, then we should use that knowledge to spur us to be kind and careful in the way we deal with other people. We never know

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how much power our words or actions have to hurt others. Can you think of even one person whose heart is touched by a noble thought, or whose eyes mist over when they hear about some act of heroism? That should prove that those kinds of things have the power to move the human heart. And our response should be to give freely from the best of ourselves that we have to offer. We shouldn't entertain the notion that such-and-such a person wouldn't understand. If music or poetry or art gives us joy, then we shouldn't hesitate to share those things with others. After all, people are made pretty much alike, although their experiences in life are different. A speaker who understands how Empathy works will speak in a way that appeals to the generosity, delicacy, courage, and loyalty of the whole crowd, even though they're all different sorts of people. And he does touch their hearts. His own Empathy and understanding has recognized that something noble and good dwells within the heart of each person, no matter how unlikely the crowd may look. And his speech works like a magic key that unlocks the tree imprisoning the spirit Ariel, and the beautiful part of the human spirit rises up from the prison deep within the heart.

Raising the Bar

Empathy is like an eye that really notices others, or like encouragement that elevates, or like a strong, sustaining arm to lean on and keep a person from falling. The great thinkers (poets and artists) and doers (heroes) have done a wonderful thing for their world. They have put out feelers to find and draw out our Empathy. We sometimes say that a picture or poem or heroic deed 'finds us.' We find ourselves thinking the same thought, or reliving that heroic act, and we feel strengthened and inspired. We owe the same kind of Empathy to every human being, whether far or near. If we have anything noble and good within us, let's offer it with the confidence of knowing that others will respond. If we hesitate and don't give this Empathy because we suspect that everyone around us is thinking petty, unworthy thoughts, or doing immoral, mean things and can't do any better, then we'll find ourselves getting what we expect. Although we may not realize it, we end up

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giving our Empathy to what's corrupt and suspicious in others, and that confirms and strengthens the corruption in them. And, at the same time, we're locking ourselves into the habit of harsh, narrow thinking, and stingy, callous living.

Virtue Goes Out of Us

The power to see, elevate and sustain is the highest job Empathy has. Even when it's the sadness, worry or pain of others that arouses it, we can't forget Empathy's highest office. We need to see the disaster from the perspective of the person suffering, and feel his pain, although not as keenly as he feels it himself. If we don't suffer, then we have nothing to give. The Bible says that 'virtue went out of Him' as Jesus healed. It's only as the virtue of our honor, strength and vitality go out of us, that we have the ability to help and heal.

Imitation Empathy

There's an imitation kind of empathy that's common among those who give, and those who receive. In fact, it can be used to gain popularity. This is the kind of empathy that sees, but not deep enough. It sees that the ego of the person suffering might be soothed in the same way that a caregiver soothes a toddler who just bumped his head on the table. She says, 'Naughty table!' and knocks over the table! In the same way, a false empathizer blames the source of the suffering and makes the person even more ineffective by offering weak pity and making him feel sorry for himself just when he needs strength to fortify himself. Self-pity is possibly the final blow of misfortune that can fall on a man. It degrades empathy to make the person suffering aware of his own pain instead of raising him above it. That's even worse than the callousness that tries to get the suffering person to buck up and brace himself. It's also more dangerous - at least callousness is more easily recognized before it can do much harm.

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Tact

Tact is almost like another word for empathy. Both words are related to using our hearts to see things from another person's point of view. Tact recognizes that a harsh word will be hurtful, or that a certain gesture will offend, or that a word of sympathy will seem like prying. Tact knows when a smile and kind look are better than words. Tact is often learned with good upbringing, but the most genuine tact is the expression of empathy that only comes from understanding what's going on in another person's mind. Tact works with the other minor parts of empathy - active interest in what others are doing and interested in, and a readiness to provide a listening ear. An attentive, friendly listener can be the most needed kind of empathy. He's able to raise and sustain the person he's listening to. Just by listening, he can increase the self-respect of a person who's just accomplished something, or seen something, or suffered something that he needs to talk about. Listening is a true act of service. Every one of us, 'even the youngest,' thinks too little of ourselves and we tend to lack the confidence and courage to act on the possibilities inside us. A good listener can encourage others.

Demons Related to Empathy

We can't go into all the parts of Empathy, but we need to mention a few of the demons that threaten it. The worst one is fatal. It's the self-occupation that comes from Ego. When a person is focused on himself, his rights, his needs, what he wants, his abilities, or his lack of ability, his achievements or failures, his value or worthlessness, then he's like a goblet that's already full. He has no room to have Empathy for anyone else. The passive form of Ego is Indifference. Some of its active forms are self-seeking Vanity, Dislike, and Animosity.

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Chapter 5 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Thoughtfulness

'The best part of a good man's life
Are the little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.'
--from Wordsworth

It's interesting that a great poet should put so much importance on little acts of thoughtfulness in a good man's life. Thoughtfulness is another Lord of the Heart. I once knew a child who wasn't even old enough to talk yet, but was kind enough to pull up a chair and pat it for a visitor to sit down. Even unschooled natives of third-world countries have kind impulses of thoughtfulness.

Thoughtfulness Makes Life Pleasant for Others

Thoughtfulness is universal. You'd think that Sympathy, Goodwill and Empathy would cover everything. If those were all there in the heart, then thoughtfulness should be a given. But there's a strange thing about human nature. The best way I can describe it is inertia. It makes even a sympatheitic, benevolent, caring person slow to do the kind of little everyday routine things that thoughtfulness is concerned about. Thoughtfulness's job is simply to make everyday life more pleasant and comfortable for others, even when those others are only the pets that we feed and care for, or our dog

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who likes to be played with and taken for walks, or our horse that needs not only food and care but encouragement from a friendly touch and word. Our family and friends, both rich and poor, provide lots of opportunities to be thoughtful. A thoughtful person might be described as courteous, kind, accomodating or considerate. His thoughtfulness is shown in a kind word, or by knowing when not to speak, or by his manner, his attention, what he says, or what he does.

The Kindness of Courtesy

British people sometimes think that what we do doesn't matter, as long as our hearts are right. So we sometimes miss the opportunity to do a kindness or courtesy. We adopt a congenial but distant manner that's really aloof, and can therefore be painful and a little unkind. We also neglect routine gestures of courteous greetings. It's good to see Germans or Danish errand boys tip their hats to each other, or schoolboys, or porters and washerwomen, without any sense of awkwardness. But in England, we've gotten into a bad national habit. This might be one area where both rich and poor can meet. Both share an unconscious struggle for social status, so both should be able to afford to be forthright, considerate, gracious and couteous to anyone in their path.

Singlemindedness

Singlemindedness is a specific kind of thoughtfulness. A person can only be kind and thoughtful when their attention is focused on the person they're being kind to, and there's no watching for a response. All kinds of things have been written and said about kind actions like getting slippers and footstools, or giving flowers, etc. There's even one method of encouraging children

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to perform acts of thoughtfulness by keeping count of how many considerate things they do in a day. But that ruins it. The very essence of an act of kindness is that it should be done and then forgotten. It goes without saying that we shouldn't mention an act of kindness that we did to the person or to anyone else. But even more important, let's not keep score by thinking, 'I did a thoughtful thing for such-and-such, and now look at the way he rewards me for it!' And we can't think that we can cancel out a kindness done for us by reciprocating and doing a favor. Worst of all is to expect that, if we do something for a person, they owe us some great favor, and then act put out and ungracious if our kindness isn't paid back or even recognized. How can we escape these pitfalls of thoughtfulness? By being single-minded so that we don't even know that we're doing anything unusually kind. It isn't just the poor who are meant when Jesus said, 'Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.'

Everyone has kind intentions.

'People are so precious to humans! Even the poorest person
Longs for some moments in his miserable life
When he can know and feel like he's truly been
Himself by being a giver and dealer
Of some small blessing, and been kind to someone
Who needed kindness.'
-- from Wordsworth

Thoughtfulness in Interpretation

The greatest, sweetest and most generous kind of thoughtfulness is possibly the one we never think about. I'm taking about kindness in how we construe another person's meaning. We can always take someone else's words, actions and motives in one of two ways. Human nature is so contradictory that both ways may be equally accurate. The difference is in the way we interpret

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the other person's thoughts. We can give them the benefit of doubt and think generously of their thoughts. For instance, an awkward action or comment might just be clumsiness rather than lack of kindness. If we give the benefit of the doubt, we'll probably be right, which is only fair to the person. What if we're wrong? Assuming the best of intentions will have a two-fold effect. It will be more effective than any criticism at convicting him of unkindness. It will also stir up the good feelings within himself that we already credited him with. Of all the causes for unhappiness, the most upsetting is the habit of thinking the worst of the people we live with. Even good people fall into that habit. One bad result of this kind of thinking, especially with young people who are influenced by what their peers think of them, is that they think they'll get laughed at if they act on a kind impulse. So they don't act when they feel an impulse to do something thoughtful. Thoughtfulness that's single-minded in its focus doesn't worry about those things. It doesn't second guess and assume everyone thinks they're silly if they act on a kind impulse. It's not always easy to 'be ye kind,' but--

'All worldly pleasures amount to less
Than the joy of doing one kindness.'
-- from Herbert

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Chapter 6 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Magnanimity

Everyone Has Gracious Impulses

At first glance, it seems like gracious magnanimity doesn't exist in a lot of people. We only notice it in the most noble souls. But we are deceived. All of England was delirious with joy because a siege in the little South African town of Mafeking ended. People forget their own concerns, plans, worries, annoyances, even their hunger, cold and physical needs when they're seemingly warmed and fed by a public joy, or, in other cases, softened and saddened by a public sorrow. That's because all people are stirred by what's called a generous impulse. It's a feeling of magnanimity that allows them to live outside of their own lives, even if it's only for a moment. One time I heard a magnanimous lecture about a great poet given to a crowd of thousands of people from different walks of life. The comments people made on their way out were interesting. One man said, with a choke in his voice, 'You know, that man had us in the palm of his hand. He could lead us on any crusade he wanted!' He was right. And that's how all noble, world-changing movements have started, such as the Crusades, or the anti-slavery war in America. A thought

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was spoken that awakened a magnanimous impulse that's common to all humans. It's natural for magnanimity to bring forth, and to give, at the cost of suffering and deprivation, whether it's a little or a lot. It's not magnanimous to give what we don't want and what we'll never miss. That's merely good natured. It can't even be called kindness unless it came from a real thought about the needs of someone else.

Abounding Trust and Faith in Others

Magnanimity at its best, and with a certain flavor added, is called Enthusiasm. We'll discuss enthusiasm later. It may help in our understanding of this virtue if we clarify that it's often more accurately called magnanimity when it refers to the nobleness of the mind, and it's called generosity when it refers to a largeness of heart. A generous-hearted person has gracious, warm thoughts about life and the people around him. He could never bitterly condemn entire groups of people because of their race, language, politics, social class or religion. He has no patience for the base smart aleck who tells jokes that make fun of a whole class of people [such as lawyer jokes?] He has no patience for the kind of experienced 'wisdom' that's so suspicious that it expects to be defrauded or cheated by everyone. In the end, a magnanimous person finds that he's the one with the wisdom of the world. Because he's able to be fair and generous, he's able to live his whole life with no hard lessons learned from the sin and cheating of others. At the same time, if he only has five dollars, he spends it freely, with no anxiety about what he'll do when it's gone. It's his trust and faith in others, rather than how much he has to share, that distinguishes a generous, magnanimous person.

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Generosity is Costly, but It Has Its Own Reward

In the same way, when it comes to his friends and neighbors, he doesn't keep track to make sure that everyone gives him what he thinks he has coming to him of their time, kindness, or service. He allows them to decide for themselves what they'll do. And most people respond well to that kind of trust. Don't confuse this with the careless kind of thinking that allows anything. That is often a lack of self-respect that causes people to crave popularity. A magnanimous person will have all different kinds of people as friends. He has something interesting to say to various levels of intellect, and can find something in common with almost anyone. He's interested in lots of different things. and he's open-minded. No matter what he gets interested in, he's enthusiastic and ready to give it his all.

Generosity is costly because it's always giving, whether it's from the heart or from the wallet. Yet it pays great reward. After all, the Bible says, 'Give, and it shall be given unto you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.' It's a blessing to be a magnanimous person, too. A generous person doesn't let minor problems, worries or annoyances get to him. He goes around in a state of calm. There are so many important things to be concerned about that he doesn't have time for the petty ones. And he has a lot of important concerns in mind, since whatever concerns others concerns him, too. But, since his concerns are warm and glowing concerns of the heart, they are distributed appropriately. He divides his cares between his intimates and the rest of the world. His heart is touched by both, but he reserves his deepest care for those closest to him. He doesn't pretend to love other countries as much as he loves his own, and he doesn't try to make himself feel the same affection for the kids down the street as he feels for his own children.

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False Ideas that Restrain Generosity

I've been talking about how a generous person acts, but really, generosity isn't limited to just a few magnanimous-disposed people. Generosity is alive in each of us, ready to help us live a life full of warmth and openness. But certain false assumptions and petty tendencies can keep generosity confined in the prison of our hearts, unless some chance fortunate comment or situation inspires us to let him loose. When this happens to an entire community at the same time, people become alarmed and wonder if the whole world has lost its mind. But what's happened is that we've suddenly burst out into freedom of life and loosed the shackles that we're used to.

'Every person should take care of his own business' is a false notion that comes to people with a strong sense of duty, and the realization that they're limited in how much they can help outside of their own family. This kind of person shuts out the great, wide world's problems, and becomes obsessed with the petty problems and details of his own private world. It's true that we should take care of ourselves. If we don't, then we become unworthy and a drain to our society's resources by abdicating our duty and burdening someone else with it. The secret is to focus fully on our own business when that's what we're supposed to be doing, whether it's an outside job or our own daily schedule. But when our work is done, we should consider it wasteful to pay even a moment's notice to that work. That time should rightfully be spent considering the concerns of the world outside of ourselves. Whatever our job is in life, even if it's the tedious drudgery of maintaining a family, we'll do it better if we discipline ourselves and focus our attention on the right thing at the right time. That will make us a better, more open and broad-minded person. And, let's face it, the fuller a person we are, the more effective we'll be at getting our work done.

'Every man for himself, and heaven helps those who help themselves' is another false notion that imprisons our mind in a narrow cell.

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It isn't every man for himself. It's wise to get out of ourselves and involve ourselves in the wide current of human life in all of its conditions and types of people. That's what we should be focusing on.

Another false notion that's usually unspoken but worse than the others is the secret belief that everybody else is worse than we are and is therefore unworthy of our help. It seems shocking to see it put into words, but how else can we explain why we think that one person is out to cheat us, and another wants to offend us, while we ourselves have no intention of doing such things to them? Why do we expect to be slighted or deceived when we know we'd never do that to someone else? It's more generous to have some faith in others, to trust freely, and expect the best of contractors, people who serve us, our friends and neighbors, people we work for, and those who work for us.

'Be noble! Then, the nobility that lies
Dormant in others, asleep but not dead,
Will rise up heroically to meet your own!'
-- from Lowell

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Chapter 7 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Gratitude

The Pleasure of a Grateful Heart

Gratitude ought to help us live more joyfully and happily than any other Lord of the Heart. It's so good and cheering to be grateful! The joy doesn't come from the favor or kindness that was bestowed on us out of goodwill and love. The joy is that something beautiful has sprung up from the beautiful heart of someone else for us. Our joy in that other person's character gives us more delight than any pleasure we might derive from mere favors. But, too often, we miss this joy. We're too absorbed in our own selves to be aware of a kindness. Or we're so pleased with ourselves that we assume that any kindness is only what we deserve and have coming to us. Young people tend to accept the abundant, overflowing kindnesses of their parents as routine and common. So they miss the double joy they could have if they recognized the love in a hug, or a nice comment, or a special look, or something specially arranged for them. Parents often do so many little things above and beyond their obligation as dutiful parents. Kindness is like a flower that blooms when you aren't even looking for it. Being on the alert to notice these 'flowers' of kindness can add

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to the joy we experience in our relationships with other people. It can add to our comfort and happiness in being taken care of. Let's say you go to the little corner market, and the clerk, who knows you by now, adds a little gift to your bag of groceries. Perhaps it's a nice look of recognition, or a cheerful greeting, or maybe a question that shows he's interested in you and your family. It might be nothing more than a friendly smile, but you have a pleasant bond of human relations with him because he was kind to you. There are two possible responses to this. One response is to imagine that you're so important that it's natural for clerks and people to show you special attention. Or, you might walk away with a lighter heart that's grateful, and takes away more than it came in with.

A Grateful Heart Gives a Full Return

Life would be dull and lack the flowers of kindness if we didn't get more than we could ever pay for with money, or repay with favors. But a grateful heart pays a good dividend because it gets paid with rejoicing in the gift and the giver. There are times when formal thanks are appropriate, but that's not the only way to show gratefulness. A glance, a smile, or a heartfelt word of appreciation and recognition will fill the other person and give them something back for their kindness that brought us so much pleasure. But we shouldn't bother giving thanks if it isn't simple and sincere. It should be simple in the way that we focus on the other person's kindness instead of ourselves. And it should be sincere in saying only what we feel and no more, or sincere enough not to belabor the point by pretending to love a gift that isn't of value to us. Instead, we should focus on the other person.

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The Shame of Ingratitude

There's an old story about a city who decided that ingratitude was the worst of all crimes. They were practical people, so they set up a bell in an open but remote place so that anyone who experienced ingratitude could ring it. As time went on, the bell became forgotten. Maybe the people were extra careful not to commit this offense. But one day, the bell rang! The whole city rushed out to see who was ringing the bell, and who the ungrateful accused person was. As it turned out, a donkey had been grazing and got his foot caught in the bell rope. As he tried to move to nibble on what little grass was in the area, the bell pealed. At first, everyone laughed. But then they noticed the condition of the donkey. He was almost too weak to stand. The people asked each other, 'Whose donkey is this?' They asked around until they found the owner. The owner confessed that he had owned the donkey for many years, and the donkey had served him well. But then he got too weak to be useful, so he had turned the poor donkey out to make out as best he could on his own. The citizens decided that the donkey had been justified in ringing the bell, and they made the abusive owner pay the fine and keep his donkey. Using other people and making them serve us is ungrateful. A grateful person has a good memory and an observant eye. He knows when people who have helped him need his help in turn. He especially values the people who were kind and helpful to him when he was a child. He watches for an opportunity to repay their kindness.

Gratitude is ready to rejoice and give thanks for gifts he receives, even if the gift came from someone who wasn't thinking especially of him. In fact, the person who gave the gift may have died hundreds of years

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earlier. He can be thankful for a delightful or helpful book, or a great painting, or a beautiful day, or the face of a small child, or pleasant work, or enjoyable places. As Jeremy Taylor said, he is quick to 'notice the pleasure in whatever he's doing.' He's thankful for whatever good comes his way. The pathetic person who thinks that everything he gets is merely what he's entitled to, and that nobody can ever give him more than he has a fair right to, is to be pitied. He misses a lot of joy, and he causes himself a lot of pain and annoyance as he goes through life. 'Yes, it's a happy and pleasant thing to be thankful.'

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Chapter 8 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Courage

All Of Us Have Courage

The word courage comes from the days when the elite spoke Norman French, and nobles valued chivalry. The Normans believed that Courage was something in the heart, and the word reflects that. Courage meant the whole character of a man. If a man didn't have Courage, then he didn't have any qualities of manhood. We don't talk about it as much anymore, but Courage is still an important Lord in the House of the Heart. Courage should live inside every Mansoul, even the most timid ones.

The Courage to Attack

Even a sheep will be brave enough to attack to save her lamb. A bird will refuse to leave her eggs even when a monster (man) is near. One time a blue tomtit laid its eggs in a mailbox. Of course, people went to see it. It was curious and amazing the way the little bird hissed at the giant intruders! A toddler is brave enough to protect his pets. Many loving mothers have been courageous enough to sacrifice themselves to horrible deaths to save their babies. All of us have enough courage to face any danger, any enemy, any kind of death, if we'd only believe it. But, like all the other Lords of our Life, Courage

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has his own demons. They are Fear, Cowardice, Panic, and Anxiety.

The Courage to Endure

Fear and his friends Panic and Anxiety, are always watching for the moments when Courage is lulled to sleep by security. When we see the heroic deeds that all kinds of men are capable of in war, we can begin to understand that Courage is universal. In England, only those who want to join the army. But men who are drafted show just as much courage. It's just as possible for every man to be gripped by Fear and to act on Panic that comes from Fear. An entire company that was considered as brave as anyone else has been known to turn and flee from the enemy.

The Courage of Calmness

Not many of us will ever face the challenge of a battlefield. Yet a battlefield isn't as challenging as the thousands of battles we all face every day in our lives, and we have to face them by ourselves without the moral support of an army. It takes more Courage to face the loss of a leg at home because of an accident or sports injury. And the kind of Courage it takes to face pain and disappointment with calm endurance is something we all need. Everyone needs strength sometimes, even if it's only in the dentist's chair! It's good to have confidence and know that we have all the Courage we'll ever need to face whatever may come our way - not because we're bolder than most people, but because everyone is born with Courage, the Lord and Captain of the Heart. Once we know that we have Courage, we need to be sure our Courage doesn't fall asleep and betray us so that we panic in an accident or when we see a wasp or a mouse. It's

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improper and inappropriate for anyone, no matter how young, to lose the presence of mind when they're hurt or in danger. When we panic and lose our heads, we lose the opportunity to be useful to others, and we become a burden and make a spectacle of ourselves. Anxious fussing in minor stresses, such as when traveling or during a small household crisis, or pressure at work, is a form of panic. It's the fear that things may not go well, or that something might be forgotten and not get done. Instead of worrying, we should get a grip and remind ourselves, 'It doesn't really matter. Any undue concern about things is unworthy of us.' The only thing that really matters is people. The best thing we can do is to be sure that one person keeps a cool head in a crisis. Then we'll be sure that one person, at least, will be ready to help.

The Courage To Deal With Our Circumstances

The kind of fear that tends to agonize and worry and be disturbed when circumstances are the least bit stressful, will darken into real anxiety when we face some success we've always wanted, or some danger that we've always feared. People get more sympathy for being anxious because anxiety causes real suffering, and the cause for the anxiety is often real. Yet we do ourselves an injustice when we indulge in anxiety. We're all born with the strength of Courage to a greater or lesser degree. This Courage should allow us to focus on the here and now without worrying about what the future might bring. Even the most timid of us can focus on the here and now if we keep our minds occupied doing what needs to be done now. That's how mothers and wives can spend months nursing their dearest loved one with a cheerful smile. If you ask them how they do it, they'll say that they don't dare look ahead to the future. They live from hour to hour. By focusing on the here and now, they're able to bring happiness and even cheerfulness to the sickroom, even though

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a sad end is the inevitable end they'll have to face. If this kind of Courage is possible even in the face of grief to come, then surely it's possible to be brave about facing lesser matters, such as a coming term exam, or something we'll be losing soon, or an upcoming stressful situation, or even the worst distress of all - when someone we love disappoints us by deciding not to follow Christ. Jesus commanded us, 'Don't let your heart be anxious.' The command assumes that we have the ability to be obedient. That's why warnings are given to those who are 'fearful and unbelieving.'

The Courage to Stick to our Opinions

The Courage to Attack, The Courage to Endure, the Courage of Calmness, and The Courage to Deal With Our Circumstances are all important. But there are some minor forms of Courage that are just as much a part of a courageous heart. One of these is the Courage to stick to our opinions. I'm not talking about the latest buzzword that we casually adopt as our own, those things that 'everybody says' and that we imagine will startle our less-informed friends. I'm talking about those few opinions based on knowledge that we can truly call our own.

It's a good idea to examine ourselves and figure out what our opinions about popular issues really are. If we truly think it through, we might discover that we don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other. If that's the case, let's not be quick to agree with the first thing we hear. Instead, we should think, ask questions, read about it, consider both sides. Then we'll be prepared with a gentle, clear, well-grounded opinion when someone makes a comment like, 'I think it's a bad idea to send missionaries,' or 'People tend to choose the religion that's most suited to their personality type,' or 'it's a waste of time to be concerned about people as a group. Only the elite minds, or the creative souls who produce art are worth caring about,' and so on. Too often we have to let people's remarks go unchallenged

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because we assume they've been carefully though out. But it's surprising how a single word of simple conviction will silence people who express the most outrageous opinions. It's our duty to have this kind of conviction.

The Courage to be Open

The Courage to be open and sincere can be charming. It's appropriate to have some discretion. A person who blabs everything about his affairs with no regard for what should remain private is a bore. On the other hand, a person who is too cautious, suspicious and reserved has a fearful and unbelieving heart. That's not characteristic of a noble heart. How do we know what we should share and what we should keep private? Examining our motive is our best guide. If we keep something to ourselves because we don't want to bore our friends with petty trivialities, that's fine. But if we hold back because we don't trust them to care, or to be fair, or to be kind, or to understand, then we lack Courage.

The Correct to Correct

There are lots of kinds of Courage that different people can have, but we're only going to mention a couple more. The Courage to Correct needs to be used with delicacy and gentleness. You can't have a genuine friendship between two equals without this kind of Courage. The fair, gentle corrections that young friends give each other are probably more convicting and effective for them than the more common reproofs that older people give each other.

The Courage to Confess

The Courage to Confess openly and directly to the appropriate person when we've done something wrong or left something undone in the routine of our day is very strengthening. But the habit of confessing all of our feelings and

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thoughts isn't always Courage. When we confess, it's safer to stick to things we've done or things we've neglected to do.

The Courage of Confidence

The Courage of Confidence assures us that we're capable and able to do whatever task comes our way. We won't listen to the gutless fear that reminds us of our past failures or our inadequacies. The Courage of Intellectual Confidence enables us to take on the challenge of mind work with a sense that we have what it takes to succeed. Many failures are caused by intellectual panic. It's to blame for the times when we don't try to understand the line of reasoning of an argument, or when we don't try to follow an experiment, and it's a major reason why so many people don't speak foreign languages. Intellectual panic is also the reason why we tend to adopt popular opinions. We're afraid we don't have what it takes to think through an opinion for ourselves that's worth keeping, and worth sharing with others.

The Courage to Seize Opportunity

Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar,

'There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.'

The Courage to seize the opportunity when it presents itself is related to the Courage of Confidence. It's not the same as the haphazard spirit of recklessness that goes looking for ways to take risks. The difference is that Courage is ready to take on what comes its way, but foolhardiness seeks ways to take a gamble. Courage waits for guidance:

'Noble-minded people yield, they believe
That circumstances are like sacred oracles
Speaking God's will to faithful souls.'
     (from Charlotte Mason's poem, Moses: A Study)

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Chapter 9 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Loyalty

Loyalty of Youth

Loyalty is what marks a person of character, yet it isn't a mark. Loyalty isn't something we can put on or stamp on ourselves, it's something that we're born with. At different periods in time, and at different periods of life, any one of the Lords of the Heart has control of Mansoul. During the Age of Chivalry, it was Loyalty who ruled. Our young years ought to be devoted to Loyalty and Chivalry. But this doesn't seem to be a very loyal time that we live in. We seem to think that our priority in life is to think for ourselves and serve ourselves for our own pleasure. We seem to think that the world is here to please and serve our desires, instead of thinking that we're here to serve and care for the world. We're more interested in ruling than serving. At least, that's how we think in our lowest moments. Loyalty, whose duty is to serve, reminds us that we don't belong to ourselves. We're fulfilled only when we serve out of loyalty.

Our Loyalties are Already Determined For Us

We're quick to profess shallow loyalty to a poet, actor, soldier or priest and offer our service. But we forget that, just like every other part of our lives,

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it's not up to us to decide where to distribute our loyalties. They are already determined for us. In some cases, they're part of our duties and our choice is to be loyal or disloyal. In this respect, it's nice to be in a country that has a king because royalty provides a visible exercise in Loyalty. A king is loved and served out of loyalty to his role as sovereign.

Loyalty to Our King

One of the best lessons we get from history is in the examples of loyalty and service. One of those lessons is the unlimited honor and reverence given to a king. People would devote their very lives, everything they had to survive, their children, their allegiance, to the king's cause. Sir Henry Lee in Scott's Woodstock is a great example of Loyalty. As we read, it becomes evident that Lee's fine character and life shouldn't be wasted on such an unworthy king. But we need to remember that the knight benefited more from his loyalty than the king did, because it's 'more blessed to give than to receive.' Our beloved Queen Victoria had all of our loyalty because she was so loyal herself. Her loyalty was to her people. She understood that and she served them, and her act of loyalty raised our level of living.

The Loyalty We Owe to Our Own People

After our king, it's our country who we're loyal to. Understand that we owe goodwill to the whole world, but we owe our loyalty to our own people. No matter how much we admire or like a foreign king, or a foreign country, our loyalty belongs to our own country, not to them. It's disloyal to make unfavorable comparisons that put down our own country and prefer some other country. We may prefer their laws, government, customs, or weather, but we still owe our first loyalty to our own country.

Public Opinion is Responsible for Anarchy

We people from the older generation are saddened, shocked and

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humbled as we hear of so many kings and presidents assassinated by people who call themselves anarchists. It shames us because this kind of crime has no parallel in history, and it's caused because public opinion hasn't been taught to value Loyalty. We keep hearing about more and more of these kinds of crimes, and it hits home because we all help to form public opinion. Every country has people who don't have the right idea about our duties to one another and that wrong idea leads them to assassination. But they get those wrong ideas from public opinion. We've been told that we shouldn't let people hear us say bad things about our leaders. If we do, then people who hear us might turn against those leaders and kill them. Kings everywhere will live in fear of being murdered. We're all bound to one another all around the world and we influence people even in other countries. That's a very serious thought. It should make us happy to know that, by being loyal to our country's leader, we're helping the whole world.

Loyalty to Our Country

I suspect that people lose a bit of their moral integrity when they choose to become exiles from their own country. Every tie we have when we're born is a part of us that becomes a necessary part of who we are. Patriotism, or loyalty to our country, is a worthy passion. Revolutions happen when the country's leader has such bad character that upright people can't be loyal to both him and their country. Unfair laws, unnecessary taxes, and the oppression of the poor make men's hearts sad for their country. Loyalty to country demands honor, service, and personal devotion.

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Giving the proper loyalty to country takes an intelligent understanding of the country's history, law and institutions. It requires knowledge of the country's great leaders and people, the weaknesses and strengths of the country. It's not the same thing as the ignorant or rude attitude of an English or Chinese person who thinks that being born an Englishman or a Chinese makes him better than people born in other countries, or that his country and his government are always right and everyone else's is always wrong. But even worse, and even more dangerous, is the vile spirit of people who think that their country and government is always at fault, and always worse than other countries, and praises other countries just so he can make his country look bad.

The Service of Loyalty

These days, serving our country may mean merely taking an active interest in the issues that concern the government, and informing ourselves about the social problems that our thinkers are discussing. Even if we aren't called on to serve the country directly, such as by being elected to the Senate, we should still give our time, effort and resources to help our local government. This kind of service is more nobly in force now than ever. And we rise to the occasion when our country needs our personal devotion. Things that have happened recently seem to prove that every citizen of Great Britain is prepared to lay down his life for his country.

Loyalty to a Chief

Perhaps the one kind of Loyalty we don't have as much of as they had in the Middle Ages is the kind of loyalty that every person

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owes to a chief. Sir Walter Scott gives a perfect example of this in his character from The Fair Maid of Perth, Torquil of the Oak. He was the Highland foster father who sacrificed his life and the lives of his nine strapping sons to protect the honor of a young chief who he knew was a coward. The entire incident is written about with sympathy, but without melodrama, and therefore provides one of the most intense situations in literature. But this kind of Loyalty still exists today. Most military junior officers in the army or the navy won't allow themselves to criticize their commanding officer's character or actions. And the soldiers still live as if 'It's not for them to give reply, it's not for them to question why, their job is to do and die.' And, if they do die because 'someone has made a blunder,' then they have the consolation that one supreme moment of unquestioning Loyalty to their king, their country and their commanding officer is probably worth fifty years of routine mundane life that doesn't feel like real living at all. At least, that's true if the purpose of life is to teach us how to fully live. There's a story about some elegant young diplomats serving as private secretaries to various important leaders. One felt that he was better than the rest and he grumbled when his boss rang the bell to summon him. Another had learned the secret of 'dignified obedience and proud submission.' He said that, even if his boss asked him to clean his shoes, he would do it. And there are plenty of examples of splendid Loyalty to heads of households, political parties, causes, schools, or whatever. They are everywhere.

Loyalty to Personal Ties

Most people are loyal to personal ties, relatives, friends, those we take care of. Everyone knows that, whether these ties are something we're born into, such as family, or something we choose, such as friendships, or something we're obligated to for lesser reasons, such as employers, we must be loyal.

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We know that it's not proper to tolerate unfair criticism about a friend's character or actions, not even in the privacy of our own thoughts. If our friend needs to be corrected, we need to discuss it with him privately and not mention it to anyone else. Our time, our company, our sympathy and our service are as available as we can afford whenever our friend needs them. We know that our friend is entitled to the best of us - our deepest thoughts, our highest dreams, as far as we're able to discuss them. We're glad to admit it in the case of our favorite friends. But when it comes to the people who are our friends by default because they happen to be within our circle, we're sometimes hesitant to give our best, and we tend to share only our shallow, routine thoughts. And we tend to talk down to people under us who we take care of and who aren't as educated as we are. But that's a mistake. We owe the best we have in varying degrees to all of our relationships, whether default, chosen, or casual. It's those relationships that make our lives sweet.

A Mind That's Constant

Being steadfast is the essence of all Loyalties. One sixty year old man said that he'd always had his boots made from the same bootmaker ever since he was first wearing boots. That's the kind of Loyalty we need to have for all those we owe Loyalty to. We miss out on a lot of the grace of life by running here and there to find what's most beneficial and convenient for us in friends, acquaintances, religions, craftsmen, clerks, preachers and prophets. Maybe we'd get more of what's best if we stuck to what we have instead of constantly looking around for a new place to buy everything we need. Loyalty is made up of the strength, grace and dignity of a constant mind.

Someone might object and say that some people are impossible

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and unbearable. They'll say that a waiter is lazy, that a shopkeeper is dishonest, a friend is unworthy, a relative is aggravating, and not worthy of Loyalty.

But some people that we haven't sought out are going to be permanent fixtures in our life. What can't be changed should be maintained with Loyalty. Sometimes it might be best to break ties with someone like a boss or someone we take care of if it's impossible to give them our Loyalty anymore. But the split from them should be done simply and with dignity. We shouldn't indulge in gossiping about their failures and grumbling about the way we were treated by them. We need to realize that being Loyal means that we can't allow ourselves to hang onto grudges about minor personal offenses. Many lives are ruined on the rock of resentment. Failing to be loyal by holding grudges hurts us more than it hurts the person we resent.

Being Thorough

The same principles of Loyalty to people apply to Loyalty in our job or any cause we commit ourselves to. Wholehearted, thorough effort is part of this kind of Loyalty. That means that there will be times when we're seen as unfriendly because we don't throw ourselves into every new cause that comes our way. We can only do what we're able to. Loyalty to the projects we've committed to means that we'll often have to turn down new projects.

Loyalty to Our Principles

We owe a high standard of Loyalty to our principles. We start out by being loyal to the principles we're brought up believing. But as we mature and develop character, we come to have convictions that become a part of who we are. If we're mature, it won't be popular buzzwords that we get from the newspapers or TV or common talk that make up our principles. We'll have convictions that are really ours because we've worked them out with thoughtful effort, and maybe even painful feelings. Only a person who is true to these kinds of convictions is really true to himself.

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But Loyalty is expected even of people who aren't true to themselves. Perhaps the first of these principles is religion. I'm not talking about our faith in God, that's something different. I'm talking about the form of religion in which we express our faith [denomination]. It's a safe rule to not entertain forms and ideas outside of our own religion because we might risk not being able to hold to any kind of religious convictions at all. Instead, we become eager for anything new and we start to crave the excitement of anything different.

The habit of unworthy, petty criticism of church workers or the religious services we're used to will usually result in a habit of unstable religious convictions. Loyalty won't let us take part in petty gossip about our church. It also won't let us run here and there, church-hopping, looking for more exciting services.

Loyalty's Enemies

The demons that work to destroy Loyalty are probably Self-interest, Self-conceit, and Self-importance. Self-interest urges us to look for what's best for ourselves no matter what Loyalties we have to break. Self-conceit keeps us so resentful of trivial offenses that Loyalty is out of the question. Self-importance can't take second place to give priority to anything else, whether small or great, related to our country, our church, or our family. These are the enemies all around us. But Loyalty is within us. It's strong and steadfast. All it needs to make its enemies flee is for us to recognize where our Loyalties lie.

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Chapter 10 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Humility

Pride of Life

The Apostle John lists three things that make men stumble. They are the lust of the flesh that makes people want to satisfy the desires of their human nature, the lust of the eye that causes people to make the delight of beauty their first priority, and the pride of life. The pride of life is probably the worst one because it's so deceitful. People who are raised to understand the principles of self-control and who have been trained to restrain themselves are on guard against the lusts of the flesh. The lust of the eye isn't a fascinating draw for too many people. But who can see pride of life coming? Pride is powerful and can take many forms. Yet Pride is merely the demon-servant to another power that's even stronger than he is.

We're All Born with Humility

We all have humility when we're born. Humility is a gracious and beautiful Lord of the Heart, and strong enough to subdue its enemies. That's why Jesus told the Jews that they couldn't enter the Kingdom of Heaven, where humble souls live, unless they humbled themselves and became like little children. We think that little children

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are innocent and gullible rather than humble. But we can only understand the kind of humility that Jesus was talking about when we examine the humility of children. We only have two examples of humility in the Bible to use as role models: Jesus, because the Bible tells us that He 'humbled Himself,' and little children because Jesus called them humble. An old writer who has thought a lot about this said that, in the same way that there's only one kind of sanctification and one redemption, there is only one kind of humility.

Humility is Often Devalued

No Lord of the Heart is as belittled in our thoughts as humility. We sometimes call cowardice Humility. We say things like, 'I can't handle any kind of pain, I'm just not as strong as you are,' or 'I can't take on this project or that job because I don't have the ability that other people have,' or 'I'm not very smart, it's useless for me to try to take up reading,' or 'I'm not a good enough person to teach Sunday School class,' or 'to be interested in spiritual growth.' And sometimes we call hypocrisy Humility. We might say, 'I wish I was as talented as you,' or 'as good,' or 'as smart,' while secretly taking pride in ourselves because our lack of ability somehow seems to make us special. The person who is most vocal about how humble he is often privately comforting himself with compensations we don't know anything about. And, in his own mind, those compensations make him more special than anyone else.

It's this sort of thing that makes Humility unpopular. People believe that these people are being sincere, but they've deceived even themselves. Everyone agrees that Humility is a Christian trait, but it's a trait that isn't esteemed very highly, and is very rarely asked for. This mistake in perception leaves a door open for pride to walk in

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and take over. In our disdain for humility, we prefer to be proud. We're openly proud of some advantage we've inherited, or we're proud of our prejudices, proud of a temper that rages or holds grudges, proud that we're so easy-going, proud that we're idle or careless or reckless. Even a murderer takes pride in his skill in avoiding suspicion, or killing his victim. 'I'm so glad I've always kept to myself,' said one small London servant who didn't believe in being neighborly. There's hardly any fault or inadequacy or crime that somebody hasn't considered a distinction to be proud of. We can't do much of anything simply. I mean, it isn't easy to do something without being conscious that it's us doing it, and then being proud of ourselves for it.

Humility is the Same as Simplicity

Many people who are reasonable in most respects arrive at the beginning stage of self-worship by constantly thinking of themselves. Their dealings, their dog, their pictures, their opinions, their high calling, their good works, their information, their religious convictions fills their whole mind. And that's not because of the things themselves, but only because it theirs. This pride of life is subtle and so oppressive. It constantly pressures us to exalt ourselves. It ruins our relationships with our friends and makes us hard to get along with because it gives us a tendency to be resentful and demanding. When we recognize it for a moment, we can only cry, 'Oh, what a wretched person I am! Who can save me?' But we don't need to despair, not even when it comes to our hateful pride. He's only an invader and a highjacker. The Lord of the Heart that he's trying to displace is Humility. A true understanding of humility will be as good a weapon as the stone in David's sling against

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the giant Goliath. Thinking badly of ourselves isn't Humility. If we honestly think badly of ourselves, that's cowardice. Maybe Humility is the same as simplicity, which doesn't let us think of ourselves at all, whether badly or pleasingly. That's what makes children so humble. The thought of self never occurs to them. When the thought does occur to them, they become un-childlike and become self-conscious. In the wonderful first lesson we have about the garden of Eden, the Fall happened when Adam and Eve became aware of themselves. And that's how we all fall - we become aware of ourselves

It's good to be humble. Humble people are cheerful and good. They don't go around with a monkey on their back, or looking like they have a dark cloud furrowing their eyebrows. We're all born humble. Humility is within all of us, just waiting for pride to be quiet so that he can speak and people can hear him. What do we have to do to get rid of pride and give control back to Humility?

How Humility Works

First of all, we can't try to be humble. That's insincere. It's a bad kind of pride. We wouldn't want to become like Uriah Heap [in David Copperfield]. That's what happens when we try to be humble. The trick is to not think of ourselves at all. If we think about how inadequate we are, then we're pretending to be like Uriah Heap. There are lots of ways to avoid thinking of ourselves. We can learn about and love birds, flowers, clouds, rocks, and everything else that nature can teach us. Thinking about pictures, books, people, anything outside of us, will help us to escape from the tyrant named Pride who's attacking our heart. One good idea is not to write about, 'you and I.' There are so many interesting things in the world, that it's a waste of time to talk about ourselves. Still,

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it's a good idea to have some familiarity with the way our tiresome selves can be. That's why these chapters were written. It's also a good idea to know that Humility, even though he never thinks of himself, is at home within each of us.

'If what is great in God's eyes
Is what considers itself small,
Then by that rule Humility
Is the greatest grace of all.
It's truly great, but yet it doesn't
Know it's a grace at all.'
-- loosely taken from a poem by Trench

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Chapter 11 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Cheerfulness

'It's a proper thing to be cheerful.'
'A cheerful heart goes all day long.'

There's Enough Cheerfulness in the World for Everyone

In Yorkshire, when their bread doesn't rise and is dense and heavy, they say the bread is 'sad.' It's the same with us. When we're heavy, we're like a 'sad' loaf of bread. we don't rise to greet the sunshine, or to hear the voices of our friends, or to check out interesting sights, or to acknowledge kindness or love or any good thing. When we do rise to these things so that a ray of sunshine creeping in the window brings a smile to our hearts, or we enjoy a bird's song, or a splash of sunlight dappling the dark trunk of a tree, or the light of a child's face - it makes us glad. We don't think of Carlyle as a happy person, but he used to say that nobody who could see a spring day or the face of a child needed to be unhappy. In fact, there's enough joy in the world for all of us. More accurately, there's a fountain of cheerfulness in everybody's heart just waiting to be uncorked. Sometimes adults say that they envy little children when they hear such joy bubbling out of their hearts in laughter in the same way that it bubbles from the

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birds when they sing. But it's not too late, it's just a choked up spring. All it needs is for the rubbish to be cleared away, and joy will bubble up from the weary heart as freely as a child's.

Joy Can Flow Even in Sorrow and Pain

You might wonder how people can be glad when they have to endure sadness, worry, need, or pain. But these aren't the things that stop up our joy. A sad, worried wife of a dying husband, or the mother of a dying child, will often cheer the patient with funny jokes and pranks so that they're surrounded with hearty cheerfulness. It isn't that the wife or mother is pretending to be happy for the sake of the patient. You can't fake gladness. No one is fooled by forced smiles. What happens is that love teaches the wife or mother to uncork the fountain of joy in her own heart for the sake of her beloved, and from her heart come happy words, little jokes, smiles and cheerfulness. Those things are better for sick people than any medicine. Even when we're in pain, it's still possible to be cheerful. We've all been touched by cheerful comments from lips of someone who was suffering. I'll bet that Margaret Roper couldn't help smiling through her tears at the funny quips her father, Sir Thomas More, was making on his way to the scaffold to be hanged. We're often mistaken about joy. We think it's like ice cream or chocolate - wonderful to enjoy when it's there, but not something we should expect every day. But the Apostle Paul said, 'Rejoice always.' That means, 'Be glad all the time.' We laugh from time to time, we smile now and then, but the fountain of joy within us should always be bubbling. It will if we don't hinder it.

Cheerfulness is Contagious

Before we think about the demons of gladness, let's get one thing clear. We can't be glad all alone, and we

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can't be sad and heavy all by ourselves. Our gladness cheers up the people around us in the same way that our gloom depresses them.

A mother in London once wrote to me about how she took her little blond two-year-old daughter out for her first walk. The little girl smiled at the policeman and it brought a smile to his face, she blew a kiss to the ladies in the laundromat and it cheered them, she smiled at the garbage man and went along as if she was a little queen dispensing smiles and happiness. An even better story is told by a religious woman in a big city. She went outside preoccupied and depressed with routine worries and resentful grievances about her neighbors. A small child sitting on the sidewalk looked up at her and smiled. In the warmth of that child's joy, she went happily on with the rest of her day. There's nothing as contagious as cheerfulness, and it's good for all of us to remember that our joy is like a treasure that we own that can meet the needs of those around us. But it's a treasure that we give without even missing it, and without being any poorer for giving it away.

Joy is a Continual Fountain

Each of us has a fountain of joy within himself. It's not an intermittent fountain, but a spring that never stops flowing. There's more than enough for every moment of the longest lifetime, with some to spare. The spring doesn't have to be stopped by sorrow, pain or poverty. In fact, these obstructions often make it flow even brighter and more powerfully. This bright joy isn't our own private property for our personal benefit. It's meant to enrich the people we pass on our errands, the family members we live with, those we work with and have fun with. Why, then, do some people go around with a dark cloud hanging over their head, and depressed worry

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on their brow? Why are some people dragging, pale, dull and weary? How is it that some children can go to a fun party, or a picnic, or a hayride or whatever, and look sullen during all the fun and frolic? How can some youths be taken on a visit here, or travels there, yet the most breathtaking scenic views are obscured in their memories by a dark cloud because they found no joy in them? Why do middle-aged people sometimes go around with sad, unsmiling faces? Why do some people find their old age filled with trials and no joys?

The truth is, sadness or gladness has little to do with our circumstances. We would do well to listen to Marcus Aurelius: 'Don't let your mind dwell on other people's worries. Pick out some of your best circumstances and imagine how much you would wish for them if you didn't have them.'

We're Sad When We Feel Sorry for Ourselves

Of course, we should derive as much pleasure from our good circumstances as we can. But don't think that good circumstances are what make us happy. It's not our circumstances that choke our fountain of joy, it's we ourselves who do that. We lose our joy and feel sad when we indulge in feeling sorry for ourselves. Perhaps someone stepped on our toe, or maybe someone said the wrong thing to us, or somehow offended our sense of our own importance. And that's when the demon of self-pity digs in his trash pile and finds all kinds of reasons, real and imagined, to bring to our mind and choke the flow of our fountain of gladness. Some people feel sorry for themselves at various moments. Some indulge self-pity for days at a time. And some miserable people spend their entire lives nursing a grudge against the bad luck that life has dealt them, or they harbor resentment against their friends.

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Gladness is a Duty

We only need to focus on this for a minute before we realize how wrong and tragic it is not to be joyful. We need to tell ourselves, 'I can, because I must!' Help comes to those who try, and who ask for help. We may have to remind ourselves many times a day, but every time we chase away dark thoughts, it will become easier to be joyful and happy. Cheerfulness is the outward, visible manifestation of joy. You can't have a crabby face and snappish words if your heart is bubbling with gladness. The inward, spiritual manifestation of joy is contentment. You can't be dissatisfied with the little details of your life if your heart is glad. 'Rejoice always, I'll say it again, rejoice!'

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Lords Of The Heart: II. Justice

Chapter 12 - Justice, Universal

It's Important to Know the Functions of Love and Justice

We've already said that two important entities rule in the House of the Heart. Don't they clash sometimes? As a matter of fact, sometimes they do. Love tends to be too permissive and sympathetic, and can do more harm than good. But justice tends to be too harsh and inflexible, and can drive away the very ones it wants to attract. So we need to consider the roles that Love and Justice have, and examine the different parts of them as carefully as we might study a Greek verb, or a mathematical equation. We can live without analyzing verbs and equations, but mankind can't live apart from Love and Justice. Their existence is a fact, and we need to learn how to use them. They don't have auto-pilot to keep them going in the right direction with or without us. No, these Lords of the heart need the continual supervision of the Prime Minister, who is ruled himself by the higher power of God. Without this guidance, they cause all kinds of trouble in men's lives.

Everyone Has Justice in His Heart

We've already talked about the ways Love works, and his different Lords in Waiting. Now let's think

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about Justice and who surrounds him and carries out his orders. But first, let's stop to realize what a treasure our sense of Justice is. It's wonderful to know that there isn't one Mansoul in the world who doesn't have Justice in his heart, no matter how lowly, ignored, neglected or untaught. Even an unruly, angry mob will be outraged by foul play. Everybody understands when something isn't fair. Different cultures may have their own ways of defining what's fair, but fair-play for oneself and others is the desire of every person's heart.

I May Not Hurt Anybody by What I Say, or by What I Do

Justice demands that we be careful every day not to infringe on the rights of the people we come in contact with. We need to 'do unto others what we would want them to do unto us.' That means that we need to be gentle with others, considerate with what they say, and respectful about their opinions. We owe it to them. We need to be honest and fair in everything we do. Everything we say should be accurate, honest, easily understood and sincere. Our thoughts should be unbiased, appreciative of others and reasonable. What we do should be fair, honest and honorable.

I Must Be Fair and Just With Everybody

Fairness to others, their property, their words, their thoughts and what we do includes parents, teachers, government leaders, and everyone rightfully in authority over me and my country. It's my duty to be just with them. In the same way, I need to be fair about the words, thoughts and actions of my brother, my sister, my friends, my neighbors, and anyone else who is my equal. I must also be fair about the words, thoughts and actions of servants and anyone else serving me or employed by

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me or my family, both in my home or out. I need to show justice by being fair to people whose ways of life and opinions are different than mine. I need to be fair even to people who offend the laws of God and man. I need to be fair in all these ways to people, to their reputations, and to their things as far as it's in my power. That means that 'I can't have ill-will or hostility in my heart. I must never let my hands steal or my mouth speak evil, or lie or falsely criticize others.' Also, 'I must never want what belongs to someone else or resent them for having it. I must learn to work honestly to earn my own living, and to do my duty in whatever kind of life God has seen fit to put me in.'

It's Within Our Ability to Be as Fair as We Should Be

By now it should be obvious that thinking fairly, speaking sincerely, and acting with justice to all people all of the times takes some serious reflective thinking. In fact, it's the study of a lifetime. It might seem discouraging at how much is expected of us to so many people if justice wasn't already a natural part of our hearts. Justice is within us, just waiting to rule, and he has his own Lords in Waiting to help him. Impartiality, genuineness, clarity, honor, and all the rest are our servants to command. Our task is to find the right path in the Circuit of Justice, and to recognize what we owe to others as circumstances come before us. If we understand what's fair, we'll always be ready to do the right thing with everyone. It's wonderful to have that kind of knowledge. It's like having Coins of Justice at our disposal. It's good to be able to walk around the streets of Mansoul with those coins in our pockets, knowing that we have what we need to pay our way wherever we go. Many poor souls

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wander around as paupers. They have the same Coins of Justice, but they don't know it. Therefore, they don't use them. They might as well be blind because they're constantly focused on their own rights and what everyone else owes them. They're too preoccupied to notice other people's rights and their own obligations to everyone else. In other words, they're unable to be fair and just.

Our Own Rights

You're probably wondering, 'What about me? What about my rights? Don't other people have obligations to me?' Yes, we all have rights. They're the exact same rights that other people have. We need to learn to think of ourselves as just one of the rest, with the same rights that everyone else has, and no more. Other people owe us the same duties that we owe them and no more. When we realize that, we'll have a better perspective of ourselves and see reality a little more clearly. There's a wonderful lesson in the story of the man Jesus healed who was blind. At first, he couldn't see anyone at all. Then his eyes were partially opened and he could see men as if they were trees walking around. Finally, he was blessed with complete vision and he was able to see people as they really were.

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Chapter 13 - Justice To Others

Maybe you heard the recent tragic news about the young German officer who ended up in a duel on his wedding day. It hasn't been that long since men in England thought it was okay to make a man pay for a minor offense by killing him, or making him kill the person he had offended. But now we understand that it's wrong to physically hurt anyone. Bosses aren't allowed to beat their trainees, and mistresses aren't allowed to beat their maids. In fact, as a nation, we try to make people treat everyone else with respect. Children have benefited from this more accurate idea of justice. At one time, it was acceptable for those in authority over them to whip them, pinch them, squeeze them, or smack them. People thought it was healthy to feed them only bread and water, or lock them in a dark closet when they were naughty. But now children are valued and loved; they're rarely beaten. That's because, once people understand what's right, they're eager to do what's fair and just. There are still countries where people don't see the harm in hurting others. Recently there was a bandit in Italy who admitted to killing twenty seven people -- not because he wanted their money or

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valuables, and not because they had hurt him. He killed them because, years ago, a relative of theirs had killed his brother! The man believed that vengeance was fair play. He had a concept of justice, but it was a misguided concept. This incident shows how necessary it is for us to be taught so that we can think clearly when we're faced with the difficult question of what's fair and right. This is one of the areas in which people make the most mistakes.

Thinking Fairly Requires Knowledge and Consideration

Thinking fairly about the personal rights of other people requires that we have enough knowledge and judgment. But Imagination can help us to come to the right conclusions. It's good for a boy to recognize his mother's love in the beautiful way she makes everything neat, or to remember that the maid has enough to do with her regular job. Having enough work to do brings satisfaction, but too much work ruins a person's life. He will think about these things and therefore be careful about minor details like wiping his feet when he comes in, or keeping his toys and projects in the family room, or not leaving a trail of fingerprints, clutter and damaged things wherever he goes. He knows that this kind of carelessness ruins other people's comfort, and makes more work for someone else. A young lady who thinks about others won't rush a seamstress to get her new dress done by a specific date, even if it means the seamstress's poor assistants will have to work past midnight to get it done. She uses her Imagination. She can imagine assistants with pale faces and circles under their tired eyes, or, on the other hand, alert and cheerful assistants happily and carefully sewing her new dress. This kind of care not

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to hurt others should guide us in everything we do. For example, it should prevent us from always buying from the cheapest store, where, most likely, underprivileged workers have been paid next to nothing in 'sweat shops' to make the merchandise so inexpensive. Familiarizing ourselves with the real value of things will help us to live just and fair lives.

Gentleness: People Whose Feelings are Hurt Will Suffer Physically

Overwork, not enough food and outright abuse aren't the only ways to physically hurt the people we deal with. If you hurt a person emotionally, they'll suffer physically. That's why we shouldn't push people in crowds to get the best place. We shouldn't shove others around to get the most out of things for ourselves, even when it's during a good sermon. We should yield to others when we're walking on the street, and make room for others in public seating areas such as buses. When we're rough in these small matters, we might not hurt people enough to require a trip to the emergency room, but we do create a situation of mental anxiety and distress that can have even more long-lasting effects. We all know how soothing the presence of a gentle person can be. Such a person's tone of voice and movements show enough imagination for him to recognize that the people around him have feelings, and therefore he doesn't want to do anything to make them uncomfortable. The demons who cause us to be unjust to other people are usually Thoughtlessness, Selfishness and Cruelty.

Courtesy: A Word Can Hurt as Much as a Punch

When we remember how easy it is to hurt people physically through their minds, we begin to understand that a word can hurt as much as hitting a person. Not using manners can hurt a person as much

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as depriving them of food. Once we realize this, we'll be polite when others speak. We'll listen without contradicting and we'll try to understand them. When other people express their opinions, no matter how different they are than ours, we'll keep ourselves from privately writing them off in our minds or mocking or arguing with them. Instead, we'll listen politely when we don't agree. If we do that, we'll discover that when it's our turn to state our own opinions and we do so gently and modestly, the other person will be more likely to receive them tolerably.

We Aren't Free to Think Bad Things About Other People

We aren't allowed to run wild in the world! To go around like a bull in a china shop, running into whatever crosses our path, might be tempting, but it's no way to act. Nobody is born to be a thug. The noble Justice within our hearts always reminds us of the rights of others. Once we consider that they're people just like us, we realize that they have rights regarding their character and reputation. Most of us know that we're not free to think whatever we want to about our parents or others in authority over us in school or at work. Some of us don't allow ourselves to entertain unpleasant thoughts about our brothers, sisters or anyone we live with. And a few people are careful about what they think about friends and acquaintances. But there are very few people who are careful about what they think of the integrity of outsiders, like the plumber, or the state representative who governs us, or someone we met outside our circle.

Fairness to the Character of Others

Justice is holding court within each of us, and it demands that we think fair thoughts about everybody, whether near or far away, superior or under us.

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When we make up our minds to think fairly, Justice has a group of servants ready to help. Their job is to take care of this very issue, and they're ready to serve as soon as they're called.

Impartiality

Impartiality wants to help. He offers us eyeglasses that have the power to bring faraway things into focus, and make dim things more clear. When we wear these, we can see around corners and understand the other side of an issue. We see that Mr. Jones may be cranky, but, after all, he's still trying to do what's right. The boy in the story who wrote home about his teacher, 'Mr. Temple can be difficult, but at least he's fair,' must have been wearing his Impartial eyeglasses. His Impartial schoolmate sees that Brad isn't really a sneak, he's just a shy boy who's anxious to fit in. Impartiality suggests to us that Miss Jenkins' annoying comment wasn't meant to be spiteful, she was just being awkward. Impartiality points out that even government employees are conscientious and want to do their best, that the pastor probably does try to practice what he preaches, that the often-criticized plumber really does take an interest in his work and wants to do a good job. Even in cases where the person doesn't have the best intentions and isn't trying his best, we should pity him and help him if we can. After all, in these cases, the person has probably had a tough time all his life. Impartiality shows us that people from France, Germany or Russia have good qualities that even we would do well to strive for. It reminds us that a Democrat or Republican, whichever he may be, has something to teach his opponent. But Impartiality doesn't take sides. He doesn't think to himself, 'My family (or country, or political party, or school) is pretty sure to be right about everything, and it's the best there is in the world!' He understands that the other side, whether it's family, school or country, might have something to say that's worth

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hearing. Fair play in everything is his motto. In the end, that makes him the most loyal supporter of whichever side he belongs to.

Prejudice

The opposite of impartiality is Prejudice. Prejudice offers you a pair of eyeglasses, too--but his eyeglasses aren't clear and they don't let daylight through. His eyeglasses are rose-colored, or black- or green- or yellow-colored, depending on the situation. We can't see people for what they really are when we're wearing these eyeglasses. Instead, all we see is that one person is black, another person is as rosy as the dawn, someone else is an evil yellow or sickly greenish, depending on the warmth, or envy, or hatred or jealousy that Prejudice puts in our minds. That's all we see, even though we don't know anything about the character of the people we're looking at. People who let Prejudice cloud their minds are unable to be impartial, whether the Prejudice is in favor of those they like, or against those they dislike. In fact, dislike itself is actually Prejudice. Real [agape] love sees the truth clearly and without bias. There's enough beauty in the people we love, and enough right in the causes we care about, that we don't need to be afraid for the light of day to show us what they truly are. We don't need the eyeglasses of Prejudice to protect us from the truth.

The love we have for our country won't be blind patriotism if we love her with impartial love. Our country is great and glorious, and can bear the harsh light of day. But what about the friend who claims to be candid by exposing the fact that the whole country is headed for ruin, or who goes on and on about one of our faults in the name of honesty? It's true that a superpower like ours needs to be gentle and careful, and it's probably true that we're guilty of the fault our friend is harping on. Maybe we are too nitpicky, or lazy, or selfish, or whatever. But our friend is wrong to magnify one part of the whole picture out of proportion and making too much of a single fault or weakness, as if that's all there is. We can learn a lesson from such a person, even though he's no fun to be around. But

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we need to determine to only use the spectacles of impartiality. They bring the complete picture out in accurate detail.

Respect

Impartiality never acts alone. At his right side is Lord Justice's other Servant: Respect. Nobody can be just and fair if he doesn't follow the Apostle Paul's command to 'Honor all men.' We tend to object and claim that we only honor those who are worthy of honor. But that's just another way of saying that we can pick and choose who we should think fairly about. The fact is, we should treat every person, man, woman or child, with honor. That isn't just because of the natural brotherhood of man that we have because we're all children of the same Father, but because, within every person we meet, there are the same Rulers of Mansoul--Love, Justice, Intellect, Reason, Imagination--no matter how dormant they might be. It's only when we honor all men that we see how worthy of honor they are. The stark light of impartiality may show us another person's faults, but that same stark light will also show us that one single fault, no matter how annoying, doesn't make the whole person. Even the worst-natured person has some beautiful qualities that demand our reverence. Hardly a day goes by that we don't hear about the hidden good in some unsuspecting soul. Honor means that we owe it to others to be gentle with them, to listen to what they say courteously no matter how boring or long-winded we think they are, and to respect their opinions, no matter how foolish we think they are. A person with irrational opinions will be more likely to listen and consider the other side if his own opinions are listened to respectfully.

Conceit

Why don't we honor each other? Because we're blinded by our regard for ourselves. We're so absorbed in thinking about ourselves that we can't see the beauty in the

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people around us, even though we might look up to total strangers [such as football stars or movie actresses]. Ego and self-absorption are the demons that prevent us from giving honor to those we should honor.

Discernment

Notice how the servants of Justice work together. Impartiality is accompanied by Respect, and Respect is supported by Discernment. People talk about being deceived by this or that, and we hear about people's affections being disappointed or their friends being disloyal. But all of those things don't have to be. Every House of the Heart has a modest servant of Justice whose name is Discernment. If you let him do his job unhindered by Vanity or Prejudice, then he'll bring you a very accurate report about the character of everyone you meet. He'll show you the faults, the virtues, the good and the evil of everyone you come in contact with. Even more than that, he'll hold his mirror up to your own Mansoul so that you'll be able to see that, even though a particular person has good points as well as faults, the specific faults that he has aren't above tempting and snaring yourself. Therefore, that person might not be the best one for you to choose as an intimate friend. Some people neglect to discern the character of people they meet. They ruin their lives by joining themselves to the wrong person, not because of the goodness in that person, but because the two of them share the same weaknesses. We owe honor to everyone, but Discernment comes alongside to help us be fair to ourselves by choosing people to befriend or to serve whose characters will strengthen our own.

Appreciation

Discernment can be too zealous to find fault, so another servant of Justice is there to help. This servant is as exquisite and delicate as Shakespeare's sprite, Ariel. This servant's name is

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Appreciation. His job is to accordingly weigh and consider the strong points and good qualities of a person, country, cause, book, or painting. Appreciation is a delightful companion in the House of the Heart. He continually brings in reasons for joy. It's so pleasant and refreshing to detect a streak of unselfishness here, or manners in that person, or honor somewhere else. He helps us to notice and value the beauty of perfection in a person's work, whether that work is a great poem, or a thoroughly swept room. It's good to recognize the unique beauties in another country and to discover that their people have positive character traits that are different from the people of our own country. There is nothing that gives more joy to living than Appreciation. Even though we owe others Appreciation and they owe it to us, we get more than we give when we show Appreciation. There is no pleasure more pure than seeing the good in everything, and seeing the beauty in everyone.

Depreciation

Depreciation is a sneering demon whose mission is to replace this warm-hearted servant of Justice. For some people, nothing is ever quite good enough. They find fault with the weather, their dinner, where they live, and who they're with. If you say, 'What a beautiful day it is!' then they'll answer, 'Yes, today isn't too bad,' but then they'll make some critical remark about yesterday. 'Mrs. Jones is so nice!' 'Yes, if only she didn't wear such hideous clothes!' 'I had a great time in Hawaii!' 'You did? There are always so many Japanese people in the hotels there.' And that's how the depreciatory person lives, moving through the world like a cuttlefish, ready to blacken the waters wherever he goes. It's helpful to remember that Depreciation is the same as Injustice. A depreciative remark might be true

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in actual fact, but it's false in spirit because it pulls a small part from the whole. It singles out one minor defect and neglects many other excellent points. Depreciation is sometimes motivated by the monster named Envy. Envy is always going around putting obstacles in Justice's way, trivializing what we owe to other people. Depreciation can also come from Thoughtlessness, which is a kind of Self-occupation. Many of the crude, unworthy criticisms that we hear about books, pictures, speeches, a song, or a political party are caused by Thoughtlessness. We won't allow ourselves to depreciate others if we remember that Appreciation is a form of Justice that we owe to the characters and works of other people.

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Chapter 14 - Truth: Justice In Word

Truth is not Violent

If our thoughts are not all our own, and if what we think about others is a matter of Justice or Injustice, then we owe certain words to all the people we talk to. If we don't say those words, then we're being unfair to others. If we say a false thing to someone and they believe us, then that person has every right to be angry with us. If he doesn't believe us, then he has every right to despise us. We've hurt him. Maybe we haven't hurt him physically, but we've hurt his mind and soul, and they sting and feel sore when they're hurt in that way, just the same as our skin stings and feels sore when someone hits us. Professional champion boxers probably get used to bruises. In the same way, people who put themselves in situations where they hear and read things that are false will learn to think untruthfully, and will be forced to speak falsely even if they'd never deliberately lie. There is Truth in every Mansoul, acting as a servant to Justice. But Truth is never aggressive or violent, and there are lots of noisy voices around trying to drown her out. It's up to us to choose who we're going to listen to.

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Boticelli's Calumny

There's a painting in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence by Sandro Boticcelli. He was grieving and indignant because Savonarola, his friend and teacher, had been martyred. In his painting, you can see the noisy voices trying to drown out Truth (calumny means slander). But the figures are surprising. You would have expected the painter to depict the slanderous demons as wrinkled hags, ugly and hostile. None of us would succumb to temptation if sin approached us looking hateful. Botticelli used what he heard about an old painting by a Greek named Apelles. In the foreground, he put a pretty young woman with a heavenly blue robe over a white dress of innocence, but slashes in her clothing reveal a black garment underneath it all. She is calm and serene, and looking down as if she regrets what she must do, while her right hand is dragging forward the naked and prostrate figure of Innocence, the accused, by the hair of his head. This is a true depiction of Slander.

There are two beautiful maidens wearing lovely robes with Calumny. They look like they're smoothing her hair, but they're actually whispering in her ears. One of them is Deception, who uses soft, coaxing words to make lies sound like truth. The other is Envy. She's pretty, too. Envy always seems like Fairness and Justice to ourselves.

The dark, cowled figure of Treachery is holding Calumny's left wrist. He's stretching out his hand to King Midas's throne, demanding a hearing. His long ears betray his real character: Falsehood and all her crew, Slander, Envy, and the rest of them are, in reality, no more than foolishness. Suspicion is whispering into one of King Midas's ears, and Prejudice is whispering

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into his other ear. He's leaning his ears first to one, and then to the other, so that their words are the only ones he can hear. The scene takes place in a beautiful, vaulted gallery, richly decorated with sculpture. After all, Slander and her peers don't thrive in places where people are working hard and living simply. Way in the background stands the naked Truth, pure and lovely, turning her eyes away from the horrible scene and raising her hand towards heaven, the one place she's sure to be heard. The only thing between her and the poor tortured figure of Innocence is dark Remorse. It's a good idea to keep this vision in our minds, not only because it's beautiful, but because it will remind us of many things. Falsehood, Slander, Envy, Folly, Prejudice, and Suspicion may approach us in pleasant places and in deceptive ways, they may torture innocent people and drive away holy Truth with the tumult of their voices in our ears.

Slander

Truth can be driven away, but she's always there. We need to keep our hearts still and quiet to hear her words, and we need to keep our tongues obedient in order to speak her words. Slander means saying damaging things about other people. We need to keep our tongues from saying evil things, lying, and slandering. Wesley said that if we say something evil about someone that's evil, that's slander. If we say something evil that's false, then that's lying. Most people are careful to be truthful about what they say about the people they live with, but are they as careful to speak the truth about their next-door neighbor, or the people who live around the corner? It's so easy to make a comment about Jones being sneaky, or to say that Bob is a creep, or Mrs. Jones doesn't pay her maid enough, or that Bob's wife over-dresses her children, or Mindy cheats

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from Marie's translation, or Harrison isn't doing his share of the work. We say these things about the people we deal with casually, often without any intent to be mean. But two things have happened: our neighbor's character and reputation have been wounded, and Truth, which is possibly the most beautiful tenant in the House of the heart, has also been wounded because of something we said.

Deception and Envy

It's not always because we're being thoughtless that we let deception persuade us that a lie is true, until we end up saying it. Envy is another ever-present demon. It's always ready with a slanderous word for people who are doing better than we are. If they dance better than us, we might say that we don't care about dancing, and they must be wasting a lot of time practicing. If they dress better, we might say that they spend too much money and thought on their clothes. If they speak better, Envy accuses them of 'putting on airs.' If they're better-looking than we are, Envy says that beauty is only skin deep, and a pretty face is worthless if it decorates an empty head. In the Middle Ages, people were afraid of Envy. They considered it one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Now, though, we seem to forgotten that Envy is even a fault. When we allow ourselves to think grudging thoughts about the things or opportunities that others have, we begin to tell ourselves that 'it's not fair.' In other words, we cover up our own injustice by disguising it as justice and fairness to ourselves. But we're only deceiving ourselves, and every deceit renders us incapable of speaking the truth.

Hearing and Reading Slander

It isn't just slanderous talking that wounds Truth. Listening to, and reading slander may be the death of her. A simple rule will help us to discern what kind of reading and hearing is

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slanderous. Truth is never violent. Any newspaper, magazine, book, speech or website that brings strong, bitter charges against the other side is sure to be slanderous, at least for the moment. If we steep ourselves in that kind of speaking or reading, then, as our punishment, we'll become incapable of discerning Truth, and we'll be happy about saying evil things.

Fanaticism

Here's what happens to people who become fanatics. It isn't that they refuse to believe anything that the other side says. It's that they can't. They've lost the ability to consider the other side, and efforts to convince them are useless. A man can be a fanatic about peace, or a fanatic about war, or a fanatic for Christianity or a fanatic for atheism. It's a sad fact that good causes as well as evil causes have their share of fanatics. They do more harm than good for the very cause they hope to support because of their inability to see more than one side of an issue. A good cause can also have its share of martyrs, but martyrs aren't obnoxious and belligerent. They may suffer for their cause, but they never scream and yell for it. After all the controversy and squabbling from the media in different countries from both sides over the Boer War, it was good and refreshing to find a book by a British officer that honored the courage and endurance of both the Boers and the British. Even the Boer women who followed their husbands into the trenches were spoken of kindly and reverently. The most useful thing a citizen can have is a mind that's capable of discerning the Truth, whether it happens to be found on our side, or our opponent's. But only people who are careful about what they hear and how they listen can have a discerning mind.

The Sovereign Good

As Francis Bacon says, 'No matter how things may seem in men's depraved

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judgment and affections, it's still a fact that Truth, which only judges itself, teaches that researching truth (wooing truth), knowing truth (the presence of truth) and believing truth (enjoying truth) is human nature's highest good.'

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Chapter 15 - Spoken Truth

We haven't yet discussed 'telling the truth' because you can only tell it after you've seen it, known it in your heart, and, as Sir Roger de Coverley said, believed that 'there is a lot to be said on both sides' of most issues.

Accuracy

The first of the maidservants that serve spoken truth is Accuracy. Accuracy is the habit of making sure that what we say expresses the exact fact so far as we know it. Once we've said what we believe is a fact, let's not qualify it by adding things like, 'At least, that's what I think,' or Anyway, that's my opinion,' 'Maybe it wasn't quite like that,' or 'All the girls were there. At least, some of them,' We walked ten miles! Well, six, anyway.' These kinds of qualifications imply that what we said wasn't accurate. We're convicted about saying something that's not totally true, so we try to clear our conscience by overdoing the emphasis on minute details. The result is that the people listening to us doubt whether anything we say is true. But what are we supposed to do when we've already said something, and then begun to doubt whether it's true? Once we've spoken something, we need to leave it alone. It's useless to unsay it, or qualify it, or explain, or change it, or expect another person to confirm it, or deny it. Considering how final our words are should make us

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more careful about rushing to say things that we don't know enough about. It will prevent us from saying things like, 'Mom, Mom! There are hundreds of cats in the backyard!' 'Really, Gage? You counted them?' 'Well, okay, maybe not hundreds. But, anyway, there's our cat and another one!' We need to be certain of our facts before we speak. And we shouldn't talk about things that we only have the vaguest knowledge about. People are too quick to assume intimate knowledge about things they know very little about, like literature and art, when they talk.

Painstaking Meticulous Detail isn't the Same as Accuracy

All the same, we should remember that Accuracy isn't the same as scrupulosity. Ending a discussion with boring trivial facts isn't the way to be truthful. A person can avoid a false assumption of knowledge without resorting to 'I don't know,' which is very inconvenient to the person listening.

A variation of this is the annoying habit of correcting the details when someone else is speaking. Someone says, 'I saw seven men on the street,' and the scrupulous person says, 'I beg your pardon, but it was actually six men and a teenager.' 'I saw Mr. Jones on Tuesday,' and the correction is, 'If you remember, I think it was Wednesday.' 'We've had great weather all week!' 'Not really, it rained on Thursday.' and so on, much to everyone's annoyance. There aren't many things that can kill a conversation quicker than the nitpicky habit of patrolling the accuracy of other people in trivial details that make little difference to the conversation. Common courtesy demands that we receive what people say in good faith. Assuming that, it really makes no difference whether there were ten or twelve people in the parking lot, or whether a flock of

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birds on the telephone wire that we passed on the road numbered eighty or a hundred. Accuracy requires that we speak the facts as far as we know them and to try not to say what we don't know. But it certainly doesn't mean that we're supposed to keep watch over what other people say so that we can correct their information. Our own information might be even less accurate than theirs!

Exaggeration

The habit of exaggeration is another casual way of not being accurate. We might say we have 'a million things to do' when we have four. 'Everyone says so,' when we mean that our friends Serena and Maggie said so, or maybe even just Serena. What parent hasn't known the tiresome tyranny of 'But we always do it this way,' when it's only been done that way once. In cases of sickness, war, and disaster, people are quick to make the most and worst out of what's happened. Newspaper headlines that report the greatest number of casualties are most often quoted and most readily believed, even when tomorrow's headline shows how wrong the number was. How can we maintain a delicate sense of Truth if we allow ourselves to listen to rumors, and spread them? We need to use our common sense to sift through the things we hear, and even more so with what we read. We should wait for facts to be verified before we start spreading reports. Men have been ruined and family reputations destroyed because of the thoughtless spreading of an idle rumor.

Exaggeration in speech, even when it's done foolishly rather than maliciously, isn't being Accurate. If we're 'awfully sorry' not to go for a walk, or 'ecstatically happy' to get a letter, what's left to express ourselves when we lose our best friend, or experience a life-changing joy?

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The Habit of Generalizing

If we want to be Truth-Tellers like King Alfred, then we need to be careful to avoid the habit of generalizing. Generalizing means stating something about a whole group of people or things when we only know it to be true in a few cases. 'All the cups are cracked,' when just one is cracked. 'All the streets go north' when just two do. 'Ugh, I can't stand Rossetti's pictures!' when the critic has only seen one of them. 'I love Schumann's music!' when only one piece has been heard. We need to stop these kinds of generalizations before they come out of our mouths. They aren't truthful. They give the impression that we have more knowledge or experience than we really do. When we indulge in this kind of generalization, we make ourselves incapable of having a scientific mind that makes accurate observations and keeps exact records.

Telling a Good Story

Many people are tempted to tell a good story about a trivial incident. If a dog lifts his tail and cocks his ears when he hears a whistle, they think there's enough fun in that incident to make you roar with laughter. All power to their elbow, as an Irishman would say. Humor is the ability to recognize and describe the ludicrous side of things. Like mercy, it's a gift that blesses the one who gives as much as the one who receives. But it's still dangerous. It's hard to resist the temptation to be irreverent, rude, or even just a little bit malicious if it embellishes the story. Even if those pitfalls are resisted, there can still be a tendency to poke fun, and tell small jokes, until it's annoying. A wisecracking person needs to exercise restraint, otherwise he becomes a bore. Also, his embellishments need to be obviously unbelievable, like the

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golden leg of Miss Kilmansegg. Otherwise, his accuracy is in doubt, and he risks Truth for the sake of a laugh.

The Realm of Fiction--Essential and Accidental Truth

What about fables, poems, romance adventures, the whole realm of fiction? There are two kinds of truth. One is accidental truth. It's the kind of incidental truth we need to pay attention to in our normal talk, facts about such-and-such a thing happening in a certain place at a specific time. The other is essential truth. It's the kind of universal Truth we find in art. Here's an example: If a person has a specific kind of character, then he'll think and behave in a specific way with certain consequences. Or, if a poet experiences a specific part of the world of nature, he'll get certain ideas. Or, some common incidents of daily life, like a dog chewing on a bone, will bring fables to the mind of a thinker and he'll see in them some illustrations about life. This kind of fiction is very useful to us, whether we find it in poems or adventure stories. It teaches us morals and shows us how we should act. It role models what we should do in certain circumstances and tells us what to expect if we choose to act in a certain way. It illustrates how some little fault that seems trivial can have dreadful consequences, so that we realize that the fault isn't so trivial but is, in fact, a deep flaw in our character. Perhaps it's a type of selfishness, or shallowness, or deceit, and it can devastate a person's life. The only way to learn these things is through fiction, or by experiencing them first-hand, and fiction writers hope to spare us from the tragedy of experiencing ruin.

The Value of Fiction Depends on the Worth of the Writer

You'll quickly realize that the ability

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of fiction to teach us morals depends on the writer's wisdom, insight and goodness. A writer with a shallow mind will write fiction that presents false, shallow teaching. That's why we should only read the very best fiction. It's the only kind that will teach us essential truth.

Fiction Influences What We Have a Passion For

Fiction doesn't just teach morals and manners. Our enthusiasms and even our religion can be inspired and inflamed by fiction, whether it's prose or poetry. Jesus Himself presented some of His most profound teaching in the wonderful stories he told. We call them Parables. Some people are too severely literal. They don't understand that there are two kinds of truth, the merely accidental kind and the essential kind. One is fleeting and for the here and now, but the other is eternal. One is true for today, but the other is Truth for all time. When they throw scorn at the Bible by telling us that the Garden of Eden isn't a literal place, or that the serpent and the apple are fables, or that the flood and a lot of other things are allegories, we won't let it shake our faith.

Essential Truth

What matters most in Bible stories is their essential truth. All godly people have known what it's like when their 'walls of Jericho' fall by the power of their faith and the 'trumpet blast' of their prayers. They've experienced how the 'sea of difficulty' that threatened to overwhelm them suddenly 'parted' so they could pass through it. They've heard the 'still small voice' of the Lord in the cool of the evening, speaking to their quiet and obedient hearts. They've discovered from first-hand experience how God reveals His ways to people through the songs, stories, poems and prophecies of Scripture, and how He reveals what's in the hearts of people. These are the kinds of things that really matter. People who understand this aren't troubled by conflicting details that critics debate about. They're content to wait until all the facts are in about whether a certain

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text accurately records the events that happened in a given year, or whether Genesis was written by one man or two. All of these details are interesting, but they have nothing to do with the essential, eternal Truth--the revelation of what was previously unknown about God and about man. The revelations of these profound mysteries are what give the books of the Bible the seal of Divine authorship.

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Chapter 16 - Some Causes Of Lying

Malicious Lies

Being nitpicky about trivial details, rash generalizations, exaggeration and changing the truth to be funny are like minor battles that attack the fortress of Truth when they find an opportunity. But Truth's fortress also has scouts and miners who dig under its foundations. It takes more work to deal with those enemies. As we've already seen, there are Hatred and Envy, which lead to Slander. Of all the lies there are, the meanest kind is a lie that's told to make a person's friends think less of him. There are laws to prevent reputations from being hurt, just as there are laws to protect people's physical bodies. But in spite of the laws, it's still possible to make casual remarks that can damage a person's reputation without being sued and taken to court.

Cowardly Lies

Cowardice often leads to falsehood. When we've done or said something that we're ashamed of, our first impulse is to deny it. We claim that it wasn't us who dropped the match that caused the fire, or forgot to write a thank you note that should have been sent, or made the comment that offended Mrs. Foster. When a coward's guilt is found out and he's caught, he takes refuge in lies. Instead of being cowards, let's gather our courage and own up to our mistakes. Our friends will love us more in spite of our mistakes if we admit to them and confess that we did it. They'll appreciate our courage

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and respect us for remembering that God hates liars.

'Dare to be truthful, faults aren't helped by lies.
A fault plus a lie has just doubled in size!'

Withholding Information is a Form of Falsehood

The habit of being too reserved to share things is related to the falsehood of concealing truth. Even though it's not actively telling a lie, it's not telling the truth, either. For instance, if you're asked, 'Where have you been all day?' it's concealment to answer, 'I walked towards Milton,' when you really made it all the way into Milton, did a little shopping, and bought some chocolate. Candid talking means we should make things plain, and being open and honest about our little affairs is part of being Truthful. We owe that openness to the people we live with. The fact is, most people know when they're not being told the complete truth, and when something is being held back from them.

Boasting Lies

Conceited people tell bragging lies. They think that their friends will like them more because of what they have, or the things they've seen or done, or for the impressive people they know. Like any other kind of lying, this is foolish as well as wrong. If our boastful lies makes foolish, conceited people like us, then their very friendship is like a blot on our character. It does us no credit. After all, the only people we can impress that way are foolish, conceited people. Good, sensible people can tell we're lying. The more we brag, the less they think of us.

Adventurous Lies

Some people spend so much time imagining fancy castles and adventures, that it comes out in their talk. They'll tell you that they've been here or there, that they've talked with this or that famous person, or maybe that they were kidnapped and left on some deserted island, or that their parents aren't their real parents because they're really a changeling or the child of a duke or of a

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gypsy. This kind of lying is the result of a dangerous mental tendency. When people can't tell the difference between reality and fantasy so that they mix them up in conversation, it shows that they're losing their ability to Reason. They're losing their grip on reality and may be headed for the mental ward. We should never allow ourselves to say things that our Reason and our Conscience can't approve of.

Lies for the Sake of Friendship

It's not easy to tell the truth when you know that it will get a friend in trouble. 'Did you leave the gate open?' 'No.' 'Was it Tom?' You know that it was Tom, and that it's his fault that the dog got out and dug up the flower bed. What should you say? No decent person could tattle on someone else, but it isn't right to lie to protect him, either. If you answer, 'Tom is my friend. I can't tell what he does or doesn't do,' then it's most likely that nobody will ask you any more about it. One more thing: Some people use the excuse that 'All's fair in love and war' to lie. They think that telling the truth is important when it regards their side, but that it doesn't matter about their opponent's side. What they forget is that a lie is like a double-edged sword. It hurts the one who tells it even more than the person who hears it. A person can't have a pure, blameless life unless both his friends and enemies know that his words can be trusted.

Magna est Veritas (Great is the Truth)

Let's take courage. Truth, which serves Justice, is a thing of beauty in every Mansoul. She has attendants who serve her. They include Accuracy and Clarity, whose job is to make sure that every word that is spoken means exactly what it seems to mean, nothing more and nothing less. Genuineness makes sure that every word that comes from the mouth is what's sincerely felt in the heart so that we're saying exactly what

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we think. Honesty makes us faithful to keep our promises no matter how inconvenient, except when it's a promise that we should never have made in the first place. In that case, the only honorable thing to do is to break the wrong promise, which was a mistake to have made. As always, each of these qualities has its demons. Duplicity is two-faced and full of hints, insinuations and double meanings. Pretension tries to displace Sincerity by pouring out congratulations, praise, sympathy and kind words that aren't really meant. Treachery breaks faith and makes promises meaningless. But, let's take courage. These are enemies that every valiant mansoul can conquer. 'Truth is great, and it will prevail.'

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Chapter 17 - Integrity: Justice In Action

Integrity in Our Work: 'Slacken Up, Don't Work So Hard'

Recently, British newspapers accused British workers of taking a new motto: 'Go easy, slacken up, don't work so hard!' In other words, a worker who was paid by the hour determined to do as little work as possible during his shift. For instance, a bricklayer might be limited to laying a certain number of bricks, maybe half as many as he would normally do, and so on with other jobs. This was supposed to help unemployed men since this would ensure that there would be more work to go around.

Wise people recognize the error in this kind of thinking. The man who really helps his fellow workers is the one who does good, honest work, getting as much done as he can during his shift. He motivates the people who have money to spend it by hiring workers, knowing that they'll get their money's worth, whether it's building houses or making shoes. The worker who slows down inconveniences his employer and makes him lose money. Other employers won't want to hire people in that profession. Such a worker gives his profession and his country a bad name. Of all the things that a man or country can suffer,

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the one that takes the longest to overcome is a ruined reputation. A man who does less than he can, or worse than he can, may flatter himself about how helpful he's being to his fellow workers, but he isn't deceiving anyone.

A Standard

In one corner of London's Trafalgar Square, there's a piece of granite that's marked with a measure of exactly one yard. If there's ever any dispute about how long a yard is, it can be settled easily by measuring against this standard. Every person has something similar in his own heart--a standard that measures, not yards, but the integrity of people's work. He knows whether a certain man's work is thorough and complete. We'd call that honest work. This unwritten law of integrity is the standard that all true men (men who aren't greedy or lazy) use to measure people's work as either honest, or dishonest. If a man's work is honest, he's considered a person of integrity, which means that he's a whole man.

All of Us Are Paid Workers

We may not be bricklayers or carpenters, but we're all paid workers in some sense, and none of us are excused from the obligation of integrity in the work we do.

School children and young college students are paid in two ways: the cost of their schooling, and the trust of their parents and teachers. There's another 'employer' they're working for, too. This employer might seem lenient at the time, but he'll harass the poor worker with a heavy penalty of guilt later. That employer is--yourself. Every person owes integrity to himself as much as to others. When we don't produce thorough, timely work done well, it's we ourselves who suffer the most in the end.

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After graduation, whether a person works at home, or goes out to make their mark in the world, there are still employers to satisfy and wages to be earned. Those wages may be the regular, generous payment of the freedom to live at home and enjoy the privileges of the household. No matter how easy it is for us, even if our 'boss' is only Mom or Dad, we're still under the obligation of integrity. There are certain things we owe in return for the favors granted to us. They may be due to our parents and family, or to our employer or boss. Even more than that, we owe it to ourselves and our future. Even now, we're making or damaging our character day by day. The truth is, it's easier to be diligent and exacting at a job or in the classroom. At home, it's easy to get away with avoiding work, or doing tasks half-heartedly.

Integrity Grows

An 'integer' is a whole number, and a man of integrity is a whole man, complete and unimpaired. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it's the same with a person of integrity--it doesn't happen overnight. From childhood, he's been faced with temptations to go through the motions, dawdle, procrastinate, get out of work, or even to cheat by having somebody else do his work and then passing it off as his own.

He's been tempted to think, 'It doesn't matter,' 'That's good enough,' 'it's no worse than John's,' 'He'll never know the difference,' 'Nobody will notice,' 'It isn't worth taking too much trouble,' or, 'This won't be on the test,' as many pages of useful material doesn't get read. A person of integrity has to stave off these and a hundred other temptations to put off his work. He tells himself, 'I owe it to my parents, (or to my teacher or employer) to do this as well as

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I can, and as quickly as possible. Even more than that, I owe it to myself.' And then he sets his mind to what he must. He doesn't let a lazy friend pull him from his work, and he doesn't let an inviting hobby distract him until the job is done.

Everything he's done has helped him become the person of character he is now. Every little bit of work, Latin verbs, Algebraic formulas, a bookshelf he built, everything he's done has been an honest job. It's not that he's never shirked a job that came his way because he preferred to work on his favorite hobby, but in any job he's done, he's never taken the attitude of, 'Go easy, slacken up, don't work so hard!' The times he did shirk, he just didn't do the job at all and he's owned up to it. But what he has done, was done honestly. That's how a person of integrity was developed--one step at a time. 'I could never work that hard all the time for so long, no matter what could be gained from it!' Thinking that way is a mistake. A whole worker does his job with his whole heart. He does the job completely and cheerfully. And, when he's done, he actually has more leisure time to do what he wants to than the 'don't work so hard!' guys who never finish their work.

It's wonderful to be able to look back, even on just a single year, and feel the satisfaction of all the tasks we were given that we did thoroughly and did well, and were wholly done so that we kept our integrity. A good son might have written down phone messages accurately. A good student might have put his whole focus on his studies. Even games are better when the players put their whole selves into it. Any job worth doing needs Integrity.

'Do The Next Thing'

If you don't do it now, you'll be in the same state
Tomorrow, the next day -- you'll still hesitate.
Trying to decide causes more delays
And some day you'll weep over all the lost days.
(paraphrased from Marlowe)

Everyone understands that Integrity is a virtue. Even thinking of Integrity inspires us within. We think to ourselves, 'I want to be a whole, trustworthy person. I'm determined to be a person of Integrity.' But, just like it is in the big world, in the Kingdom of Mansoul, having Integrity isn't just a matter of wishful thinking, it depends on other things. Nobody can have the quality of Integrity

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without putting his mind and heart into trying to have it.

Often, someone who's eager and excited about starting a project never gets it finished because he's preoccupied and scattered doing all kinds of other things, instead of simply doing what comes next.

For instance, a student is supposed to be writing a paper about the history of England. He starts off looking up the Battle of Hastings in the encyclopedia, and then gets sidetracked reading about Hannibal. That's so interesting that, before he knows it, his time is up and his paper isn't even started, or has to be hastily finished and isn't written very well. The best policy is to recognize that there's always a next thing to be done, either in our work or play, and the next thing, no matter how trivial it seems, is the right thing to do. It isn't only our projects that will benefit. Our own character benefits, too, because every time we make ourselves do the next thing, we develop a little more power to manage the unruly demon of Whim, which can be as untamed as a wild colt.

Do the Most Important Thing

But sometimes figuring out what the next thing is isn't so simple. Sometimes it means prioritizing. There might be twenty emails to answer, a dozen errands to do, a stack of books you want to read, and shelves and drawers to be sorted and arranged - and you'd like to get started on all of them at the same time!

There's a saying, 'Never do today what you can put off til tomorrow.' The dawdling procrastinator is glad to finally have a piece of advice he can actually follow! But that's not really what it means. It's really a light-hearted way of saying that we need to put first things first. The ability to prioritize and organize tasks is what distinguishes an intelligent person who gets things done, and someone who lets himself get swamped and overwhelmed by details. An unintelligent person will work steadily reading all twenty emails as each one comes into his inbox.

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He ends up not getting through all of them, and the three or four that urgently required a response have to be left for tomorrow.

Knowing the difference between what needs to be done right away, and what could be done, gets easier with practice. At first it takes careful attention and thought. But after awhile, the mind and body get used to doing some things automatically. In time, a person who develops the habit of singling out the most important tasks to do first will save himself, as well as everyone around him, a lot of annoyance and inconvenience. He also gains some Integrity.

The Habit of Finishing

Anything worth starting is worth finishing, and anything worth doing is worth doing well. Don't let yourself start a dozen projects so that they end up collecting in a box, all unfinished. There always seem to be fifty great reasons to start a new thing, but here is where we need to exert some control over that wild colt whose name is Whim. It's a good idea to make ourselves stick to the thing we've already started until it's finished. Even then, we're tempted to rush and cut corners to get it done so we can move onto the new project. But we need to make ourselves do each task as perfectly as we can, remembering that everything we turn out is like a little bit of ourselves. What comes from us needs to be thorough and complete, because that's what's Integrity means.

Idle, careless and unpredictable people may be fun to hang out with, but they don't turn out honest work, and they're not building up integrity of character within themselves. Integrity needs a foundation of constancy, attention and perseverance. In the end, Integrity results in gladness because people who are honest about the work they do get it done, so that they have free time in good conscience. They aren't secretly anxious about the thought of all the things they didn't get to, or the things they did halfway.

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Integrity in Use of Time: Drifters and Dawdlers

It's not good to think that time is our own to do whatever we want with. We all have jobs and duties, and a certain amount of our time needs to be given to doing them. It's amazing how much time there is in a day, and how many things we can fit in if we really try. It's just as amazing how a day, or a week, or a year can slip through our fingers and be gone with nothing accomplished to show for it. We might say that at least we didn't do anything harmful in that time, and that we didn't mean to use our time badly. We just somehow allowed ourselves to drift. Some students drift through their school years, and some people drift through their entire lives. They never accomplish anything because they've never purposed to do anything. They fail their exams, they fail in their careers, they fail to provide for their family, they fail to serve their community or country--not because they lack intelligence or because they're unkind, but because they never recognize that using time wisely is a duty.

They dawdle through the workday, waiting for somebody to make them do what they're supposed to. But they're mistaken. Nobody can even make a child do anything. If a child is obedient, it's because he's making himself obey. If he's industrious, it's because he's making himself work. All the king's horses and all the king's men can't make a dawdler productive. A person has to make himself do the things he needs to do at the proper time. It's a great thing to be able to make oneself work. Every attempt makes it a little easier the next time. Once we jump into the saddle of that easy pony named Habit, it becomes a real satisfaction to be able to get a day's work done in a day and have free time left over to enjoy doing leisure activities.

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Stealing Time

Some people love to have a little project of their own going on during the time they're supposed to be doing something else. A girl working the cash register has a book propped up that she's trying to read. A student is trying chemistry experiments when he's supposed to be reading. The project may be worthwhile, but it's still stealing time away from something else.

As we'll see coming up, we can't afford to have little cracks in our character. Our integrity won't allow us to steal like this in good conscience. Every bit of work has its proper time. The time that belongs to one task belongs to that task and shouldn't be used for some other purpose. Dick Swiveller (from Dickens' Old Curiosity Shop) is an entertaining guy as he balances a ruler on his chin, shoots pens at a target and jokes with the 'Marchioness' during his work hours. But that's why Dick ended up where he did and never amounted to anything in his life. Although he was no idiot, he never figured out that work and time are related.

Integrity with Resources: Honesty

The church catechism says, 'My duty towards others is to keep my hands from snitching and stealing.' This is commonly accepted as the definition of honesty. Of course, we would never dream of taking what belongs to someone else, and we feel pretty safe as far as this temptation goes.

But sometimes we hear of bizarre events: a man has lived for sixty years and has been a respected and successful man. He's thought of as a gentleman, not just in his social position, but in the sense of being an honorable man. But when this man is sixty years old, he embezzles huge amounts of money, apparently for the first time. But people don't go down like this the first time.

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It's the ship with a leak that sinks. A leak in a person's character might have been there since his childhood, but didn't sink him until he was in a big enough sea to face a big temptation.

We need to be careful when we handle money. The more we're trusted, the more careful we need to be. Honest people are careful about even the minor things, such as giving back the right amount of change.

One thing we need to keep in mind. We shouldn't spend what we don't have. It may be true that we'll get our allowance at the end of the month, but we need to wait and not spend it before we actually have it. Mr. Micawber was right in theory, even if he didn't follow his own advice, and who would know better than he did? 'If your annual income is twenty thousand dollars, and your annual expenditure is nineteen thousand nine hundred sixty dollars, the result is happiness. But if your annual income is twenty thousand dollars, and your annual expenditure is twenty thousand dollars and sixty cents, the result is misery.'

The student who gets credit or borrows from his friends will grow into a person who is always behind on his bills. That isn't just bad for the person who supplied him with the goods, but it's bad for him. He becomes so stressed and worried from the pressure of debts here and bills there that he has no room for worthwhile thoughts. His loss of integrity is a leak that sinks his whole character.

Small Debts

Related to this, we should remember that we have an obligation to pay back our small debts promptly. Often, we have the money to pay back those small debts, but the amount seems so trivial that we don't take the time or trouble to pay them. A serviceman might have sent six reminders for a two-dollar fee, paying for six postage stamps, but the client won't bother to send such a small payment. Or,

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a girl has to be asked seven times to pay a six cent amount. No person of integrity allows himself to be so negligent. It's a bother and an annoyance to others, but that's not the worst of it. The beautiful whole completeness of our character is smudged by small sins of negligence.

Bargains

There's another kind of failure in integrity that people don't think is as shameful as debt, even though its effects are just as bad. It's the kind of bargain-hunting that even sensible people think is okay.

It's caused by false thinking. It starts with the idea that we should have the best there is at the lowest possible price. This idea leads to the offensive, scrambling crowds that we see at sales. People waste a good amount of time, temper and health running from one store after another searching for the cheapest and best items. It's a dishonest waste of time for the salesclerks who work in those stores. And customers end up paying for that time. And people end up as disappointed as Rosamond with her purple jar--they impulsively buy some fancy, useless object that isn't even worth having once they get home and take a closer look when their judgment is calmer. That kind of incident could be avoided if we used clear judgment combined with integrity in what we set out to do.

What we really need isn't the best there at the lowest price. We need what suits our purpose at the price we can afford and that we know is fair.

Looking at it from this perspective, it seems a lot simpler. We don't need to be always running from store to store stressing ourselves and wearing other people out in our quest for bargains. Instead,

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every purchase we make will be a simple, straightforward matter. It will become an issue of integrity when we deal with local clerks, if they have what we need. If they don't, we're free to look somewhere else. We might find what we need at a store that's farther away, but we've escaped from the trap of bargain-hunting.

There's another risk that comes with bargain-hunting. An item isn't cheap if it's something we don't want. The temptation to buy something we don't need because it's such a bargain leads to a waste of money that could have been used for something else, and leads to an accumulation of 'stuff' that clutters our home. It's good to remember that the most precious and pleasing thing in a house or room is space. Even a small room is spacious if it's not cluttered with useless stuff.

Our Neighbor's Property

Another point of integrity is how we take care of what belongs to our neighbor. Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves means that we should be at least as careful when we use something of his as we'd be with our own things. We all borrow books, either from our friends or from the library. We need to take care of the books we borrow as if they were our own treasured possessions. We shouldn't let them get messed up by laying them on a wet spot on the table. We shouldn't fold the corners of the pages, or ruin the bindings by using big objects to mark our place.

When we walk through the park, we need to remember that it's not easy to keep some areas grassy and green. In such places, we need to be careful not to walk on the edges of the lawn. And we'll be careful of school property when we're at school, or college property when we're at college. These concerns relate to our integrity. If we're careful in the small things,

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then we'll be trustworthy in the greater things. When we're trusted with the property of others, whether it's money or resources, we'll be careful not to be wasteful, careless or extravagant. Integrity means that we should take care of whatever property is given to us, and we'll make the most of it. We won't let ourselves waste even so much as a glue stick for fun.

Borrowed Property

The issue of borrowing comes under the same guidelines as taking care of what belongs to other people. Students borrow all kinds of things from each other, from pencils to umbrellas. There's such a feeling of community property and goodwill among them that it's hard to object to borrowing and loaning things. But, in the name of honesty, just one thing needs to be said. When we borrow something, we need to return it promptly and in the same condition it was in when we first borrowed it. No matter how close we are to our friends, we're never excused from this rule. The friend we borrow things from might not even notice when we don't return them, but every incident where we don't return something hurts our integrity and makes us less of a complete person.

We've seen that the work we do, how we spend our time and the things that we use are all areas where we need to be fair and honest. There might be lots of times when we get away with being unjust in these matters because nobody notices, but every lapse damages our character. We have less integrity after each incident than we did before. The habit of letting ourselves commit minor incidents of dishonesty by wasting time, doing sloppy work, or being careless with other people's things can pave the way for ruin later in life. But we don't need to live in worry about ruin. Integrity is an inborn part of each of us. We only need to listen to it and do what it asks.

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Chapter 18 - Opinions: Justice In Thought

Three Kinds of 'Opinions'

When we say, 'I think tomorrow's going to be a nice day!' we're expressing an opinion. When we say, 'Mr. Jones is great, you should hear what he has to say about Xenophon's book Anabasis,' we're also expressing an opinion, even though we didn't qualify it with the words, 'I think.' Even if we say, 'Let's walk to Purley Woods,' we mean that we think it would be fun to walk there. No matter how hard we try, we can't help thinking. And the thoughts we have about people and things are our opinions. People often say, 'I think,' when they mean, 'I wish.' Having actual opinions about things like the weather means that we've made a judgment call from weather signs, and not everyone knows enough to read the signs. If we want an educated opinion about the weather, we'll ask someone who's had to learn to read the signs, such as a farmer or sailor or weatherman.

When we say, 'Mr. Jones is great,' it might mean that we've heard his lectures at the university and that we liked him. If that's the case, then our opinion is worth having. But sometimes we've only heard other people in our circle mention Mr. Jones. Everyone else is saying good things about him

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and we join in. That kind of opinion is worthless. We'd change our tune if some disgruntled student said something critical about Mr. Jones, like, 'He wears such weird ties!' A person who lives by opinions he picks up from others isn't considering how important the opinions are that he's holding onto. Mr. Jones' ties and Mr. Jones' lectures are all the same to him, and his estimation of poor Mr. Jones rises or falls based on the most recent thing he's heard about him.

If Mindy says, 'Let's go to Purley Woods,' her opinion isn't insincere. She remembers seeing primroses there before, and her pleasant memories influence her thoughts. We get a very real, honest opinion from someone who wants something--but that's not a reliable opinion because our personal desires tend to drown out our judgment so that we rush forward after what we want. This is what happens with youths who fall into bad ways. Their opinions are regulated by their personal wishes. They only believe what they want to believe.

An Opinion Worth Having

We can infer three rules, then, about opinions that are worth having. First, we need to think about the subject and have some knowledge about it, like a farmer does about the weather. Second, it needs to be our opinion, not something we pick up from hearing what others are saying. And, third, we need to be unbiased and not let our personal wishes influence the opinions we have about things.

But you might wonder why we should have opinions at all if they take so much trouble. The answer is that we can't help having opinions because we're human. Every person has lots of opinions, and the opinions he holds are either his own honestly thought out views, or else something that he gathered from his favorite news source or best friend. The person who honestly thinks out his

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opinions for himself is doing his duty as much as if he saved a life. All duties are important--there aren't some that are more important than others. It's a major part of our work in life to do what's right in thinking through our opinions carefully.

Opinions on Trial

As you know, we all have a guide inside us. It's our conscience, and we'll speak about that more later. Once we get into the habit of bringing our thoughts before him, we'll be able to tell the difference between a right or wrong opinion before we even tell someone else about it.

Fads

You might think that making such a big deal about how we form opinions is just a current trend in thinking, and people who always latch onto the latest thing are annoying. You might even say, 'I hate people with radical new ideas, they never leave you alone.' It's true, people who are always zealous about the newest craze can be tedious. There are two reasons for this. First, people caught up in the latest new idea can be too focused on that one thing and have a one-track mind so that they don't bother to form opinions about other equally important issues. And, second, they usually latch onto the novelty without doing their research. Fads can be tiresome, but some people who might seem to be faddists because of their single-mindedness are really specially called to bring about some kind of reform.

William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson were obsessed about the issue of slavery. Samuel Plimsoll was fanatic about unsafe ships. John Howard was passionate about prison reform. Every great missionary or reformer has been so focused on one subject that they didn't think about anything else. Those kinds of people aren't faddists. They don't habitually take extreme or one-sided views, even though they're consumed with one issue.

But not very many of us are called to make that kind of sacrifice

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for reform. The rest of us can't allow ourselves to let a single set of ideas occupy our whole selves. A faddist is a person who talks and thinks about one thing. But a reformer does more than talk and think. He dedicates his life to doing something about it and becomes a reformer who changes the world.

Things We Need to Form Opinions About

All of us need to come to an opinion about our country, other countries, careers, entertainment, books we've read, what we hear, people we meet, illustrations we've seen, and characters we've read about in history or fiction. Nothing that enters our minds is exempt from our obligation to form fair and sensible opinions about it. To prepare us to do this, we need to spend the years while we're young getting the knowledge that will help us to think. Even when we're grown up, we still need to spend time getting knowledge. Unfortunately, not many adults have most of their day free to learn and study like they did when they were in school. Young people have this opportunity, but too often, they're focused on cramming to pass exams and don't take advantage of the opportunity to really learn. The lectures we hear and books we read only benefit us if they make us think.

When Numa was approached about ruling Rome, he had already given the idea some thought. He said that he didn't have any special skills or noble ancestry that would make him suited to rule. But the Romans had their own thoughts and opinions. They asked him to consider taking the position as ruler to save his country from being ruled incompetently. That was a thought that hadn't

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occurred to Numa. There were undoubtedly selfish people who only wanted to rule Rome for their own benefit. The opinion of the Romans was reasonable, so Numa considered it, and decided to accept the position. This is a good example of how opinions should influence the decisions we make. We need to think about things--everything--for ourselves. We need to think about what the responsibilities should be for a judge, or a general, or a king, or a minister. Then, if we're ever called on unexpectedly to take on one of those jobs, we'll know what to say.

Of course, if we were called on, we'd probably do what Numa did at first--protest that we didn't have the experience or education to qualify us for such a position. We probably don't think we'd ever be asked! But it's still a good idea to recognize what other people do, and what kinds of things they have to think about. By learning what it would have been like to travel to Tibet with Colonel Younghusband, or defend Port Arthur with General Stoessel, we develop opinions worth having about war, patriotism, the obligations of public workers, and lots of other matters. More than that, we should make an effort to understand the responsibilities and purposes of parents, teachers, and anyone in authority over us. Then, when we give our opinion about their actions, it's more likely to be fair. [We might have a different opinion about what clerks ought to do for us, for example, after we know what it's like to be a clerk!]

As far as preachers and their sermons, it's the same as with anything else. Only people who care about religion and think about it have the right to give their opinion.

Opinions about Books

In the same way, we have to be fair in the way we evaluate books. Trashy books aren't even worth the effort to think about, so we have no business reading them. But a book that's worth our time, whether it's a story or a

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commentary, contains the best thoughts of the person who wrote it. We can only understand what he's trying to say by thinking seriously as we read.

The fact is, the books that make us think, and the poems that make us wonder, and the lives of men that make us pause for reflection, are more useful to us than whole libraries of good advice. Sometimes we read what are considered 'good moral books.' We read and think how good they are, and how good it is of us to read them. But it doesn't stick with us because the writer has spelled the lessons out so plainly that we haven't had to work to figure them out for ourselves. It seems to be a rule of life that we don't really own anything that we don't work for. This is especially true of the mind. What comes too easily, goes just as easily. That's why Jesus didn't speak to the people without using Parables. He told the people stories that, for some, would pass casually through their minds as something entertaining for the moment. But for others, they could reflect on them, form opinions about them, and use them as a guide to learn the meaning of their lives.

The opinions you have right now about books and other things are probably wrong. You'll find yourself correcting and refining them when you've read more, thought more, and know more. In fact, no wise person, no matter how old he gets, is ever totally sure that his opinions are true. He's faithful to them, but humble about whether he's right. He should be like Numa, who was convinced that everybody else's opinion was probably more logical than his own. He's not afraid or ashamed to change his mind if he finds out he was wrong. One wise and witty man said, 'None of us are infallible, no matter how young!' He knew how arrogant youths can be, adopting opinions second-hand and then sticking to them stubbornly. The very word 'opinion' means 'a thinking.' It assumes that we've

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given the issue some thought with modesty and hesitation, and that it's not something we're absolutely sure about.

Our Duty Regarding Opinions

Now we begin to understand what our duty is when it comes to our opinions. First, we have to have 'a thinking' about lots of different things. Therefore, we need to read, pay attention, learn, and inwardly assimilate. We need to listen and mull things over in our mind because we know that one of our purposes in life is to form the correct opinion about whatever issue we come in contact with.

Next, we need to avoid short cuts when it comes to forming opinions. We can't pick up our opinions already pre-packaged for us at the corner market. And the next thing is the hardest, and something that can take our whole lives. We need to learn to recognize a fallacy. A fallacy is an argument that sounds good, but isn't plausible when we really analyze it. For example, there's a truth to the statement that 'we're all born equal.' We're equal as far as having the same rights to clean air, to enjoy the beauty of the earth and sky, and to the protection of our country's laws, and lots of other things. But some people try to twist this phrase to mean that everyone should have an equal share of the property in the world. That's absurd. The very word property means ownership. The owner is the one who owns it. Our very nature attests to this: we're indignant at even a cuckoo who takes over the nest of another bird. But the issue of fallacies is complicated. For now, the only thing we need to remember is that popular rallying cries, whether it's in the school or nation, tend to rest on fallacies or false judgments. So we all need to carefully analyze the notions we take on.

Next, before we form a final opinion about anyone in a position of authority or importance, we need to try to recognize their job they have to do and everything that relates to it.

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One last thing. When we settle on an opinion, we need to remember that an opinion is only 'a thinking.' We need to hold it loosely, knowing that we might change our mind. Still, because we arrived at that opinion to the best of our ability through our own pondering, we need to stick to it unless, like Numa, we become convinced that another view is more right than ours.

We can't be lazy in the area of our opinions. The most important part of Justice is thinking fair thoughts about the matters around us. The best and wisest people are the ones who have spent time thinking about many different topics and learned to think fair, unbiased thoughts about all of them. It's nice to know that the lord of the heart named Justice is always ready to weigh the opinions that we let ourselves have.

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Chapter 19 - Principles: Justice In Our Motives

Principles, Bad and Good

There's one class of opinions that we need to be especially careful with. Sometimes we pick them up from other people, and sometimes we come up with them all by ourselves. But, no matter how we get them, we make them our own because everything we do is based on them. These kinds of opinions determine the way we behave. They're called Principles, which comes from the word princeps, which means 'the first.' These have first priority and top importance of all our opinions. We sometimes say that a certain boy is well-principled, or a certain person is a man of principle, or a young lady has high principles, but, the truth is, everybody has principles. In other words, everybody has a few main leading opinions on which they base everything they do. A student who is always late for class, snitches his Latin translation from the internet, ducks out of work, and cheats at games may not realize it, but he's acting on principle. He may not even have put his principles into words, but if we were to try to sum them up, we might come up with something like this: 'What's the use of doing any more than you need to?' 'Why should I rush? I'm not going to stress myself by hurrying!' 'It's a waste of time, I'll never need to speak Latin anyway.' These are the kinds of principles that his life and actions are based on. He's allowed himself to think the way that lazy and

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careless people think, and it's become a habit that he can't stop. People might say that he's unprincipled, but I don't think there's any such thing as an unprincipled person. Such a person isn't unprincipled, he's a person who has deliberately chosen bad principles to base his conduct on.

Meanwhile, another child is always on time, quick, and careful about his work. He hardly knows why himself. But what has happened is that, little by little, he has collected certain principles, and he can't help acting on them. He remembers that he's obligated to his parents and teachers to work, and that he ought to do his obligations, because that's the right thing to do. In the same way, he recognizes that knowledge is enjoyable, and that it's up to him to get all of it he can while he's young and has the opportunity. He also realizes that the kind of worker he'll be as an adult depends on what kind of work he does now, and even his schoolwork is helping him become the grown-up he'll be later. Maybe he heard someone say these things at home or in school, or maybe he thought of them himself, he might not even remember. At any rate, he's made them the most important thing--his principles. What he does is always based on them. Both of these students are ruled by their principles. To find where the difference is between them, we'd have to go back to their choice of principles. Choosing one's principles is a very important part of life.

How to Tell Good Principles From Bad Ones

A traveler who arrives in a foreign airport is both amused and annoyed by the number of porters clamoring for his luggage, and taxi drivers offering to drive him to his hotel. In a similar way, many different principles are forced on us, clamoring for our consideration and jockeying for our attention in the books and papers we read, people we talk to, pictures we look at, and TV we watch.

We can tell the difference right from the beginning. Good principles are offered to us in an unpretentious, low-key way,

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with very little pressure or urging. Bad principles are loud and urgent. They drown out the voice of our conscience with their continuous noisy chatter, inviting us to go the way we're most inclined, and suggesting that we do the things that look like the most fun.

Our Principles are Written Large and Clearly

It's interesting that, although a person may never stop to articulate what his principles are, they have their own way of being discovered. A person's rules of conduct are written in large letters right on the expression on his face for anyone to see. It's a good thing to remember. Even though we may enjoy the company of a person who's lazy, self-indulgent, envious, hateful, dishonest, cruel, or greedy, we can see it in his eyes and mouth. We may like him, but differently. When we're with him, we're on guard against his particular bad principle. We may laugh at his jokes and enjoy his wit, but we don't trust him too much or let him influence us in our own choice of rules of conduct.

You might wonder, 'But what are my principles? And how would I find out?' Actually, you don't need to worry too much about finding out. In this case, people around us can see more about us than we can. In fact, some of the youngest children we know have a better idea of what our principles are than we do ourselves. What we need to do is to pay attention. We need to ask ourselves questions from time to time, such as, Why am I always following Joe around? Is it because he flatters me? Does he put false ideas of daring into my head, or tempting suggestions for wrong kinds of fun? If so, then we have a problem with our principles because we've picked a friend who brings out the worst in us. What about Brent? Do we keep him as a friend because he's an honest guy who's never afraid to tell us the truth, even when he thinks we're acting foolish or lazy? If so, then that's great! Do we join in when everybody else is calling Sidney a cheater, or a nerd or a show-off after he wins honors

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for his schoolwork? If so, then we'd better be careful. Envy is the principle that's determined that nobody's going to be better than us.

We collect our principles without even being aware of it, but they are our masters. We need to catch one of them every once in a while, scrutinize it, and ask ourselves how it affects what we do.

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Chapter 20 - Justice To Ourselves: Self-Control

My Duty to Myself

We know that it's our duty to be fair and just to 'our neighbor,' which means everyone at our own socio-economic level, and everyone below it, and everyone above it. It includes our family members, people who serve us, people we hire or buy things from, all of our friends and relatives, and everyone from those closest to us to those at the farthest ends of the world.

There's just one more person we need to show justice to. Many lives are wasted because this person isn't treated fairly. Who is the one friend we tend to neglect when we're trying to be just? It's our own selves! The Anglican Catechism says that I owe it to my neighbor to be moderate, sober, and pure. Part of the reason is so that we don't hurt or offend others. But it's also because we owe that to our closest neighbor--our very own self.

Some people accomplish great things for the world. They save lives, write books, build hospitals. But the person who manages his body with self-control is also doing a wonderful service for the world. For one thing, the good person who keeps his body

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under control, sober, and pure helps to make the world more beautiful just by being there. Also, both good and evil are contagious. One immoral student in a school will cause other students to think about and talk about things they shouldn't even entertain in their minds. In the same way, one honorable student who won't have anything to do with that kind of talk, and refuses to listen to it or even allow it, helps to make his whole school a better place. Not many things are more tragic than a beautiful body that was made in God's image to be healthy, strong and happy, damaged and ruined through bad habits.

Moderation Avoids Anything in Excess

Of the three rules that should help us keep our bodies under control, moderation, or temperance, is the least understood by youths. It might make us think of Burne-Jones's painting of Temperantia pouring pure water out of her pitcher to douse the flames, or temperance laws from the days of prohibition. It makes us think that temperance is related to not drinking alcohol. But that's only one kind of temperance. A boy who is greedy, or a girl who is lazy, is not temperate. You can tell just by watching them walk down the sidewalk. They don't have that bounce in their walk or alert look that moderate people have.

People can even be immoderate when it comes to restlessness. Or they might be obsessed with games, cramming for a test, reading novels, playing poker, or any other kind of absorbing interest. Any excess is intemperance. It means that the person has lost control of himself to the point that he can't resist doing or having something, no matter what he has to sacrifice or how much it puts someone else out. Once we're aware of how dangerous it can be to lose control, even over innocent things that are harmless in themselves, we'll be able to watch ourselves. We

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won't go on to have a fifth donut, we'll make sure we get up on time, we'll wake ourselves up with some cold water and a brisk walk, we'll do some exercises with weights or stretches in our room. We'll be ashamed to find ourselves getting flabby instead of trim, and we'll deal with it by doing more exercise instead of sitting around on the couch. We'll be careful not to have second or third helpings of something because we like the taste. Actually, that's a good rule to live by. If one serving of leftover hash will satisfy our hunger, then that means that one serving of lasagna should also be enough for us. We don't want to become overweight, because a fat, sluggish body can make us slow-witted and dull in thought. We can be moderate without going on a narrow diet (we don't need to live on things like apples and nuts). In fact, moderation might best be practiced by eating a moderate portion of whatever food is set in front of us, no matter how deliciously tempting it is.

Soberness Does not Look For Excitement

Soberness, because of the word it's derived from, means, first of all, not being drunk. It's never been easier than it is these days for youths to remain sober by never even tasting alcohol, because so many good, thoughtful people of importance and society drink water instead of wine.

In ancient Greece, great men used to give alcoholic drinks to their slaves so that their children could see how foolish and disgusting a drunk person becomes. They did this so that their children would grow up thinking of drunkenness as a repulsive sin of lowly slaves. As Christians, it isn't right to offend others by making

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them sin. But we don't need to make anyone drunk because the world is already too full of examples of drunkenness. Even children who live in the suburbs are exposed to the ugliness of alcoholism, and they wonder about it. How can Jervis, who's so nice when he's sober, keep drinking until he's so drunk that he falls by the side of the road, and makes such a disgusting spectacle of himself? This is something worth wondering about, because the answer affects the whole history of alcoholism--and, in fact, every sin that enslaves people.

Self-Indulgence Leads to Corruption

People start drinking for the same reasons that children go to the candy store. They want to indulge in something pleasant, and they think there's no harm in a glass of wine or a beer. But 'no harm' is a dangerous way of thinking. It sets people on a wide path where there's lots of cheerful company and the way seems so pleasant because the path is so easy to follow. In fact, it's downhill all the way. This is the path of self-indulgence. When we have to justify something we're doing by saying 'there's no harm in it,' then we're probably headed in that direction. The only way to get back on the right path is to struggle uphill to the path of duty. A person who stays on the easy path going downhill, enjoying the songs and jokes of his fellow-travelers and taking the path of least resistance, will end up at a cross-road where his friends will leave him and go their separate ways.

The Parting of the Ways

At this point, his friends lose all their cheerfulness. They hurry away on one road or another urgently, as if it was a life or death matter. And so it is. Except that they're headed for death, not life.

The path they're taking is gradually harming and killing the beautiful, remarkable body that God gave

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to every person. They're muddying and weakening the wonderful brain that's supposed to be used for thinking and knowing, loving and praying. Even the greatest guitarist in the world can't get any more than warped, broken sounds from a guitar whose strings are worn out and damaged. In the same way, no matter how brilliant a person might be, if he lets himself take the easy path down one of the four crossroads of corruption, his destructive habits will consume all of the promise and ability of his genius. A person can't do any worthwhile thinking or do anything of value if his mind isn't well.

An Alcoholic's Fate

The first path from the crossroad leads to alcoholism. People start down this path when they pass the stage of self-indulgence. In other words, they don't drink anymore because they enjoy it. They drink because they have to. That's the tragic price that a person pays for self-indulgence. They're plagued with a craving that few can resist. Nothing seems to help--not their own conscience, the help of their friends, not even their faint and feeble prayers. The poor wretch is so miserable that he drinks. For a moment, the alcohol stimulates him and makes him feel better. It causes a quick rush of blood to the brain so that he can think clearly and life seems more pleasant. But, unfortunately, there's a period of depression right after that. The person can't think, and can't feel anything. He feels sorry for himself and gets weepy, his life feels like an unbearable burden--so he rushes back to the poison of alcohol for relief. He says that he has to drink, that it's not humanly possible to resist the overwhelming craving that consumes him.

Alcohol takes away his health, his money, his relationships, his job. His mind and body are a wreck. People wonder how he can live that way--if you'd

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call an existence of crawling around in hidden places any kind of life.

Is this any way for that person to show appreciation to God for the wonderful gifts of their body and mind? Is it fair to his family and friends to make himself a burden and an offense to them? Is it fair to himself? His wonderful, beautiful self with all the things his heart, mind and soul can do, are his responsibility to make the most of.

What would you think of a man who received a laptop computer as a birthday present, and then opened it up and poured acid all over it? You'd say he was an idiot or a mental case to destroy something so expensive that took so many intricate parts and labor to put together. Well then, what about a person who destroys the even more wonderful mechanism of his brain and body that are all he has to think, live and feel?

The most merciful thing seems to be to lock up these kinds of offenders in an asylum with the other lunatics. But God doesn't excuse us so easily from the responsibility of choosing between right and wrong. We can't escape that responsibility, even if we always make the wrong choice and offend God, ourselves and our neighbor again and again.

The Honor System

That's why it's so important that we maintain control of our bodies. Since we have the freedom to do the wrong thing when we feel like it, we have to be even more careful to choose to do the right thing. The French have a nice-sounding phrase that we English use regarding prisoners of war. The prisoner is allowed to have quite a bit of freedom 'en parole,' meaning on his word of honor that he won't try to escape. In both France and England, and others places, too, the word of a gentleman is so binding

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that a prisoner who might be smart enough to break out of the most strongly guarded prison, can't escape from the honor of his own promise. He can be trusted to walk around the streets, go here and there, do whatever he wants, because there's an invisible wall confining him that he can't break through. The wall is nothing more than his word. He is en parole.

This is the way God treats us when it comes to indulging ourselves. We are quite free to go down the broad road of destruction, but our own word en parole stops us. We might not have ever said so out loud, but we're speaking figuratively about the word within us. It means 'on our honor.' We're all on the honor system to keep ourselves from ruin, no matter how easy or fun it might seem to make wrong choices.

The problem is that so many youths go down the broad road of destruction and never even realize they're on it. They never stop to look around and think about where they are. Instead they say, 'It doesn't matter,' about this little pleasure or that kind of fun, and, before they know it, they have lost their honor.

Excitement

Alcohol isn't the only thing that intoxicates us. Anything that produces an unnatural rush of blood to the brain is a kind of intoxication. As soon as the blood flow returns to normal, the brain will feel drained and depressed. This kind of intoxication is called excitement. There's no harm in it from time to time, but some people start to crave excitement every day, or even every hour. They might even mope and be unpleasant if things aren't happening. They crave excitement for the same reasons that a drunkard craves alcohol. And, in a similar way, the more they have, the more they want.

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They don't enjoy time with their friends unless there's a lot of wild talking and laughing. They always want to be with people who will 'make them laugh,' no matter how coarse the jokes are. They're unsettled if they can't go to every fun party within reach. No games are exciting enough unless they're risky games of chance. In the end, this can lead to a habit of gambling, which can be just as destructive and disgusting as alcoholism.

Anyone who wants to stay sober-minded needs to avoid all these kinds of excesses. I don't mean that one should never get excited, because anything that pleases us or upsets us will excite us. But that's not the same as going after excitement and being discontent if something exciting isn't happening all the time.

Circe Regarding Gluttony (Circe is pronounced SIR-see)

The other three of the four paths that come off of the crossroad lead to Gluttony, Laziness and Impurity. People who go against their word of honor regarding their physical bodies end up on any one of those paths. Some people hover around the crossroads, first going down one path, then another. But others, namely, the drunken alcoholic, the greedy overeater, the deadbeat couch potato, and the promiscuous person, find their favorite path and stick to it. They allow their entire body and soul to be given over to one lustful passion.

In the Odyssey, the enchantress Circe turned Ulysses' sturdy seamen into pigs. I can't say it any better than Nathaniel Hawthorne did in Tanglewood Tales. If you remember, Circe met the wandering seamen who were drawn to her palace with the sounds of pleasant singing. The beautiful enchantress came to them, smiled and stretched out her hand, bidding the whole group welcome. 'You see,'

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she said, 'I already know all about your troubles. Be assured that I want to make you happy for as long as you stay with me. Fish, poultry, beef, roasted and in delicious stews and spiced just the way I think you like it, are all ready for you to eat. If you're hungry for dinner, then come with me to the festive dining hall.' When they heard this kind invitation, the hungry seamen were overjoyed. One of them let their kind hostess know that they were ready to eat at any time of day.

They entered a magnificent dining hall. Each of the men was invited to sit down. There they were, sitting on twenty two cushioned chairs with canopies draping the tops. You could see the men nodding and smiling and winking at each other to express their pleasure. One whispered, 'Our kind hostess is treating us like kings!' Another asked, 'Do you smell that wonderful feast?' Another said, 'I hope it'll be thick steaks, sirloin, and spare ribs and roast, nothing fancy. If I thought it wouldn't be rude, I'd ask the lady for some bacon to start with!' But the beautiful enchantress clapped her hands, and immediately twenty two servers came in bringing dishes of the richest food, all hot off the grills and oven. It sent up such a cloud of steam that it hung like a cloud near the top of the domed ceiling of the dining hall. Twenty two more attendants brought bottles of various wines. It sparkled as it was poured out, and it went bubbling down the men's throats. They found nothing lacking

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with the food and stayed at the table for a long, long time. It was shameful the way they guzzled the liquor and wolfed down the food. They might have been sitting on thrones worthy of kings, but they acted no better than pigs in the sty. I'm embarrassed to even imagine the mountains of meat and sausage and how many gallons of wine those twenty two gluttons consumed. In their greed, they forgot all about the families they were going home to. The only thing on their minds was this banquet. They wished it could go on forever. But finally they began to slow down, they simply couldn't hold any more.

They all stopped eating and leaned back on their chairs with such stupid, helpless faces that they looked ridiculous. When their hostess saw this, she laughed, and so did her four ladies in waiting and the twenty two men who carried the dishes and the twenty two waiters who poured the wine. 'You wretches!' cried the enchantress. 'You have abused your hostess's hospitality. You may be in a princely dining hall, but your behavior is more suited to a hog-pen. You're already swine on the inside, now take the outer form of swine! Assume your proper form, gluttons, and then go to the pig sty where you belong!' After those last words, she waved her wand and stamped her foot with authority. Each of the men was horrified to see his comrades change shape until all twenty two seats had pigs sitting on the beautiful cushions. They felt so absurd sitting on those chairs that they rushed off and began to wallow on all fours like other pigs. They tried to groan and beg for mercy, but the only sound that came from their mouths was the most awful grunting and squealing. Their ears were pointed and floppy,

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their eyes were little and red, and almost buried in fat! And instead of Grecian noses, they had long pig snouts.

Interests in Life

If we want to do what's fair and right for 'ourselves' by being moderate, sober, and pure, we need to start with our thoughts. This is one area where we can be real heroes, even if nobody else knows about it. It's true for all of us that

'I have a responsibility,
And a God to glorify.'

And that's a great reason to be careful what we think about! People say that if you take care of the small things, the big things will take care of themselves. But it's even more true that if we take care of our thoughts, the actions will take care of themselves.

If we want to stay moderate and sober, we need to work, read, and think. Even more than that, we need to be thankful. There isn't a person in the world whose life wouldn't be exciting if he lived it to the full. The person whose life is full of interests doesn't need to seek excitement from alcohol or other bad habits.

A person who has interests spreads those interests to everyone around him. A boy who starts collecting postcards will start a trend with his friends. That's the way it is with every interest in life--poetry, history, or anything in nature.

If you're interested in lots of things and you share your interests with others, you'll be less likely to desire the kind of excitement that leads to drunkenness. Interests will also keep us safe from degrading gluttony. A child who gazes at his brother's plate and longs for it because it looks better than his own, is a child who doesn't have anything better to think about.

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Laziness

A person with interests isn't a sluggard. Hockey, tennis, baseball, long walks, football, boating, skating--all of these activities help to give him a strong body that isn't content to lie around all day. No one should be like 'the fat boy' in Pickwick, or any other book, for that matter. When a person gets fat, it isn't always from eating too much, although that may have something to do with it. It's usually that they don't get enough exercise, so their bodies turn to fat instead of muscle. Young men in college or in boarding schools don't let themselves get fat. It just wouldn't be acceptable. If we find weight creeping up on us, then we need to ask ourselves if we're getting lazy. Laziness is a bad habit that's not worth ruining a life over.

Impurity

The last of the four paths is the worst of all. It leads to the deadly sin of immorality. This is also a sin that's committed in our thoughts. As soon as we've thought the thought, we've committed the offense. We know how dangerous it is to allow ourselves to listen to people with filthy minds, or to allow ourselves to create mental images of things we read about. We can't avoid having things come across our path that can lead to unclean imagination. If we could totally avoid those things, then there wouldn't be any battle to fight. We wouldn't be able to obey the command to 'glorify God with your bodies.' Each of us needs to develop the ability to close the curtains and not allow our imagination to create a picture of unclean things. Once Imagination begins to act like a peeping Tom, it becomes a difficult battle to keep impure thoughts out of our minds. God, our Lord and Master, tells us to 'Watch and pray so that you don't enter into temptation.' That means that we need to examine the

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thoughts that we allow to enter our minds and shut the door on intruders so they aren't allowed to come in. Pray every day and every night with the kind of confidence that a child has when he talks to his father, praying, 'Our Father, who art in heaven, lead us not into temptation.' And then, don't give the matter another thought. Instead, do your best to live the wonderful, full life of body, mind, heart and soul that God has provided for.

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PART IV - Careers

Plans

'I'm going to be a chimney sweep when I grow up and wear a tall hat,' says one little boy in Frankfort, who has only seen tall hats worn by chimney sweeps. 'I'm going to be a cabby and drive a taxi-cab.' 'I'm going to be a general and fight a great battle.' 'I'm going to be a nanny and take care of an adorable baby.' 'I'm going to be a mommy and have babies of my own.' That's what children say, and they change their minds every week because all kinds of careers and jobs seem so interesting to them, and they imagine how fun it would be to do each of them.

Older boys and girls leave all of that behind as they outgrow childish ways. But, later, a boy begins to wonder what kind of work he'll do in the world. It's pleasant and satisfying to imagine that, whatever kind of work he does, it will be his work, and it will be the kind of job that real people need to have done. Girls' hearts also dream of what they'll do. They also want to do some kind of work that's

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needed. That's what both girls and boys want. They know that the man who said, 'Being useful is what makes life worth living,' was right. Boys know that they must go out into the world and do something definite. Girls also have many career options open to them these days [even more now than in the days when Charlotte Mason was writing!] Even if a girl's calling is to remain at home as a beloved daughter, all she really needs to be content is 'to be of use.' And that might be the place where she'll have the most opportunities to be useful. [In Charlotte Mason's day, it was common for older girls who were finished with their schooling to remain at home until marriage, as the Bennet girls did in Pride and Prejudice.]

Preparation

Some boys know from the time they're little that they're being groomed for a specific career, such as the Navy. Other children don't know what their calling will be until after they've left college.

All callings have one thing in common: they are useful. Therefore, it's possible to spend years preparing for a calling before even knowing what the specific calling is. What kind of person is of use to the world? Maybe you think of the most brilliant and appealing of all your friends, and you think to yourself, 'Now, there's the kind of person the world needs!' But you might be very wrong! The good looks, clever wit, or intellect that helped a student get to the top of their class doesn't always lead to success in the real world, because a person with these qualities might be like a ship without a rudder, at the mercy of whatever waves the wind blows its way. Nobody should imagine that if he doesn't have the qualities he admires in others, he can't be of service. Every person has lots of opportunities, and each person's duty is to be ready when his chance comes his way. The boy who received a medal from the Humane Society for saving a dog's life was ready when opportunity came. He

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had learned how to swim, and he had trained himself to have an alert mind and generous nature. Therefore, he was able to recognize the right thing to do, and do it immediately, without thinking about the hard work or risk to his own life. All he thought about was the struggling, sinking creature drowning in the water.

This is exactly what I mean. People who want to be ready when their chance comes need to have well-trained, healthy bodies; alert, intelligent, informed minds; and generous hearts that are ready and willing to risk and do whatever is needed for anyone who needs their help. This is the kind of person the world needs--people who have cultivated and worked over every acre of their own Mansoul; people who have their nerves under control and their muscles trained to be strong and able; people whose imaginations are stored with excellent things and who have given their sense of reason lots of practice; people who are loving, fair and true.

Possibilities

Nothing in the world is as valuable or necessary as a child who is prepared this way for whatever their calling might be. That's why I've tried to show you some of the great possibilities that the Kingdom of Mansoul has. We each have these same possibilities. The more we realize what we can be and how much we can do, the more we'll work to be ready to answer our call when it comes. A student who only does his schoolwork to get a good grade on his report card, or to be the best student in his class, might get what he's working for. But a person might not be of use to anyone if he doesn't intend to be useful. Being of use isn't something that just happens to us. It's the best thing in life and requires some effort. A person who is only concerned about having a good time, or being in first place, or making money,

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might get the thing he's trying for, but he shouldn't deceive himself. He doesn't get the honor of being useful in the bargain.

                                                                'Find a way to work                   
In this world!--It's the best thing you'll ever get at all.

*     *     *     *     *

Get work! get work!                                                             
The work itself is better than whatever it is you're working to get.'
-- from 'Aurora Leigh,' Book Three, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Browning                                                              

The Habit of Being Useful

'The road to hell is paved with good intentions' is a horrible saying that we've all heard. I think it means that nothing is easier than having good intentions, but nothing is easier to put off. Lost, ruined souls have undoubtedly had lots of good intentions. So we need to realize that intending to be useful isn't enough. We need to have the habit of being useful.

Most families have a brother who carves whistles and makes paper boats for his siblings, who gives his brother piggy-back rides, who can be trusted to deliver his mother's messages, whose father trusts him with important errands. Or they might have a sister whose baby sibling clings to her skirts, who has learned enough Latin to help her younger brothers with their Latin lessons, who can sew on a button or hem a pair of pants, who writes notes for her mother, and who helps care for the baby when he's sick.

The Thoughtless Family Members

Other families have a boy like Jack, whose pocket has a note that was supposed to be delivered three days ago, or a girl like Nicole, whose package falls apart in the mail. They'll say something like, 'Oh, that's the sort of job that Todd or Emily usually does; they like doing that kind of thing.' And it's true, they do like it because, after all,

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we all enjoy doing something we're good at. But nobody can be good at something they haven't practiced doing a lot. And you can be sure that useful members of the family have had lots of practice being useful--they've been on the lookout for chances to be of use.

Habit: Servant or Master?

Each one of us has something that can be a very good servant or a very bad master. It's called habit. The thoughtless, careless person is a servant of habit. The person who's useful and alert is the master of a very valuable habit. The thing is, when we do something again and again, it leaves an impression in the physical tissue of our brain. The more this impression is repeated, the easier it is to do the same thing again the next time. We know this is true in the case of skating, hockey, and other sports. We say things like we need practice, or we're out of practice, or we need to get some practice. We don't realize that this is true for everything else in our life, too. Whatever we practice doing, we'll be able to do easily. But whatever we're not used to doing, we'll do clumsily.

The Rule About Habit

This is how habit works, whether it's doing deeds of kindness, or playing the piano. Both take practice. That's why it's so important not to miss even one opportunity to do the things we intend to do, and to do our best at them. Don't believe that something is as good as done when you've made a resolution to do it. It isn't done until you follow through and do it. Ability comes by doing, not by resolving. Habit will serve us one way or the other, whether it's the habit of doing Latin verbs, or whittling. And, it's pleasant to remember that every time we do a thing, it's helping us to

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form a habit of doing it. If we do something a hundred times without missing a chance to do it, it will be easy after that.

Our Calling

One thing I'm sure of--a calling, or opportunity, comes to the person who's ready for it. That's why a young knight waiting to be called needs the all-around preparation of his body, mind, heart and soul. He'll need every part of himself in the royal service that's appointed for him. And it is a royal service: it's God's service. God, who even determines where people will live [Acts 17:26], won't leave us blundering around trying to figure out the right thing to do. If He finds us waiting, ready and willing, then He'll give us a calling. It might come in the form of a friend's advice, or an opening that comes our way, or the opinion of our parents, or some less obvious guidings in life that come to people who watch for them and aren't bent on following their own will. Or, it might come in a strong passion we have to do some particular work that we're suited for.

But, no matter how it comes, we can be sure of this: a farmer or a fashion designer, a clerk or a congressman, is equally called to do what they're doing. Every person, no matter what their calling is, needs to be prepared. First, each person needs the general preparation to make themselves a fit, ready person, and then some specialized training or teaching for the particular task they're called to.

The time we're in school or college is our time of general preparation. During this first stage, we need to remember that it's up to us to make ourselves ready for our career. The value of any calling is its usefulness.

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No day should pass that we don't find a way to get some practice in being useful.

Everyone is needed for whatever special bit of work he's called to do. This is true for all of us:

'You didn't come to your place by accident.
It's the very place God meant for you to be.'


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Ourselves

Book II––Self-Direction

'Order my goings.'

Introduction

In Book 1 of Ourselves, which deals with Self-knowledge, I tried to present a panoramic view of the Kingdom of Mansoul. I'll continue using the term 'Mansoul.' It comes from John Bunyan, and I can't think of a better phrase that illustrates what it's like to look at a large country estate from the outside any better than that one. In Book 1, we pretended to look down from above, getting a bird's eye view of the rich treasures in Mansoul and the wonderful possibilities for every human being entering into the world as if he's born into a great inheritance.

All of the beauty and great thoughts in the world are available to everyone. Everyone may receive what he needs and use it to serve the world. Everyone can climb the 'delectable mountains' within his own nature, and from there, get

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a vision of the City of God. Yes, Mansoul has unlimited resources and glorious possibilities. But it also has various dangers, and any one of them risks devastation and ruin. But none of these dangers is inevitable, because Mansoul has an established government. It might be helpful to think of this government as divided into four Houses.

We saw how the House of the Body is kept going by the Appetites, but if any of these appetites gains total control, it brings ruin. The five senses are like attendants going between body and mind and serving them both.

The House of the Mind is specially outfitted with the perfect equipment for gathering knowledge. 'Lessons are fun, they enrich life and provide ability,' is written above its doors. Inside is everything needed to deal with knowledge of all kinds. Intellect is waiting to seize on all sorts of knowledge. Imagination takes living pictures of glorious things from the past and strange things from far away places. The Beauty Sense loves to say, 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever,' and is always ready to take hold of any lovely thing in pictures, poems, flowers or heavens, and save them as something to be enjoyed forever. Reason is eager to understand causes and consequences, and to know the 'why's' of every fact that enters the mind. And, to make sure that the Mind, with these useful assistants, doesn't become an empty place left vacant and decaying, there are certain Desires that drive us to feed the Mind in the same way that our Appetites spur us to feed our bodies.

Just as our bodily Appetites carry the possibility for abuse and excess that can ruin Mansoul, each of

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the noble qualities of the Mind also has its own demons that threaten to paralyze the part of the Mind it affects, or distort and weaken the Mind altogether.

The House of the Heart is ruled by two kind aides, Love and Justice. Sympathy, goodwill, empathy, thoughtfulness, graciousness, thankfulness, bravery, faithfulness, modesty and cheerfulness are Love's attendants. Justice also has its attendants. They are impartiality, genuineness, clarity, integrity, honesty and accuracy.

Moderation, sobriety and purity are also members of the Household of Justice. They help us to show Justice to our own selves. But even these have their own demons. Getting through life safely depends on recognizing and also on avoiding the bad tendencies that are ready to wreak devastation on the House of the Heart. We all know how the temptation to be fearful, mean, rude, slanderous, envious and unkind in lots of other ways can trip us up. The dangers are great and the risks are many. Many a fine Mansoul gets caught in the pitfalls and perishes without ever realizing the vast wealth at his disposal. He is like a prince raised as a poor peasant who is totally unaware of his birthright. But all who begin to understand the possibilities that are available to Mansoul, and who also know how many perils are out there, will know that they have a duty to manage themselves. All the powers they need for this self-direction are within them every bit as much as intellect, imagination, hunger and thirst.

The powers within us that govern Mansoul are

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the Conscience and the Will. But the Conscience, even if it's the Conscience of a good Christian, isn't competent to make judgments about different things in life if it hasn't been taught. It would be like expecting an uneducated farmhand to solve a calculus equation.

The Conscience needs regularly scheduled, incremental lessons that affect the body, heart and mind. One of the purposes of this book is to draw attention to some of the things that the Conscience needs to learn, and what the goals of its lessons should be. The affairs of the heart are vitally connected to the mind and body. Much of what we need to consider at this point is what's already included in Book I (Self-Knowledge).

The Will is the second highest of all the powers of Mansoul, and also needs some instruction. People tend to assume that the Will acts automatically, but none of the powers of Mansoul acts by itself. The Will, as Prime Minister, orders every other power in Mansoul, and a little bit of knowledge about the way it works will help us to understand its functions.

It's also a good idea for us to understand a little about the Soul, which is what we're calling the part of us that knows and loves God, is able to praise, pray and have faith, and decides whether or not to enthrone the rightful King over Mansoul. We can be sure that God our Creator is honored when we make an effort to understand the abilities and dangers that go along with the human nature He has given us.

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Part I - The Conscience

SECTION I. The Conscience In The House Of the Body

Chapter 1 - The Court Of Appeal

Conscience, the Judge, is Always in Court

Things don't just go right in Mansoul all by themselves. We've already seen how the various powers in the body, mind and heart are always jostling, trying to get total control of Mansoul. Even the best of Mansoul's government servants have their own personal demons trying to trip them up. But there's a safety mechanism in place to keep everything in check, and to keep rivalry from causing problems. There's a Court of Appeals that's always open, with the Lord Chief Justice on duty. We call him Conscience. Let's take a minute and think about what a judge does in a court of law. He doesn't automatically know who's right and who's wrong in each case. He isn't expected to know. Advocates from both sides get up and present the facts and their best arguments to the judge. He, as the authority who understands the law, gives the right decision based on the information he's given.

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Everyone has a sense of duty, and Conscience is no exception. His own duty is proclaiming what the law says, and what everyone's duty is. No Mansoul is left alone without a sense of the right things he ought to be doing. Everyone knows that certain things are required of him, and that he has to answer to a Higher Authority for what he does. The things that are due from us (duty) and what we owe others (ought) is what Conscience tells us. We don't belong to ourselves. We belong to God, Who made us. He has placed a Conscience within each of us to continually remind us that we owe ourselves to Him. Conscience reminds us that it's our duty to make sure that what we do pleases Him. He reminds us that God is our judge, and He will deal with every offense, surely and directly. It might not be today, but it will happen. Conscience also lets us know that the reason for this judging is for our good. It's to save us. It continually calls us back when we get into wrong ways that injure and hurt us. It draws us back to right ways of peace and happiness. Conscience asserts all these things to us, every morning, every hour. He tells us that we're not free to do whatever we feel like, but we need to do the things we ought.

Conscience Can Sometimes Judge Incorrectly

But if every Mansoul has a Conscience giving judgments, then why is it that so many people do wrong things? As we've seen already, there can sometimes be anarchy in the government because laziness, or temper, or pride, or envy betrays Mansoul.

I won't dwell on the fate of those who won't listen to their Conscience. The point I want to make is that there's danger even for those who do listen. We sometimes hear that someone 'acted according to his lights' [i.e., he based his actions on what he thought seemed best when he didn't have all the information]. However wrong he may have been, there are people who will excuse him because he didn't know any better. If the person had no opportunity to know better,

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then the excuse is valid. But we should never think that it's acceptable to make decisions 'according to our lights' if we allow ourselves to carry a tiny penlight when we could light up the whole room with the flip of a switch.

Conscience Can Be Tampered With

A judge isn't automatically familiar with the details of a case he's going to decide. It's the same way with the judge within ourselves. Just like a court judge, he also listens to advocates from each side. Inclination hires Reason to plead his case in front of the judge. Reason can be so subtle and convincing that the judge (our Conscience) might pass the verdict in the defendant's favor. Conscience says, 'Obey the law,' and Reason says, 'But what the defendant is doing is obeying the law.' And Conscience allows the defendant to do it. This subtle tactic of misleading one's own Conscience is an art that's practiced by both little children and hardened criminals. This is one way that a person can 'act according to his lights.' He finds a way to justify himself, his Reason finds logical arguments to convince his Conscience that what he's doing is right under the circumstances, and Conscience gives the okay. He continues to cry out, 'You must do the right thing!' but he leaves his members to define what's right for themselves.

There are lots of reasons why it's good for us to know this limitation of our Conscience. For one thing, it helps us to understand why and how some people and nations have done certain things throughout history.

Conscience Needs to be Educated

We all need to know something about the make-up of Mansoul so that we can tell who's speaking to Reason, persuading him to convince the Conscience. It's not always apparent at first. Envy, for example, won't come right out and say, 'I hate James because his father can afford to buy him whatever he wants' or 'because he always does better than me, whether in lessons

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or in sports' or 'because everybody likes him.' Instead, envy will pretend that all he wants is what's fair for everyone. 'It's not right that one person should always have extra money to spend while somebody else has to scrimp and do without.' 'James just got a lucky break because of a fluke in the scoring.' 'James will do anything to be popular, no respectable person would do all that.' With these kinds of arguments, Envy persuades Reason, and Reason makes a convincing case before the Conscience, and the defendant gets off scot-free.

But once a person realizes that putting anyone else down to make himself look better is motivated by envy rather than justice, he'll be careful. He'll keep his tongue from evil and his thoughts from hatred--and he'll submit to his Conscience when its unbiased judgment reprimands him.

This kind of looking at things sincerely and directly is what Jesus calls a 'pure' or 'single eye.' [Matt 6:22] Some people automatically have it, so they're not easily deceived into calling what's wrong right. But evil is tricky and always ready. It's wise for all of us to try hard to recognize when misrepresentations are brought before our Conscience. A Conscience that's been well-educated rarely makes mistakes.

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Chapter 2 - Teaching the Conscience

Learning From Books

An educated conscience knows that Moderation, Purity, Constancy and Carefulness must have control in this House of the Body. But how do you educate a conscience? Life itself brings us many opportunities to learn. For instance, when we see other people do something right, our conscience approves and learns a lesson. But when we see people doing something wrong, our conscience condemns it. But we need a wider variety of examples than our personal sphere of life can give us. That's why books make the best teachers.

Every noble, beautiful thing that can be done is described in living detail in the vast treasury of literature. History and biography do a good job of teaching decency, but the best moral teaching comes from literature--poetry, essays, plays and novels. Writing about real people doesn't allow the author to truly express his insight. Autobiographies are another way to lift the veil to another person's thoughts, because the writer is free to say whatever he wants. The Bible tells about the lives of people and the history of a nation without the reserve that a lot of authors use when they write about the bad things that heroes did, or the faults of evil people.

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Plutarch might be the only biographer who writes with as much impartiality, although not always with the same justice.

Poets and Essayists are our Teachers

Children get moral concepts from the fairy tales they love, in the same way that grown ups get it from novels and poems. Matthew Arnold, who is an excellent critic, says that poetry is an examination of life. And so it is, both a examination and an inspiration. Most of us carry around little snippets of verse inside our minds that influence what we do more than we're aware of, such lines as:

'We're often closer to wisdom when we stoop down
Than when we soar.'
-- Wordsworth


The friends who have proven themselves true,
     You should attach them to your soul with steel hooks.'
-- Shakespeare's Hamlet

So many wonderful thoughts that kindle flames of reflection come to us in the form of poetry, in wings of verse. Just imagine how empty our lives would be if we woke up and discovered that the entire book of Psalms had vanished from the earth and even disappeared from our memories! Proverbs, which are sayings of wise kings and wise words from common people, come to us as if they were divine utterances. Essays deal with how we act. They give us a lot of delicate lessons that reach us more effectively because their style is so charming.

Novelists and Playwrights Teach Us, Too

Novelists and playwrights have possibly done the most for us when it come to learning. But not all novels and plays are good 'as examples of life and teaching proper behavior.' [2 Tim 3:16] It's safest for us to stick with works that have been around long enough to become classics. There are two reasons for this. That fact that

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they don't die proves that the author had something timeless to say, and in such a way, that the world needs. Also, older stories and plays deal with conduct, and learning what to do and how to act is the most important thing in our lives. Modern [1900-ish] literature deals more with emotions, and that's not the healthiest subject for reflection. Once we find a book that has a message for us, let's not make the mistake of saying we've already read it once. That's like saying we've already had breakfast and don't ever need to eat again. A book that helps us deserves to be read again and again, because assimilation [so that the book becomes a part of us] comes little by little.

Literature is full of valuable lessons about how to control our physical nature, in the form of both rules and examples. I'll give illustrations here and there to show what I mean, but I have no doubt you'll be able to think of better lessons from my examples. And that's fine, that's just the way teaching from literature should come to us--a little here, a little there, casually as we read on because we're interested in the story, or because the poem is so beautiful, or the writing has such marvelous style.

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Chapter 3 - Conscience's Rulings In The House Of The Body: Moderation

Moderation in Eating

Who can forget how 'the fortunes of Nigel' [by Sir Walter Scott] changed because of the dish that Laurie Linklater cooked to please the King? The story is told humorously, but even all of the King's wisdom can't help us to get over the cock-a-leekie [chicken and leek] soup! This is how Sir Walter Scott prepares us: 'None of these brave English cooks can satisfy the King's noble tastes with our own Scottish recipes. So I used my skill to cook up a whole bunch of friar's chicken for the soup, and a delicious haggis [sausage] that won everyone's applause. Instead of being disgraced, I became a favorite.' He approached King James with these same bold Scottish meals and Linklater's unbelievable character becomes the person who resolves the plot. Richie Moniplies 'reached the palace safely and demanded to see Laurie Linklater, the under-clerk in the royal kitchen. But the cook wouldn't be disturbed to speak to him. He was too busy cooking some cock-a-leekie soup for the King. Moniplies said, 'Tell him that a dear

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countryman needs to talk to him about something very important; I must speak to the king.' 'The king?' responded Linklater, being cautious. 'I want nothing to do with this matter. But look, I've just made some cock-a-leekie soup to be served to His majesty in his room. I won't prevent you from leaving your letter on the table when you bring him his soup. The king will see it when he picks up the bowl to drink the broth.'

And the book ends with the king's last word: 'Now, my lords and nobles, let's go to dinner, for the cock-a-leekie soup is cooling.'

What's so bad about that? Just that King James's moral integrity and intelligence are clouded, and his dignity is sacrificed because of his shameful failure to control himself in this and other matters. The patriarch Isaac also let his love for savory meat open him to the deception that divided his family. It's fine and even healthy to enjoy our food, but to love and crave any particular dish is the nature of immoderation. Plutarch tells us the same thing in his preface, talking about his childhood:

'One day our schoolmaster saw that we had indulged ourselves too luxuriously at lunch. During his afternoon lesson, he ordered his servant to whip his own son in our presence. He said the boy was being punished because he couldn't eat his food without condiments. All the time, the philosopher

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was watching us, and we knew who this example was intended for.'

In Drinking

We expect Le Balafré [Quentin Durward, by Sir Walter Scott] to act like a drunk because of his base nature, but it distresses us to see the generous, noble Lord Crawford losing his dignity and control of himself over drinking wine. The occasion is a banquet to welcome Quentin Durward's election. 'But for now, Lord Crawford refused to take the seat assigned to him. He told everyone to continue their fun, and stood watching the revelry with an expression of enjoyment. 'Leave him alone,' whispered Cunningham as Lindesay offered their noble Captain some wine. 'Leave him alone, there's no need to rush him, let him drink on his own. In fact, the old Lord just smiled at first and refused, setting the wine glass in front of him without even tasting it. But soon, he began absent-mindedly sipping a little. And then he remembered that it would be bad luck not to drink a toast to the brave guy who had joined them by winning the election. Of course, he had to be polite and join in the toast. Sliding into the assigned seat without thinking what he was doing, he made Quentin come to his side and asked him all kinds of questions about the general state of Scotland, and the important families there, which Quentin was well able to answer. Meanwhile, Lord Crawford slowly emptied his wine glass, commenting that it was proper for Scottish gentlemen to be sociable, but that young men like Quentin should do it

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cautiously so that too much socializing didn't degenerate into excess. And he said many excellent things about the subject, until his own tongue, although praising temperance, began to slur from too much wine.'

Times have changed since then. Some men may still drink, but not usually men who have Lord Crawford's dignity of character. People are beginning to understand that simple living goes hand in hand with high thinking. We're beginning to have more control in both eating and drinking, and the day is coming when excess in either will be shunned.

Taking it Easy

Maria Edgeworth's tale of Lazy Lawrence has become a classic illustration of laziness. [In volume 1 of The Parent's Assistant; Young Lawrence is too lazy to work and will do anything for money except work - gambling, cock fights, even theft. But little Jem is industrious and earns enough to prevent the family from having to sell their beloved horse.] Other more appealing characters have the same fault. For example, here is Harry Warrington, from The Virginians by Thackeray:

'Harry's lace and linen were as nice as his aunt could wish. He bought a beautiful shaving plate and some magnificent embroidered pajamas in which he could laze around and sip hot chocolate in the mornings. He had swords, fancy walking canes, French diamond-studded watches with hand-painted backs, and snuffboxes exquisitely decorated by French artists. He had a whole troop of grooms, jockeys, and tradesmen waiting to see him. They were admitted in to see him and Parson Sampson one at a time, by Gumbo, his head butler, while he enjoyed his hot chocolate. There's no telling how many servants Mr. Gumbo had under him. Certainly no single servant could have managed and maintained all of the fine things that Mr. Warrington owned now, not to mention the horses and carriage he had just bought. Harry also learned the arts that were proper for

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young gentlemen of those days. During the season when he lived at Tunbridge, he had a live-in fencing instructor and dance teacher, both French. He spent a lot of time working with them until he could do both with grace and skill. In just a few weeks, he could handle himself as well as anyone. He took riding lessons on a great horse owned by a riding instructor who came to Tunbridge, but decided that he'd rather ride like a Virginian.'

Here we have a picture of busy idleness--and idleness usually is busy. Hogarth painted the kinds of people that Thackeray describes who lived in the same kind of excessive luxury and abandoned idleness. Charles II was another one. Although he walked a lot, he shirked even the least hint of the work he should have been doing as king. Unfortunately, both history and fiction are full of men and women who never bother to seize opportunity when it presents itself.

Day-Dreaming

There are more ways to be immoderate than eating too much, getting drunk and sleeping in. In The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne describes another type of idleness. Hepzibah Pyncheon, the lonely spinster, lived in The House of Seven Gables, and spent her days dreaming up odd castles in the air.

'All the time that Hepzibah was perfecting her idea for a little shop, she had an unrecognized notion in the back of her mind that some unforeseen bit

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of luck would come to her rescue. Perhaps her uncle, who had sailed to India fifty years ago and never been heard from again, might return and invite her to share his wealth in his old age, and adorn her with pearls, diamonds, oriental shawls, hats, and make her the sole heiress of his uncountable fortune. Or, perhaps, a member of Parliament who was currently head of the English side of the family which hadn't been in contact with the American side of the family for two hundred years, might invite Hepzibah to leave the House of Seven Gables and live with his family at Pynchion Hall. But, for her own important reasons, she wouldn't accept his offer.'

How do you excuse a lazy person?

How is it that of all
The lusts that could enthrall
The Bible heroes to deeply fall,
Sloth hides at first, hell-frame accursed,
Where every poisonous root of sin is nursed?
To slip you you have to first of all
Tell yourself to stand up tall
And rise up straight before you fall.
But if you're prone so work is shunned
You'll have no comfort, rest or fun
For doing nothing means nothing's done.

Know Your Job and Do It

Carlyle, who believed in hard work, had this to say about idleness in Past and Present: 'Who are you who brags about your

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life of ease, smugly shows off your fancy modern furniture, soft cushions, appliances to do everything including folding your hands to go to sleep? An idle person is like a monster. The latest proclamation in the world is to Know your job and do it. Know what you're capable of doing, and work at steadily, like Hercules. That's a wise plan.

'It's been written, 'There's a lot of significance in work.' A man perfects himself by working. Hideous tangled jungles are cleared away and replaced with beautiful productive fields of crops and magnificent cities. And man himself changes his own self from a jungle or barren desert and becomes--a man.'

The Principle Behind Moderation

The fact is, Conscience isn't as concerned with how immoderation is manifested in our lives so much as the underlying principle behind moderation. St. Paul wrote about it when he condemned people who 'worship and serve the creature more than the Creator.' It's by this principle that we'll be justified or condemned. In light of this, we have good reason to suspect any style of diet or exercise that encourages us to have too much concern for our physical body, whether it's a diet of nuts and fruit, peacock brains, or cock-a-leekie. England is in serious danger of giving herself over to worship of the goddess of health. But a more elusive goddess was never revered--the more she is pursued, the more she runs away. Yet she's ready and willing to bestow smiling favor on the person who never even casts a thought towards her. I say truthfully and sincerely that the pursuit of physical and mental well-being is becoming a cult. The

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danger of this kind of cult is that it makes us focus our attention on our own selves instead of on Christ.

We use 'faith' in our minds to create certain attitudes that make our minds and bodies feel better, and that makes us more comfortable. And we forget the danger of exalting the concerns of the creature above the worship of the Creator. The essence of Christianity is passionate love and loyalty towards a divine Person. Faith, which is the adoring regard of the soul, is supposed to help us be more like Jesus--'meek and lowly of heart.' Any kind of 'faith' that raises us up to some higher level should make us suspicious that we're trying to use Christ's power to serve ourselves and our comfort, more than God's glory.

Carlyle was right when he said that the state or lack of our own well-being isn't the central concern of the universe.

Excessive attention to our physical selves is one kind of immoderation. But even worse is neglecting our spiritual nature which enables us to do everything else. That's the root cause for the indifference of laziness, and the excess of greed. 'Take no thought for the life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.' 'Eat whatever is set before you.' These are the rules God gave for us to keep our bodies in moderation, sobriety and purity. 'Take no thought,' because all sins against the body begin in our thoughts.

We Live in Our Times

I may seem to have gotten off the subject of the Conscience and how it relates to moderation. But it's necessary to stay aware of the current trends of our times, as well as keeping guard over our own appetites. We live

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in our times. We need to realize that Reason can justify any strange trend, whether it's a fruit-eating colony in the Pacific, or living on one meal a day, or fasting and not allowing ourselves to eat or drink anything at all. Only a well-educated Conscience will safeguard us from being persuaded to follow such trends. When we're tempted to eat like primates or eat only nuts, let's be like Punch, and laugh some common sense into ourselves!

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Chapter 4 - The Rulings of Conscience in the House of the Body: Purity (Part 1)

Purity of the Soul

In this area, too, the well-educated Conscience has a broad focus. God's Law forbids impurity of any kind, whether it's in our imagination, what we say or what we do. Everyone knows this. But do we understand that it's as important to preserve Love as Faith? The well-educated Conscience knows that any excessive affection or extravagant devotion pollutes the purity of any self-controlled person. Any relationship, even a friendship or fondness between a mother and child, is suspect to a clear Conscience if it becomes too absorbed and exclusive so that one person is constantly needed by the other, and other rightful duties and loyalties are neglected. To be a person's 'all in all' isn't really a pure desire except when it comes to the intimate relations of marriage. Purity of the soul is like the picture Giotto painted of being walled in with a tower. 'Do not touch' is the appropriate rule. Relationships that are too intimate and exclusive should be kept out.

The Tragedy Of Edward II

The dangers of breaking this rule of a pure life is well illustrated in the sad

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tragedy of Edward II as written by Christopher Marlowe. Let's look at the story. One lesson like this taken from real life is worth a lot of advice and resolutions. Too much affection is a fault that tends to go along with a generous temperament, and Edward was generous,

'My father has died! Come on, Gaveston,
Share the kingdom with me, your best friend.'

What an example of friendship! Edward is eager to share his entire fortune with his friend. And Gaveston, for his part, is ready to repay Edward's love with his own love.

'Sweet prince, I'm on my way. Your loving invitation
Is enough to induce me to swim all the way from France.'

The nobles resent their affectionate devotion because they have their own legitimate demands on the new king's time and affection. They call a meeting and protest with prayers and threats of rebellion. Here is how the king ends the meeting:

'I'll live or die with Gaveston.'

And Gaveston adds, 'I won't be separated from my lord.'

Edward: 'What, Gaveston, you're here? Welcome! Kiss my hand.
Embrace me as I give you a friendly hug.
Why should you kneel before me? Don't you know who I am?
I'm your friend, the missing part of yourself; I'm like another Gaveston!'

Edward piles titles, land and honors on his friend generously. He even gives him his own seal of authority.

'Save or condemn whoever you want. In our name, command whatever your heart desires, or whatever takes your fancy.'

The nobles have another meeting to decide how to get rid of Gaveston, the 'ill-tempered Frenchman.' And that phrase is really rather accurate because the king's beloved favorite friend really was ill-tempered, quickly offended and resentful.

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'So, arm in arm the king goes with him,' said Lancaster. And Warwick added, 'And so, leaning on the king's arm, he nods and scorns and smiles at everyone who passes.'

Even his wife, Queen Isabella herself, complains.

'But now, my lord, the King ignores me.
He dotes on the love of Gaveston.
He throws his arms around his neck,
Smiles at him, whispers in his ear.
When I come in, he frowns as if saying,
'Go somewhere else. I don't need you, I have Gaveston.'

The barons send Gaveston away to Ireland, and the king cries,

'Don't stay away long! If you do,
I'll come to join you. My love will never fade.'

They exchange pictures of each other, and King Edward says,

'Here, take my picture, and let me wear yours.
I wish I could keep you like I keep this picture.
I was so happy, but now I'm so miserable!

Speaking kindly and exchanging goodbyes makes us even sadder.
So, with a silent embrace, let's part.
Stay, Gaveston, I can't leave you like this!'

Edward threatens and pleads with Isabella until she gives in and asks young Baron Mortimer to work on the nobles and have Gaveston's short exile ended. Isabella brings the good news to the king and is rewarded with affection for the moment. Edward is elated and showers rewards and praises on his nobles.

But, when Gaveston returns, he's as unbearable as ever, and the barons are just as intolerant. The king only cares about his friend and prepares for civil war to punish the nobles for 'their pride.' Once more

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the barons try to convince the king that his exclusive absorption in his friend is ruining the kingdom. The gifts, celebrations, balls and shows he's given to Gaveston 'have drained the treasury. There is threatened rebellion, which could result in the king's removal from the throne. The king's armies have been beaten out of France, wild Oneyl is making himself ruler of Ireland, the Scots are making unresisted attacks in north England, the Danes have control of the narrow seas.'

'What country are these foreign ambassadors from?'

'Your gentle queen, Valois's only sister, 'Complains that you've abandoned her.'

The peers don't even attend the royal court anymore. The citizens make up scornful songs and rhymes.

Does this change the king's mind? No. The criticisms of his barons make them traitors, as far as he's concerned. He says,

'Poor Gaveston! I'm the only friend he has!
I don't care what they think, we're staying right here in Tynemouth.
As long as I can enjoy his company within the palace,
I don't care if the Earls criticize us from every direction.'

Things go from bad to worse until finally, the barons are exasperated and behead Gaveston. Will the kingdom now finally be rid of its unbearable burden? No. Even while the death of the king's favorite is still news, Edward says,

'In his place of honor and trust,
Spencer, sweet Spencer, I adopt you.'

Spencer had also liked Gaveston, but it's only the king who is excessive in his affection. Exclusive, all-encompassing friendships are succeeded with new friendships that are just as absorbing. It isn't because of fickleness, but because a person who has been weakened and undermined is no longer able

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able to exist without the philandering affections that he's gotten used to.

The tragic tale continues with rebellion, insurrection, and civil war. The only gleam of brightness is the young Prince Edward, who believes in his father in spite of the things he hears.

'Just wait, I'll win the king soon.
He loves me more than a thousand Spencers.'

When King Edward finds out that his wife dishonors him and his people are deserting him, he begins to think of his son.

'These things don't hurt me so much, but my little boy
Has to face what they do wrong.'

Nothing changes. Queen Isabella has Spencer arrested right in front of the king.

'Spencer! Sweet Spencer! Now we have to part.'

Spencer replied,

'Oh, is he gone? Is noble Edward gone?
Is he no longer here, not to see us ever again?'

There seems to be no doubt that his friends returned the love and devotion that this excessively attached king gave them.

Edward is imprisoned, and his final message is,

'Give my best to my son, and tell him to rule
Better than I did. Yet, what have I done wrong
Except to be too lenient?'

Each of Us is a King in Our Own Realm

We won't follow Edward's sad tragedy to the end, but his question, 'What have I done wrong?' is a valuable lesson. His life was ruined, his country was devastated, his wife was dishonored, his loyal subjects were forced to become traitors and assassins--all of these things happened as a direct result of the king's behavior. Yet he asks at the end, 'What have I done wrong?' His uneducated

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Conscience didn't show him the fatal mistake of his life. He decided for himself which duties he would obey, and it appears that his list of life rules consisted of only one rule--Be faithful to your friend. It never occurred to him that we're not supposed to pick and choose between our duties, or that a duty we cling to can become a fault. You might think, 'Yes, that's true if you're a king. But, luckily, common people are free to do as they please.' But we're not. Each of us is like a king choosing among a thousand relationships, duties and interests that are appropriate for us. If we decide to give ourselves over to someone else so that our own will is paralyzed and we can't think or do anything unless they tell us to, and we can't be happy or relaxed unless they're with us, then we're just like Edward. We've sown disorder in our own realm. Our realm may be smaller and not as great as Edward's, but it's the realm that we're responsible for.

We Aren't Free to Give Ourselves Without Reserve

In general, men seem to have learned to have more restraint in their friendships than they did in the Tudor days when Marlowe thought it was necessary to offer this lesson to the world. Maybe in his day, men admired their friends with a more passionate fondness. But this isn't an issue of male/female. This affects relationships between school boys, girls, men and women, and ladies. It just seems like there are people who can't seem to live without a doting passion for some beloved. Here's another example:

'Our boarding house was filled with mystery and romance,' said Coquette, brightening. 'It was because of two young German ladies who were there. They introduced the practice of--what shall I call it?--exaltation. Do you know what I mean? When one girl makes another the object of her devotion because

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of her goodness or her beauty, and worships her. She kisses her dress when she passes her, and serves her in every way, but without speaking to her. And the girl who is the object of this worship is supposed to be proud and cold and show scorn for her worshiper, even if they had always been friends. It was the young German ladies from the Bohemian Forest who introduced it. They were tall and dark and very beautiful. Many girls wanted to worship them, but they were always the first to seek out one of the other girls to worship. No one was as humble and obedient as they were. The whole boarding house was filled with it. It became like a cult, an obsession. Some girls would even cry and kneel on the floor to express their love and admiration for the object of their adoration.' [from A Daughter of Heth by William Black]

Plutarch knew all about that. In his Life of Agesilaus, Agesilaus had a personal and very sensible reason to be uneasy about his attachment to Spithridates's son Megabates. While he was with him, he made a point of trying to resist his feelings of devotion. One day Megabates came up to say hello to him, and Agesilaus didn't return his greeting. From then on, Megabates was more distant with him. Agesilaus regretted that he had rebuffed Megabates and pretended he didn't know why Megabates was so cool with him. His friends told him it was his fault for not returning Megabates's greeting. They said, 'He would be glad to continue paying you the most friendly respects, just be sure you never brush him off again.' Agesilaus was silent for a while, thinking. Then he said, 'Don't mention any of this to him. This second victory

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over myself is more valuable to me than Midas's gift of turning things to gold.'

A generous heart approves of this kind of great affection. But a noble Mind and well-educated Conscience need to look beyond that and preserve the Soul's purity. We don't belong to ourselves. We have no right to give ourselves completely away with abandoned passion.

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Chapter 5 - The Rulings Of the Conscience In the House Of The Body: Purity (Part 2)

Ordered Friendship

A Sane and Generous Friendship

But, for every illustration of an excessive relationship, there are a thousand examples of sensible, healthy and noble friendships. The classic examples of friendship are so well-known that I don't need to quote them. But here's one that's less familiar:

'You're my only friend, aren't you? So haven't you earned the right to share my wealth? Tell me that, Alan Fairford. When I was taken from my mother's lonely home and brought to the commotion of the Gaits' class at the High School, when I was teased because of my English accent, when they threw snow at me because I was from the south, when I was thrown into the gutter for a Saxon pock-pudding--who defended me with heavy arguments and even heavier punches? It was you, Alan Fairford. Who beat me soundly when I brought my arrogance from being an only son, and a spoiled brat, to the school's little republic? It was you, Alan. You taught me not to pick on weak people, but to stand up to the strong. You taught me not to repeat tales outside of school, to obey the stern order of a pande mamun ['hold out your hand'],

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and to endure my punishments without wincing, and to determine to be a better person for them. In other words, before I knew you, I didn't know anything. It was the same at college. When I was hopelessly idle, your example and encouragement roused me to try harder and showed me how to enjoy learning. You made me like history and metaphysics. In fact, you almost made me a defense lawyer just like yourself.' [Redgauntlet by Sir Walter Scott]

Even though the relationship between Alan Fairford and Darsie Latimer was sensible, it wasn't a loose, common-place friendship. Their friendship didn't take precedence over duty when things were going well. Alan worked hard preparing for his career and was an obedient and affectionate son even though his father was demanding. But when his friend is in danger, this clever Alan disregards his chances and risks his life with wholehearted devotion. As a young lawyer, he has made his first appearance with noted success in a difficult case. He is delivering his speech and persuading the court when he sees the slip of paper that tells him that Darsie is in trouble. 'He stopped short in his speech, stared at the paper with a look of surprise and horror, uttered an exclamation, threw down the notes he had in his hand, and rushed out of court without even answering the questions that followed him: 'What happened to him?' 'Did he suddenly get sick?' 'Should a substitute be called?' He writes a note to his father: 'I hope you won't be surprised or too displeased to hear that I'm on my way to Dumfriesshire to do my own investigation and find out the current state of my dear friend and give

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whatever help I'm able to. I hope it does some good. I can only say, in further apology, that if, heaven forbid, anything bad happens to the person who is dearest to me except yourself, I'll regret it for the rest of eternity.'

A Friendship That's Loyal Even in the Face of Disillusion

Elizabeth Gaskell, in the sincere and graceful style that distinguishes her writing, tells us in Wives and Daughters about the friendship between Molly Gibson and Cynthia Fitzgerald. Molly is a charming English girl with a sensible heart and mind. Cynthia, her step-sister, comes into her life like a beautiful, bewitching vision. Of course, Molly fell in love with her--girls don't just fall in love with men. Cynthia was just as attracted to Molly's freshness and simplicity. They spent many pleasant hours in Mrs. Gibson's parlor chatting and working. Both girls are kind and concerned about what's best for the other, experiencing the natural give-and-take of friendship. Cynthia tends to get involved with different men, and Molly has a difficult time when she has to do some unpleasant things to get Cynthia out of a serious dilemma. But she does them without sacrificing her integrity, and Cynthia submits to letting her friend help. Unfortunately, it's impossible to do justice in just a few sentences to their natural friendship that even disillusion couldn't shatter.

Friends are Brought to Us by the Circumstances of our Lives

Young people often make the mistake of thinking that a friend has to be perfect. So, as soon as they begin to notice little failings, they think that they don't need to be loyal anymore. David Copperfield [Dickens] is a wonderful

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example of loyalty in life. The circumstances of David's life bring an unusual assortment of friends, but he's ready and willing to accept the friendship of all of them! With simple good-nature, he lets Mr. Micawber call him 'the friend of my youth,' and he listens to Mrs. Micawber's domestic secrets even though he's only a boy of ten years old! The Micawbers turn up at all kinds of inconvenient times, but David always welcomes them. Traddles is another friend, such a nice person. He and David share a healthy, generous relationship. David has a long list of friendships--Peggotty, Mr. Dick, Ham, Dr. Strong, Mrs. Peggotty and the rest. He finds something to like about every one of them. He honors, serves, and values each of them with complete loyalty. But none of these friends tries to control him or demand that he love them exclusively. He had one friend with whom he lost his individuality because he was so fascinated by him. This was Steerforth. The way he showed loyalty for him was by being sad about his shame rather than his death.

It's not the friends we choose who have exclusive rights over us. The friends who come into our lives here and there because of our circumstances are entitled to our loyalty. We get the same things from those friendships that David Copperfield did--kindness in return for our kindness, service for service, loyalty for loyalty. And we get these things in full measure, heaped up and overflowing. There's probably no better guide to friendship than this charming story about a life that was filled with generous, loyal friendships. It also shows us how fine purity of the soul is, and it warns us of a great impurity.

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Chapter 6 - The Rulings of Conscience in the House of the Body: Purity (part 3)

The Final Impurity

It all begins so innocently, yet the result is disaster from which there's no treatment. People say it isn't fair that it should always be the woman who suffers while the man gets off scot-free. But does he really get away with it?

The die-hard reprobate is probably so far gone that he can't be any more degraded. But the man who falls into the sin of impurity for the first time loses his future as surely as the woman does, although it may not be as obvious. He may escape public disgrace, but he never recovers the loss of power, purpose and integrity that result from a loss of purity. He will be handicapped for the rest of his life, although he may not even remember why. If he eventually does get married, his children often repeat their father's sin.

It's worth our while to trace the history of one seduction. This is from the book Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell. Ruth is a friendless orphan who is apprenticed to a hat-maker. She is distinguished among her co-workers by her quiet, lady-like manners and by her beauty. 'How can I help knowing how pretty I am?' she answered simply, 'so many people have told me so.'

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She goes to the town dance with her employer, Mrs. Mason, and some of the other apprentices for the purpose of being on hand to mend rips in gown and things like that. One lady comes to Ruth with her fiancé to get a tear in her dress fixed. She is arrogant to Ruth, and the fiancé, Mr. Bellingham, is not pleased with her rudeness. He picks up a camellia and gives it to Ruth, saying, 'Here, allow me to give you this flower from Miss Dunscombe as a thank you for your skillful help.'

We admire Mr. Bellingham for his act of courtesy, and so does Ruth. She treasures the camellia and her thoughts dwell on the polite gentleman. She meets him again by accident under dramatic circumstances. She's trying to rescue a drowning child and he rides up just in time and saves the boy. This gives them a chance to speak again. He leaves his wallet with Ruth to buy whatever is needed for the boy. So, of course, she has to see him again to return his wallet and give an account of what she spent. Then they see each other at church a few times, and everything is still innocent, no wrong is intended. Next, we're introduced to Mr. Bellingham in his home.

'He thought more about Ruth than she thought about him, even though his appearance was a more momentous event in her life than his. He didn't analyze the nature of his feelings for her, he just enjoyed them with all the novelty that youth takes in experiencing any strong, new emotion. He was an only child, and hadn't formed the characteristic maturity that usually comes with adulthood. His discipline had been sporadic as it often is

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with only children. He had been hindered because of over-anxiety, and unwisely over-indulged because his parents' love had been so focused on one object. That's what had influenced his education.' With these words, the author gives us some insight into the situation and we begin to suspect what's going to happen. David Copperfield's friend Steerforth was the only son of a proud, indulgent, heedless mother. In Adam Bede, Arthur Donnithorne is the only son of a loving but domineering father. It seems like only children need to be more careful in life. Maybe that's because it's harder to sneak around in the midst of lots of brothers and sisters, and it's the deviousness that's the problem, whether the family's large or small. Young Mr. Bellingham finds himself fascinated, he doesn't know quite why. He's even more intrigued because 'she seemed to have some kind of a spell in her shyness that made her avoid and shun anyone who admired her and wanted to get to know her. He determined not to startle her with bold admiration or reckless, passionate words. He resisted the strong temptation to walk alongside her on the way home from church. Instead, he said just a few words about weather, bowed, and then left. Ruth didn't think she should see any more of him. Although she reproved herself for being so foolish, she felt like a shadow had fallen over her life.' Then there comes a Sunday when Mr. Bellingham walks home from church with her through the fields.

Later that evening she thought, 'How strange that the lovely afternoon walk seems somehow, not exactly wrong, but not exactly right, either.' Other walks follow on the next Sundays.

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She tells him about all the miseries she endures at Mrs. Mason's. Mr. Bellingham asks to see her old home, Milham Grange, which is six miles away. The next fine Sunday, they both go. He watched her admiringly as she 'walked around luxuriant, overgrown shrubs in natural, graceful, wavy lines.' Everything goes well until Mrs. Mason, who also happens to be out enjoying the afternoon, sees her with a young man and kicks her out. Mr. Bellingham, who had stepped away for a few minutes, comes back to find Ruth crying. She tells him what just happened.

'Her eyes were so blinded by her tears that she didn't notice the change in his expression as he watched her. Even if she had seen it, she wouldn't have been able to interpret it. He was quiet for so long that, even through her tears, she wondered why he didn't say something. She would have liked to have heard his soothing words. Finally he said, 'It's too bad...' and then stopped. Then he began again. 'It's too bad because, I didn't want to mention it before, but I have some business and I need to go out of town tomorrow. To London, I mean. I don't know when I'll be able to come back.' Before, he had probably just intended to have a little fling with her, but that kind of fun is like playing on the edge of a cliff. Elizabeth Gaskell writes delicately about that moment of silence when Bellingham's lust turned to anger and disgust. This same kind of moment in the life of Arthur Donnithorne, who meant well, led to the ruin and tragedy of Hetty Sorrel. We don't know when the exact moment was that Steerforth's passion turned to disgust,

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but it's good for every young man and young woman to realize that such a moment could very well be in their future, when they'll have to fight that monster within each of us called Lust. Self-indulgence prepares the way, flirtation presents a pretty flowered side path, and before you know it, two lives are ruined. We won't stay safe by thinking that we're too refined or superior for such base temptations. The only way to deal with it is to have a strong, active life and to be able to say, like Paul, 'I keep my body under and bring it into subjection.' The flowered path of flirting can only lead to one end.

Bellingham brings Ruth to London, and then to North Wales. Jenny, the landlady at the hotel where they stay, says, 'It's obvious they aren't married.' Still, Ruth enjoyed the beauty of the mountains. Her admiration and contentment irritated Bellingham. Ruth sighed at her inability to amuse and satisfy the one she loved. The people at the hotel commented about the couple. 'She's absolutely beautiful,' said one man, 'but she can't be any older than sixteen. She looks very modest and innocent in that white dress.' His wife answered, 'Well, I think it's shameful that they let those kinds of people stay here.' And other people thought the same thing. Ruth's solitary walks began to be hampered by rude remarks and hostile looks. Then Mr. Bellingham gets sick with a high fever. His mother is sent for to take care of him. Poor Ruth has nobody else now but the meager kindness of the landlady. She endures days and nights of terrible anxiety. When Bellingham is better, he discusses Ruth with his mother. He

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has some regret, but mostly, he's sorry for himself. Without seeing Ruth, without even saying goodbye, he says to his mother, 'Can't we just leave tonight? I wouldn't be so annoyed by her presence if I were somewhere else. I dread facing her and having a scene, yet I feel like I owe her some kind of explanation.' This is how he treats her after ruining her life, and this is his only thanks for her loving devotion. Ruth was so young and naive that she probably didn't fully realize the implications that her mistake would have on her life. The story continues. Bellingham and his mother leave in high style. He never seeks to see Ruth or say goodbye. A badly deformed but kind man finds her afterwards, crouching in a lonely place. She says sadly, 'He left me--I can't believe it--he's gone and left me!' Before he could offer a word to comfort him, she burst into the wildest, most dejected crying imaginable. Hearing herself say the words and realizing the finality of it cut her heart. Her sobbing and moaning wrung the man's soul, but he knew she wouldn't hear anything he might say yet, even if he knew what to say. So he stood beside her calmly while she wailed and sobbed out her wretchedness. Finally, when she lay worn out and unable to cry any more, she heard him say quietly to himself, 'Oh, Lord, for Jesus' sake, have pity on her!' The good man and his sister nurse her through a perilous illness and finally take her and her baby home with them to Lancashire, where he's the minister of a small chapel. Ruth goes through the bitter waters of repentance. A life spent making up for sin and serving in humility add a Christian character to her natural beauty. Her transformation was probably

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easier because her sin wasn't caused by lust, but by loneliness, despair and oppression.

We know that David found forgiveness even for lust, but it seemed to leave an indelible mark in his character. And that's what happens to Mr. Bellingham. Years later, Ruth is doing a valuable service in a position of humility when she met him again. 'He was changed, but she didn't know why. The fact is, the ugly expression she had only seen when he was at his worst had become permanent. He looked restless and discontent. He thought that the lady was a lot like poor Ruth, but this woman was even more beautiful. Poor Ruth! And, for the first time in many years, he wondered what ever happened to her. Of course, there was only one thing that could have happened, and it was probably just as well that he didn't know because the knowledge would most likely had made him uncomfortable.' This is what Bellingham is like after all those years. Ruth, who was sinned against, was able to act with Christian dignity and grace. But we see Bellingham, who 'got off scot-free,' later as a middle-aged man. He's a person drifting aimlessly, without conscience or heart. He's in bondage to all-consuming lust.

We don't need to follow the story to its very end. It's a book worth reading--even more so if, while you read, you ask what the apostles ask, 'Lord, is it me?' Is this kind of misery or something worse, and this kind of degraded character, possible for me? Is there anything in me that's possible of bringing about such a shameful fall? You can be sure that there is.

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Sometimes we hear dark rumors about white men in the wilds of Africa who have broken free from the restraints of civilized society and commit acts of unbelievable cruelty. When we hear things like this, we should also ask ourselves, 'Lord, is it me?' Because it's a fact that, once we break free from the bonds of duty towards God and mankind, lust and hate run rampant within us and there's no sin we're not capable of.

But let's take courage. No final fall can overtake a person who keeps his soul protected from the first fall. This is the person who preserves his purity as if he's walling it within a tower of brass. He doesn't let any image of uncleanness in to pollute his imagination, he keeps his mind busy with worthwhile interests and healthy things to do, he keeps his body under subjection by making himself work, and he wisely exercises restraint and self-control in matters like eating, drinking, relaxing and sleeping.

A person like this who knows the dangers and pitfalls that are all around will pray faithfully every day, 'Our Father in heaven, don't lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.' Having said that kind of a prayer, he doesn't think any more about it. Instead, he goes his way without fear, rejoicing in the life he has.

'Through faith and prayer, I'll keep
A pure heart in work and will.'

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Chapter 7 - The Rulings of the Conscience in the House of the Body: Fortitude

Fortitude: Enduring Adversity with Courage

Boticelli's painting of Fortitude and John Ruskin's interpretation of the painting are two things that the Conscience should memorize by heart. In this picture, Fortitude is not some giant figure, boldly standing strong, bristling with energy to withstand any enemy. Although she's tall and noble, yet she's sitting down, exhausted from some kind of effort that she's been at for a long time. She looks pensive, too, as if she's thinking, 'How much longer?' But even though she's resting, she's still wary and alert. She still hasn't loosened her grip on the unsheathed sword that's laying across her lap. She's in the thick of a battle and the end is nowhere in sight, but she doesn't have the advantage of being on the offensive. There's no denying that she's weary, yet she isn't sorry for herself or self-satisfied. She only has one thing on her mind. She's focused on the task that needs to be done, not on herself as the one doing the task. Or, rather, she's focused on the task that has to be endured--because Fortitude's existence is one of suffering.

The Bible doesn't specify Fortitude by name as one of the Christian virtues, but it does give the best examples of Fortitude in action. Jesus, who endured more than any of us can even put into words, said about Himself, 'I am meek and of lowly spirit.' Perhaps that quote gives a key to what Fortitude means. It's not so much

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a valiant virtue as a patient grace. Fortitude is distinguished more for what she patiently suffers than for what she does.

The apostle Paul gave us an image of the fullness of Christ by using the different aspects of Love. In the same way, Isaiah gave us an image of Fortitude by describing the humiliations and sufferings of Christ. Fortitude is like a delicate plant with no particular beauty or strength. It grows up within each of us. It endures sorrows and punishments, suffers without saying anything, doesn't strike back or speak deceitfully, is made sad, and yet--divides the reward with the strong. There's only one real kind of Fortitude known to men, and that's the Fortitude of Christ. Every time we're able to endure something cheerfully, without feeling sorry for ourselves or proud of our patience, it's from Christ's divine Fortitude working in us.

Moses was the meekest man who ever lived. His meekness was Fortitude. He endured the wayward people of Israel for forty years. When he thought that the people's offenses had surely exceeded God's patience, he prayed, 'Now, if you will, forgive their sin, If you won't, then I pray that you would blot me out of your Book of Life, too.'

After his own share of suffering, Paul wrote, 'often I had to travel, I was in danger in the sea, in danger from robbers, in danger from people from my own country, in danger from heathens, in danger in the city, in danger in remote areas, in danger at sea, in danger from false Christians, often tired and in pain, having to be on the alert on many occasions, hungry and thirsty, often with absolutely nothing to eat, cold and without enough clothing or protection from the elements.' Yet he was so concerned for his fellow Jews that he wished he might be a under a curse if it would help them.

Maybe Fortitude always has a tender side and always endures hardships because of love. Even a child bravely enduring a toothache cheerfully might be motivated out of love--he doesn't want to upset his mother.

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In the Middle Ages, the tradition of having Fortitude took on the form of chivalry, which might be considered a school whose teachers were the various distresses that knights had to endure. Knights showed more Fortitude than the monks and nuns who practiced discipline and self-mortification in their monasteries. Roland, Oliver and all of the 'Champions of Christendom' suffered as many hardships as the apostles. Paul told Timothy to 'endure hardship.' As part of their training, knights were expected to endure hardship without wincing and without resentment. In Sir Walter Scott's book The Talisman, Sir Kenneth shows us a kind of knightly Fortitude that's possible even for us.

Having Fortitude in the Midst of Poverty

'May I see your sick squire, sir?' Sir Kenneth, the Scottish knight, hesitated and turned red. But at last he answered, 'Yes, of course, Lord of Gilsland. But don't be surprised when you see him--remember that nobles and knights in Scotland don't eat as well or sleep in beds as soft or nurse their patients in buildings as magnificent as what our southern neighbors are accustomed to. The place I'm staying in is not very fancy, Lord Gilsland,' and he added a haughty emphasis on the word. Somewhat unwillingly, he led the way to the place he was staying temporarily. Sir Kenneth looked around sadly, but hid his feelings and went into the hut, motioning for the Baron of Gilsland to follow him in. Most of he space inside the hut was taken up with two beds. One bed was empty. It was made of leaves and covered with an antelope skin. The armor laying beside it and a silver crucifix carefully and reverently placed at the head of the bed clearly indicated that this was the bed of Sir Kenneth himself.

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The sick man was in the other bed. He was older than middle-aged, strongly built, and had harsh features. His bed was softer than his master's. He was wearing more courtly clothing and the soft loose robe that knights usually wear. These and other spare articles of clothing had obviously been used by Sir Kenneth to make his servant more comfortable.'

This is an example of Fortitude under very difficult circumstance. Even under desperate poverty, pity and tenderness for dependents brought out the knight's personal dignity and courage. Any man who shows this kind of fortitude is truly heroic. Even the strange hermit-monk of Lebanon whose body was scarred with wounds from trying to repent of his sins, isn't as good an example of Christian fortitude as the knight.

Fortitude Under Distressing Troubles

We appreciate noble lessons that we can apply to everyday situations. We understand that Mrs. Garth also showed an act of Fortitude during an undeserved and troubling situation.

Mrs. Garth (from George Eliot's Middlemarch) is making pies, supervising the baking and washing, and teaching her youngest boy and girl Lindley Murray's grammar, all at the same time. Fred Vincy shows up to see her husband. Then Caleb himself [her husband] comes in.

'Mr. Garth, I have something to say that I'm afraid will give you a bad opinion of me. I need to tell you and Mrs. Garth that I can't keep my promise. I can't find the money to pay the bill after

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all. I've had some bad luck. All I have of the hundred and sixty pounds I owe is these fifty pounds.'

Mrs. Garth was too astonished to say a word. She looked at her husband for an explanation. Caleb blushed. After a little pause he said,

'Oh, I forgot to tell you, Susan--I co-signed a bill for Fred. It was for a hundred and sixty pounds. He made sure he'd be able to pay it off himself first.'

There was an obvious change in Mrs. Garth's expression, but it was like a change below the surface of water that remains smooth on the surface. She looked directly at Fred and said,

'I suppose you've already asked your father for the rest of the money and he refused you?'

'No,' said Fred, biting his lip and speaking with more difficulty. 'I already know it'll be useless to ask him. Unless it would be of use, I'd rather not mention Mr. Garth's name in the matter.'

'This couldn't have happened at a worse time,' said Caleb in his hesitating way, looking down at the money and nervously fingering the bill. 'Christmas is coming and I'm rather hard up right now. As it is, things are so tight that I'm like a tailor who has to cut everything out just a little too small to have enough cloth. What can we do, Susan? I'm going to need every penny we have in the bank. It's a hundred and ten pounds, gone just like that!'

'I'll need to give you the ninety-two pounds I had saved for Alfred's apprenticeship,' said Mrs. Garth solemnly and decisively, although a sensitive ear might have noticed a slight shaking in her words as she spoke.

'And I'm sure Mary has saved twenty pounds from her salary by now. She'll loan us that.'

Mrs. Garth hadn't looked at Fred again and was

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not calculating at all what words she could use to hurt him most deeply. She was an unusual woman, and was busy considering what would need to be done. She knew the solution wouldn't be accomplished any more effectively by venting bitter remarks or cutting rebukes. But she had made Fred feel something like remorse for the first time in his life all the same.

'I promise I'll pay it--somehow, eventually,' he stammered out.

'Yes, eventually,' said Mrs. Garth. She disliked fine words in distressing situations and she couldn't resist adding, 'But boys can't be apprenticed eventually, they should be apprenticed at fifteen.' She had never been less inclined to make excuses for Fred. Fred turned and left.

'I was such a fool, Susan.'

'Yes you were,' said his wife, nodding and smiling. But I wouldn't have let the world know it, why didn't you tell me about this earlier? You do the same thing with your buttons. You let them burst off without telling me, and then you go around with your sleeves unbuttoned.'

In Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot, the story of Mrs. Amos Barton's life and death in the poor parsonage house is a record of gentle and dignified fortitude.

Cheerful, Serviceable Fortitude

We think of Mark Tapley from Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit with a sense of relief. He found 'no credit in being jolly' when things were going well. But no knight-errantry can exceed the cheerful, serviceable Fortitude he showed in the jolly way that he made the best of things in 'Eden.' The enemies he struggled against

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were unromantic things--fever, famine, discontent, and helplessness in every member of that poor colony. And what a gritty and unpretentious struggle that was! Mark Tapley deserves an honored place among our closest friends, although he might not think there was any credit for being so jolly in such a pleasant position!

We don't need to go all the way to his colony of 'Eden' to find Fortitude. In Bleak House, a birthday dinner cooked (!) by her loving family gave Mrs. Bagnet the occasion for a lot of cheerful serenity.

What a contrast she is to Our Mutual Friend's Mrs. Wilfur, who lets the whole world know she's enduring a trial by tying a black ribbon around her face. How many of us do the same thing in a symbolic way, wearing the black ribbon of a sullen mood and mournful face! Instead of gradually coming down, we've jumped from the highest examples of noble Fortitude to common, even absurd examples. But they fit our purpose. It might not be a bad idea to keep a notebook for recording people and incidents that give inspiration to conscience in the area of Fortitude.

The List of Our Heroes

We don't have enough time to talk about Nansen, Gordon, Howard, Livingstone, Collingwood, Raleigh, Galileo, Florence Nightingale, Calpurnia, Mackay of Uganda, or Grace Darling. The list of people whose Fortitude distinguished them is actually our list of heroes. If we start a book of examples of Fortitude, it will become a book of heroes, both of great and small things. You might object that Fortitude is a matter of the heart and mind, not the physical body. But if the body isn't kept in

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its proper place and trained to endure without complaining, then Fortitude doesn't stand a chance. It's within the body that we must endure trials, and training is done through cheerfully enduring small trials that are too minor to list.

The Song of the Lotos-Eaters has a message for all of us:

'All things have rest. Why should we toil alone,
Only we who are first have to toil
And moan continually
Always thrown from one sorrow to another.
We never get to fold our wings
And rest from our wanderings
Or rest our eyes in the healing balm of sleep
Or listen to the inner spirit as it sings,
'The only joy is calm!'
Why should we, the supreme beings in Creation
Be the only ones who constantly toil?'
-- adapted from Tennyson

That's why we need Fortitude. Without it, no person has ever brought life to any purpose. 'I fight, not like someone just pounding his fists into the air, but I keep my body under control and bring it into subjection.'

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Chapter 8 - The Rulings of the Conscience in the House of the Body: Prudence

Good Judgment and Common Sense

Imprudence is Selfishness

'I am wisdom. I live with prudence and discover knowledge of witty inventions.' That saying is worth reflecting on in this age when Prudence is no longer fashionable. Young people confuse impulsiveness with heart, so they look down on Prudence. Yet, of all the deceitful and harmful forms of selfishness, Imprudence is probably the most destructive. Prudence is one of the counselors who teaches Conscience about the dealings of the House of the Body, because Prudence is mostly manifested in connection with physical matters, and physical matters all affect the body either directly or indirectly.

Prudence in Affairs

We know how a virtuous woman is described. Virtuous is another word for prudent. A prudent woman is the one who seeks wool and flax and works diligently with her hands. She brings food from far away. She's the one who gets up early in the morning and feeds her family breakfast. She checks out a plot of land and makes an offer on it. She's careful to keep up her health and her strength. She goes

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out of her way to help the poor, but is still able to enhance her own family and maintain a reputation of peace and respect in the community.

Joseph was prudent. He considered the future and made plans for the benefit of Egypt, his new home, and for the success of Pharaoh, his boss. England's King Alfred was very prudent. Every great commander wins his battles through Prudence as much as through bravery.

Prudence in Selecting Friends

There was one incident where Alcibiades (from Plutarch's Lives) showed prudence. 'He had always been surrounded with pleasures, and many would-be friends made it a point to say only what they thought he wanted to hear. They would never criticize or correct him. But Alcibiades had natural insight and recognized the value of Socrates. He rejected the rich and popular people who clamored for his attention and attached himself to Socrates. He soon became close friends with Socrates. He discovered that Socrates didn't want special favors from him like everyone else did. It was more important to him to analyze and correct Alcibiades's faulty attitudes and to cure his worthless, foolish arrogance.

'Then his face fell and his pride was humbled.
His spirits submitted in humility.'

He considered the discipline of Socrates as a gift from heaven to preserve and benefit the youths of the culture. Knowing his own faults, he admired his friend, respected his virtue and loved his wisdom. Without even realizing it, he copied the love he saw in his own heart, allowing himself to submit under the influence of the power that, as Plato said, attracts devotion because of its own deep love.'

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This is a great example of Prudence in the selection of friends and mentors. If only Alcibiades had been as reliable as he was prudent.

Prudence Doesn't Tolerate Undue Influence

Alexander (Plutarch's Lives), in his heroic days, showed admirable Prudence. He could tell the difference between things he came across. 'He gave his mother lots of expensive gifts, but he wouldn't let her intelligent mind meddle in affairs of government, or have any control over the business of state. She complained that this was a hardship for her to deal with. He endured her annoyance patiently. Antipater once wrote him a long letter full of serious criticisms against his mother. Alexander read the letter and then remarked, 'Antipater doesn't understand that one tear of a mother can blot out a thousand of these kinds of complaints.' He wouldn't allow his mother to interfere with his duties as ruler, yet his love for her was very great.

And Jesus, who was even greater than Alexander, said, 'Don't you know that I must be busy with my Father's business?' It's Prudence's special duty to make sure that no undue influence is allowed even from those who are nearest and dearest to us. It's our duty to think for ourselves and to consider what's best for everyone. We can't allow ourselves to be swayed by the private interests of anybody. Any government whose officers can be persuaded to make any decisions for the private good of themselves or their own interests is corrupt at its core.

Prudence chooses what's simple, and never prefers luxury. It thinks that work is more honorable than pleasure, and trains the body to handle severe treatment. In all of these things,

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Alexander was a good example of gentle, heroic Prudence.

Prudence Is Always Moderate in Everything

'He discovered that his officers had no limits in their extravagance. They enjoyed luxurious dining and all kinds of other indulgences. Agnon of Teos even used silver nails in his shoes, Leonatus had camel-loads of dirt delivered all the way from Egypt to rub himself with before he went into the wrestling ring, Philotas bought netting that would enclose an area twelve miles wide when he went hunting, and others had expensive essences to use after bathing instead of plain oil, and special servants to prepare their baths and make their beds. Alexander rebuked these decadent practices like a true philosopher. 'He said that it seemed odd to him that, after experiencing so many glorious battles, they forgot that sleep was more restful after honest work and exercise than after lazy pampering. After they'd seen the way the Persians lived, he was surprised that it wasn't obvious to them that nothing was more shameful than the love of pleasure, and nothing was more noble than a life of honest work. How can a man take care of his own horse or put on his own sword and helmet if his hands are too delicate to dress and bathe his own pampered body? The end of victory isn't to succumb to living like those who were conquered, but to live better than they did.' (from Plutarch's Life of Alexander.)

Prudent Citizens Are a Society's Most Valuable Asset

The laws of Lycurgus (Plutarch's Lives) resulted from noble and generous prudence. If Sparta was going to succeed in its long conflict with Athens, it would have to do it through

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the fitness of each of its citizens. Lycurgus understood that each individual possessed in himself the most valuable thing in Sparta--a body prepared for work and endurance, and a mind that could recognize the seriousness of a situation.

'He wanted to cure them of their quest for luxury and desire for riches. So he introduced a third plan that was wise and brilliantly designed. He set up community dining halls where everyone would eat the same food, and the government would decide what was served. The people were forbidden to eat at home at fancy tables and couches with gourmet meals prepared by private butchers and cooks. No longer cold they stuff themselves like pigs in private. Such gluttony corrupted their table manners and made them fat and unhealthy. It encouraged all kinds of sensuous habits, including sleeping in and lounging in warm baths, as pampered as invalids. He made another law to discourage magnificence and expensive living. He decreed that ceilings in the houses couldn't be made with any tool except an axe, and doors couldn't be made with anything beyond a saw. Because, as Epaminondas said later, you can't hide treason under that kind of meal. And Lycurgus knew that a house with an axe-hewn ceiling and sawn door is no place for fine splendor and fancy furniture. It would be absurd to have a humble, plain house and fill it with silver bedposts, purple quilts, golden cups and other fine luxuries. A plain and simple house would motivate a person to buy a suitable bed with sensible bedding and dishes to match.

There are things about a Spartan lifestyle that aren't appropriate for a Christian life,

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but wise people feel strongly these days that it's in the best interest of society to live simple lives, to avoid excesses even in the athletic or intellectual realm, and to avoid having any more possessions than are needed to live a simple, sensible life. There's nothing wrong with allowing ourselves to live with furniture and tools that are beautiful as well as practical, but we shouldn't let ourselves accumulate unnecessary stuff that clutters our lives and requires our time to maintain, especially if the things are valuable merely because of how much they cost. These kinds of things get in the way of what's really valuable: a body that does what we need, and a mind that's alert. We need a fit body and mind to do our duty to our community and meet our family responsibilities.

'When the money was brought to Athens, Phocion (Plutarch's Lives) asked those who brought it why he should be singled out to receive such a gift. They said it was because Alexander considered him the only honest and good man in Athens. 'Then let me retain that character and really be that kind of man,' said Phocion. Phocion brought the men to his home and they saw how frugal a life he led. His wife baked bread, he drew water himself and washed his own feet. That made them urge him even more to take the money. They said it wasn't fit for the friend of such a fine prince as Alexander to live in such a wretched manner. Just then, a poor old man happened to walk by in rags. Phocion asked whether the men thought less of him than

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they did the old man. They begged him not to make such a comparison, but Phocion responded, 'That old man lives on less than I do, yet he is happy. If you give me the money and I don't use it, it's wasted. But if I use it to live a life of luxury, the people of Athens will resent both me and Alexander, your king.' So they took the money back with them. The incident was a good lesson for the Greeks. A man who doesn't care to receive a gift of money is richer than the one who can afford to offer such a gift.'

When it comes to Prudence, Jesus is our best example. The Bible says, 'My servant will deal prudently,' and we'll learn a lot by studying the gospels to see how He dealt prudently with the only thing He owned--His life. That's really the only thing of real value that any of us truly has. If we think of Christ as our example, we'll live sensibly and not lose our common sense to any kind of excesses.

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SECTION 2 - The Conscience in the House of the Mind

Chapter 9 - Opinions in the Air

Everyone knows that what he does with his body and heart should be directed by his Conscience. How we act to others, what we feel about them, controlling our own bodies are all things that we agree should be subject to the Conscience. But we tend to think that our thoughts are our own, and that the domain of the Intellect is an area where every man is his own master--as if the opinions we form, the mental tasks we choose to undertake or leave undone are beyond the realm of duty. Without even realizing it, we think that thought is an area where we're free.

Casual Opinions

Of all the mistakes that have tripped up people and entire societies, this one is probably the most unfortunate. A person might pick up some notion, call it his opinion, and spread it here and there until that foolish notion becomes a threat to society, and people are in bondage to it. We're always hearing statements that remind us of the cry heard among the Jews: 'Here are your gods, O Israel!' The Israelites might not have even known which tent the shout came from, but it spread like lightning over the whole Israelite camp until every man brought his valuables

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to help make a golden calf. Why did that happen? Moses, their leader, was gone. True, he was with God, but he was gone, and his people wasted no time creating a shrine and worshiping it. This is typical of how an opinion can very quickly carry away a country or a person--the leader is out of sight, and boisterous opinions fill people's ears.

During summer vacation, when people don't have much to think about, newspapers print all kinds of idle questions like, 'Is life worth living?' or 'Is the institution of marriage a failure?' Of course, the indirect message is that life isn't worth it, and marriage is a failure. Sensible people don't take these articles seriously. But there are lots of people who just wait around for any chance notion that comes their way, and they can't wait to spread it.

When people like this hear the notion that the institution of marriage is a failure, the idea spreads and leads to a proliferation of immorality. The idea itself has become a kind of golden calf, and the leader, Conscience, is either gone or else silenced. And the result is that people think it's a wonderful thing to make sacrifices for their exciting new idea of the moment. Or they might wonder aloud and go around asking whether life is really worth living. Although it might seem more innocent because it's just a question, it's just as serious. There's no law on the books that a person can go to jail for being sullen and ungrateful for sunshine and rain and food and clothing and natural beauty and kind friends. Yet it's an ugly kind of sin that's as contagious as the plague of Black Death. The person who allows his mind to dwell on the question, 'Is life worth living?' has already been infected.

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How Fallacies Work

We've all heard stories about how killing isn't always murder--how men who seem well-intentioned entertain the notion that killing is sometimes justified and therefore not really murder. They're persuaded by their own reason that the only way to secure the safety of the masses is to get rid of the leader hindering their liberty. And they become convinced that they've been specially called for the task of delivering their people. So they kill the offender and, instead of being hailed as a hero, they're hated by all thinking people and called an assassin. How did this happen?

It happens like this: The conscience, which is supposed to cry out, 'You must not murder!' has been silenced. Opinion played the role of director, Reason supported him, and then the wicked murder became reality. Even the slightest hint of opinion is enough to waylay an open (empty) mind. We see it in the news every day. Just the other day a local newspaper featured an article about 'The Unreality of Sin.' An empty mind hungers for any kind of deposit, so it's easy to see how that kind of headline would be accepted into many people's minds and then used as an excuse to sin.

When I was a girl, darning stockings was considered a valuable use of time, and I was shocked to hear a respectable Welsh lady say that she didn't believe in darning stockings! I found out later that 'darning' could also mean running them; she thought I was ruining new stockings by putting holes in the heels. But at first I thought she had hit on some novel principle that would free me from the task of mending holes in stockings. That's how it is with so many people--some casual remark is heard and latched onto, often about a more serious issue than stockings. There's always some stimulating new fallacy being talked about that attracts thousands of people.

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Being caught up with every new opinion is a risk for anyone who isn't aware of the danger and doesn't know how to protect himself. I think that these are the most important rules for doing the right thing: a) we shouldn't entertain just any notion that comes our way, b) we shouldn't rely on our Reason to be an infallible guide to opinions since Reason sometimes argues in favor of what we feel like doing instead of what the right thing to do is, c) we need to work hard to find out as much as we can so that our opinions are based on knowledge, and, d) we should strive to get good principles that can help us test our opinions.

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Chapter 10 - The Untaught Conscience

An untaught Conscience can have all kinds of inconsistencies. By focusing on the wrong thing, it's continually 'straining out the gnats and swallowing a camel.' Even the most hardened criminal has a Conscience that he justifies with misleading reasons and excuses. He might claim that 'society is against him, and he never got a fair chance.' Or, 'why should I go around hungry and in rags while some other guy rides in a fancy car and has lots to eat?' Or, 'that man has more than he needs, it's his responsibility to keep it safe if he wants it. If someone else is clever enough to trick him out of some of it, it's only fair.' This is the way that Reason and Inclination support each other in people whose minds are like Ishmael, whose hand was against everyone. In fact, the criminal reasons that, since every man's hand is against him, he has a right to get what he can to make up for it.

Conscience is Persistent About Some Things

There are some things that slick Reason never compromises in matters of conscience. He must be loyal to his buddies. Turning in a buddy who did something wrong seems to him to be even worse than murder. Reason also makes sure that he's fair in his dealings with his buddies and will share as much as he said he would. People are almost always faithful with their beloved cherished child, or a friend they

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sincerely care about. Every person's conscience makes demands in some area. Every person, no matter how civilized or savage, has some issues where he acts on conscience. The first thing most missionaries will do is to find out on what issues the people always act on principled of conscience. David Livingstone was able to live peaceably among the most barbaric tribes in Africa because he had enough sympathy and knowledge to find an area of trust with them. He was always able to find areas where their conscience was inflexible, such as loyalty to a guest or gratitude to someone who was kind to them. Livingstone made some valuable discoveries about human nature. There are certain virtuous qualities that are apparent even in the most barbaric tribes; imagine how much of those same qualities there are in people who have been raised in societies that value kindness. He discovered that even these uneducated savages knew that they must not murder or steal. They knew that they needed to obey their parents and be kind to each other, and other things. In other words, they had the light of Conscience. And we've heard from Captain Cook that the Otaheitans wept the first time they saw a white man being flogged. Even though they were savages, they knew that cruelty was wrong.

Moral Stability

Yet, an uneducated conscience is at the mercy of every whim that tries to persuade his conscience, and his Reason will supplement that with a thousand logical excuses. This is true of savages, criminals, tough schoolboys, rough country farmers, and ignorant undisciplined people in every class of society--even those whose ignorance comes with a college degree. Only educated consciences are stable and consistent.

We all know someone who's predictable, we always know how he'll act in a given situation and we can always depend on him. That's because he's not likely to be swayed by the latest outside opinions.

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He knows enough to have developed a standard to judge opinions with, and principles to test how moral those opinions are. He knows that flashy new opinions have been tried in the past and didn't hold up, so he won't fall for them. He examines each new idea with his principles, which act like a light. And he discovers when a new idea is based on faulty logic that leads to more faulty thinking and wrong actions. As a result, he doesn't give it any place in his mind.

An Entire Nation Can be Unstable

The rest of the people who haven't thought through their principles are like fertile ground for every new idea. When some crazy notion grabs the attention of a few people, it becomes a mania. Sir Walter Scott had some legal habits of mind; maybe that was why he wrote Peveril of the Peak, an example from history of a nation that went crazy over a new notion. One good example of the power of a notion over a nation, and how a baseless idea can spread like wildfire can be so valuable for teaching the conscience, so I'm going to quote part of a note about the Popish Plot from the back of Peveril of the Peak. 'The villainous character of the people who created and carried out the pretended Popish Plot can be estimated by this account. It's from Roger North's Examen, and North describes Oates very vividly. He says, 'he was now fully three times exalted. His Plot was in full force and he walked around with his bodyguards (for fear that the Catholics would murder him). He lived in a room at Whitehall Palace and had a yearly pension of $2100. He forced the House of Lords to provide those things by threatening that, if they didn't give it to him, he would

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take it himself. He put on an Episcopalian robe without the thin linen sleeves, silk gown and garment, big hat, satin hatband and rose and the long scarf. He blasphemously used the title of Savior of the Nation. Any person he merely pointed at was arrested and thrown in prison. When people saw him coming, they fled from him as if he was a huge explosion. His very presence was like a plague. Even those who didn't end up in prison or executed had their reputations ruined just by being seen with him. Even the queen herself was accused at the Commons' bar. The city was so afraid of Catholics that they put up posts and chains. Sir Thomas Player, the Chamberlain in the Court of Alderman, said that they did that because they were afraid of being murdered while they slept. When people said anything, none of their conversations was ordinary--every debate and action was grandiose and confused. All freedom of speech was taken away. To doubt the Plot was considered worse than being an Arab, or a Jew or an infidel.'

A Compelling Idea

This theme seems to have fascinated Sir Walter Scott. It's the key to more than one historical character in his books. In Old Mortality, Balfour of Burley is a bigot. A murderous idea possesses and impels him. Yet when that idea finally drives him to an ungodly cruel crime, even his own uninstructed conscience can't accept the 'logical' conclusion that his Reason presents, and causes him great mental anguish. This example of the danger of a compelling idea is even more educational than Shakespeare's Brutus because Scott

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takes great care to demonstrate how a dark mind naturally leads to prejudice, gullibility, intolerance, superstition, ambition for the wrong reasons, even murder. This is even more so when this ignorance is joined by mental intelligence and the mind has been struck by a tempting idea. Scott illustrates very vividly what happens when the conscience tests a new idea too late.

Sir Walter Scott also shows us the danger of oblivious ignorance, which can make even the purest teaching be twisted and used for evil purposes. In Woodstock, the Independent, Sergeant Tomkins, who calls himself Honest Joe or Trusty Tomkins, believed that he was saved and was therefore incapable of sin. To him, that meant that anything that might be foul sin in others was okay for him to do.

The Dangers of Being Ignorant

Although we in our modern era take pride in being enlightened and progressive, we seem to be less aware of how gross and dull and foul ignorance is than thinkers of the Middle Ages were. We don't seem to understand that a conscience that hasn't been educated is at the mercy of a dark, unenlightened mind. Academically intelligent people have been known to say foolish things like, 'I don't see any use in sending missionaries out,' or 'Every country and tribe has the religion that's best suited for their particular situation.' How can anything but evil come from unenlightened places where passion, prejudice and superstition conceal the natural light of the conscience?

It's alarming how much ignorance there is right in our own homes, schools and universities. Ignorance is to blame for the seventy thousand Americans that Emerson says are, 'going around looking for a religion.' Even the very 'tolerance' that

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we're so proud of comes from ignorance that makes us unable to recognize the difference between various things. We may not be as far gone as that country that supplies us with so many new notions and novel religions [does she mean America?], but the fact that we're so ready and willing to accept whatever new ideas come our way shows that we're guilty of having uneducated consciences.

When it comes to politics, we put all our trust on whatever our newspaper says--even though it only prints the biased information of our own political party! We don't make the effort to supplement with information from the other newspaper, or by broadening our minds with literature or history. We get all of our political education from lectures and summaries, but they can't possibly take the time to provide as much detail as what comes from our own conscientious effort to gather information.

Painstaking Over-Vigilance

Like the young man that Mrs. Piozzi wrote about in her Anecdotes of Johnson, we make the mistake of being over-scrupulous in one area but too careless in another.

Johnson said, 'For the last five weeks, someone had been coming to my door saying that he wanted to see me, but he wouldn't leave his name or say what he wanted to see me about. Finally we met. He said that he was troubled by a matter of ethics. I asked him why he hadn't gone directly to his parish priest or local clergyman, as our church rules ordain. He paid me a few compliments and then told me that he worked as a clerk for a well-known merchant who had warehouses that had lots of packing materials to get things ready for shipping. He said that he was often tempted to take wrapping paper and strapping tape for his own uses, and had often, in fact, done so. He couldn't even remember the last time he had paid for packing materials himself. I said, 'But it's probably insignificant to your boss. Just ask for his permission and then go ahead and use the materials with a clear conscience.' He answered, 'But my boss already said I could use as much as I wanted. In fact, he was annoyed when I bothered him to discuss it.' I was just about to say, 'Then don't waste my time about such a trivial thing if it's already settled,' and was almost

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angry about it, when it occurred to me that the guy might be mentally unstable. So I asked him, 'What time do you go home from your job?' 'About seven o'clock, sir.' 'And when do you go to bed?' 'At midnight.' 'Then I've learned from our new acquaintance that five unemployed hours in a day are enough for a person to drive himself crazy. I would advise you to study algebra if you don't already know it. Your head would get less muddy and you'd stop tormenting your fellow man about wrapping paper and strapping tape when the world is already bursting with sin and heartache.'

Undue obsession with trivial matters is a sure sign of an uneducated conscience. Maybe the man shouldn't have taken his boss's packing materials, but wasting his own time and the time of others about such a small matter was an even worse offense. This illustrates that only an educated conscience is able to view things in their proper perspective and to distinguish what really matters from what's of no consequence. That's why a child will make such huge mistakes in his value judgments. He'll lie, be unkind, commit cruelty, and not even realize he's done anything wrong. Yet a trivial little act, like opening a forbidden drawer, will trouble his conscience for months. Schoolchildren make similar mistakes. They don't feel guilty about deceiving their teacher, but they'll believe that it's unpardonable to turn in a schoolmate.

There's so much more that could be said about an uneducated conscience, the subject is so broad and encompasses so much of life. But I can only suggest a hint here, or offer an example there. One point I want to make very clear, though. Every person is born with a conscience. But its light is only steady and dependable in proportion to how well-informed it is through increasing its intelligence. Also, an uneducated

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conscience leaves a person open to bigotry, fanaticism, panic, envy, and spite. Such a person's Reason will justify every offense because he has very little knowledge of people and events to measure his judgments against. Note that I'm not talking about deliberate sin. Even an educated conscience is tempted to willfully sin! We'll talk more about that later. For now, let's make it clear that more than half of the mistakes and offenses committed in the world are done out of ignorance. People think and do the wrong thing because they don't bother to educate their conscience.

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Chapter 11 - The Instructed Conscience

Sound Moral Judgment

I won't say that a person with an educated conscience is incapable of doing something morally wrong. That's not true. But such a person has the advantage of rarely being able to do or think wrong without being aware of his error. The reliability that his enlightened conscience gives him sets him apart. Emerson said that it's interesting that many people have a reputation, or a kind of force in the world, that seems even greater than what they actually did or wrote. We're fascinated by economic historian Arnold Toynbee who worked for social housing, author John Sterling, Arthur Hallam, Tennyson's poet friend, and other young men whose short lives didn't extend far past their college graduation. [US equivalents might be poet John Gillespie Magee, Bobby Kennedy, Todd Beamer]. Emerson says that this kind of legendary esteem that doesn't seem warranted by accomplishments is--character. He may very well be correct, but maybe the specific aspect of character we value so much in these men is the sound moral judgment they had which comes from having an educated conscience. Goldsmith gives us a charming example of this kind of person in The Vicar of Wakefield's Dr. Primrose. His decisions are so wise, his resolutions are fair, even his correction is gentle yet effective. How can we forget that epitaph that his wife was supposed to live up to [he had made a plaque praising her 'prudence, economy, and obedience till death' and hung it in a prominent place for her to see every day!] or the

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way he let his family have their portrait done--even though the painting was too big to fit in any of the rooms in the house! That was a reproof of vanity that they never forgot! He is humble when he's doing well, and composed in times of hardship. And this is because of reading and prayer. He didn't get to be this way through his books alone, or through prayer alone, it was both of them working together.

Boswell shows that Dr. Johnson was the same way. We're used to having dictionaries, so we aren't overly impressed with his skill as a great lexicographer. Actually, when you think about it, Johnson's achievements in both actions and writing were surprisingly small, considering his talent. His writing style wasn't even as appealing to us as his biographer's. Yet few men had as well-educated a conscience for making fair and just judgments. That's why his biography is such worthwhile reading. To have Boswell constantly asking, 'Sir?' must have been annoying, so it's no surprise that he sometimes pretended that the worse side was better. But his judgments were so just and righteous! No wonder his contemporaries waited to hear his thoughts on matters. We can all sound idealistic and discuss the morality of others, but he was able to share what he called 'luminous' thoughts about all kinds of things and all kinds of famous historical people. Only a person with an educated conscience can do that. Probably everyone who makes a mark on history that seems to transcend their accomplishments has had an influence on the world based on their moral judgment rather than their genius.

Moral Judgment and Virtuous Living

Being able to form moral judgments and living

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a virtuous life aren't the same thing. But it's necessary for people who live in a very narrow sphere to have both. Simple people may have proper thoughts about daily work and routine duties because their conscience has been educated by traditional wisdom that they got at home without even realizing it. But if we want to live in the immense, wide world and experience a broader realm of thought and deeds, then we need to make it a priority to slowly, gradually, little by little, learn how to form fair opinions.

How do we do this? First of all, we need to be observant and think for ourselves. We don't want to have cute, clever things to say about what other people are doing, discovering a low motive here, or a shrewd practice there. People who let themselves get into such habits lose their ability to interpret life with an educated conscience. But if we're observant and keep our thinking gentle, broad-minded and humble, then we'll find lots of learning opportunities to improve ourselves in our daily family life. We'll find some good in the things done by politicians here and overseas, and we'll recognize wisdom in the attitudes of other nations.

But not many of us are able to observe and experience people and events around the world. Most of us will have to rely on books to educate ourselves. The way to educate our conscience is to read, notice, learn and assimilate. We need to read novels, history, poetry, everything that's classified as literature. And we need to read with a purpose of improving ourselves rather than reading for cultural literacy. Some people have developed a distaste for the word 'culture.' The concept of a 'cultured' person is very narrow because it has 'self' as its goal. But there's a better reason to become profoundly intimate with an extensive amount of literature than self-culture. In literature we'll find wise men's reflections about the art of living. Sometimes it's written in history, sometimes poetry, essay or story. This is what we all need to master--the art of living.

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Chapter 12 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: Poetry, Novels and Essays

Poetry

Poetry is probably the most penetrating, searching and intimate of all our teachers. It's 'interesting' to know about a certain poet and his works, in the same way that it's interesting to know about carved metal repousse design. But in order to get any joy or productivity out of repousse, we need to learn what the tools are and how to use them. Poetry has tools that help us shape and model our lives. We need to figure out how to use them ourselves. If one particular line of a poem strikes us as we read it, and repeats itself in our mind so that we quote it out loud during the day and murmur it at odd moments--then this is the line that speaks directly to us to influence our daily living, even if it only talks about,

'Old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago.'

This two-line couplet doesn't seem to have any meaty substance, yet it can instruct our conscience better than many wise proverbs. As we internally 'chew' on this, a reverence comes to us that we aren't even aware of. We gain a gentleness, a sense of wistful tenderness about the past, a feeling of continuity in history, and a sense that our own part in the march of history won't be out of step and obvious, but a harmonious part of the whole. This is the kind of lesson that can't be taught in school.

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It has to dawn on each of us as we discover it for ourselves.

Many people have a poet who's their favorite for a year or two, then they have another favorite, and then another. Others find that one poet is their favorite for a lifetime--perhaps Spenser or Wordsworth or Browning. But, whether we have a favorite for a year or for a lifetime, we need to observe as we read, and learn and internally digest. Digest is a good word to describe the process. Whatever we digest is assimilated and is taken into ourselves. It becomes a part of us that's inseparable from who we are.

The first time we read Shakespeare, we probably read it for the story. Then we read it again to get another look at his characters. He's created a crowd of charming people, and he makes us feel so intimate with them that, afterwards, whether we meet someone in a book or in real life, we think, 'She's a lot like Jessica,' or, 'What a sweet girl, she reminds me of Miranda,' or, 'She treats her father like Cordelia,' or a certain historical figure might seem to be 'vulgar, like lago.' To be this familiar with Shakespeare is very enriching to the mind and instructive for the conscience. Then, little by little, as we continue reading, Shakespeare's beautiful, perceptive lines will begin to take possession of us. They'll mold the way we judge men and things and the great issues of life without us even realizing it.

Novels

Novels can also be like sermons to wise people, but not if we only read them for the plot. It's a degrading waste of time to read a novel that can be skimmed, or to peek at the last page to see how it ends. We need to read to learn the meaning of life. By the time we finish a book, we should know who said what, and what the circumstances were. The characters we get to know in books become our mentors, or, in some cases, our warning. But, either way, they're still teaching us--unless our mind is like a colander, and everything slips through like water that goes through the holes and own the drain.

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Of course, it would be ridiculous to waste time investing this kind of careful reading on a book that isn't written with literary skill or has no moral value. We should limit ourselves to the best--we should only read novels that are worth reading again and again, enjoying each time more than the last. It's easy to see the shallow way people read when you realize that ninety-nine out of a hundred people who read Thackeray's Vanity Fair come away thinking that Amelia is an ideal woman. Very few people get the real moral of the story--that a man can't give more to a woman than she's worth. Even Dobbin, who was so faithful, finally found his life, not in Amelia, but in his books and his daughter. It's wise to choose the authors we read with the same care and discernment we use to choose our friends. And, once we've decided that an author has something to say that we need to hear, we should listen respectfully.

Essays

Essays are enjoyable to read, but I won't go into them much here. Like poets, we have to find our favorites on our own. They have a special intimacy with their readers, and every phrase that seems so casual should be carefully considered. There may be more to it than meets the eye. The best essayists write because they have something personal to say to you and me, because their minds have some fruit of the thoughts of their lives that they want us to taste. So let's read to be enlightened.

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Chapter 13 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: History and Philosophy

History and biographies of historical people approach us in another way. Currently, we're experiencing a passion for patriotism and a bond of citizenship. That could be because we've all caught the enthusiasm of imperialism, or maybe we're reacting against the last generation's individualism. We should be thankful for these two forces that result in national pride, but their strength might make us rush heedlessly into presumptuous sins if we don't recognize where our position fits regarding our country and city, and if we don't make an effort to educate our conscience.

The Informed Patriot

We should read newspapers, of course--newspapers from both sides. But a person who bases everything he knows on newspapers is an ignorant patriot and a narrow-minded citizen. His opinions are merely rehashed repetitions of other men's words--like a parrot. A person should mull over the history of his own country with responsible interest. He should be distressed when his country does something dishonorable, and proud when his country does something great. He should ponder the history of some other great empires, admire the balanced justice that governed

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its remote colonies, and reflectively examine the reasons for its fall. Then he will gradually come to have some understanding of what the life of a nation is. He'll be able to express an opinion that doesn't merely parrot someone else. He'll develop his own convictions, and they will be helpful to his country, even if the only people he shares them with are the ones around his dinner table.

He'll learn to value Xerxes as a gardener whose goal was for every man to have hi own little paradise. Lycurgus will be more to him than a lawgiver; he'll recognize that Lycurgus was a hero for being able to keep the laws he made. This kind of person is interested and a little envious of the those small yet great republics that were skilled at war and peace and had schools where every man learned philosophy. The best men of those societies made philosophy the absorbing study of their entire lives.

A person who reads history this way cares about more than cramming to pass a test, or becoming cultured, or even being entertained, although this kind of reading is undoubtedly enjoyable. He knows that he owes it to his country to have some intelligent knowledge about the past, not just of his own country, but of other cultures, too. This kind of person is a valuable asset to his country. It's a great thing to develop a fair, broad-minded, enlightened patriot for the service of one's nation, even if that patriot is only oneself.

Philosophy

Philosophy is as important to us as it was for the young men of Athens. What makes us remarkable among civilized people is our ignorance of the things people have thought about in the world before us. We tend to think of the thoughts of previous civilizations as worthless or routine common knowledge. Yet philosophers have spent five thousand years seeking a single unifying principle that explains both physical matter

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and the mind. Today, we assume that we've found this principle in evolution. That may be true, but we let ourselves accept this as fact without even knowing what men have thought before us. We don't even stop to realize that, if we accept that this theory includes the evolution of man's mind, we sacrifice the idea of an afterlife. There can be no life or existence except this physical existence. I'm not going to discuss this thesis, I just want to say that we shouldn't blindly accept ideas that have such far-reaching conclusions just because another man's reason says so. We let his logic persuade us to come to his conclusion. Remember that Reason's job is to come up with logical reasons to 'prove' any idea we accept into our mind.

It's our job is to choose which notions we're willing to entertain. To make this kind of choice wisely, our conscience needs to be well-educated. Knowing the history of what's been thought before us will provide us with lots of examples of Reason's fallibility. Then we'll understand that just because something 'proves' itself to be correct doesn't guarantee that it's right. We can be more sure by looking in two directions--to the past history of ancient thought, and to the future as we try to foresee how issues will play themselves out to a conclusion. We can't trust our own reasoning, or another man's, no matter how conclusive it seems. We need to reach our own conclusions by letting our Reason work on reliable knowledge that we've collected from a wide range of sources. A person who refuses to consider what's happened before, and won't trace an idea to its logical conclusion, may claim that he's embracing the truth, but he's really clinging to ignorant bias.

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If you remember, Columbus heard an idea that was pretty popular. It was the possibility that there was a western passage to the Indies. After a few failed attempts to find support, he brought his idea to Ferdinand and Isabella. They were favorable to his idea and provided him with ships and money. If he had only come with a notion that seemed feasible to him, he would have been merely an adventurer. But he knew enough about historical sea voyages to realize that a way to the Indies by his route had never been attempted. He knew enough geographical principles to make a plausible case for his theory. He was able to use the knowledge he had accumulated to predict an outcome. That's why he was able to make a case for his scheme before the Spanish king and queen and persuade them.

There's no escaping the fact that we need knowledge, especially knowledge of ideas. The myriad of ridiculous sham philosophies of our day--and all other eras--come from minds that are ignorant of the past. They don't realize that their novel, radical idea is only a patched-up rehash of ideas that were tried before and didn't work.

A 'Message'

Many men believe that they have a message the world needs. They become fanatics and make lots of converts, which is not difficult to do. But not every radical idea is a divine message. Divine messages don't come to just anyone, they come to minds that are 'already prepared by a Power higher than nature itself to receive such messages,' as Coleridge said. Preparation means having knowledge, insight, foresight, wisdom that's humble, and the gentleness of a teachable spirit. These are the signs that help each of us to discern whether we have a message, and--and this is also a mission--

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whether we're prepared to take our message and carry it forward to the world. There are lots and lots of messages and messengers. Yet few things get in the way of improving the world so much as stubbornly adopting fanatical notions because they sound appealing and seem logical to our own faulty reasoning. When it comes to philosophy and even practical matters in life, the safest thing is to realize that we're not above being convinced of anything, no matter how wrong or foolish, unless we have an educated conscience and use it when considering whether a notion is acceptable or not.

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Chapter 14 - Some of Conscience's Instructors: Theology

Theology

Theology, divinity, knowledge of God, or whatever we call it, is an area that needs the control of an educated conscience more than any other. We tend to think as children do--that God requires us to be good, and punishes us when we're bad, and that's all we need to know about religion. We totally neglect one fact that Jesus Himself confirmed--that God is 'eternal life.'

Maybe it's because the word 'eternal' brings to mind the far-off future, which is something we don't like to think too much about. We don't understand that eternity has already started--it includes future, past and present. Life--full, rich, abundant life--means knowing God now. Without that knowledge of God, we can't experience any free, joyful activity. We can't have the fulfilled glow of feelings, happy living free from worry, eyes that are alert to appreciate all beauty, a heart that's open to all goodness, a responsive mind, tender heart, and aspiring soul. All of these help to make a complete, full life experience. Most people have poor, crippled lives. They survive as if they were dragging their limbs around because they're dead and useless, just a burden to

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carry around. They don't even realize that their minds are dull and their hearts are heavy because they don't have the knowledge of God that is life itself.

The Divine Method

We tend to believe that knowledge about spiritual things comes by feelings. We're critical of ourselves if we don't feel as much emotion as we think we should. Yet if we examine the teachings of Christ, we find very little about feelings, and a lot about knowing. Jesus's teachings appeal to the intelligence, not emotional sentiment. 'He never spoke to them without using parables.' Why not? So that 'even though they heard, they wouldn't really hear, and even though they saw, they wouldn't really see, therefore they wouldn't understand.'

That method goes against every normal method of teaching. Generally, teachers work hard to make sure that even the slowest student clearly understands what he's saying. And we get impatient or annoyed at a poem or allegory that isn't obvious at first glance. In other words, we've decided that the responsibility for learning should all be on the teacher and none on the student.

But whatever comes too easy is soon lost--easy come, easy go. Knowledge is only retained if we invest some mental labor of our own. Especially when it comes to knowing about our religion, we need to read and mentally digest. We only grow on what we take in and assimilate so that it becomes a part of us. Jesus knew this. That's why He never gave easy sayings to teach people. Even His disciples didn't understand. Let's put ourselves in their shoes and listen to the Master's 'hard' teachings--hard intellectually as well as morally--and see what we'd get from them at the first hearing. Paul's detailed, involved arguments are

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much plainer. Even the vague prophecies of the Old Testament, or the Apocalypse itself, are easier to understand--at least, the parts that God has allowed to be revealed--than the 'simple' sayings of Christ. But this just proves the value of our Lord's way of teaching us that life comes of knowledge, the knowledge of God.

The Bible Contains a Revelation of God

Where should we look for our knowledge of God? After all, we can only think if we have material to give us food for thought. Our first and last resource is the Bible, which is God's revelation to us. Knowledge of God only comes by revelation. We can only know God as He declares and shows Himself to us. That doesn't mean that there aren't 'few, feeble and faint' rays of revelation in eastern books that some people consider holy. That's to be expected, because God is the God of all people. He doesn't leave Himself without a witness anywhere. But those dim, weak rays aren't the knowledge that leads to God, not even by those who have those rays. They aren't looking for knowledge of God; they don't even realize that such a thing exists. Those people will just have to live in spiritual darkness, like they have since the beginning. They'll have to live there until they receive the light.

Higher Criticism

Higher criticism can be a threat to those of us who seek divine knowledge. It's good that there are scholars scrutinizing every jot and tittle of the Scriptures. The threat isn't that they might claim that the Bible isn't the word of God, but merely cultural Hebrew literature. If we don't focus on the minute literary criticism, but instead look for a gradual revelation of God Himself in all His beauty, which only comes from

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the Bible and nowhere else, then the truth of the Bible will confirm itself to us. Then we'll know, without needing academic proof, that,

'You can't prove the Nameless
Any more than you can prove the world you move around in,
Because nothing worth proving can be proved
Or disproved.'
-- from 'The Myths of Plato' by Professor Stewart

Plato has given the last word on this matter both for his generation and ours. The threat I'm talking about is that, while we're focused on the questions of criticism, we might neglect the very knowledge that only comes with diligent work. We might not take the time to earnestly and devoutly study the Bible, yet that's the one and only way we can get a progressive knowledge of God.

We're already reaping the results of ignorance. Little books that take short Bible scriptures out of context and fabricate elaborate arguments to prove a philosophy of life that the Bible doesn't support are everywhere, and being touted as some wonderful new gospel. We hear about new developments in Christianity--but Biblical Christianity as revealed in Scripture already offers unlimited comprehensiveness about the beauty of holiness and knowledge of our limitless God. Everywhere we hear about all kinds of religions--some with Christ, some without. We hear some people teach that 'God in the flesh' means nothing more than a divine spark within ourselves, and that every power Jesus used to perform miracles is at our disposal to use as we wish.

What we have is a smug religiosity--a religion where we ourselves are our own standard. It might be called 'Christianity on a Higher Plane,' or Buddhism, or mystic Theosophy. Or it might take the form of the Russian Dukhobors, who refuse to obey any human law and believe that they're under the direct authority of

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God alone. One poor little community in Lancashire claim that 'there's no law but God's law,' and they've come to the absurd inference that all human laws are therefore sin. All of these signs mean one thing: we're declining because we're leaving our knowledge of God.

Indecision

There's another result of ignorance that we're reaping. There's a paralyzing spirit of hesitancy and uncertainty upon us. We tolerate all beliefs--because we have no belief of our own. We say things like, 'I just don't know,' and, 'I'm not really sure' about what we believe. Or we'll say, 'What right do we have to think that someone else's creed isn't as true as our own?' Even our newspapers pose questions like, 'Is Christianity corrupt?' and then we indulge the notion by discussing and debating it! Or, if nothing else, it doesn't bother us to listen calmly while people toss around the one question that's our very life. Count on it--the only question that really matters is, 'What do you think of Christ?' We can't avoid the issue by claiming that, 'We don't think about Jesus, we just focus on the Father.' The truth is, 'No man comes to the Father but by Me.'

We can't live without this vital knowledge. We need it here and now, not some day in the future. Without it, a slow paralysis creeps over us. But how do we get this illuminating knowledge? There's only one source: the Bible itself. It's true that there's a divine spark of light in every person's soul; you can't light a lamp if there's no lamp to be lit. It seems like the Holy Spirit's method is to teach us by giving us an enlightening revelation of some phrase in the Bible from time to time. So we need to make it our business to familiarize ourselves with the text.

Studying the Bible

How, then, should we study

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our Bible, if we're not supposed to focus on textual criticism or even textual knowledge? The focus on our study needs to be Knowledge of God Himself.

We rely too much on other people's interpretations. We depend on commentaries, essays, sermons, poems, critiques, and we let them do our thinking for us. It would be better for us to, first of all, make our own effort at interpreting. When we get stuck or confused, that's the time to compare our thoughts with other people's. In choosing help, we need to look for people who have faithful, reverent minds and scholarly experience. The best method is an orderly plan of self-study with the occasional use of a trustworthy commentary as needed. Using 'good books' for spiritual stimulation ends up deadening a healthy appetite for truth. The same goes for little books with comments designed to stimulate certain character virtues, or states of mind. These tools are supposed to help our private devotion (public worship is another issue). But their problem is that they tend to put the focus on ourselves and our situation, while creating no thirst in us for the best knowledge. I'd guess that even our most pathetic efforts to read and understand for ourselves do more for our spiritual growth than even the best teaching. But a prepared heart and mind are required. We need to pray for deliverance from preconceived ideas and biases, and then wait on God in the same way that parched earth waits for rain.

In the Old Testament, it's good to read the life of one person all the way through, breaking it up if necessary. But keep in mind that the author is not like a tape recorder. He writes as himself, not as a machine. He may have been uninformed about some things, or had his own prejudices that come out in his writing. We can

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discern the author's personality in his books in the same way that any author's personality flavors his writing. The difference between the Bible and other books is that the men who wrote scripture were charged with the revelation of God and the way He deals with humans. They reveal something about humanity, too, revealing that mankind shares a certain childlike simplicity, and shows what we must look like to God. These narratives are written without excuse or justification, but with a strong emphasis on our simplicity. It's pretty clear that the Bible portrays people the way God sees us. Even good people do things that offend God, are punished and forgiven, just like children in a family.

In the same way that Abraham left Ur, we all leave our homes to seek our fortune. But in the Biblical story, we see more of what's going on. We're shown that it was really God who called him away, led him along, guided him through the learning process of his life, with results that culminated at a later time. Lives of Bible characters are 'types.' They show us the inner meaning of our own lives. We see things in their stories that we experience in our own lives--the restraining force of God that we're all aware of, the inspired whisper in our ear that comes to us at defining moments, the 'fixing of our boundaries' that is part of God's control and plan for our lives.

Biblical 'Revelation' is Unique

Don't make the mistake of thinking that because so many books talk about 'the Lord God, merciful and gracious, who will by no means clear the guilty,' that this truth is universally known. Every hint we get about God's Being is derived from the Bible, whether we consciously realize it or not, in the same way that the light of a candle is derived

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from the sun's light. What about the freethinker who doesn't believe in any God, yet talks about the love of man? Although he may think that idea is independent from God, the only concepts about the brotherhood and sonship of mankind that exist at all came through divine revelation from God delivered to us through certain people that He chose. Existing concepts that have already been revealed might be illuminated to us by the inner light that all of us have, but that's something different from the very first revelation of a totally original concept.

When humans have mastered everything there is to learn about God from what's been progressively revealed in the Bible, then maybe God will grant further revelation to men in the same gradual way.

No Revelation is Repeated

As far as we can tell about God's law for how things are revealed, it seems like, once God has revealed something, He doesn't repeat the revelation. Also, God has already revealed and recorded under His authority as much about Himself as we can handle. It seems like, in our day, the Holy Spirit's work is to illuminate a meaning here and there for each of us, so that our education in the knowledge of God is gradually progressing as long as we have a listening ear and an understanding heart.

In this respect, poets write and artists paint under divine inspiration when they write or paint things that reveal spiritual truth. In the same way, we can believe what the Medieval Christians believed--that things are still being revealed that weren't previously known. For example, great mysteries of nature seem to be revealed to people whose minds are prepared for them. One recent new discovery is that matter is made of ions and electrons. This kind of truth is as divinely of God as spiritual knowledge, and I believe it's

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a truth that God reveals when the world is ready to receive it.

But even here the same two laws seem to apply. Revelation is never repeated--the law of gravity or the circulation of blood can't be re-revealed once it's known. And there's never too many of these kinds of discoveries to keep up with. We don't get a new revelation until we've mastered, assimilated and 'owned' what's already been given to us.

This is probably why all there is to know about God is in the Bible. We know so little about Him, and we're so far from mastering the Biblical concepts of beauty and goodness, that we're not ready for additional revelation. Keep in mind that, when God gives new revelation to an individual, it's always for the benefit of the world. No man is given knowledge just for his own private self. If the world, represented by its best and most thoughtful people, is too ignorant to be ready for new revelation, then the revelation is withheld until the world is ready for it. That's why the person with an educated conscience doesn't rush off every time he hears, 'Lo, here!' about some novel spiritual happening. We need to be careful about responding to private interpretations of Scripture that supposedly escaped notice by the Church until now. When it comes to our great first duty, we need to stay true to 'sober walking in true gospel ways.' [from Ninth Sunday After Trinity by John Keble]

Interpretation

When it comes to knowing which parts of the Bible are merely human and which are inspired, the answer isn't found in critical studies and destructive criticism. It takes gradually absorbing the concept of

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God as He is unfolded to us in the preparation of the Old Testament, and then in the glorious manifestation of the Gospels, and then the way it all applies to the life of the Church in the Acts and Epistles. If we study diligently and carefully, and if our hearts are quick to love, then we'll be able to tell which words aren't God's. For instance, it's obvious that 'break their teeth in their jaws' isn't something God would say. It's a remark originating from a violent human heart. It is allowed to pass without comment, just like most of what's recorded of men's ways and actions in the Bible.

If we study diligently, we'll be rewarded with the ability to tell when a popular interpretation isn't correct because it doesn't have any divine revelation or simple portrayal of humans. And we'll be knowledgeable enough to realize that, just because a Bible incident isn't something we see everyday in real life, that doesn't mean it's not inspired by God. Such incidents are not essential; they're peripheral, and don't help us understand God any better. We don't understand how it is that essential truth can be revealed to us through Biblical history or records. But we all know that we've heard a voice tempting us to sin, as Eve heard the serpent. We've all given in to the sin, as Eve did when she ate the fruit, and we've all become miserably self-conscious, as Eve was after she ate the fruit. And, just like Eve having to leave the garden, we've had to leave the paradise of our innocence. But we have hope, as Eve did. We can even believe that the difficult story about the sun stopping in its course was inspired by God. Haven't we all had times when the sun hasn't gone down on us before our deliverance was completed, or we've escaped from a danger, or finished a task? It seems like God's Spirit teaches essential

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truths. Those are the truths we base our lives on, and they're appropriate for all people. Yet we need to be cautious when we use this method of interpretation. God undoubtedly uses impressions sometimes to speak to His children, but He also uses facts. When the most straight-forward fact has an obvious interpretation, we should beware about seeking an alternative meaning.

Sentimental Humanity

There's something else we need to be careful about. We shouldn't try to interpret Scripture with the kind of sentimental affection that seems to be the most popular gospel these days. We read that thousands died in the wilderness because they complained or rebelled, that the ground opened and swallowed up some proud tribal leaders, or that death was the penalty for men who committed the sin of irreverence. These incidents don't prove that the Bible isn't true. There may be some inaccuracies in some of the specific statements that men made. Verbal inspiration, where the writer is simply taking dictation, would eliminate the human aspect that seems to be necessary in all of God's communications with people. It shouldn't make us too quick to accuse the Bible of being nothing but worthless fables.

When a ship sinks with everybody on board, when thousands die in a flood or fire, when famine and disease is rampant, godly people in the olden days would have said it was an act of God. That's how the Bible describes these kinds of events. With our modern knowledge, we blame bad drainage, unsanitary conditions, negligence, faulty construction, flooding or storms, but we're merely identifying an intermediary step. Those things are mistakes that men made, and God visits them and uses wind and storm to fulfill His promise [to punish sin].

The mystery we see in the Old Testament is one we see in life itself, too. Jesus shed some light on it when he commented on the

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Galilean Tower [Luke 13]. But it's possible that the full answer might be that, to God, who knows what comes next, death is a less fateful event than it seems to us, who don't know what's on the other side. When Jesus wept, He wasn't sad for Lazarus. He was sad for the grief that all people have to suffer, as Lazarus's sisters did. Maybe He was thinking, 'If they only knew!'

Superstition

I've gone over some of the biases and misconceptions that tend to hinder us as we read the Bible. It's these kinds of things we need to get rid of so that we'll always be ready to read with an open mind and a willing heart, until we gradually learn the way God acts with people, and something about divine purity, mercy, love and justice. Even if we hear another account of a world-wide flood, or a story just like Joseph being sold into Egypt, or laws similar to Moses', or any other story that appears in pagan cultures, we won't be surprised. God is the God of all people, and surely He's had some kind of dealing with all of the nations in the world. The difference is that Israel knew God. Because Israel knew God, and, because of their distinct spiritual insight, they were permitted to share what they learned with the rest of the world, God revealed a bit of what it meant to have Him dealing with humans in a way that nations who didn't know God knew nothing about. Those nations were pathetically and cruelly ignorant about Him. The mind that doesn't know God can't help but to be a victim of superstition. Just recently, in an area of India suffering from plague, some boxes containing paperwork for a public examination arrived. Soon there was a rumor that plague was inside the boxes and it would be unleashed in the town when the sahib opened the boxes. Even Israel itself, as an example for us, relapsed

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into ignorance of God. Then they began to sacrifice their own children to Molech. They ended up trying to pay for the sins of their souls with the fruit of their body.

A Permissive God

One dangerous teaching these days is the constantly taught concept of God as a permissive parent. The Bible portrays Him as a Father who 'punishes those He loves, and chastises every son He accepts.' Even His only begotten Son, whom He called, 'My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased' was christened and afflicted. Too much attention to our own aches and complaints might interfere with what God's trying to teach us.

Christ is Presented in the Gospels

The main purpose of the Gospels is to show us what Christ is like. In the Gospels, we see him as he spoke, as he worked, and as he died. There's no other person in history that we can learn to know so completely as Jesus. Our goal in reading shouldn't be as much to find comfort and advice for ourselves, but to understand Jesus with our minds and receive His image with our hearts. Knowing Him is life, and is all of life. Every detail about Jesus walking in the cornfields, or tired and sitting by the well, mixing with crowds of people or praying in remote areas, gazing out at the crowd, taking the little girl by the hand--every one of these images that shows us Jesus real and living is life to us. In the same way that seemingly casual strokes of the artist's brush gradually make the painting look more and more like the real thing, every seemingly trivial and casual incident about Jesus will

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gradually come together to form a living vision of the Master. Then we will cherish more than any other beauty on earth or in heaven,

'Jesus, sitting by the Samarian well,
Or teaching some poor fishermen on the shore.'
-- from Trench's Sonnets

Miracles

If we want to see a clear image of Jesus, then we need to stay focused, not letting ourselves be clouded by too many opinions from others. One of the more recent popular opinions is that 'miracles don't really happen,' except for the kind that every man makes happen for himself!

The vast amount of discussion on this topic is enough to make anybody doubt. But if we're careful to teach our conscience a couple of things, we won't be blinded by this obstruction built out of destructive criticism. For one thing, it's possible that miracles aren't the great, unusual things we think they are. When John wrote about what we'd define miracles, he called them signs. Maybe in our day and age, we have (or, should have!) the substance and entire faith in Christ so that we no longer require signs for proof. As far as the incredible miracles in the Gospels that are such precious and appropriate evidences of Christ's mind, the most damaging thing that scientists have been able to come up with in challenging miracles like the water turned to wine is that they've never seen it happen themselves. They can't even definitively say that it would be impossible, or even contrary to the laws of nature. The latest scientific discoveries have humbled scientific men. They now realize that they don't understand the laws of nature as well as they thought they did. All they're really acquainted with

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are a few of the ways nature works. So they have to admit that nothing is impossible.

Or, people think they can have it both ways. They think they can believe in God and Jesus and call themselves Christians, and yet scoff as if miracles were some leftover from the dark ages. But such people have forgotten how important faith is. Their focus is on specific incidents, and they lose sight of the realization that the Christian life itself is a miracle. The very fact that God should converse with humans, that we can pray and know without a doubt that He hears and answers, that the hearts of princes can be restrained at our word, that whatever desires of our hearts that are suitable and right will be fulfilled, although usually in a simple, natural-appearing way--these things are like signs for us. They're miracles in themselves. Thy imply that our God is involved with our lives immediately and personally. He doesn't just act in your life, or mine. He acts in behalf of all the creatures that He takes care of.

The Words of Christ

The most amazing part of the Gospel story besides Jesus' death on the cross isn't any of the miracles. It's the words of the Temple servant who was sent to capture Jesus, but instead he defined Christ's unique distinction, 'No man before ever spoke like this Man.' What man would dare stand up and volunteer Himself to the world with words like, 'I am the bread of life,' 'I am the light of the world,' 'I am the truth,' 'Come to me, you who are weary, and I will give you rest.' The foundation of Christianity is Christ Himself verifying the truth of these and other sayings. All Christians everywhere from all ages have known

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that these things are true; they know that because they've experienced it. That's the knowledge that is life. When we begin to have this kind of knowledge, the miracles that Jesus did only matter in the sense that they show us Jesus' mind, his kindness and compassion, and how his pity compelled Him to do acts of mercy.

The Incarnation and the Resurrection

Another modern tendency is to deny the Incarnation and the Resurrection and assume that He was born like any other baby, and died and was buried like anybody else, except that He was better than other men and thus an example for us.

Scientific men are quick to admit their profound ignorance about the causes of birth and life and death. They know the physical processes, but the causes and principles elude them. Science is just as limited by mysteries as religion is. No one knows enough to prove that the Incarnation is an impossibility, or the Resurrection, either. But if these didn't happen the way the Bible says, then Paul is right--we are without hope, and Christ doesn't exist. If He was a man like any other man, then the Jews would have been correct in labeling Him a blasphemer. We could have no inspiration from His life, no peace from His death, and no hope from His resurrection.

Trivial Doubts

The conscience needs to be educated regarding the serious kinds of doubts that are casually discussed in magazines, newspapers, and popular books. We can't attend to our first duty if our mind is divided. We've been taught that the first commandment is,

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'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' But how can we love Him if we don't know Him? And how can we know Him if we have so many doubts about Him that we aren't sure about? Don't forget the danger of a doubt. Once we entertain it in our mind, it's there for good. It becomes a part of us, and might reappear at any time. Like a sickness that gets into the bloodstream, it will resurface later. We tend to think that there's some intellectual mark of distinction in being skeptical, and being doubtful is academic. But doubt can exist even in a slower mind, which can doubt human things as well as spiritual ones. A greater mind is one that can cut away the dross and find the heart of the issue, and present it so clearly that no room is left for doubt. It has been wisely said that, 'to an alert, positive mind, difficulties and confusions seem like dross that keeps floating to the surface and dims the splendor of the truth. But he skims it off and gets rid of it again and again until only the pure truth remains. But a negative, doubting mind is like lead. When all the dross is finally skimmed off, there's nothing left.' [Coventry Patmore]

An educated conscience would say, 'Loyalty won't allow that,' when he's tempted to entertain negative thoughts about Christ that dishonor God. Only an educated conscience realizes how much is implied in a single skeptical idea. Only an educated conscience understands that our faith is built from living stones, not from dead opinions and intellectual doctrine. It's like a living body. One wound can make it bleed.

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On the other hand, an uneducated conscience is convinced that 'Truth' is so all-important that its job is to over-analyze, hyper-scrutinize and cling to every objection that challenges it. We need to remember that objection is negative, not positive. Truth is built up by affirming it, not by seeking ways to tear it down. If we focus on the affirmative part of the truth, the negative dissipates like fog in the sunshine. We have no right to tamper with destructive challenges to Truth before we've worked to assure ourselves of knowledge.

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Chapter 15 - Some Instructors of Conscience: Nature, Science, Art

Nature--The Debts of Recognition, Appreciation, and Preservation

The Conscience has other teachers it needs to learn from besides the ones I've already named. People are starting to realize that it's shamefully ignorant to live in this rich, beautiful world without even knowing the names of the things around us. When people inherit precious collections, they feel that it's their duty to know and to know something about the things in the collection. To not even bother to find out would be rudely ignorant. This is something we're all obligated to do, because we've all inherited the heavens and the earth, the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. We all have a right to these things and nobody can take them away from us. But if we don't know the first thing about them, not even enough to know what they're called, then Nature will be a cause of irritation and depression to us instead of a source of joy.

One thing is certain--ignorance is a fault that never goes unpunished.

     'The loud, obnoxious laugh that displays an empty mind,'

and startles us as we're enjoying the peaceful quiet of some natural

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beauty, doesn't just display a vacant mind. It also shows the resentment and annoyance that go along with ignorance. We have a responsibility to things as well as people. The responsibility we owe to nature is recognition, appreciation and preservation.

Nature's Lessons

When it comes to learning about Nature, we don't just have a responsibility to it, but to ourselves, too, because,

     'Nature has never betrayed a heart that loved her.'

In return for our selective, ardent observation, Nature repays us with the joy of a beautiful intimacy that delights us. We'll get a thrill of pleasure when we greet familiar birds or stars, like old friends, in the fields, bushes and skies. Every new acquaintance will be delightfully exciting.

But that's not all Nature does for us. She also gives us certain mental attitudes that we can't get anywhere else. These dispositions are what help us to get life into perspective, learning to tell the difference between important matters and trivial ones. In the perspective of Nature, we come to realize that we're really not very important. The world is big and wide, the things in it are good. People are good, too. In fact, we begin to sense that we're surrounded by an atmosphere of goodness. And so we are. It's the air of heaven coming down to us from God. We become aware of all of this in 'the silence and serenity of things that can't talk or reason.' Our hearts begin to feel full of love and worship. Nature's quiet lessons teach us to walk softly, and to do our duty towards God and our fellow man.

Our Duty Towards God

When it comes to man's most important duty--his duty towards God--Nature is a perfect teacher. There's a story of a young servant [Brother Lawrence] who was discouraged because he was so clumsy. But then he

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was on an errand and a tree whose leaves hadn't budded yet made him stop and reflect. The fact that the tree would soon grow lots of leaves amazed him. He was suddenly aware of how harmonious and beautiful God's order is. The leafless tree changed the way he'd been thinking, and he almost instantly became well-known as a saint who was distinguished for his beautiful humility and simplicity of life.

Another sweet lesson is told by missionary Mungo Park:

'I saw myself in the middle of a remote wilderness during the worst part of the rainy season. I was exposed and alone, surrounded by wild, savage animals, and by natives who were even more savage. I was 500 miles away from the nearest European settlement. All of those factors rushed into my mind at the same time, and I have to confess, my spirit failed me. Just at that moment, in the midst of my scary thoughts, my eye caught sight of the extraordinary beauty of a fruit-bearing moss. I mention this to show how the mind can derive comfort from the most trifling circumstances. Even though the entire plant was no bigger than my fingertip, I couldn't help admiring the delicate arrangement of its roots, leaves and membrane. God planted, watered, and grew to perfection this tiny, insignificant plant in an obscure corner of the world. Would He look with unconcern on the situation and crisis of me, a creature formed in His own image? Surely not! Reflections like this kept me from total despair. Disregarding my hunger and weariness, I started up and kept moving forwards. I felt assured that relief would come soon, and it did.'

Nature Teaches us to be Thankful

Regarding our duty to God, Nature doesn't only help us in our own spiritual life. Some people have been blessed with the grace of being tenderly and reverently thankful to men who write great books, or paint great pictures, and grateful in a less reverent way to people who discover

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great inventions. How much more we should thank God, the Maker, who designed the beauty, glory and harmony above us, at our feet, and all around us, from the 'flower in the crannied wall' to the 'glorious firmament on high,' and everything else in Nature that proclaims without ceasing, 'Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty.'

The recent progress of science and men's preoccupation with the technical structural details of things in nature have acted like a thick fog that hides the Creator. We've been content to think that the beauty we delight in and the orderly effectiveness that astonishes us are something we produced or figured out ourselves. Science is acting like a child who's so obsessed with a new toy, that he's forgotten who made the toy and gave it to him in the first place. He's annoyed and irritated when someone tries to remind him. He doesn't deny that the toy was given to him by the one who made it, but the toy is all he cares about. Science's preoccupation, which has benefited us by adding to our knowledge about the world, is starting to pass away. Scientific minds are becoming more and more aware that there's a power even higher than Nature herself, and this power is what's behind all the workings of Nature.

With this recognition will come gratitude. A thankful heart is a happy heart. It's truly joyful and pleasant to be thankful!

Science

Science's role is to reveal to us what we call the Laws of Nature. As the conscience seeks its lessons, it must wait upon this teacher, Science, diligently. A person with no scientific training can make rash conclusions and reckless statements that cause trouble in society. It can lead to superstition and prejudice.

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Scientific training isn't the same as information about specific scientific subjects. In this day and age, it's impossible to avoid hearing random information about radiation, wireless communication, genetics, and lots of other topics. But facts like these do nothing to train the mind to make accurate observations, record unbiased data, wait with humble expectation in an attitude of patience, reverence, and humility, knowing that any tiny natural specimen might be hiding profound secrets. Those secrets could be the key to helping us discover laws that we still only have a vague awareness of.

The Difference Between Science and Information

Proper scientific training should give us an attitude that makes us behave ourselves quietly, think fairly and justly, and walk humbly with God. But we should never confuse casual knowledge of scientific text-books with the kind of patient investigation of even one kind of natural object that we do for ourselves. This is the kind of investigation in one field or another that each of us should do. It's true that our own personal observation can only cover a drop in the vast ocean of Science knowledge, but the frame of mind we get from our own small bit of first-hand observation helps us to understand what's being done in other fields of science. It makes it impossible for us to go around this amazing world full of wonders like gaping country bumpkins at a county fair.

Patient Observation

I'll say it again--patient nature observation isn't something we can take or leave as we wish, it's our duty. Let's take some time every day to diligently and consistently watch the doings of birds, spiders, flowers, clouds, or wind, and record what we've seen first-hand. We can correct our data later as we learn to be more accurate. We should be careful not to jump to hasty conclusions. Everything we discover may be old news that's already been written about in books,

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but it will mean more to us because we saw it ourselves, and it's our own personal discovery. It's a little bit of the world's real work, and we tried it and did it. No matter how little we actually discover this way, it helps us by increasing our ability to appreciate beauty as well as harmony, adaptability and natural processes. We become more reverent and awed, and we enter into a truer relationship with God, the Great Worker, Creator and Designer.

Art

The world has received a great promise--God will always leave us a few great teachers. There will always be a select few who God will whisper to in their ear so that they can bring His direct message to the rest of us. Some of these messengers are the great painters who interpret some of the meanings of life to us. Being able to comprehend what they're saying correctly is our responsibility. But, like other good gifts, this gift doesn't just come naturally. It's the reward for humbly and patiently studying. We won't discern Fra Angelico's message about the beauty of holiness in a day or a year, or Giotto's interpretation of the meaning of life, or the simplicity and dignity of honest labor of the soil that Millet saw, or the sweet humanity that Rembrandt saw in common faces.

The artist,

     'Stretching himself so that God might refresh and refill him
     Above and through his art,'

has lessons to teach us that we need to learn. He might communicate them with a brush and paint, or architecture, or as a cathedral of sound, like the symphony that organist Abt Vogler improvised. The outward, visible form of the message isn't as important as the inner spiritual grace.

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We Need to Learn to Appreciate and Discriminate

In order to be in the right frame of mind to receive the grace of these kinds of lessons from great art, we need to appreciate and discriminate. We need to learn how to tell the synthetic from the essential, and to tell technical skill that allows the artist to express himself, from what's being expressed, even if the thing is only the grace and majesty of a tree. Once again, this kind of appreciation isn't something we have if we feel like it. We owe it as an obligation. We fulfill this obligation by patiently and humbly studying. And, just like any other work that the conscience does to educate itself, we'll be enriched for our efforts. But our goal can't be our own self-culture. We need to look at it as a humble attempt to pay a debt we owe in appreciation. Then we'll avoid becoming a superior, high-class snob!

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Chapter 16 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: Sociology, Self-Knowledge

Sociology: How Other People Live

'Expend as much effort as you can to get understanding,' says Solomon [Prov 4]. No one is too young or too overworked or too preoccupied to fulfill their duty of understanding how other people live. What kinds of things do other people need? What things would help them, and what would do them harm? It's good for all of us to think about housing for the homeless, alcoholism, medical care for the poor, how to deal with crime, education and literacy of individuals and countries.

Jesus said, 'When I was hungry, you fed me, when I was naked, you clothed me, when I was sick and in prison, you visited me.' These words of Christ's have probably touched the hearts of all Christians with more intensity of meaning than anything else He said. Few of us can avoid feeling self-condemnation when we hear them. It isn't that we're hard-hearted or unfeeling or merciless. In fact, it's the opposite. An appeal on the news brings an overwhelming and even detrimental amount of help. Panhandlers are able to get rich from handouts. We're eager to help in any case of need that we hear about, as

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much to ease our conscience because of Jesus's words as to ease the suffering of another person.

Conditions of Helpfulness

But these kinds of casual attempts to help can frustrate people who work steadily and faithfully to help their fellow brothers and sisters who have needs. These workers know what kind of harm is done by superficial charity, so a lot of people decide that it's safest just to not give anything to anyone. They're afraid of doing more harm than good, so they pick a few highly visible charities to donate yearly to, and leave it at that. This is a mistake caused by an uneducated conscience. It's wise for all of us to set out to learn as much as we can by reading, asking questions, thinking, looking for effective, proactive ways to help, holding to our faith that,

'Circumstance is like a divine message
Speaking God's direction to faithful souls.'

Usually there's a ministry that needs our help right in front of us. We rarely have to go out of our way to find a divinely appointed way to help our fellow man.

The key is to keep our eyes and ears open. The right thing to do is never pushy, and we might overlook it without even noticing it. We need to keep three things in mind. We need to develop wide knowledge of needs and concern for them. We need to do our homework and then commit ourselves to one specific effort to help. And, in all of our efforts, we need to remember Jesus's words: 'What do you want Me to do for you?' Any of our efforts that don't minister to a person in a way that truly helps him, isn't really love. And without love, we have no right to serve others. It's important to keep this in mind now more than ever, because these days we don't often deal with individuals

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and we have to do our work through organizations. Organizations often fail because they forget that help is only helpful if it's the kind of help that needy people want. Our responsibility isn't to appease our own guilt, but to discriminate and select between all of the needs, and then act in true love.

Knowing Ourselves in Wisdom

It's hard to find one word that covers what we are and what we can become. We'll use the word philosophy, because knowing ourselves is wisdom. We all like getting what we call knowledge about ourselves--we get scalp readings from phrenologists, analyses of our handwriting, and we love to hear polite comments that acquaintances make about us. But that's the kind of knowledge that 'puffs us up' because it's usually flattering and not true. We might very well deserve praise for some of the things we're praised for, but false flattery fills us with the notion that we have this or that charming quality--and then we start to believe that those who see another side of us are unkind or unfair.

This is so obvious to some cautious people that they decide not to give even a thought about what qualities they have or don't have, whether good or bad, unless a serious fault is brought to their attention. If life was as simple and free as they make it out to be, this would be a good plan. But we're all human. We're born into a great inheritance--woods, cornfields, meadows, fishponds, etc. In fact, what we're born into is a kingdom, the one I wrote about before called the kingdom of Mansoul.

Knowledge of Ourselves is Impersonal

In this kingdom, just like any other kingdom, a casual, careless manager ruins his lands, lets fields run to waste and weeds, and allows so much disorder that the land can't be restored in a generation.

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We do need knowledge of ourselves, yet it isn't proper to think of ourselves personally. Jesus said correctly, 'If I bear witness of myself, my witness isn't true.' If that was true of Jesus, our Master, then it's even more true of us. We're generally polite enough not to give our own estimation of ourselves out loud, we know better than to announce how brave and generous we are, or how intelligent or kind. But we probably bear witness of ourselves to ourselves, privately patting ourselves on the back for some worthy quality or good deed. When we do that, our witness isn't true. Whatever virtue we may be priding ourselves for isn't ours. Even a good deed loses its virtue when our own prideful praise removes the good from it.

Greatness of Human Nature

This makes it sound like the people are right who say that it's best not to ever think of ourselves at all. But 'ourselves' can mean two things. It can mean the things we say and do and feel, which are pathetic and trivial, or it can mean the glorious human nature full of unlimited potential that all humans share with great heroes, wise philosophers, and even Jesus Himself.

It's profane to excuse greed, laziness, sin, all kinds of depravity by saying, 'It's just human nature.' After all, human nature can do all sorts of godly things, too. Jesus, the Son of Man, came and showed us all what we can become if we accept the indwelling Holy Spirit. The more we realize how wonderful and full of possibilities human nature is, the more we'll understand how one soul can be worth more than the whole world. Jesus always spoke seriously and truthfully. His estimation of a single soul is no exaggeration. I don't think He means that every soul is so valuable to God. It means that every soul or person is so very

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great just because it's human, that its worth can't be measured. This is why the infinite loving God isn't willing for even one to perish. We shouldn't focus on our particular individual quirks that we think make us special, but we should recognize what makes us all valuable as human beings. Don't forget that a person may own something, but it's worthless to him if he doesn't even know he owns it.

Only when we grasp how great even the most insignificant soul is can we truly have the kind of zealous compassion for our fellow man that helps us follow through in doing our small part to save the world. God has called all of us to serve, not just for His sake, but for the sake of people who need our help. The purpose of this book is for any readers who don't realize how much they're worth, to be introduced to themselves. I don't need to explain why we should know ourselves, or in what way we should know ourselves at this point. I'd like to clarify one thing, though. Knowing ourselves isn't a bother, and the knowledge won't make us feel a weight of responsibility. We just need to learn what we have. Once we know, it's no trouble trying to remember that we need to feed our imagination, practice using our reason, educate our conscience, etc. With this kind of knowledge about ourselves, as with so many other things, we just need to get things started and the rest seems to take care of itself.

'Begin it, and it will get completed.'

God, in His mercy, made us so that managing and controlling ourselves becomes automatic and unconscious when we commit to it as our duty. It's the careless, casual people who find themselves in sticky situations or in serious trouble.

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SECTION III - The Function of the Conscience

Chapter 17 - Conviction of Sin

The Conscience Convicts Us of Sin

Conscience seems to have only one job: to convince us that something is a sin, or transgression. Bible teachers in the past used to talk a lot about an 'approving conscience,' but such a conscience doesn't really approve. It's just silent. After all, self-approval itself is wrong, as we've already mentioned. So then, you might wonder,are we fine as long as our conscience doesn't say anything? Not at all. The conscience's verdict is only as accurate as our knowledge and what we allow by habit.

People who have traveled among uncivilized tribes say that all people know in their conscience that it's wrong to murder, steal, slander, dishonor parents, and commit certain other offenses. Everybody's conscience knows to be hospitable to strangers and faithful to friends. Even the most debased people seem to have a sense of honor and worship due to God, although their concept of a god may be crude. Even a baby who's too little to run knows that it's 'naughty' to disobey.

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We each have a mentor inside us that condemns us when we do wrong. But this internal judge can only base his judgments on what he knows. As we've already discussed, Conscience needs education in many various areas.

Ignorance

Not even religion can substitute for an educated conscience. That would be as ridiculous as expecting God's love to teach an unschooled person how to read. All of us have been born with a conscience, but we need to provide its education ourselves. It's important to remember this fact as we read history, as we make judgments about current events, as we form opinions about people we know and famous persons, and, most of all, what is acceptable to do and think ourselves.

Reflecting on this makes us more able to fine-tune our morals. We won't try to justify the things said or done by good men that don't seem right. We'll understand that even good people have areas where their consciences haven't been fully informed. We won't change our minds and say, 'He's a bad man,' because he did this or that thing that wasn't gentle or fair. Instead, we'll say, 'He's wrong in this because he hasn't bothered to inform himself.' And when we realize that even the best and wisest people are prone to make mistakes through moral ignorance, we'll be even more careful to remain teachable ourselves so we might avoid making mistakes.

Making Allowances

It isn't just ignorance that limits the conscience. Allowances can also blind the conscience from making proper judgments. We might see offenses in others and call them by a more palatable name. We might allow ourselves to habitually do things that we know we shouldn't, or think what we know isn't right. And those things blind our conscience so that he stops speaking and no longer tells us when something is wrong.

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Prejudice

There's another way we cripple the conscience, and we need to be on guard against it with diligent care, because this sin can seem to be righteous. I'm talking about letting the mind be absorbed by a single idea. This is what's responsible for most wars and all persecutions, family feuds, jealousies, envy, resentment against friends, and half of the conflict and unhappiness of life. The danger is that well-intentioned people can get so focused on one particular offense that they lose their sense of proportion. It's like a dime-sized spot on a window blocking out the view of the sun.

When we remember that ignorance, making allowances, and prejudice makes the conscience useless to its owner, we aren't so dismayed by the appalling vision of the Church of Alexandria that Charles Kingsley gave us in Hypatia. It doesn't make us lose faith in Christianity itself. We understand that the monks of Nitria, headed by Cyril, sinned because of their own moral ignorance, because of the hardness of heart that resulted from making allowances, and because of the madness of being obsessed with one idea. Because their consciences were full of offence, they shamed the very Christianity they professed to love.

When we consider these things, we won't miss the lessons we read from history, or from life, that we get from the strife of differing opinions about good men and great movements. We'll be able to see the moral blind spot that could have been removed and enlightened some wonderful leaders, and yet we'll still be able to think of them as great and good. We'll discern the danger of a compelling idea in a popular movement before it's played itself out.

Nothing is more encouraging to a history enthusiast than a sense that people's consciences are continually increasing in enlightenment. From age to age and year to year,

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we become aware of more subtle offenses and more obscure debts because God is dealing with us and teaching us. When men and nations seek for the wisdom that comes from above, God rewards them with continual increasing progress in moral enlightenment. They get even more ability to see what's right in great and minor issues.

Sin

'Conscience makes cowards of all of us,' said Shakespeare, and he knew what was in people better than anyone else, except God. We tend to soften the phrase so that it loses its force. we read it as, Conscience makes cowards of all who do wrong, or maybe, all of us when we do wrong. And thus we create a loophole that allows us to avoid condemnation most days. We hear people say that a sense of sin isn't something that everybody experiences anymore. People can't confess anymore with conviction that they've, 'left undone what should have been done, and done the things they shouldn't have done.' When this is true, it's because the conscience has been drugged or tricked.

Uneasiness of Conscience

It's still a glowing truth that conscience makes us all cowards. We wake up in the morning with a sense of fear, uneasiness, anxiety. There's no cause for it, as far as we can tell. But there it is, the horrible fear that something bad is going to happen to us because we deserve it. Scientists blame it on stress, and that's very likely, although even healthy, strong people know this dread as well as the weak, stressed person does. But calling it 'stress,' or 'hypochondria,' or 'the blues,' or 'migraines,' or 'depression' just labels the symptom without identifying the cause. The cowardice of conscience troubles all of us, whether old, young, rich, or poor, and it doesn't matter whether it takes the form of physical symptoms or

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workaholism or compulsive shopping. We take on activities just to pass the time and get us through the day so that we'll hopefully be tired enough to escape into sleep at night. But even the busiest, most cheerful people have moments of vague fear when the terrors of their conscience crowd in on them. Many people attempt to reason it away with logic. They convince themselves that they live as decently as anyone else. They're kind, respectable, even religious. Why should their conscience cause them to fear?

Sins of Omission

During the times when the inescapable accusation comes to us with startling force, 'I was hungry and you didn't feed Me,' it seems like our sins of neglect and casual omissions are the full story of our lives. How can we ever make up and catch up on all the little things that we never did? We feel like we're cast into the outer darkness of dismay, and we feel like cowards in front of our conscience. In a general way, we tend to confuse sin with crime--since we haven't committed murder or robbery or done any of the other things that society says is illegal, we think we're innocent. We're like the rich young ruler who said about the commandments, 'I've obeyed all of them since the time I was young.' Then, just like him, we're shown all the good things that we could do, and might have done, and suddenly we're ashamed and aware of the sin in our lives.

'There's nothing well about me!' we cry sincerely from a broken heart. 'I'm such a miserable thing,' or 'such a worthless person,' or, 'I was so foolish and ignorant that I was like an animal to You.' These are the cries of the simple conscience when it catches a glimpse every now and then of the vast

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possibilities it has in life, and the ten or ten thousand talents that come with it.

'Who is sufficient for these things?' we cry. And the anxious conscience has no peace or rest until it's able to say, 'My sufficiency is in God.'

Conscience's Rebuke

We're told that it's the Holy Spirit's job to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. As we witness the constant way that God's spirit works on men's spirits, we see the secret of how we're made aware of sin we didn't even know we were guilty of, and how we start craving a righteousness that's greater than we have, and where the sense of a judgment in the future comes from that wakes us up many mornings and troubles us as we go to bed when we don't know of any particular wrong thing we've done.

Since these vague convictions come from God, we don't try to drown them with entertainment and activity, and we don't sit down to a pity party and create stress-induced symptoms in ourselves. There's a better, more excellent way.

When we count our blessings, let's not overlook the continual rebuke of our conscience. A wise man once said that, if there were no other proof of God, the conscience of man would be proof enough. Let's accept the struggles we have with our conscience with this perspective, and be glad.

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Chapter 18 - Temptation

Sudden Temptation

Our guilt from what we neglect to do may be what troubles us most in our quiet moments, but they aren't the greatest trouble of our lives by any means! We have to struggle against floods just like St. Christopher did, no matter how quiet and uneventful the circumstances of our lives may appear. All it takes is some minor aggravation or irritation over a trivial matter, or a slight annoyance against a friend, or some unforeseen circumstance that complicates our plans, and we become like cuttlefish, who blacken the water all around themselves. Suddenly, without warning, we find ourselves in a flood of anger, resentment, manipulation, and maybe even fantasies of revenge. It's as if we're swept off our feet and can't get back up. We flounder and claw frantically at the waves until we're exhausted before we finally fight our way back to decency and peace. We don't intend these sudden lapses. We don't will them. We don't even see them coming. It's as if we become possessed and have no ability on our own to struggle out of the flood of hostility, pride, impurity, greed, envy, or whatever other evil has overwhelmed us.

The fact that we don't even see them coming indicates that these falls must be caused by something outside of ourselves. They're caused by those powers and principalities in high places that struggle to gain

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dominion over us, as the Bible tells us. And our own familiar, pitiful experience confirms it.

Temptation Comes from Without and Within

It's called Temptation. Sometimes it reaches us from obvious outside sources. But it seems like, more often, it gets to us through the activity of some kind of spirit that has access to our own spirit. If we're like the Sadducees of old who are still around today and claim that there's no such thing as spiritual beings, no Holy Spirit, no evil spirit, no spirit of man, then there's nothing more to say. But if we're aware of the activity of our own spiritual life, and if we observe that those around us have a spiritual life, and if we've noticed how good and evil come like a flood on the earth or on an individual, then we'll have to admit that there exists a source of temptation outside of ourselves, in the same way that there's a source of strength and blessing outside of ourselves. We'll understand that 'we aren't struggling against flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness in high places.' We'll be even more diligent to educate ourselves about the laws and conditions of temptation, and we'll eagerly look for ways of escape.

Literature is full of stories about temptation being yielded to, struggled against or conquered. Sometimes temptation finds us ripe and ready to fall, and there's no struggle at all. This was the case with Tito Melema in Romola, sometimes there's a struggle, as was the case with Maggie Tulliver in The Mill on the Floss, and sometimes there's victory, as in the story of Joseph in Genesis.

The Bible is where we find the most intimate accounts of temptation. We still wonder to this day how Peter, on a sudden temptation, could deny his Lord, and how Judas, after gradually collecting his anxious, impatient thoughts, could betray Him. We don't understand how the disciples,

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in a sudden panic of fear, could forsake Him and run away. When we consider falls like these, we ask ourselves the awful question, 'Lord, is it me?' 'Would I have done the same thing if I'd been in his place?' Even news about crimes and wrongdoing give us the same fear--if we'd been in the same situation, faced with the same temptation, we might have done the same thing. A sense of how inevitable temptation is, and how close sin is, hits us every now and then like a terror. It's good that we recognize that temptation is a fact of life. It's a fact that has to be faced. And we might as well recognize, too, that we'll most often be attacked where we're the weakest. We'll always be tempted in those sins that we have a tendency towards. It's good and a comfort to remember the assurance that, 'No temptation has overtaken you that isn't common to all people.' And it's good to know that, 'Along with the temptation, God will provide a way of escape so that you'll be able to bear it.' Also, 'Blessed is the person who endures temptation,' and, 'Resist the devil and he'll flee from you.'

Don't Enter into Temptation

If we want the key to the whole matter, we need to go to our master Jesus, who was 'tempted in all points just like we are, yet he didn't sin.' It's because He knows what's within people that He could say, 'See that you don't enter into temptation.' This is the secret of those heroes who spend their lives in conflict with circumstances rather than temptations: they don't even enter into temptation. All of the things that Jesus said come from his deep understanding of how man's mind works. He knew that, once an idea or imagining of such things as envy or resentment is even entertained and toyed with in the mind, it takes possession of us. We can't get rid of it, and we're rushed into

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some related action or speech before we even realize it. And this is the fine line between temptation and sin. Offensive ideas come to us from outside of ourselves, and that's not sin. But it's our fault if we open the gate to our thoughts and let the notion come into our mind. Even then, it's not too late to conquer in the end through the grace of Christ our Savior and our own conflict, tears and painful trial. But this kind of fight against temptation is a fearful ordeal to any Christian. This is a battlefield where it pays to run away and live to fight another day.

Training a Reliable Spirit

Fortunate are those who endure temptations from outside of themselves, who endure oppressive poverty without becoming hard-hearted or greedy, who endure unpleasant people without becoming bitter, who endure difficult circumstances without complaining, who remain patient when everything seems to be against them. These are the kinds of temptations that we can't escape from, and they're part of the education of a reliable spirit. But they can only be educational if we make an effort to resist the temptations that come from within us--the temptation to give in to sinful thoughts when we're facing difficult circumstances. Make no mistake, all sin and even all crime results from our thoughts. Words and actions are the fruit of the seeds that are the thoughts we receive and allow. For each one of us, our battle of life is continually repeating what seems like a trivial action: rejecting certain thoughts that come to us as soon as they appear. This is the way we keep our soul protected as if it's in a fortress. That's why our Master tells us to pray every day, 'Our Father in Heaven, don't lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the

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kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.' He is constantly aware of us, and He knows how evil thoughts flood the soul and darken the eye once they're admitted.

We have a Father who knows and cares. We have a Savior who saves his people from their sins. We aren't left alone to fend for ourselves. We have a King who governs us. His power supports us. Every little effort that we make to not enter temptation glorifies Him.

In the beginning stages, it's pretty easy to resist before we enter. The way we do that is by turning our eyes away from even looking at evil, whether it's evil in another person, or an evil suggestion in our own mind. This isn't done by reasoning with ourselves and talking ourselves through it. It's done simply by thinking of something else. It might be some other pleasant or interesting thing going on in our lives. We've been designed so that, with every temptation, we have an easy, natural, built-in way of escape. It's good for us to be aware of this because, when it comes to things of the spirit, God truly does help those who help themselves. If we pray, 'Lead us not into temptation,' and then don't bother to take the simple way of escape that God has already provided by thinking of something else, then it's as if we're asking God to treat us like pawns on a chessboard instead of as people with free will. People who are free to do what they will give honor to God by using their will to flee from temptation. They're taking the step of reaching out their hand for His saving help, instead of doing nothing.

Remorse, Repentance, and Restitution

Many lives are ruined by the thing that the church used to call a main Christian grace. A penitent person was a distressful figure in the early church. Penitent sinners were supposed to spend days, months, even entire lifetimes in self-mortification. When there are no church-sanctioned penitence routines, contrite people live their lives in remorse

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for sins they committed in their past or their present. All of us know of people who can't forgive themselves. They cry and make themselves miserable because they're guilty of some wrong word or action. They feel like their sorrowful gloom is what they owe God and man because of what they did.

The Forgiveness of Sins

And yet, these same people are often the very ones who regularly claim to believe in the forgiveness of sins. They don't understand that forgiveness means instant, immediate, complete restoration to enjoying God's favor. Forgiveness from Christians is just as instantaneous, or else it isn't really forgiveness at all. Once the single painful, sorrowful confession that 'I have sinned' is made, there are no more tears that need to be shed, no bad memories that need to be enshrined. From that moment on, we can hold our heads high as free people, no longer dragging the chain that prisoners wear. Yes, we repent. We turn away from sin, we don't enter into temptation, and we cling to the grace of our God. But then we restore. As the tax collector said, 'If I have stolen anything from anyone, I promise to restore him four times as much.' The repentant soul restores four times the love, gentleness and service to God and man. But that's because he's so happy, and the joy of his heart compels him. There's no room in his glad heart for proud, sullen tears and regrets. The father who ran to meet his returning prodigal son fell on his neck and received his son with honor and celebration. This image is too sweet for a man to have conceived of, but Jesus tells it with authority [implying that it's the true story of a real prodigal?] Let this amazing illustration of how God deals with us stay with us all the time to light up the dark places in our own lives.

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Chapter 19 - Duty and Law

Right and Wrong

Sin, temptation and repentance all stem from some larger root principle. Why is it wrong to do wrong? And what is wrong, anyway? Throughout the ages, people have answered these questions in various ways. Some say that wrong means neglecting or harming our fellow man. Therefore, it's good to care for and consider others. Self-absorbed people say that they have the right to do whatever they want. If they feel like doing something, then it must be right, and if someone else hurts or offends them, then they whine and complain that it's wrong. Others are persuaded that Nature is always right, and, since greed, laziness, impurity, and selfishness come naturally, they must be acceptable. After all, 'it's only human nature.' While we're on the subject, I'll say again, it's a serious misrepresentation to blame anything that's vulgar, lazy or unworthy on human nature. Human nature is whatever we decide to make it. We know only too well that our nature is capable of corrupt behavior, but it's just as capable of nobility and generosity. But most people

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who talk about Nature being the standard are trying to justify the base side of human nature.

We All Know the Law

These attempts at analyzing so we can figure out the nature of what's truly right and wrong are really forms of self-deception.

Everyone knows that sin means transgressing the law. Every living soul is aware that there's a law. People might not be able to put it into words, and they often blunder and make wild mistakes in trying to interpret what the law is, but everyone recognizes that a law exists. Even the most ignorant savage is as aware of the existence of a law as the Psalmist who wrote, 'Your commandment is extremely extensive.' But a savage might be too ignorant and corrupt to recognize the beauty in the law or understand that its purpose is to bless us. His conscience is uneducated and has only a dim awareness of the law. He gropes to understand its meaning like a blind man groping in the dark.

A savage also recognizes that obedience to this mysterious law is due from him. He has a vague awareness that this law is everywhere, that--

If he does or says something, or even thinks a thought,
That it will cause something to happen.
His actions and thoughts set a sequence of events into action.

His uneasiness troubles him. He tries to satisfy his troubled conscience with sacrifices. He tries to find answers to his unanswered questions of life with superstition, making his god a being who's just like him.

Compare this restless uneasiness of a soul living in darkness with the assured peace of the enlightened Christian conscience. A Christian is also aware of the law that's all around him, closer than the air he breathes. It defines how he treats everyone and everything. It arranges his affections and thoughts. Yet this law doesn't

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provoke him. He can agree with the Psalmist, 'How I love your law!' He's glad to do his share of work in the world. He knows that it's part of his duty in fulfilling the law, and he's happy to acknowledge his duty.

In the same way that planets obey their law by revolving around the sun, he revolves in the orbit of his life. His duty is his most profound joy. But that doesn't mean that he always succeeds in fulfilling the law that's inside his heart. He's just like the planet he lives on--constantly pulling away from his own law, but always recovering his orbit so that he ends up finishing his course.

Law and Will

The reason why seeing the law brings joy, and why fulfilling even a small bit of that law brings us such unspeakable happiness is that we recognize that the law expresses God's perfect will. It exists by itself and for itself and has no will of its own or desire or need. That's an intimidating thing to think about. It can seem unsettling and discourage our efforts because there's no comforting element of love in it, or reasonable conviction. But it's comforting and good to know that, behind everything, God is there. He wants all of His creatures in the world to do what's good and right. He enables all of us so that we can do what's right so that His law, which makes all things work together for good, is fulfilled. When we think about the great things in the world, our own lives don't seem so trivial and pathetic. Each of our lives is a necessary, integral part of the whole, and each life is ordered under His law, fulfills His will, and sings like the morning stars at being obedient.

Submission

Sometimes there's a possibility that a glittering star might veer off on an erratic course and break away into space to be quenched and dissipate into

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dark oblivion. Knowing that this possibility exists should make us even more fervent and determined to do our duty. We can't feel constrained by a straight-jacket when we say, 'I rejoice to do your will, my God. Yes, your law is in my heart.' And this spring of joyful obedience in our hearts helps us to get up and stay standing because it sustains every weak, halting step. When we pause for a rest, we're strengthened and encouraged. Although we know what pathetic creatures we are, the path we're following is the path of justice, and it shines brighter and brighter all the way to the day when all things will be perfect.

The voice of God's stern daughter
Is Duty, tough and strong.
Her light can guide, her rod can hit
To punish what is wrong.
Duty makes men follow through
When fear might make them quit,
Or when they'd rather take their ease
Or need to calm a bit.


Although I'm in no great distress
I'm in no urgent bind,
Yet I request some help from you
Within my inner mind.
There's too much freedom in my thoughts
Chance whims are tempting me.
I hope in many novel things
But peace I never see.


You seem so stern, but yet you are
A truly blessed grace
There isn't anything more fine
Than your kind smiling face.
The flowers even wait for you
With perfume for your feet,
You keep the stars from going wrong
So heaven's fresh and sweet


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But, Duty, my needs aren't so great;
I'm just a puny man.
I'm weak and need your guiding strength.
Please help me if you can.
A spirit of self-sacrifice
Is what I really need,
And understanding for my mind
So I can live indeed!
-- from Wordsworth's Ode to Duty

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PART II - The Will

Chapter 1 - The Will-less Life

It sometimes seems like human nature is as great a riddle as the Sphinx. The more we try to figure ourselves out, the more baffled we are. It's true, man is a puzzle, but that doesn't mean that 'leaving the puzzle alone' is a good idea. The baffling question of human nature needs to be on our minds all our lives. Human nature consists of our talents and gifts, and we need to answer to God for the way we used our talents.

Anarchy in Mansoul

Thus far, we've established that the Heart, with its affectionate love and justice, and the Intellect, with its reason and imagination, and even the Conscience itself, act pretty much like the other organs of the body--brains, lungs, heart, etc. If they get their proper nutrition, exercise, rest and air. then they'll be equipped and able to do their work by themselves. It hardly seems like it's us who's imagining, or loving, or whatever. All of us aren't consciously dominated by ideas, but every writer has experienced something that seems to write itself almost without his intention. Everyone knows how

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the affections act--how Love, as lord of the heart, plays all kinds of troublesome pranks with no accountability so that the poor person often has a miserable time. Blind Cupid playing mischievous tricks isn't just a cute fanciful image. It actually presents a fairly accurate picture of how Love acts if left to itself!

Even Conscience, in spite of the dignity and seriousness that we attach to it, can be as illogical and aggravating as any blind god if left to himself. We all know at least one person with a rigid conscience who's fussy about some trivial detail like packing tape, while totally neglecting real relationships and responsibilities.

And consider how passionate and intense the imagination can get when it's always feeding (usually on garbage), never doing any work, never getting enough rest, and never getting a breath of fresh air by stepping out into reality from time to time. A person who lets his imagination run away with him like a horse bolting away from its rider can get some very distorted views, twisted principles and strange behaviors. He might get involved with drugs or alcohol, or get hooked on trashy novels to stimulate his disillusioned mind, because he has to keep on going somehow. He doesn't know any other way to live. Such a person is like a man with a team of unbroken, wild horses, each wanting to go in a different direction and trying to drag the poor man along after it. What can such a person do? Who is able to get his affairs under control?

It is The Will, that power inside each of us, who saves Mansoul from this kind of anarchy. We don't know how, but the Will is able to manage the rest.

An Easy Life

It's been said that the Will is 'the only practical faculty that man has.' We recognize the truth of this in our common speech. When something is done with the Will's consent, we call it voluntary. When something is done without the Will's consent, we say that it's involuntary. As we've already mentioned, people are able to reason, imagine, love, or make judgments

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without any involvement from the conscious Will at all. In fact, life has been made conveniently easy for us with society's conventional habits and the customary traditions of socio-economic groups. Many poor souls grow to adulthood and live into old age without ever calling on their Will to consciously choose between this or that. They think what everyone else thinks, do what everyone else is doing, feel what's expected, and never rely on their own true selves, which is where the Will is. It's easy enough to live this way, but people who do this are limited and cheated in every way. They haven't nourished or exercised or learned to control any of the abilities that God gave them. To these kinds of people, life is a series of events, some good, some bad, but they always happen. Without any deliberate purpose or resolution of their own, they can't possibly understand that these seemingly unrelated events are part of God's plan. As a result, their religion is reduced to popular sayings and superstitions.

This is the most common result of a Will-less life, distinguished by a weakening of abilities and lack of purpose. The only thing they can even conceive of is being like everyone else, doing what everyone else is doing. Even a patient in an insane asylum can reason with clever logic, feel valid emotions and act in good conscience (as Mr. Dick did, fighting valiantly against 'that head of Charles I' in David Copperfield) But he's totally lost because he has no Will-power to manage the members within his own heart and mind. It's the same with a young man who is his own worst enemy. He's swept off his feet by every stray suggestion that sounds fun or exciting.

It's good for us to consider what it would be like to live without our Will. Then we can decide how we want to live. Do we want an aimless, drifting life? Or do we want to take up the responsibility of living, and make deliberate choices of our Will?

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Chapter 2 - The Will And Willfulness

Willful People Can Have Various Dispositions

What about the person who's always trying to get his own way with either stormy tempers, manipulation, sneaky evasion or determined persistence? An obstinate or furious person is commonly said to have a strong will. A sneaky or manipulative person isn't as obvious, so it isn't as easy to label him. But the fact is, all four of these people might manage to get their own way without exerting any more of their Will than the casual person who lets things slide. When we abandon ourselves to greed, vanity, ambition or lust, we go on without any restraint from our Will, and we get what we want in blatant or devious ways, depending on our personality. Robber barons in the Middle Ages were violent, merciless, and insolent. Their actions were often the result of impulsive outbursts. Such men were supposedly strong willed. Examples are the Wild Boar of the Ardennes [from Sir Walter Scott's Quentin Durward], Charles of Burgundy [from Sir Walter Scott's Anne of Geierstein] and even England's own Richard the Lion-Hearted [from Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman]. These heroes of

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'strong will' have their good qualities--they're generous and unstinting in bestowing gifts, as quick to give as they are to take. They will always have devoted followers whose instinct is to loyally follow a leader. Those who get their way with more subtle, devious ways aren't as appealing. King John [Shakespeare] and Becky Sharp [from Thackeray's Vanity Fair] don't have any loyal followers. We tend to prefer someone like Joab to Achitopel, and we find Esau to be a more winning personality than Jacob.

With Esau and Jacob, we can easily compare a Man of Will to a willful creature. Apparently, the difference isn't that one pursues his desires in a forthright way with generosity, and the other sometimes uses sound logic to get his way, and sometimes uses clever tricks. No, the difference lies deeper.

A Willful Person Has One Goal

A willful person is at the mercy of his appetites and the whims of his desires. Esau felt that he had to have the red stew, he had to hunt, he had to have a wife, or do whatever his desires compelled him to do at the moment. Compelling desire is what drives the scheming gambler, the closet alcoholic, the lazy soul, the person who's obsessed with reading novels, or anyone who thinks that life means nothing but pleasure. All of these people are only consistent about one thing, and they always need to have their way, but their way is like an elusive carrot that leads them every which way. Wherever they think they'll find gratification, there they'll go--whether it's gratification for their vanity, or gourmet tastes, or charming society, or ambition, or drive to be first. This is a willful person. He has no power to control which way his nature leads him because he has no goal except gratifying some physical desire, appetite or affection. J.M. Barrie's Sentimental Tommy is a good example of

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a willful person and worth analyzing. Tommy has always found a way to get what he set out for, and there isn't usually anything wrong with what he wants in and of itself. But Tommy is insincere. He does lots of generous things and he's a bit of a genius, but everything he does is motivated by the whims of his vanity. At all costs, he must impress everyone around him. He always gets his way--yet his life falls apart in the end because he's dominated by vanity instead of by a determined Will.

Jacob also often gets his way by subtle means, although every one of his deceitful tricks is punished. But he isn't seeking what he wants for its own sake. All of his whims come second to a higher priority. For him, that higher priority was establishing the kingdom that God had promised. He used both good and bad methods to realize his goal. His punishments were so severe that, at the end of his life, he complained, 'The days of my life have been few and evil.' Yet he always worked steadily with a will towards a goal outside of himself.

Lord Beaconsfield's career is an interesting study. It shows two phases of willfulness and Will. In the beginning, all he has is the rather dazzling willfulness of ambition that young men often have. He's determined to succeed, and determined to make himself heard in the House, and he does it. But that's the end of it, there's nothing more, and the country draws the conclusion that he's driven by impulsive whims. But after a while, his Will manifests itself, and he develops the Will of a great politician. His personal desires take a back seat or disappear in the presence of the ruling Will. And so he becomes a man suited to serve his country. We don't have any record in history that Wellington ever had a time in his life when he was willful. He always had an iron will. That iron will didn't just keep those under him in line, it also kept any instability of his own body or spirit in line. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of

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Germany also had this kind of steadfast will that was focused on accomplishing an end goal

A Successful Career Doesn't Require Any Exercise of Will

But it's possible to awe the world even without that kind of strong, determined Will. Napoleon, for example, came upon Europe like a bad omen, but he was driven along the path of least resistance by his nature, which was made of genius, great courage, conceit and excessive ambition. Yet he never achieved the status that men do when they aim for a goal that's outside of themselves. Napoleon never exerted any determined will on anything outside of himself. He was wildly generous, like a child. He was also fretful and stubborn, like a child. He must have had a child's instability, too. How else could he have endured the shame of fleeing from Russia ahead of his troops?

We can't assume that success in life results from a resolved Will. A person is as strong as his Will. Many people have become rich or famous without ever exerting any force of Will because fame and fortune came as a result of their easy nature and the force of their whims, while others who have exercised their Will faithfully live in obscurity, unknown to the world. Yet it's these people who have a constant Will who are of value to the world, and who should be recognized for the treasure they are.

There's a difference between rich, successful men. Some set out to make money, and others, such as certain merchants, manufacturers, shopkeepers and lots of others, fell into wealth and success almost by accident. They didn't set out to be rich and successful, they were simply doing their duty and keeping focused on some greater goal outside of themselves. These are the kind of people that are recognized and valued for their character.

There's nothing likeable about Redgauntlet [by Sir Walter Scott], but he gains our sympathy because he was a man

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with a strong Will. He was able to look beyond himself and build his life on a great purpose. Sir Walter Scott, as a great novelist, has lots of examples of this kind of person. He had some legal sense that made him accurate at discerning character. His books may have some errors in historical details, but not as many as we might think. A man who could deal with the case of 'Poor Peter Peebles' [Redgauntlet] knew how to sift through documentary evidence. Earlier, I quoted passages from his characters William de la Marck and Charles of Burgundy. King Louis XI. [Quentin Durward] might have been mean and unappealing, but at least he was concerned about matters outside of himself, even if he was only a little concerned about them. And we get a great study of Will and Willfulness in the Crusader's camp in The Talisman! Each of the princes who was there was concerned about the stubborn pursuit of his own self-interests, each fighting for his own control. Meanwhile, Saladin looked on with a noble mind and generous heart because he was a man with a determined Will focused on a goal that was more than himself. I can't think of a better moral education than reading Sir Walter Scott and Shakespeare. Scott is easier and more obvious, but both of them recognize that a man is only as much as his Will. As far as Shakespeare, I think the day will come when universities will have a Shakespeare wing, not dedicated to its literary value, but focused on ethology--the study of character.

A Dividing Line

Both Shakespeare and Scott used what we might think of as a dividing line. On one side they put willful, wayward, weak and forceful people. On the other side were people who had a resolved Will.

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Faust, Lady Macbeth, King Lear, Edward Waverley, Charles II., King John, Marlborough, and all kinds of unlikely people are on the side where Will isn't in command. On the other side are also unlikely people--Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, Laud, Mahomet, Henry V. of England, and Henry IV. of France. Mary Queen of England and Mary Queen of Scots fall to either side of the line.

If I tried to make even a partial list of characters who illustrate this, it would cover too much history and literature. But I'll repeat that this kind of study is what will make our reading beneficial. It will help us get to know people and prepare us better for life. Modern psychological novels are hardly ever useful as 'life examples or for teaching manners.' They have too much of a tendency to accept people as they are, as if they can't help what they are. They avoid the issue of Will and instead analyze thousands of little traits manifested by characters with or without their will. Modern novels try to catch characters and put them under a fishbowl for observation.

A man in the midst of the ranks of soldiers can't drill his company. In the same way, the restless citizens of Mansoul can't be controlled by someone down on their level. They need a Will who's at the front, aiming for something outside of itself. From the front, it's easier to see where Mansoul is going and keep its members in order.

'Will' Can Be a National Attribute

At this very moment (1904), we Britons are in the midst of a large-scale object lesson being presented to us by Japan, an extraordinarily strong-willed nation. Yes, nations can have determined Wills, too, not just individuals. It seems like every individual in Japan has an impersonal goal. He has a resolved Will to serve his country with every fiber of his being,

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so that, in comparison, his own preferences, whims, desires and rewards don't matter a bit. The Japanese seem to show with the way they sacrifice for their country with their goal, method, planning, every reasonable device, and unlimited skill that 'he who loses his life will save it.'

This isn't the first time that the Japanese have been an example of will-power that's exemplary in history. Thirty years ago [1868?] they worked out a revolution unlike any the world had seen before. The people didn't rise up with weapons and force their rulers to step down. The rulers [shoguns?] maintained the country and their authority like feudal princes. They realized on their own that the people couldn't progress and keep up with the world under this kind of feudal rule, so they took it upon themselves to cease ruling and owning land. They chose to leave their wealth and dignity and become ordinary citizens. They even served as soldiers in the army and workers in the police force. They 'lost their life' as superior rulers to 'save it' in helping revive their country.

In contrast, their neighbor empire, China, is an odd demonstration of chaos and useless labor. Yet China also has taste, literature, cleverness, its own art, morals that are probably better than we suppose, the honor of a long, long history. And yet, even with all of this, China still acts like a cranky, obstinate, temperamental child with the rest of the world. Why? We westerners might be quick to blame race and color, but maybe recent events will teach us better. Great things have come from the eastern world in the past. Perhaps more great things are still to come in the future.

The truth is probably that China and Japan are each on different sides of that imaginary line.

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Meanwhile, we western nations have weakened ourselves by falling for a philosophy whose first principle is that, under no circumstances, should we lose our life. Publicly, we claim that our first priority is whatever will mean the greatest happiness for the most people. Individually, comfort at any cost is what we desire. Secretly, or maybe not so secretly, most of us follow the rule of 'Every man for himself.'

We don't need to be alarmed or fear the deterioration of our nation or anything like that, and we don't need to compare ourselves unfavorably to any other nation. The fault is in the teaching we've allowed and spread. This teaching urges people to choose the path of least resistance to their natures.

But if we chose a goal outside of ourselves, we'd be as capable of great things as any nation, past or present. If all we could manage to set our sights on was nothing more than Skepsey's cry, like a cuckoo, of 'England' [One of Our Conquerors by George Meredith], then we'd be restored and able to resolve our Will again. That's only possible when we're removed from focusing on ourselves. We'll be capable and effective in doing this, according to how much we resolve our Will.

Jesus's teaching seems to have been intended to awaken the Jews from the laziness of their national superstitions and their individual goals. He wanted to give them the power to Will. After all, it's only when a man Wills that he's really a man in the full sense. 'What do you want Me to do to you?' 'Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have liked to gather your children together in the same way that a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn't let me!'

'If any man wills to do God's will, then he'll understand where the doctrine is from.' [John 7:17]

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Chapter 3 - The Will Itself Is Neither Moral Nor Immoral

'Willing' Isn't Necessarily the Same as 'Being Good'

Maybe what we've said about the Will makes it sound like a child's understanding of 'being good, and our imaginary line might seem like all the good people should be on one side, and all the bad people on the other. But a man who has a resolved Will might have mixed motives and use both ethical and unethical methods to achieve his goal. Louis XI., for example, had France in mind in everything he did. He was loyal to his own concept of his role as king. But he was not a good man. He used dishonorable methods, and his immediate motives were unworthy and inferior. Anarchists and rebels might conceive of a goal outside of themselves and steadfastly stay focused on that goal until it's accomplished. They might use immoral and even illegal methods, but you can't say that such a person ha a weak Will. There are even people whose sole purpose in life is to advance some doctrine designed to eliminate social restraints and moral convictions. They deliberately want to harm society, but they call it a good thing. They say that the freedom to do whatever we want is the highest good for mankind. And this is the goal they work towards with such sacrificial enthusiasm. Their very focus on a goal outside of themselves is what

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convinces so many people to follow them. When people confuse Will with virtue, they're easy to convert to any and every radical form of 'free-thinking.'

That's why it's good for us to know that, even though volatile, obstinate people aren't ruled by Will but by the impulsive passions of their own desires, it's still possible to have a steady, resolved Will, but to use it for an unworthy or even evil goal. It's even possible to have a good goal in mind, but to achieve that goal with unworthy methods. Rebecca's only wish was for God's will to be done. In fact, she determined to bring it about herself. She would make sure that the younger chosen son would be the one to inherit the blessing, just as God had promised. And she set herself to scheming in order to bring about what she thought was good. She's an example for every age, especially our own!

The Lord calls a simple, amended Will 'the single eye,' and it seems to be the one thing we need if we're going to live right and be prepared to serve.

'Will' Isn't the Same Thing as 'an Ideal'

It might seem like 'Will' means the same thing as an 'Ideal' because an ideal, whether good or bad, is the motivating power that determines what we do. This concept sounds familiar to us because most of us have an ideal hidden somewhere within ourselves, even if our ideal is only 'a decent guy' or 'a nice girl.' We've seen for ourselves how much influence the Bushido has in Japan. That seems to be their ideal of chivalry. But it isn't really the ideal that's so effective. It's the force of Will-power. We all know that cherishing sentimental fantasy ideals, no matter how beautiful they might be, is a source of weakness. And we know that some people practically worship great ideals. They enjoy

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experiencing exquisite emotions surrounded by an elegant location as they reflect and idealize the life of St Francis. Self-culture is considered an acceptable ideal, but when we understand that self-culture is centered in Self with no goal beyond that, then we see the gentle youth holding a lily with his head posed to the side a bit differently. That youth isn't a man of Will as we thought, because the first condition of Will, whether good or bad, is that it has to be focused on something outside of itself. Browning asks an interesting question--Is it better to have resolved Will for the wrong goal and accomplish it, or to persist in a steady course of wrongly wanting, thinking and feeling, but never having the Will to follow through and put it into action? Most people who read The Statue and the Bust will agree with Browning that working for the wrong thing but failing because of a lack of Will, is just as bad as accomplishing the wrong thing. If the Will can't be called good, then it should at least be called virtue in the linguistic sense of the word. It's the same as manliness.

Another thing to be aware of is that even a constant Will can have times of ebb and flow. Later, we'll discuss one of the secrets of living--how to ride through the tide of our failures when our Will-power slips.

We've already said that one of the secrets to the art of living is being able to pass tempting side trails and keep moving straight forward. A traveler who knows this art will be able to escape many dangers. I'll invite you to consider the way the Will works later.

Not many subjects are more confusing and vague than the subject of the Will. But it's everyone's responsibility to understand a little bit about how the Will that leads us acts. Little by little, we'll see that the Will isn't just an illusion, like a will-o'the-wisp leading to destruction. It's a real power working in cooperation with the other powers in Mansoul. It has its own job description and is bound to keep its own rules.

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So far we have seen that, in the same way that ruling well distinguishes a king, the Will distinguishes the quality of a person. A king isn't a king unless he rules, and a man isn't a man unless he resolves his Will.

We've also seen that we have the choice whether or not to use our Will. It's even possible to go through an entire lifetime without ever using our Will. If everything we do or think, in spite of ourselves, is subject to the impulses of our nature, then we're not using our Will. Will itself isn't good or bad, but a constant Will needs to have some goal outside of itself, and that goal can be good or bad. The Will has times when it's stronger than at other times. During the Will's weak times is when we're in the most danger.

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Chapter 4 - The Will and Its Friends

The Will is Subject to Appeals

It's pretty easy to picture the Will standing in front of Mansoul's forces saying 'Go' to one of them, 'Come' to another one, and 'Do this,' and he does it. The Will has to listen to propositions all around it in the form of 'the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.' We've seen how every demon of Mansoul tries to get the Prime Minister's attention [See Self-Knowledge, Book I of volume 4]. Each one tries to persuade the Prime Minister that he alone, all by himself, can provide everything that the government wants. Whether it's the greed of eating too much, or ruthless ambition which has been called 'the final disease of noble minds,' every one of the forces in Mansoul will take over if it's allowed to, and will become an instrument of misrule. But have courage, lord Will! Then all the forces will fall into line and obey the word of command.

We've already seen how a firm Reason, an enlightened Imagination, well-controlled Affections and an educated Conscience are always ready to offer counsel every time the Will wants to act.

The Will Doesn't Act Alone

It takes the whole person to Will. A person can only Will as fairly and

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wisely as his abilities are trained and educated. It's good to know this, and to be absolutely persuaded that we can't afford to let any of our members remain ignorant or untrained. We dare not entertain the notion that whichever members are capable can be counted on to do the best thing.

There's more to living than events of one day melding into the next. We need to understand that so we can exercise our conscious Will. 'Why is it that you won't understand?' is what the Lord asked the Jews. They would only see the obvious. They wouldn't reflect or even try to interpret the signs of the times. That's the way most of us are: we won't understand. When we're young, we think there's nothing particular in our lives to resolve our Will about, but that there will be when we're older and out in the world. But it's the same truth: defining moments aren't confined to any specific period of our lives. They come in the form of the little matters we deal with in our routine day. We need to be aware of this. The great sphere of influence for our Will is within us. Our priority in life should be to make sure we're prepared. The extent in which we're prepared will determine which occasions come our way and how we'll be used. Will's mission isn't to try to control the outside world, but to keep Mansoul from wasting its resources and to keep every province in Mansoul well-managed.

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Chapter 5 - The Functions of the Will

As we've seen, the Kingdom of Mansoul only has one power that's totally at its disposal, a free agent who can do whatever he wants, and that one power is the Will. Yet the only thing that the Will really does is to make one choice over another. In everything we do every day of our lives, the command to 'Choose this day' comes before us. The Will's job is to make that choice.

The Effort of Choosing

We're usually game about making choices between things, although there are some people who shirk even that responsibility. They try on two dresses and can't decide between them. In fact, the success of advertising rests on the fact that we prefer to let somebody else, even if it's the salesperson, make up our minds for us. There's a clever story about a girl who couldn't decide between two guys. So one of them made it easy for her by falsifying his death! Now the girl no longer had to feel pressured about making a choice.

Doing What Everyone Else is Doing

Lots of people minimize their effort in life by following fashion when it comes to clothes, decorating, books, entertainment, art and even who they'll have as friends.

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We're all glad to have this kind of help because one choice is as good as another in some of life's trivial issues. But fashion itself is a fluctuating thing, and sometimes we can't avoid having to make a choice. The Joneses put off making a decision until the last minute. They asked for opinions from friends and consulted travel guide books and considered many options. But the more information they got, the more difficult it became to make a decision about where to spend their summer vacation. So they went to the train station and trusted to last-minute inspiration. But, as it turned out, Margate ended up being the decision!

The inability to make a decision seems to be a growing trend in England, or maybe all over the world. Perhaps that's because we're hesitant about making a choice for ourselves, even though we're enthusiastic about pressuring others. We know which furniture is right for them, which career, what they should like, who they should hang out with--and we pressure them into what we think is for their own good. Perhaps it's true that one dress is more flattering, or that a person is suited for a particular career. But every time we make a choice for someone else, we do them an injury. We've taken away an opportunity for them to fulfill their main priority in life, which is making choices.

We harm ourselves even more when we dress ourselves the way someone else says we should, or adopt someone else's opinions, because every time we give up the opportunity to make our own choice with our own Will, we're acting more like a machine than a person. We aren't fulfilling our purpose in life any better than artificial plants used in tacky decorations. Any person who isn't continually making conscious choices on the basis of a balanced Will is like a puppet, pulled by the strings of other people's opinions.

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Choice and Obedience

But you might ask, 'What about obedience, then? We owe obedience first to our parents, then to our government and church, and always to God's will. If a person is only truly an independent being when he's making conscious choices, then doesn't obedience destroy personality?' No. On the contrary, obedience is the ultimate test and sustainer of our personality, but only if the obedience is by free choice. Since making a decision takes so much mental effort, children should be saved the labor by being trained to have a habit of obedience. Every gallant boy and noble girl has learned to choose to obey their parents, pastor, and Master, and anyone else in authority over them. This kind of obedience is the essence of chivalry, and chivalry is the exact opposite attitude of mind as self-seeking. A chivalrous person is a person of constant Will, because, as we've already seen, the Will can't be steadily maintained merely for personal gain. But obedience must be given simply because it's the right thing to do.

You might think that life will become too much of an effort if every one of our choices matters, and every decision has to be made first-hand. But I'm reminded of a fable about a clock pendulum that went on strike and caused the clock to stop because it had counted how many ticks it would have to give every day, in a year, and in many years. The number of ticks was overwhelming, so the pendulum stopped. The clock face asked what was going on and the pendulum told him the amount of ticks he would have to make. The clock face said, 'Indulge me by ticking just once.' And the pendulum did. 'Was that difficult?' 'No, not at all. But I'm not complaining about one single tick. I'm complaining about millions of ticks.' The clock face said, 'But you're only required to give one tick at a time, and there's always a second of time for you to tick in.' And it's the same way with our Will.

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Yes, there are lots of decisions to be made, but they come one at a time, and there's always time provided to make the choice.

Choosing Between Ideas

Still, it's good to know what it is we're choosing between. Things are only symbols representing ideas. Several times a day, we'll find that two ideas are before us and we'll have to make a decision based on reasonable grounds, and on what's right. The specific things may not matter much in themselves, but our choice matters. Every time we exercise our conscious Will, our personality grows stronger. But every time we shirk an opportunity to decide for ourselves, we get weaker.

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Chapter 6 - The Scope of the Will

Allowance Often Passes for Choice

We've determined that the Will's job is to choose--not primarily between things, people, and courses of action, but between the two ideas that these things represent. Every choice we make implies a rejection of one or many ideas represented by that choice. Even if we allow our Will to rest passively, things and issues will still continue to come before us, but we'll be allowing instead of making a conscious choice. A suggestion from the outside that appeals to our nature will decide for us. There might not seem to be much difference between the two paths, but most ruined lives and broken families are the result of settling for making allowances instead of doing the duty of making conscious choices with the Will.

I don't mean that a person has to go through the effort of making a decision about every little thing. A man shopping for a suit may have already made a choice. He decided a long time ago that the class of people he mingles with have good taste and common sense, and what they tend to wear is a sufficient guide when it comes to clothes. He remembers what Lord Chesterfield said, so he won't be the first person to adopt a certain trend, and he won't be the last person to discard it. Those parameters provide a limit to his options, and the available selection of suits sees to the rest. But, you might protest, he hasn't made any conscious choice at all!

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Yes, he has. With good sense, he modestly chose to follow the lead of the other men in his social circle.

But another young man who is more pretentious comes to look for a suit. The salesperson shows him the latest arrival, a style that will be all the rage in a few months. He asks lots of questions, deliberates for a long time, and finally allows the salesperson to say, 'It's just perfect for you! Mr. Foley bought the very same suit just last week.' And that does it. The trendy new suit is paid for, bagged up and carried home. The young man is satisfied that he's made his choice. But he hasn't. The salesperson has taken advantage of his vanity, and the man's purchase was really an allowance he made, not a real choice. He acted just like Malvolio after all. Another man also goes looking for a suit. The salesperson measures him in more ways than one. The man isn't frivolously vain, but he's proud. He won't be pressured by fashion to wear the latest thing. He considers himself above that sort of shallowness. 'I never wear that,' he says and talks about what he 'prefers.' The salesperson humors him, and his final purchase is also a matter of allowance instead of conscious choice.

Still another man is so conceited that he defies convention and likes to startle the world by making unexpected choices, wearing checkered jackets when everyone else is wearing stripes. He prides himself on being an independent thinker. And yet he's merely obeying the dictates of the conceit he formed about himself. His bold and daring fashion purchases come from allowances, not real choice. We won't follow a woman in the mall shopping for a dress--the considerations would be far too complicated! But even in her case, the final purchase either comes from a deliberate choice based on reasoned principles that determine the boundaries of style and cost, or from allowance, perhaps the allure of a dress on a display model, or hints from a saleswoman about what's stylish and what's flattering.

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Once we figure out our principles about these kinds of matters, the individual occasions take care of themselves. Making a conscious choice implies some previous experience with judgment and conscience, some knowledge of the subject, and, usually, a little taste and imagination. We don't pick out a particular dress because we resolve our Will to buy it, that would be extreme. It's that our Will is acting on information and previous reflection. The question of a lady shopping for a dress is just a side-issue, but it's still worth considering. Unfortunately, the shopping scene at the mall is too familiar. It also stresses and discourages the shopper as well as the salespeople she deals with.

Cheap Items

The notion that we're supposed to get the best there is at the cheapest price is a source of wasted time, needless spending and stress. Scrutinizing sales flyers, driving from one store to the next, calling around town collecting prices on items and other offenses could be avoided if we determined to let certain principles guide our actions. One such principle might be that, instead of pursuing the best at the lowest cost, we'll be satisfied to have what meets our needs at the price we can afford.

The mad hunt for the best, the most impressive, and the cheapest isn't limited only to clothes, accessories, household items and furnishings. We're just as likely to chase after opinions and ideas in the same restless, uncertain way. When we dash off to some sale, we're deceiving ourselves with the silly notion that we're going to get something at a 'bargain,' for less than it's actually worth. yet, all this time, it's ideas that we're really chasing.

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It's good to keep in mind that in all of the many relationships of life, whether it's our books, our friends, our politics, or our religion, the one action that our Will is capable of, the act of choosing, always needs to be exercised in a conscious choice of one idea over another. It isn't that ideas symbolize things, but that things symbolize ideas. We need to analyze the deeper significance and ask ourselves what we're really after when we allow this or that, choosing one thing over another. Are we looking for the most novel, or the cheapest in morals and religion? Are we picking up our concepts from the latest magazines, or small talk with acquaintances? Those are easy to come by, but, in the end, will prove to be a poor bargain. That's merely sacrificing the one thing that makes us valuable--our individuality--for something that's worthless. Our personality, which is distinguished by our deliberate resolve of the Will, is wasted, not by over-use, but by mis-use, in proportion to our lack of exercising it. We need to base our opinions on widely varied reading, thoughtful reflection, conscience and sound judgment, even if we're only forming an opinion on a novel or a sermon. If we're considering how to spend our day, then we also need to consider our principles.

'Whoever sweeps a room as unto the Lord
Makes both the room as well as the act itself an excellent thing'
-- from 'The Elixir', by George Herbert

is a general principle. An action is only excellent if it's reaching for a principle that's greater than itself. Whatever ideas we allow into our minds will become our opinions. The opinions we act on become our principles. Whatever opinions and principles we hold are who we are, they define our character and make up the part of ourselves that we're responsible for.

There's just one idea that's truly ours to freely decide, one consummate choice of the Will that's available for all of us to decide. We're obligated to wait for circumstances and opportunities to come our way, but those who put off making that one big decision

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will find that they aren't ready when circumstances or opportunity do come to them. What is that one resolve of the Will, that one choice of life that we all have to decide on? Whether or not to make our particular Mansoul--that is, our own self--ready for service using the tools of knowledge, love and deliberate effort. We can determine to do that much, but the opportunities that come or don't come our way aren't our responsibility any more than a soldier can help whether he gets guard duty, or is sent to the front lines.

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Chapter 7 - Self-Control, Self-Restraint, Self-Command, Self-Denial

Moral Self-Improvement

The four kinds of behavior we're going to look at now aren't pretty. We have some kind of instinct--maybe a true instinct--that makes all words that have 'self' in them seem distasteful. When a goal of self-improvement is presented as something we should strive for, we shrug it off and say, 'What's the use?' and even our Will winces. It refuses to be swayed to do anything for long that comes from self-centered motives. Yes, it's true that many self-originated motives stemming from vanity and pride such as self-esteem and self-respect can prompt us to action, but that prompting isn't against our Will, it's without it. Even self-discipline, which is rightly encouraged from our earliest childhood, and self-control, can be practiced and done well merely for the sake of our prized Self, because we believe that serenity will be rewarded, that self-esteem makes us feel good and that self-satisfaction makes us happy. This kind of moral self-improvement pays. So then, Self feels justified in making such improvements. They even make the lives of everyone around us more comfortable. They result in peace and pleasant relationships.

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Self-Absorption

But I'm not so sure. Moral self-improvement that's only done for its own sake can tend to make a person oddly detached. They lose some sense of spontaneity and develop a hint of being on a higher level than everyone else, curbing the natural sympathy that most people have. In fact, that sympathy is the only real gift we have for each other. Any obsessive absorption has this effect. Nobody expects much from a person newly in love, or a poet, or a student studying for mid-terms. But at least the person in love is only going through a phase, and the student's mid-terms will be over soon. The poet may be obsessed, but, if he's a good poet, at least his work benefits the world. But if a person is absorbed with himself, there's no benefit except to himself. That was the only goal. People don't usually like to be helped by those who seem to live on a superior level. Even Jesus came down to reach us at our own level. He was 'tempted in all points, just like we are.'

I remember once at a large party, I met a woman who confused me. She was impressive-looking and pretty and very friendly. Whatever was going on at the party--acting, reciting, games, chatter--she was leading it, and doing better at it than anyone else. She was nice, too. When there was any kind of problem or someone got hurt, she was right there to help. She intrigued me because, even though so many things about her were charming, she had a certain distance that was offensive. I wondered if she had some kind of history that made her that way, but nobody seemed to know much about her. Finally, her kind wish revealed the reason for her aloofness. If a person was to stretch out in bed and say, 'I'm very happy, there's nothing wrong with me,' for a certain amount of time every day, they would have perfect peace of body and mind.

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Then I saw what it was that made this woman so out of touch with those around her. She was involved in her own personal cult, a cult that revolved around her own well-being. In spite of her many kindnesses, that seemed to be like a wall surrounded by broken glass to everyone else--we couldn't approach her. Even though she performed the various actions I mentioned, and others, too, it made no difference to everyone else.

A Better Way

It's a wonderful thing to have self-discipline in our appetites, self-control about expressing our passions and emotions, self-command of our temper, and self-denial to be able to do without the things we really want. But there's an even better way.

When the Will focuses on something outside of itself that's greater than the self, the appetites cease being so urgent, the emotions aren't so overpowering, and the temper isn't so rebellious (except for quick, impulsive instants that are regretted and recovered). As far as self-denial, love doesn't do without the things it really wants; it isn't even aware of personal wants. A mother feeding her child the last crust of bread, or dressing it in the last rags available, isn't denying herself. She's loving. We probably do more harm than good to ourselves and others by exercising what we think of as self-denial. 'I don't want you saving your dirty soul on me,' said one Irish woman to a visitor to her area. What she said expressed a law of life: it isn't possible to be good to others, or even good to ourselves, just for the sake of being good. Love and serving in love are the only things that count.

If the Will is provided with something outside of itself to focus on, it will

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be eager to serve, even when the service is as difficult as controlling its own forces of Mansoul. The failures in self-discipline, self-control, and self-denial that plague us and that we recognize as sin by the very misery they cause to us and others, and the way they put a wall between our heart and others, aren't overcome in a grand, monumental one-time heroic act. It takes many deliberate efforts of the Will. It's not a matter of striving to manage ourselves better. It takes something outside of ourselves to make us forget ourselves, and a certain valiant effort of the Will. That's the way to cure the faults that frustrate us.

But someone might say, Hasn't Jesus commanded us to deny ourselves? Yes, but He wants the kind of self-denial that comes from a disciple who has so much love for his Master that he no longer focuses on himself--as if he has no Self.

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Chapter 8 - The Effort of Decision

We Avoid Decisions

I've tried to demonstrate how the Will is moved to action by the touch of an inspiring thought. It does sometimes work through vanity or greed or some other lesser motive, but when it does, it's more like a supporting actor. Natural tendencies are strong enough to accomplish their goal without any effort of the Will. All it takes is making allowances, it doesn't require any effort of deliberate decision. And yet, every day brings many tiresome little decisions, and it seems like overkill to bring in the strong power of the Will for every one of them, as if a steam hammer was being brought in to crack a nut open. So, instead of making a deliberate decision, we question ourselves, 'What will Mrs. Jones say?' 'I wonder which side Holford will take,' and so on. We try to avoid the effort of making decisions by imaging what others would do. This is a burdensome process because we know so many people and their decisions are so varied. Even if we rely on the judgment of one person as our guide, we're still not confident because circumstances are never exactly the same for two different people. We're forced to think for ourselves. And there are so many little considerations pressing in on us that we start to feel harried like a person who's spent all day at the mall and finally decides on the last thing he sees only because it's right in from of him and he's tired.

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Indecision might be a symptom of our age, and it's not necessarily a bad sign. It could just be the result of having so much more information, opinions, practices, and different principles to choose from. Sir Richard de Coverley might be like our patron saint, to be invoked on all occasions. He said there's so much sense on both sides that it's impossible to make up our minds. So finally we just pick any old thing blindly and, as a result, find ourselves in a place we never meant to be.

'Tolerance'

We admire this mindset in ourselves and call it Tolerance. It's a sort of creed that can summed up this way: 'There's a certain amount of good in everything and anybody, and a certain amount of bad in everything and anybody. Nothing or nobody is better than anyone or anything else, so one choice is as good as another.' And that results in, 'What difference does it make?' And that attitude prevails about going to church, or bothering to vote, or troubling about political issues, or bringing truth to the ignorant. 'What is truth,' as Pilate jested, and we lift our eyebrows and repeat, 'Every person's principles and opinions are undoubtedly what's best for him, and why should we interfere? We have to worry about our own affairs!'

Even when it comes to our own affairs, many people don't take much trouble. Some people rely on 'luck,' and some people rely on 'providence' to make all of their important decisions. This is the kind of vague, indistinct thinking that goes on in many people's minds these days. They wear themselves out with trivial decisions while walking blindfolded into decisions that really matter.

'Providence' and Choice

But someone might say, doesn't Providence decide the boundaries of where we live, and guide us in what we do? This is a blessing and restful truth that gives every Christian

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soul a sense of peace, but Providence isn't supposed to save us from the effort of making our own decisions. It's the decision-making process that shapes our character. The Father who brings up His children is in heaven. In the same way that wise parents make sure that their children get enough exercise, we can safely assume that Providence strengthens people by giving each of them some opportunities to expend their own effort, especially the effort of decision. The Will grows strong when it expends effort, and the Will defines the person's character.

There's a charming picture by Ludwig Richter called Unser Vater that illustrates 'Give us this day our daily bread.' A mother is spoon feeding two precious chubby babies who are sitting before her with their mouths open. Behind them, their big brother has a slice of German black bread, a sower is sowing in the next field, and a bird follows him to eat some of the seed. This is a great picture of how Providence works. The sower sows, the mother feeds, and God gives the increase. But nobody is sitting around waiting for a hand-out. They're working with open eyes and busy hands, and the good life that results comes along the lines of their own effort.

Opinions and Principles

Making decisions is part of the work we're meant to do, along with the 'sweat of our brow by which we earn our daily bread.' But decision-making shouldn't cause worry, stress, anxiety and fatigue over such things as buying a yard of ribbon, or decorating a house, or choosing a career. If it is, then we're on the wrong track--our Will is negligent and we're being torn to pieces by conflicting desires and affections.

The decisions that the Will makes are always simple because, for better or worse, they have an end goal focused on something outside of

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the Self. We've seen how no part of us operates in isolation. All our lives, the Will has been busy getting input from the Imagination, Reason, Conscience, and the Affections. Little by little, it's been forming those major decisions that are the foundation for what we do, which we call Principles, and the major decisions that are foundational to what we think, which are called Opinions. Once formed, our principles and opinions are always ready to serve in big or little occasions. Our job is to make sure that we aren't distracted by the many different aspects of Self. Then our decisions will be prompt and final. We won't be anxious, second guessing whether we made a mistake, or if we should have chosen something else instead.

If we've done the best we could do with all we had within us, and added prayer if there was still any uncertainty, then we can rest as assured as the sower that Providence is on our side, although there are no guarantees how rich or poor the immediate harvest will be. In either case, we benefit because we grow with each decision we make so that there's more strength of character within us for the next time of action. So, we can go on our way with that much more strength and peace.

This isn't an easy way to a quiet life, but in all work there's some gain. Without work, there's no gain in either heart matters or material things.

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Chapter 9 - Intention, Purpose, Resolution

The Story of a Resolution

A man was strolling along the shore in the south lake with his wife, who was an invalid. He noticed a greater black-backed gull that had fallen dead on the sand. Other sea things caught his interest, and before long, he had begun an impressive collection of sea artifacts. His collection continued to grow, and his knowledge increased along with it. Finally he had such a large collection and he had it arranged so neatly, that the idea of opening a big county museum came to him. He loved the idea and committed himself to that project. Any obstacles in his way merely strengthened his resolve to face all the long hours of collecting and classifying.

This is the way the mental process works in all people who accomplish things. First, something attracts their attention: the man walking along the shore might not have considered the dead bird an idea, but what captured his attention was an idea all the same. Perhaps the idea was aroused and piqued by his interest and admiration in the delicate beauty of the bird's feathers when seen up close.

Then came the obsession of the mind on natural objects from the sea, which led to the

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intent to learn more about them. The intention might have been a bit vague and general, but it was strong enough to motivate him to do something about it. He found more things, and did more research. Then the intention became more definite. He had a goal in mind that he was determined to carry out--a purpose. And, in the face of difficulties, that grew into strong resolution.

The Progress of an Idea

Perhaps another man read a book about Francis Drake as a boy. From that, he got a certain sense of spaciousness, and of the kind of adventure that risks everything for love of queen and country. Although Drake, as a hero, isn't always admirable for his goodness, his manly devotion to a cause appeals to the boy. He finds that he feels perfectly at home in 'the spacious days of great Queen Elizabeth,' and that's the kind of reading he enjoys for many years. He learns about the Elizabethan dramatists, politicians, seamen, and poets. His thoughts begin to be colored by his reading. There's a certain largeness in his opinions and the way he acts that has an uplifting effect on those around him. He helps them to see issues from a perspective other than their own personal or traditional way. He himself may not have taken up any greater adventure than that of a doctor or businessman, but he brings a breeze of adventure with him, and his friends are all the better for it. One of his sons joins the navy, one is stationed in India, and the third is in South Africa, all of them carrying the spacious thoughts and impersonal goals that they got from their father. The man himself seems to be left at the birth of the Elizabethan thought that first captivated him when he read the book about Drake. The engaging of his mind and intention came with the steady pursuit of reading Elizabethan

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literature. It's not as easy to follow the stages of purpose and resolution, but they are there. That's evident because the fruit of that first thought, like a seed, grew and perfected itself in his mind, and it continued to bear fruit in the lives of his sons.

If the idea that struck him had come from the narrow, self-involved days of Queen Anne, he might have become a connoisseur collector of Chelsea teapots and Chippendale tables. He would still have influenced his friends since we can't help having an influence on those around us, but his influence would have been in the small graces of life rather than in the larger issues.

Personal Influence Must Not Be Deliberate

The whole issue of influence is very interesting. The old artists painted saints with a halo, an aura of glory emanating from them, and that visual seems to illustrate what's true for all of us. Each of us moves around and lives within the radiance of our own personality. This emanation of our personality influences everyone we come in contact with. We might say that generosity emanates from a generous person, and unkindness emanates from a mean person. Those who come in contact with the generous person pick up some of his generosity, and the hostility of the mean person rubs off on those he comes in contact with.

We can't help this kind of influence. We're not even conscious that we're affecting people this way, it's just our nature, who we are. We shouldn't try to manipulate the natural way we influence others. At the same time, we have no right to deliberately attempt to influence others.

That doesn't mean that we shouldn't give and receive correction, advice, or instructions when needed. But that's not the same as influence, because those things are straightforward and sincere. The other person is fully aware of what's going on. Our job is to be the best we can be, and

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then to let our influence take care of itself. And we should be careful not to allow ourselves to be in a position where we're being influenced and compromised by an unworthy person.

None of us can totally insulate ourselves from the influences of the people we associate with. But, in both books and people, we can seek out the best, most elevating influences. We all know of somebody whose company makes us a better person, even if the only thing we talk about is fishing or scrapbooking. I doubt that anyone is helped by legalistic pious talk, what some people call 'holier-than-thou,' but everyone is uplifted and better after coming in contact with a sweet, pure, confident soul whose nature is not just within himself, but emanates and surrounds him and is taken in like the air by those around them.

Sources of Ideas

It's smart to get the kind of ideas that lead us to resolve to some action from these kinds of people. Maybe the concept will come to somebody reading this book, the idea that will take hold of his mind, become a deliberate intention, focus into a purpose, and strengthen into a resolution--the concept that, even if it's the only thing good he can do in the world, he'll strive to be a Mansoul who has only pure influence emanating from him, and nothing corrupt. Maybe other things will come up for us to do, maybe great philanthropic projects will come our way. Actually, any sincere work that helps somehow is philanthropic, whether it's writing a book, working for a local church, or helping to make laws in the Senate. But nobody needs to feel left out because his work seems to be for no greater purpose than earning their living. Even that can be a great goal, if he does it with a will and single-minded focus. And such a person doesn't need

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to feel bad about having no influence, because everyone has influence. Influence isn't something that comes from how much opportunity a person has, or even how hard they try. Influence is what a person has with their own personality. Mansoul truly is a kingdom whose treasures and opportunities are there for anyone with the will to use them.

Will is The Tool That Helps Us Make Use of Ideas

But there are people who never even entertain the ideas that present themselves. Therefore, they don't form any intention, purpose, or resolution on it. These are people who never use their Will. And some people deliberately choose to entertain corrupt or abusive ideas. The thoughts of those kinds of people are continually evil, and their purposes and resolutions are always towards evil objectives.

These different acts of the Will--intention, purpose and resolution--are not only possible for all of us, they're required of us. In fact, the Will is the tool that enables us to make use of the good, inspiring thoughts that come our way. When we grasp that kind of idea with deliberate intent, act upon it with a purpose, and struggle against obstacles with determined resolve, that's when we develop character and become useful to the world.

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Chapter 10 - A Way Of The Will

The Way of the Will is a Slow Way

We've already discussed a bit about the way the Will works. We know that the Will acts on ideas, which are presented to the mind in various ways--in books, talking, the Holy Spirit's influence. If we simply allow ourselves to act on mere suggestion, then we're not exercising the Will, we're just making allowances. An act of the Will isn't caused by any single ability of Mansoul. It's an impulse that collects strength from Reason, Conscience, and Affection. Little by little, it slowly comes to a head, and then its progress is regular and successive as it goes through the stages of intention, purpose and resolution. Then, any time we need to use our Will to decide on minor matters such as where we should go or what we should buy, we simply act on those principles and opinions that our Will has slowly accumulated to help guide us.

We all know that what we say and do isn't as important as what we determine with our Will because the Will defines the person, and it's what we do as a result of our Will that results in our character and our personality.

The Will is Opposed

Someone might say, 'That all sounds great, and I'd be happy to place myself

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among people of good-will, but I know that in a crisis, I'll be overwhelmed. That's how it always is--anger, greed, mean thoughts, the desire to be popular or impress, confusion, or fear come upon me so strongly that I have no power to Will or to do. All I can do is just drift.'

Those sudden overwhelming feelings that flood our spirit, and the slow assault of outside influences, are something we're all familiar with. We call them temptations, and we pray that we won't enter into them. But we tend to forget that God's command includes the mandate to 'watch and pray.' Perhaps seventy five percent of the times that good people succumb to temptation are because they don't know or don't take time to think about which area they need to be watching. They struggle over their most troublesome sin issue and focus their attempts there so that they can resist it. And, in doing so, they set themselves up by being preoccupied with the wrong thing. Their familiar story has become a proverb: 'Hell is paved with good intentions.'

The Gate That Needs to Be Guarded

The place we need to keep on our guard isn't where we're always prone to sin. We need to be watching at the very small, narrow little gate where ideas present themselves for our examination. Our failures are always due to the sudden arrival of ideas that are against what the gate-keepers, Judgment and Conscience, have already approved.

These new ideas rush in. We've read how fair and just Othello was instantly overwhelmed by the idea of jealousy when Iago deviously suggested it. We can think of a thousand times in our own lives when some unworthy idea has forced its way in, persuaded Reason to side with it, come up with some justification to

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placate Conscience, and carried us headlong down some silly or evil path.

Knowing that Reason and Conscience aren't reliable, once an idea has been admitted after offering solid logic at the entrance, what we need to ask is how to deal with enemy ideas that pressure us to let them in. Most Christian teachers will advise us to fight them. The medieval church has a long history of fights with whips and lashes, stiff shirts, fasting, and painful self-denials that block out all the sweetness from life. Dramatic battles with evil, such as the incident with Martin Luther's ink bottle, can't always be avoided once certain destructive ideas have gotten in. But Jesus's advice to 'Watch and pray,' saves us. If we have the Will, there is a means at our disposal. It's as simple and unimpressive as David's sling and stone seemed against the giant. But it's just as effective. The spiritual world is like the physical world: the best ways are always simple.

Whenever a new idea shows up in a newspaper article or during a discussion with our friends, or just suddenly pops up in our own minds, we examine it with a quick action of a trained Reason and educated Conscience. We do it without even being conscious of it, it becomes a habit when the Will is trained (and the way to train a Will is with exercise!) to subject every random concept that comes our way to this kind of inspection before allowing it admittance and making it our own.

What if the idea doesn't pass muster with the two gate-keepers, Reason and Conscience, that make our judgments? Then what? Here is the brilliantly simple way that the Will works.

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We don't have to struggle against or argue with or say bad things about the trespasser. Instead, we consciously determine with a will to simply think of something else immediately--not something holy and lofty, but something interesting or entertaining. Perhaps we might imagine what we'd like to do on our next vacation, or what will happen next in the book we're reading, or we might think about a friend we haven't seen in a while, or even a fly we see crawling across the ceiling. Anything will do because anything that occupies the mind's attention will take its focus away from the treacherous idea that we want to get rid of. And no idea has any power over us until we willingly let it in and entertain it.

When life become stressful and we let down our guard, that's when we're in danger. Ideas that appeal to our vanity or temper or whatever assault us, and then our only salvation is a quick prayer--'Oh God, hurry and save us! Lord, quick, help us!' and then, as quick as thought, we need to turn our focus away from the frustrating circumstance and think of something entertaining or interesting. The weather, and what to wear for it, is always available as a topic!

We all pretty much recognize that our own moral Armageddon has to be fought against an army of enemy ideas. But we may not be aware of the simple, effective weapon that we have at our fingertips. Another thing we might not be aware of is that intellectual enemy ideas have to be dealt with in the same way as moral enemy ideas that are within us. We aren't at liberty to think whatever we feel like, any more than we're allowed to do whatever we feel like. In fact, thinking is the real act. Our opinions about God, other people, our church, the government, books and events are as much under the jurisdiction of the Will as our moral judgments are. In the same way, we must not casually entertain them. In our thoughts and opinions, we need to watch and pray against the irresponsible

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flight of opinions that are always fluttering around. Every opinion needs to be examined at the gate. No matter how appealing it sounds, if it doesn't pass the required tests, it needs to be pushed away and some familiar diverting thought needs to take its place. It isn't a case where we need to determine beforehand to reject a whole class of intellectual concepts. But it's our duty and responsibility to examine each idea that we meet by subjecting it to the tests of Reason and Conscience. If it doesn't pass the tests, then we need to simply think of something else that's enjoyable and engaging.

Once an idea gains admittance, it becomes our master, not our servant. There are ideas, both good and evil, either moral or intellectual, that captivate us, take hold of us, carry us away, absorb our whole being, so that, for better or worse, we can come to live as if we were the instrument of a single idea. That's why it's so necessary for us to keep watch at the gate where ideas come in. We need to become expert in the simple way of repelling ideas that we don't want to willingly entertain.

If we carefully study the Gospels, we'll see how vitally important the ideas of the Intellect are. We call them opinions and assume that 'every person has a right to form them for himself.' And he does, he has a right and a responsibility, and he needs to face the risks.

The Gospels are full of Jesus in the middle of controversies about fallacies. Fallacies are misleading opinions that have been approved by the Reason and allowed to pass by the Conscience because the Will let them in. It's a dangerous fact that Reason and Conscience themselves are at the mercy of any idea that they haven't been asked to examine before it was allowed in.

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Chapter 11 - Freewill

Summary of the Points We've Covered So Far

We've seen that the job of managing of Mansoul and coordinating its abilities appropriately belongs to the Will. We've seen how the Will by itself is neither moral nor immoral. We've seen that the Will's job is to make choices, but the choices aren't between things, circumstances or people. The Will chooses between ideas. We've seen that, when the Will acts, that action has evolved from a long time of preparation under the guidance of the Intelligence, the Affections and the Conscience. The Will works through a process of slow evolution going through these stages at the very least: intent, purpose and resolution. Even when the Will acts immediately, not seeming to go through any process of evolution in preparation or operation, that action is actually based on principles and opinions that, themselves, were previous actions that the Will had chosen through a slow process of evolution and judgment.

We've also seen that, although man's job is to exercise his Will, many people shirk that duty. Instead they drift along, making allowances that determine their course of action, or following the changing whims that are specific to their particular temperament. Intellectual opinions and moral principles are both areas

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that are under the Will's jurisdiction. We understand that the Will humbly accepts and does its job for Mansoul, but that it finds itself constantly plagued with dangers, impulses on the one side, and suggestions on the other side. But the Will's workplace isn't as immense as it seems. It only has to keep watch at the gate where ideas enter. This is especially necessary because, although Reason is a reliable guide when it comes to ideas that the Will has rejected, it becomes a convincing pleader for an idea once that idea has been granted entrance. It's so persuasive that there's no crime or foolish action that man's Reason hasn't justified with logical-sounding arguments that can't be refuted. Even Conscience, the other judge of our actions, can be persuaded by Reason. If Mansoul is to be safe from anarchy, the Will has to be constantly vigilant at watching the gate where ideas enter. We also saw how hindrances that arise from strong impulses and powerful suggestions have a simple solution. The Will doesn't need to struggle and insist on resisting. The only way it needs to assert itself is to divert the thoughts as often as the impulse or suggestion returns. Every recurrence of temptation will be weaker than the last because the Will gains strength during pauses while the thoughts are thinking about something else.

This is what we've been able to gather about the functions and actions of the Will, although it's all a little vague. It's good for us to know everything we can about this one practical aspect of man because we've been given the task of working out our salvation from the foundational habits of our physical body, the scattered habits of our mind, excessive emotions, and corrupt and conventional moral judgments. The Will is the only tool we have to work with.

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The Will and Mainstream Culture

Our Will is what has to keep us from getting caught up in the intellectual and moral fallacies that our culture is full of. Our Will is what saves us from the status quo kind of respectability that's afraid to rock the boat and does everything according to convention. This kind of mainstream respectability doesn't make a deliberate thought-out decision to conform, it just does what everyone else is doing out of laziness. This kind of attitude might look like good-will, but it saddens people who really care about others because these kinds of people live for themselves and miss the real point of life and even life itself. They live to be successful and prosper so that they can have more luxury or culture or pleasure. This kind of life that's lived for Self and one's own interests and comfort is what Jesus condemned when He said, 'He who saves his life will lose it.'

That's why Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners and saved his worst accusations for the 'respectable' classes of people. The sinners still had a Will that might be inspired to rise, even if only weakly, if exposed to a great idea, to a call to a life focused on something outside of themselves. But the men who considered themselves above reproach were so wrapped up in themselves that they were incapable of exercising their Will enough to even 'Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.'

There are only two kinds of service that man can choose between: a life that has Self at its center and as its end goal, and a life that has God and serving God's children as its object.

It's possible to choose to serve God unconsciously when we think that we only have a passionate desire to help people. But there's no possible way to drift into serving God when our goal is our own personal success, not even if that success includes the ultimate highest good of saving

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our own soul. It's been said that selfishness doesn't improve when it's eternal selfishness.

If Jesus were to walk among us today, maybe He would cry out in our streets, 'Woe to the land that holds up the standard of its own success as the goal for every person!' We can't live our lives any higher than what we aim for. Our Will needs to be focused on something other than itself, whether that something is good or bad. Maybe that's why there's more hope for some sinners than there is for some 'respectable' people.

We can discern a little of what the Will's job is, and how it acts. If we try to look closer and analyze so we can define it, it eludes us like all the other great mysteries of life, death and personality. But we can discern this much: in a person of good-will, the Will is totally free. As a matter of fact, the only kind of Will is a free will. That's why a conventional mainstream person who never thinks through choices doesn't have any free will. He's without a Will. The Will, or free will, needs to have some object outside of itself. Tennyson said it as well as anyone:

'Our Wills are ours, we don't know how.
They're ours so we can choose to be Yours.'

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PART III - The Soul

Chapter 1 - What The Soul is Capable Of

We've been trying to gather together the little bit of knowledge that's available to us step by step about the Body, Mind and Heart [see Volume 4, Book I, Self-Knowledge], and the Will and Conscience. We've seen that there isn't a clear definition of Will and Conscience, and there's no clear boundary between them. Mansoul has many abilities, but Mansoul is one unified being. By carefully analyzing each one, we can gather hints about what each one does, and those hints help us to discover the laws of our nature that will help us to manage ourselves.

Now we're going to leave the outer courts of Mind and Body, and the Holy Places of the Affections and the Will. We're going to enter the Holy of Holies where the person performs his priestly duties. After all, every person is a priest who's responsible to do his job in his Most Holy Place.

The temple that's dedicated to serving the living God in each Mansoul is called our Soul. The Soul of man is so wonderful! We often talk about ourselves as finite beings, but anyone who has experienced the thrill of the Soul when it comes upon a great idea must doubt

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that we're finite creatures. Maybe it's because we have a connection with the infinite that we have capacity for God.

What baffles the understanding of a person? Is anything out of the range of what he thinks about, or out of the reach of what he aspires to? Yes, he is baffled every way he looks by his own ignorance. Even the wisest men have unlimited ignorance. But ignorance isn't the same as incapacity. The wings of our souls beat impatiently against the bars of our ignorance. If we could, we'd escape and fly out into the universe of infinite thought and infinite possibilities. How can man's Soul be satisfied? Ruling kings have given up their kingdoms because they wanted something greater than dominions. Profound scholars are frustrated with the limitations that confine them to the outer edges of the limitless ocean of knowledge. No great love is ever fully satisfied by loving. Man's Soul can find no real satisfaction because everything around him is finite, able to be measured, incomplete. But his reach is beyond his grasp. He has an urgent, persistent need for the infinite.

Even we common people who aren't kings, poets or scholars are eager and content while we're pursuing, but we know that once we have attained our goal, whether it's position, power, love or money, that old insatiable hunger will be upon us again. We'll want something more, but we don't know what!

St. Augustine knew what our hunger was for. He said that the Soul of man was made for God and would never be satisfied until it found Him. But our religious thinking has become so poor and ordinary, so self-concerned, that we interpret St. Augustine's words to mean that we won't be satisfied until we find everything

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good that we attach to the concept of salvation. We deceive and belittle ourselves with this idea because it's not anything for ourselves that we crave. The dry breadcrumbs we throw to our Souls in the form of one success or another don't quench our hunger.

'I want, I'm made for, I must have a God.' Within us, we have an infinite capacity for love, loyalty and service. But we're hindered and stopped everywhere we turn by imitation in whatever it is we love and serve. Only to God can we give everything we have, and only He can give us the love we really need. The love He gives us is like the air--it's something we live in, and without it, we gasp for breath and die. Who else, except God, who made heaven and earth, holds the key to all knowledge? Where else, except in God who has all the power, can we find the secret of dominion? Our need and search for goodness and beauty are frustrated by one thing, disappointed somewhere else because it's only in God that we can find the whole. The Soul was made for God, and God is what the Soul needs in the same way that an eye was made for light and light is what the eye needs. When we see that the Souls of even the poorest and most uneducated people have a capacity for God and can't be content without Him, can we honestly believe that man is a finite being? But even words themselves are frustrating. We're not even totally sure what we mean by finite and infinite.

We like to say that there's no royal road to learning. But the highest thing that man can attain is available and approachable to even the simple and needy. It can be reached by a path that any traveler, no matter how foolish, can't miss. In that very fact, we see a glimpse of the infinite that we hunger for. It seems strange to our finite understanding that everything we need is offered and attainable even to the simplest and the lowest people!

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Chapter 2 - The Disabilities Of The Soul

The Soul has its share of persistent obstacles and deep-rooted diseases, just like the Mind and Heart do. Although we all have an overwhelming need for God and a great capacity to receive Him, very few people ever actually attain anything close to a constant 'fruition of Your glorious Godhead.' Many of us have momentary glimpses of it. But most of us aren't even aware of its existence. There are three main reasons why we're so dead to spiritual things: laziness, preoccupation and repulsion.

Laziness

We've already discussed how a certain kind of lethargy of the Mind keeps us from entering into the rich inheritance that's available to our intelligence. In a similar way, the Soul is dead and not even aware of the hunger and thirst that only God can satisfy. The Conscience may be alert and demanding things of us such as church attendance, personal prayer, and reading good books. Or it might be dulled and neglect these things. In either case, it's possible to have little or no dread of God. It might not even want to fear God, because a lazy Soul avoids anything that might shake it out of its comfortable life. A lazy Soul wants others to

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applaud him for doing no harm, and it wants to take pride in 'doing my duty' when it comes to doing what's expected.

The inner Soul isn't dead, it's just sleeping. It could be awakened if the person's Will would respond to God's kindness, but it's sluggish. Even the urgent cry to 'Wake up! Wake up!' doesn't penetrate its sleepy ears.

A person with a lazy Soul has wickedness in Him because 'God isn't in all his thoughts.' He's able to live hour to hour, day to day, even year to year without ever turning his face to God in the same way that a flower turns to the sun, like any living Soul would do. It isn't that he never thinks about God. Every person has probably said at one time or another, 'God, help me!' and most people sometimes say, 'Thank God!' But an occasional, rare cry to God is very different from having God in all his thoughts.

The only hope for a lazy Soul, whether it's a regular church member or a wild, careless person, is that some random living idea about God might strike his Mind and inspire his Will to desire, to intend and to resolve. This is called conversion, and this is what God does every day with His dull, heartless children. All of us have experienced this kind of conversion in a greater or lesser degree many times in our lives. And sometimes a major conversion happens to a generous person, or to a hardened sinner, and, from that moment, all of the intents of his heart and the ways of his life are forever changed.

Preoccupation

A lazy Soul who won't wake up to God's presence is in fatal danger. And so is a Mind or Heart that's so preoccupied that

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it has no room for the dominating, absorbing thought of God. 'My duty to God is to love Him with all my heart and mind' as well as 'my soul and strength.' No ability of Mansoul works in isolation. The Mind and Heart have to unite with the worshipful Soul.

It's possible and only far too common for us to be so obsessed with one idea or absorbed with lots of ideas that we don't realize we need God--we might even miss the fact that He exists at all! Whatever we're wrapped up in might be fine in itself--it could be a noble project, family affection, or a passionate pursuit for knowledge. All of those things are worthy and honorable. But any of them can so fully absorb a person that he doesn't care about God. There's no room for God in his thoughts. The mere thought of God might seem like an intrusion because he would rather be thinking about something else. It's not that he's what we would consider a wicked person, but he's living his life without God. He doesn't realize it, but he's suffering from a huge deprivation. It's as if the best part of him is crippled or his highest function is damaged. He has to creep through life like some poor wretched soul who spends his life in a dark room without ever knowing what's it's like to take a deep breath in an open field under a wide blue sky. Such a person usually means well. Imagine the joy he would have to suddenly find the knowledge of God, whether it's here or in the hereafter!

Involuntary Aversion

There's another kind of disability that a soul can have that's even more strange and astonishing than any we've already looked at. In human nature, there's an aversion to God. It might be like

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Article 9 [of the Anglican Church's 39 Articles of Religion], part of the 'original sin which naturally corrupts every person who is born of Adam's race,' or it might be our freewill's involuntary aversion to authority. It doesn't matter; either way, human nature has a natural stubborn aversion to God as well as a profound craving for Him.

A toddler doesn't want to say his prayers, and a mature Christian senses his own unwillingness and wandering away from God, even though he knows that all of his joy is in God. This involuntary turning away from God is the cross we all have to bear with the discipline of a soul pursuing God. Whatever the cause may be, it does seem to be in the nature of things. If our hearts were drawn to God as inevitably as raindrops fall to the ground, then we wouldn't have the independent choice of freewill, and there'd be no sense of victory when we're faithfully loyal.

Voluntary Aversion

But, besides this natural involuntary aversion that we're ashamed of, there's voluntary aversion. This is the animosity and hostility towards God of a rebellious, sinful Soul. This is the kind of Soul that's so full of pride or blatant evil that he can't tolerate even the thought of God. He makes fun of God's Word, defies His laws, rejects His Will and blasphemes His name. We're shocked when we see someone do this aggressively, but when it's done with a cool superiority and good nature with the power of intellectualism, it's enough to sway any of us, even for a minute, and make us wonder if the scoffer knows something that we don't. That's because we all have the seeds of

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natural aversion to God in our hearts. But a scoffer has nurtured and fertilized those seeds into a full-grown fruit-bearing tree.

'Let the person who stands be careful not to fall.' We need to hold tight to our loyalty. We know that making a deliberate choice for God with our Will is the only thing we have to offer to God. And we're comforted to know that involuntary aversion isn't a sin, it's just an opportunity to exercise our free choice. When we choose to turn away from God, our sin doesn't remove us from God's mercy, but it's still a very great sin.

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Chapter 3 - The Knowledge of God

When we recognize how much a person's soul is hampered from grasping God by laziness, preoccupation and aversion, we suddenly realize the important job that the Will has to do, and, sparked by a great, uplifting thought, the Will rises to the occasion. But our Will can't sustain us if our perception of God is that it's merely religion and, therefore, optional to take or leave according to our preference, or if we wait around passively for a strong enough impulse or something compelling enough to goad us into doing what should be our first priority. We don't only have the world, our flesh and the devil to struggle against--we also have conflicting moods and tendencies within ourselves. In desiring God, we've chosen an ambitious goal that will require all the courage and persistence we have, and our Will will take on that mission and muster its forces to stand on God's side. Even though there might be lots of times of falling away and repenting after that one major act of the Will when we're converted, we can still hold on to the hope that our Soul has made an eternal decision to side with good. When a soldier is fined and thrown into the brig for misbehaving, he doesn't cease being a soldier. When it's time to go to battle, he doesn't desert like a rebel.

We meets lots of people in the world that we

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never get to know very well. Some are in social circles above or below us, some are too superior to do the things we enjoy or they're into things we consider unworthy, and there are some who seem like we'd love getting to know but they're not approachable, and others seem so simple-minded or narrow that we consider them unworthy to open up our deepest thoughts to.

But there's one close friendship available to all of us, whether we're lonely because we feel like everyone around us is inferior, or because we feel unworthy of anyone else's notice. We're amazed to think that such a valuable intimacy is available to every humble soul. Jesus said, 'Eternal life is to know You, the only true God, and Jesus, who You sent,' Knowing the exalted God intimately is something that's available to all of us. There's only one condition--we have to choose it. When we feel like we're not good enough or intelligent enough to be friends with some people, and we're too good or too smart for some crowds, it can seem astonishing that such a supreme friendship can belong to anyone who wants it, because every Soul has the capacity to know God. Not all people are able to understand math, or science, or politics, but the knowledge of God, which floods the Soul like a huge ocean floods a fish, isn't beyond the reach of anyone. Professor W. K. Clifford wrote about an agonizing time when he lost his faith in God and came to the conclusion that 'the great Companion was dead.' But the 'great Companion' never dies. 'He knows when we sit down, and when we get up. He understands our thoughts long before we grasp them.' He is intimately involved in everything we do and everything we intend to do. He cheers up our dull times, gives us rest when we're worn out, consoles us when we're grieving, adds to our happiness,

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warns, reprimands and punishes our sin, and gives us what those of us who have ever loved someone generously recognize as the best, most perfect joy, in continually growing amounts: He gradually reveals Himself to us. Like the blind man who received his sight, we can't see anything at all to begin with, then we can see men as if we're seeing tree trunks walking around, and then our eyes are fully opened so that we can see a vision of our God.

There are a number of ways that the knowledge of God can come to us. We might be drawn by the words, actions or looks of people we know and learn a very convincing lesson. A little piece of moss or a bare tree in the winter might suddenly awaken us to a knowledge of God. Or we might feel a strange longing in our own heart, or experience a nudging for repentance and love, or receive sweet answers to our meager and selfish prayers, or sense tokens of friendships that we can't definitely pin down. All of these are steps towards that most important knowledge.

The Bible Teaches the Knowledge of God

In the same way that a person listens closely to the voice of a beloved friend and reads his letters again and again, a person who loves God will search the Bible to know God more fully like he craves. It makes no difference to him if one book repeats the sentiments of another, or whether certain passages are attributed to a different author than the title indicates, or that myths and legends may have been recorded as well as Jewish historical events, or that the latest scientific knowledge contradicts some passages and history contradicts some stories [many of the contradictions that alarmed Christians in CM's time have been corrected by later discoveries]. These things may or may not be true. The person who truly wants to know God appreciates scientists and scholars for doing their work, and he acknowledges that the Bible shouldn't be exempt from textual criticism. But he also knows that there are a lot of reasons to be cautious and not to be too quick to accept

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the latest pronouncement from the critics. He remembers an article in the newspaper about the King of Servia who had to take off his crown twice during his coronation because it was too heavy for him, and how the royal flag fell as it was carried in procession to the cathedral. These omens made the people there uneasy. Yet, in the future, historians might claim that these incidents were merely legends, and, according to their proper procedure, remove them from history texts because they want their books to only contain scientifically proven history.

Little things like this make a student of the Bible stop and think. He respects truth reverently, and he welcomes investigation into the truth. But he also knows that the latest critics aren't infallible. But even this is beside the point. As far as he's concerned, even if false statements, books credited to the wrong author, and other inconsistencies were found on every page and proved to be inaccuracies of the text, he still believes that the Bible is the one and only place to find revealed knowledge about God.

The poems, histories and sacred writings of Greece, Rome, India, Persia and China all unwittingly affirm that it isn't possible for man to understand God by searching. A lovely gleam of divine inspiration touches one wise person in one place, and another person somewhere else, and another in a different place, but every time they tried to combine these stray inspired gleams into a complete concept of what the Deity is like, they produced a legion of gods, or a monstrous deity. The insight and wisdom of past thinkers has given us all of the philosophy about human life that we have, and every kind of knowledge there is--except knowledge about God.

How are we better than those great ancient civilizations who knew so much and accomplished so much? Only in inheriting a treasure of knowledge that was passed on to the world by the Jewish nation whose spiritual insight

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made them suited to receive it. As a result, we have something that ancient cultures didn't--a revelation of God that completely satisfies man's Soul, and guides all of his Soul's aspirations.

Consider just one amazing revelation--that God is love:

'God Himself! Can you imagine, Abib?
So the All-Powerful is All-Loving, too!
His thunderous voice has some humanity
And says, Created person, I have a heart as you do.
Your face and hands reflect my own.
You have no power, and you have no idea how much power I have.
But I gave you love, and gave you Myself to love.
And you must love Me, who died for you.'
-- adapted from Browning

This is a bit of knowledge that men in previous times didn't even dare to dream about, except as revealed in the Bible. But, unbelievably, some people act like someone who finds a gold nugget and tosses it aside because it's imbedded in a piece of iron and he doesn't want to bother separating it. In fact, his eye can't even pick out the difference between the two. This seems insane to the diligent miner. And that's how it is with the Bible. The Soul is capable of grasping God, and when it grasps God, it finds life, freedom and satisfaction. When the Soul knows God, it lives in its proper environment and is complete, free and as joyful as a bird in flight. But without that knowledge, 'the heavy, weary weight of the entire confusing world' feels like it's crushing our life.

But, although it's proper and necessary for us to know our God, it isn't inevitable. As we've already seen, the Soul is very stubborn and tries to evade the very knowledge that makes it healthy. We need to start with a determined, steadfast act of the Will, a deliberate choice. And then we have to work to get what's best for us, having confidence that when we ask for it,

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we'll receive it, when we search, we'll find, and when we knock, the door will be opened for us. But our searching needs to be single-minded and purposeful. We can't sincerely be diligent about seeking a thing that we consider worthless, whether it's something in the Bible, something in the way the world operates, or something in our own life. We need to expect to find grains of gold. And, as we gather a collection of it, we'll be walking and living in continual intimacy with Divine Love, and we'll be constantly worshiping Divine Beauty with freedom because the Truth has made us free.

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Chapter 4 - Prayer

Spontaneous Prayer

It's hard to separate and isolate the different functions of the Soul because they all work together. But in order to have fullness of life, we need to continually talk with God and continually hear His responses, although the Soul is humbled by the wonderfully sweet hope that God will answer. These things are necessary if we're going to have the intimate union with God that we were made for. A hundred times a day, our thoughts turn to God, sometimes to repent, sometimes to request something, sometimes because we're afraid or have aspirations, and sometimes, most wonderfully of all, in shared understanding with God. Our hearts thrill with delight when we see the beautiful blue of a flowering herb, or a glorious star in the sky, or when we experience the grace of hearing some good news. And then we lift our hearts to God, even though we may not say a word, and our impulse is a feeling of mutual joy, because we know that God also delights in beauty and goodness.

Response

These continuous impulses of the Soul towards God hardly seem like prayer to us, but they get a response. We cry out in fear, and a word of hope comes to us. We confess a sin, and we sense a feeling of peace. We express delight in God's work, and we grow in love. These are answers that God, our 'Heavenly Lover,' gives in response to the clumsy, erratic impulses of our pathetic hearts. We've all experienced how

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we pray for definite things and, so many times, answers have come that we were able to recognize as God's hand. Even our willful prayers that don't end with, 'Your will be done' get an answer. Our restless heart becomes calm. We learn to see things from God's perspective, and that quiets us.

I think that most people who are seeking to know God would say that they never in a long life of praying had a prayer that didn't get answered. In every case, they've recognized the answer.

Perhaps they had an experience where the walls of Jericho fell before them, or the Jordan River parted, or their enemies were destroyed on the battlefield. Perhaps these things happened in natural ways that weren't obvious, with no interference from nature. But that doesn't mean they weren't supernatural, since they happened in spite of nature, ordered by God who 'holds back the spirit of princes,' and who 'rules and governs the hearts of kings.'

Habitual Prayer

Even though there's continual communication between God and our Soul, the habit of praying needs to be reinforced by establishing routine times, places and occasions to pray. We need to give ourselves time to pray, and set aside regular times for prayer. First thing in the morning when we get out of bed, we need to seek God and lay our day and all its anxieties, hopes and desires out before Him with a reverent attitude and attentive mind. We need to bring those we love before God for His blessing. We need to ask God to help people who are sorrowing, have needs, are sick or in trouble. As the habit of praying becomes established, we'll begin to feel compelled to go out and provide help for those we pray for even before we finish our prayer.

Every time we hear about war, hunger, ignorance, crime,

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or misery, we'll be quick to pray. As we pray, our love for all people will grow, and we'll think of many ways to help. We'll remember Jesus's caution against praying with too many words, for 'God is in heaven and we're on the earth.' So, before we begin our prayer, we'll reflect on what we want to say.

'You are coming before a King
Large requests you may bring.'

But we need to remember that our requests should be thought out with purpose, and they should be combined with a strong desire on our part. It's true that,

'Prayer is the breathing of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The glancing upward of an eye
When none but God is near.'

But that doesn't mean we can neglect planned and purposeful meetings with God that make our Soul feel free like a bird stretching its wings.

'Watch and pray.'

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Chapter 5 - Thanksgiving

Where Are The Other Nine?

God said, 'Whoever offers Me thanks and praise, he honors Me.' We're taken aback to realize that it's up to us to add honor to the Supreme God--yet we often don't put our praise and thanks into words.

'Weren't there ten healed? Where are the other nine?' Sadly, we're often just like those nine poor, pitiful men who received so much and gave nothing in return, not even a thank you. We should take note that 'the ungrateful and evil' are paired together in the list of lost souls that we find in the book of Revelation. We do have moments when we're thankful and we say,

'When my soul rises, My God,
And sees all Your tender mercies,
I'm transported by the thought, and lost
In wonder, love and praise.'

But our mistake and great failure is that we don't take stock of the blessings in our lives that make us grateful and 'transport us' with wonder, love and praise. We neglect praising God partly because we're too preoccupied with some stress or problem of the moment, and partly because of the stubborn way we turn away from God

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that puts us in danger. We need to set aside time to take stock of our lives and count our blessings, even if it's only on Sundays, or, even less often, even if it's only during the major holidays.

'My Soul Rises and Sees'

Life is so good, it's so joyous to be outside, even if it's in the streets of a city! It's wonderful to see the sun! It's good to enjoy health, even if we're not well and can only enjoy the small bit of health we have. All the sweet aspects of family life, the love of family members, the kindness of our neighbors, the love of our friends is so good and warm. It's good to be part of a great country and to share in all her interests and concerns. It's good to belong to the world of humanity and to recognize that anything that concerns others, also concerns us. How wonderful to have books, art and music! How enjoyable knowledge is! How delicious our food is! How comfortable our clothes are! How refreshing our sleep is, and how joyful to wake up!

The Soul that considers all these things, and a thousand other good things in its routine life, is indeed a 'Soul that rises and sees,' rising to God the Father, who 'knows that we need these things,' and the heart overflows with love, forcing the Soul to express thanks and praise. Even an occasional act of thanksgiving like this can make our life seem sweeter. Spontaneous thanksgiving rises up out of us every day and every hour. We might say a prayer of thanks for a kind look we received, or a beautiful poem, or an enjoyable book, as naturally as we might give thanks for a good dinner. In fact, more so, because 'man doesn't live by bread alone.'

We Honor God by Thanking Him

But we tend to think so little of ourselves. It doesn't seem to us like it matters whether we thank God or not for all of the surprising sweet gifts and blessings that He gives us.

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In fact, we never would have known that it mattered at all, except that God, using the sympathetic grace that most earthly parents don't show, told us that He's honored by our thanks! It seems impossible that we could add anything to God, much less add to His honor! This is a great opportunity--let's give thanks!

Most of us probably fall on our knees to thank God for special requests that we've begged God to provide for us as a loving Father--perhaps the healing of a loved one who was sick, or to have some stressful problem taken care of, or to open up an opportunity that we longed for. When God blesses us with these kinds of graces, we're generous and unreserved in our thanks. But the habit of continually being grateful is more than that.

'I don't want to be thankful just when I feel like it,
As if Your blessings had days to spare.
I want a heart that beats with
Praise for You.'
-- from Herbert

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Chapter 6 - Praise

Our dull souls can be slow to think--but they're even slower to praise, because praise demands an ability to appreciate with discrimination, reflection and thankfulness.

We all know how distressed painters and musicians get when they get compliments from people who don't understand their work, but they're thrilled to get a word of discriminating praise from someone who knows what they're talking about. They're honored. And that's the kind of honor that God wants from us.

The Church has always sung, 'We praise Thee, Oh, God.' Prophets, persecuted Christians and martyrs have praised God with their lives, and, in some cases, by their deaths. Even today, there are people who devote themselves to lives full of pain and risk to honor God and serve their fellow man. We recognize that they're also living lives of praise to God. Some poets have been given inspiration to write some necessary message, some painters have illustrated 'The Light of the World' for us, or other images of Jesus, like Russian Ivan Kramskoi's picture of Jesus seated in the wilderness. We know that these artists praise God, but they're few and far between. Honest, down-to-earth people who tolerate trials with patience

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or live their appointed lives with a conscious sense that their lives are appointed also praise God. We recognize and revere all of these ways of praising God, but we incompetent common people seem to fail at it ourselves. We're no angels; we have no harps or halos.

But the responsibility of praising isn't only for occasional events or rare circumstances. The responsibility is waiting at our doorstep every day. We never would have dared to presume that the Great Craftsman, like every skilled artist, loves it when others recognize the beauty, perfection and harmony of the work He creates. It's so good to know this about God. It draws Him nearer to us by making us as humans more able to relate to Him. The Psalms says, 'The merciful and gracious God has made His wonderful works to be remembered.' [Psa 111:4] He never got tired of telling how 'the heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies show His handiwork' [Psa 19:1] and 'He feeds the young ravens when they cry out to Him' [Psa 147:9] and 'All the trees of the field clap their hands.' [Isaiah 55:12] We see all of these things, but David did more than see them. These things sang in his heart to a continual hymn of praise. He knew how to honor God with praise, and the Bible says that he was man after God's own heart.

Discoverers Give Us New Reasons to Praise

Every era seems to have its own prophets. They might be painters, poets, or whatever, whose task is to lead their culture in praise. Perhaps in our day, it's scientists who have been promoted to this high honor. And they reveal so much for us to praise! We are correct in calling those kinds of men discoverers because their scientific findings were already there. they didn't create

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them, but they were allowed to discover them and then share them with the rest of us. Every day there's some new reason for us to wonder, admire, and praise because some previously unknown great concept has been revealed. These new discoveries are mighty displays of God's power, and scientists today understand that divine power is behind all the workings of nature.

Imagine ships in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that can communicate without any visible cables or wires to the land a thousand miles away! And the potential and laws that make this possible have always been there, known by God, but only recently have been discovered by a man who was prepared. What other secrets might still be hidden, just waiting for us to be ready to discover them? So many amazing discoveries have been opened up to us just in the last few years! A sense of God's existence permeates all of nature. 'How excellent Your works are, Oh God! You have made them all in Your wisdom. The earth is full of Your treasures!' 'The person who gives thanks and praise is the one who honors Me.' Let's not neglect to lift our offering of praise to our God every day.

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Chapter 7 - Faith in God

'Just Believe'

'My duty towards God is to believe in Him.' That's our main duty, the priority of our lives. Without that, the other duties don't seem to count much.

As a girl, I was told, much to my great annoyance and sadness, 'just believe.' If I'd been told, 'Just fly,' I might not have been able to fly, but at least I would have known exactly what was expected of me. But 'just believe' is meaningless. Of course I believed, in the same way that I believe something like, yesterday was Wednesday Oct 5, or there was a Queen Elizabeth, or Pharaoh ruled in Egypt. These things, and a thousand other things, weren't things I ever bothered to doubt. I believed them as a matter of course. But--to believe in God?

Of course I believed that God existed, but what difference could that make? I had the awareness that belief of that kind wasn't part of my life, but I didn't know any other way to believe.

Confusion of this kind undoubtedly troubles many people who are persuaded that their duty is to believe in God. It's my duty towards God, and I have to do it for myself. No one can do it for me and

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nobody can give me any real help in doing it. No one can give me faith. But it's possible for some people to give me some guidance. We're told that 'faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God.' In other words, faith in God comes in the same way that faith in a friend does--with knowledge. We trust our friend because we know him. Because we know him, we believe in him. Faith, trust, confidence and belief are all the same thing.

Faith in People

If we said that we believed in a person we hardly knew anything about, like the Emperor of Korea, we'd sound like a fool. Yet sometimes we do say that we believe in a particular politician or preacher or whatever. In fact, the entire government and finance are all carried out on a huge system of trust and mutual belief. We might say, 'as safe as the Bank of America,' but even the Bank of America operates on a system of credit. We send members to the House of Representatives based on our belief in them. Members of families believe in each other, and, if jealousy or mistrust develops between parents and children or husband and wife, it's an exception to the norm--a disgraceful exception to the general law of family trust.

The same is true of dishonesty and corruption in routine sales transactions and public trust. Sometimes it happens, but they're shameful exceptions. In general, we live by having faith in each other. The common trust we share comes from common knowledge. Experiencing the world and life itself teaches us faith. Only bitter, bad-tempered people base their judgments on the exceptions, agreeing with the Psalmist in his darkest mood that 'all people are liars.'

There are two kinds of faith that we exercise towards others--a general faith we give to people

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and institutions which comes from general knowledge and experiences, and the kind of intimate, specific faith we put in people we think we know very well. That faith is love. In the same way, there are two kinds of faith we can have in God. There's a general faith that trusts that God is in control, everything is for the best in His plan, God will provide, and that He will have mercy on us.

We can analyze the kind of faith we have by asking ourselves honestly if our faith is the same as love. Does our heart feel a thrill of joy when we even think about God, crying out, 'I will arise and go to my Father' in the same way that our heart springs up and wants to be with a person we love and believe in? If we don't really love God, then we don't believe, because faith doesn't happen to us by accident, or even naturally. When we trust our friends, we're recognizing whatever nobility and beauty there is within them. This is the kind of faith we owe to God. From our knowledge, we recognize that He is Love and Truth and Light and the One our heart cries out to, saying, 'Who do I have in heaven except You? There's no one on earth that I want as much as You.' (From the Prayer Book version of the Psalms.)

Faith is an Act of the Will

We've already discussed the way to get to know God. Faith is the action of the Will that we use to choose Him once we've learned to know Him. Love develops from faith, and service is the result of that love. It's hardly possible to define the different ways in which a Christian heart expresses its desire for God. 'Like the deer desires water from the brook, that's the way my soul longs for You, God.' (from the Prayer Book version of the Psalms.) There we find knowledge, faith and love.

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This is Not Optional

What I want to emphasize is that this attitude of the Soul isn't an option. It's required of us, an obligation of duty that we owe. We can't claim that we don't know, because it's been revealed to us in the Bible. And we can hardly say that we don't believe that revelation. Its truth maintains the ultimate test--it reveals to us the God that our souls need, and find complete satisfaction in. 'His ways are all pleasant, and His paths are all peace.' To say we don't believe is nothing less than an act of blatant insubordination, and an act of disloyalty. It's worse than being unfaithful in a human relationship because God means more to us and is closer to us than anyone else.

People satisfy their consciences and feel like they've met all of their Christian responsibility when they do their duty towards their neighbor. But we don't have the right to pick and choose one part of the law to do, doing the one that's less important and neglecting what's more important--our responsibility to personally know God, and to have faith in Him, love Him and serve Him. We're supposed to do these things directly, not indirectly by serving our fellow man. We're supposed to take care of both responsibilities. It's my duty, and my duty towards God is my first priority.

I don't have space in a small book like this to discuss all the aspects of the Christian faith, even if I were to use something concise like the Apostles' Creed.

We talk about 'the Creed' casually and assume that we understand it--until one of its Articles is challenged by skeptics, and then another one is disputed by critics. And then we have no answer, so we secretly write off one clause after another and plan to hold onto what's left. It might help to know that none of the articles of the Creed is supposed to appeal to our Reason. We know as little

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about the Creation as we do about the Incarnation, and as little about forgiveness of sins as the resurrection of the body. It's all a mystery, something that's impossible for a human heart to comprehend without divine revelation.

'The mystery of Godliness is great. God became a man, was proved to be genuine in the spirit, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed in the world, and then was received up into glory.' [1 Tim 3:16] What a desolate, dreary place we'd be in if our spirits were limited to only what they could understand! But we shouldn't assume that mystery is limited to religion, and that everything else is obvious and within our understanding. The great things in life, birth, death, hope, love, patriotism, what makes a leaf green, why birds have feathers--all of these kinds of things are mysteries. It's only when we're able to accept things we can't understand, and know that certain things are true even if we can't prove them, and when we can tell the difference between a brilliant mystery and a mystifying superstition, that we'll be able to live the full life that God created us for.

There's one thing we need to be sure we grasp, and that's a clear concept of what Christianity is. Christianity doesn't mean 'being good' or serving our fellow man. There are lots of people who do those things even better than we do, and still don't accept the Lordship of Jesus. A Christian has an awareness that Jesus is a Savior Who's always there, nearby whenever we're in danger or in need. A Christian is aware that Jesus is the King, and that we belong to Him, and a Christian is happy to serve Him. Christ rules our destiny and appoints the duties we needs to do. It's a wonderful thing to be owned, and Jesus Christ owns us. He is our Chief, and we love to honor and serve Him. He's our Savior, the One Who

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delivers us. He's our Friend and He treasures us. He's our King and He blesses us with His reign. Christianity only seems possible for those who fully recognize that Jesus is God.

Let's cry out with St. Augustine,

'Take my heart, because I'm unable to give it to You!
Keep my heart, because I'm not capable of keeping it for You.'


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Appendix

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Discussion Questions

BOOK I

Chapter 1 - The Country of Mansoul

No Questions

Chapter 2 - The Perils Of Mansoul

1. Who is to blame for these perils?
2. What kind of danger does laziness pose to Mansoul?
3. What causes fires in Mansoul?
4. What causes plague, flood, and famine?
5. What happens when there's dissent?
6. What makes darkness chill and soak Mansoul?
7. Can it be prevented?
8. What conditions are needed for things to go well in Mansoul?

Chapter 3 - The Government of Mansoul

1. Why is being born like inheriting a huge, beautiful estate?
2. What or who governs Mansoul ?

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3. Name some of the officers of state.
4. Name the four Houses where these officers sit.
5. Are these different parts of a person?

PART I - The House Of The Body

Chapter 1 - The Assistants Of The Body: Hunger

1. What is the work of the appetites?
2. When does an appetite become harmful?
3. How does hunger behave?
4. What's the difference between between hunger and gluttony?
5. How can gluttony to be avoided?

Chapter 2 - The Assistants Of The Body: Thirst

1. Why do we get thirsty? What is the drink that thirst likes?
2. What are some effects of drunkenness?
3. Why do some people abstain from even tasting alcohol?

Chapter 3 - The Assistants Of The Body: Restlessness and Rest

1. What is the purpose of restlessness?
2. How can it be harmful?
3. Explain how rest and work should alternate.
4. When does rest turn into Sloth?

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Chapter 4 - Assistants of the Body: Chastity

1. How can we control our appetites?
2. How is Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil a good way to illustrate chastity?
3. What does 'Blessed are the pure in heart' mean regarding chastity?
4. What is a heroic reason to stay pure?
5. Where does slavery to our appetites begin?
6. How do we rule our thoughts?

Chapter 5 - The Attendants Of The Body: The Five Senses

1. What are the two reasons that we need to watch our senses?
2. What are the uses, and what is the danger of the sense of taste?
3. Explain how we don't always get the most use or pleasure from our sense of smell.
4. How can we practice using our sense of smell?
5. What kind of information does the sense of touch give us?
6. Explain by the 'touch of the blind,' a 'kind touch,' etc., how the sense of touch can be cultivated.
7. What kind of practice helps to develop the sense of touch?
8. Why is it good to have little things to put up with?
9. Explain how sight brings half our joy.
10. How can we learn to see more?
11. What kind of joy and what knowledge should we get from our sense of hearing?
12. How can we develop a hearing ear for music?

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PART II - The House of the Mind

Chapter 1 - Ourselves

1. Explain how speaking of 'ourselves' is like saying 'the sun rises.'
2. Self-reverence depends on what?
3. Explain why we need self-knowledge before we can have self-reverence.
4. Explain why we need to know ourselves before we can control ourselves.

Chapter 2 - My Lord Intellect

1. What is the Intellect's purpose?
2. How is science is a vast and joyous region?
3. How does imagination help in the region of science?
4. Compare history to old movies.
5. How does history make our world seem bigger?
6. How are we making history?
7. Explain why imagination is necessary for us to appreciate history.
8. What part of our intellect usually goes along to mathematics?
9. What makes mathematics so satisfying?
10. Why do we need to learn about philosophy?
11. What are some of the advantages of literature?
12. What parts of the intellect need to join in our visits to the kingdom of literature?

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13. Give three ways to test literature.
14. What are some of the purposes of the Beauty sense?
15. How can we tell the difference between art and imitation art?
16. How can we encourage our intellect to continue growing?
17. What are some things that extinguish our intellect?

Chapter 3 - The Demons Of The Intellect

1. What effect does laziness have on our intellectual life?
2. Why shouldn't we stay in one field of thought?
3. Describe your idea of a magnanimous mind.

Chapter 4 - My Lord Chief Explorer, Imagination

1. What is our imagination for?
2. How does cultivating our imagination help us?
3. What two areas does Imagination need to stay away from?
4. What can we do to keep our Imagination from focusing on Self?
5. What kinds imaginings do we need to avoid?
6. How can we keep things from harming our imagination?

Chapter 5 - The Beauty Sense

1. How does exclusiveness tempt people who enjoy beauty?
2. Where is the person who gives himself up to Beauty mistaken?
3. Explain how the Beauty Sense opens a paradise of pleasure.

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Chapter 6 - My Lord Chief Attorney-General, Reason

1. How is reason like an advocate?
2. Follow the paths of reasoning that can bring any two people to different conclusions.
3. Trace a possible path of reasoning of a good man.
4. Show the part reason plays in good works and great inventions.
5. What is meant by common sense?
6. Try to imagine the train of reasoning of the man who made the first wheelbarrow.
7. Why have some people put Reason on a pedestal?
8. Explain why equally good, sensible people sometimers come to opposite conclusions.
9. How does this prove that reason can bring us to wrong conclusions?
10. Show how an error of thought can lead to crime.
11. Why is reason almost infallible in math?
12. Explain how we're entrusted to use the power of reasoning for good purposes.
13. Explain how reason justifies whatever notions have been accepted by the will.
14. Why are there different schools of philosophy?
15. What kind of reasoning practice should children have?

Chapter 7 - Managers of the Revenue, The Desires (Part 1)

1. Compare the work that the desires do with the work the appetites do.
2. How does the desire for approval help us?

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3. Explain how vanity can do harm in our lives.
4. Explain how the desires for infamy and of fame come from the same source.
5. What does the desire to excel do in someone like a hockeyplayer?
6. How does this desire help him?
7. How can the desire to excel be bad in education?
8. What's the danger of wanting to excel at unworthy things?
9. How does the desire for wealth help mankind?
10. What are the risks of the desire for wealth?
11. How can we avoid the desire to have worthless things?
12. How can the desire for power be useful?
13. What are the dangers of desiring power?
14. How are 'managing' kinds of people harmful to those around them?

Chapter 8 - Managers of the Revenue, The Desires (Part 2)

1. Explain how the desire for community works in most people.
2. What benefit to the mind comes from other people?
3. But on what conditions?
4. Explain how the company of any good person is a useful opportunity.
5. What are two reasons why the love of company can be harmful?
6. How do we lose out by refusing to spend time with anyone who's different from us?
7. Which of the desires is to the mind what hunger is to the body?

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8. What's the difference between the desire for knowledge, and idle curiosity?
9. Explain how the mind needs knowledge about great matters to feed on and grows.
10. Explain how the love for knowledge can be extinguished by a desire to excel.
11. How do grades influence our desire for knowledge?
12. When we know that all normal people have the same intellectual abilities that we do, how should that influence us?
13. Explain how the duty of managing our thoughts comes from our possession of these intellectual abilities.

PART III - The House of Heart

Lords Of The Heart: I. Love

Chapter 1 - The Ways Of Love

1. What are the two kinds of love?
2. Mention some of the ways in which love is shown.
3. Do we know how much love is possible for a human being?
4. Why is self-love necessary?
5. When is love false love?
6. Describe another kind of false love.
7. Name four tests that help us recognize real love.
8. What is the Apostle's rule about love?
9. What are love's opposite feelings?
10. Why do we sometimes feel those things?
11. What is the one part of the Lord's Prayer that has a condition attached to it?

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Chapter 2 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Pity

1. Explain how pity is in every heart.
2. Name a few knights and ladies of pity.
3. Explain how idle sympathy is a snare.
4. Name a few reasons why people feel sorry for themselves.
5. How is this habit dangerous?
6. What are two ways of defending ourselves from this danger?

Chapter 3 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Goodwill

1. What does goodwill help us to do.
2. What makes it possible to sincerely like any person?
3. Explain a person is more than their faults.
4. How will recognizing that fact influence us?
5. What's the difference between goodwill and good-nature?
6. What are the characteristics of a person who has goodwill?
7. Name six enemies of goodwill, and tell what they do.

Chapter 4 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Sympathy

1. Explain how sympathy for one person helps us to understand other people.
2. How should this fact influence the way we deal with people that we think are on a different intellectual level?
3. How do poets, painters, and other artists raise the rest of the world?
4. Our sympathy is only helpful when what happens?
5. What are the results of imitation empathy?

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6. Explain how tact is a way of showing empathy.
7. Explain how self-occupation destroys empathy.
8. What are the active and the passive forms of Ego?

Chapter 5 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Thoughtfulness

1. What does thoughtfulness do for others?
2. Discuss the kindness of courtesy.
3. Explain how there can be no kindness without singlemindedness.
4. Discuss a current method that's supposed to help children be thoughtful.
5. What is the most generous kind of thoughtfulness of all?
6. Explain how the opposite behaviour is one of the main reasons for unhappiness in the world.

Chapter 6 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Magnanimity

1. Explain how gracious impulses are common to everyone.
2. Explain how generosity has no patience for base smart alecks and suspicious 'wisdom.'
3. Explain how generosity is costly but has its own reward.
4. Explain how a generous person's concerns are fairly divided.
5. Name a few false ideas that restrain generosity.
6. What rule of life does a generous person follow?

Chapter 7 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Gratitude

1. Why does gratitude give us pleasure?
2. How do we sometimes miss the joy of being grateful?

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3. When a person receives a small kindness, what are the two ways he can respond?
4. Why does a grateful heart always give a full return ?
5. How can we escape the shame of ingratitude?
6. Do we owe gratitude only to those who are present and living?

Chapter 8 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Courage

1. Explain how we all have the courage to attack.
2. What are the demons that suppress courage?
3. Explain how we all have the courage to endure.
4. Explain how panic, anxiety, and shameful fear are possible for any of us.
5. Explain how knowing that we have all the courage we'll ever need can help us to be calm.
6. Explain how we can have the courage to deal with our circumstances, and how that helps us not to be anxious.
7. Explain the problem of not having the courage to stick to our opinions.
8. How can we be sure that our opinions are truly our own?
9. Discuss the courage of being open.
10. How much should we hold back?
11. Explain our duty to give kind, gentle correction.
12. Explain why it takes courage to confess.
13. What limits should we put on our confessions?
14. How does the courage of confidence help us?
15. Explain how intellectual panic results in many failures.
16. What is your understanding of the courage to seize opportunity?

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Chapter 9 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Loyalty

1. Why should our young years be devoted to loyalty and chivalry?
2. What is the test of loyalty?
3. Explain how our loyalties are already determined for us.
4. What are your thoughts about loyalty to our king?
5. What are your thoughts about loyalty to our own people?
6. What do you think about people who prefer to be loyal to foreign kings or countries?
7. Explain how public opinion is responsible for anarchy.
8. What does loyalty to our country demand of us?
9. What is required from us in order to be ready for these demands?
10. What are some ways that we can serve our country?
11. Why is loyalty to a chief the secret of 'dignified obedience and proud submission?'
12. What are some ways that we show loyalty to personal ties?
13. How is a mind that's constant the essence of all loyalties?
14. Are all of our loyalties due for life?
15. When we need to break ties with a boss or someone we take care of, how should the break be made?
16. Why does loyalty needs to be thorough?
17. What kind of loyalty do we owe to our principles?
18. What are loyalty's enemies?

Chapter 10 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Humility

1. Why is the pride of life the worst of men's stumbling blocks?.
2. What two kinds of humility do we have?
3. How do we devalue humility?

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4. Why is humility an unpopular Christian trait?
5. Explain how exalting ourselves makes us prone to resentful attitudes.
6. How is humility the same as simplicity?
7. What makes us fall from humility?
8. Why shouldn't we try to be humble?

Chapter 11 - Love's Lords In Waiting: Cheerfulness

1. Why is there no excuse for not being cheerful?
2. Explain how joy can flow even in sorrow and pain.
3. Explain how cheerfulness can be contagious.
4. Explain how joy can be a continual fountain.
5, Why, then, are some people dragging, pale, dull and weary?
6. Explain how gladness is a duty.

Lords Of The Heart: II. Justice

Chapter 12 - Justice is Universal

1. Explain why we must know the functions of love and justice.
2. Why does everyone understand when something isn't fair?
3. How do we exhibit fairness (a) in what we say, (b) in our thoughts, (c) in what we do?
4. In what kinds of ways do we need to be fair and just with others?
5. How do we know what we owe to others regarding justice?
6. What knowledge can encourage us as we try to be fair to all people?
7. When it comes to our own rights, what are we owed?

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Chapter 13 - Justice To Others

1. How do we begin to understand our duty to be just and fair to others?
2. Explain why thinking fairly requires knowledge and consideration.
3. How does ungentleness cause someone else to be physically hurt?
4. How is courtesy a matter of justice?
5. Explain why we shouldn't think bad things about other people.
6. Explain the way we show fairness to the character of others.
7. Which of Justice's servants helps us to be fair to the character of others?
8. How does prejudice interfere with justice?
9. Explain how we owe respect to all people.
10. What defect in ourselves interferes with our ability to show respect?
11. Explain how respect needs to be balanced by discernment.
12. How does appreciation show justice?
13. Why is depreciation unjust?

Chapter 14 - Truth: Justice In Word

1. What is one of the ways we can discern truth?
2. Describe Botticelli's painting 'Calumny.'
3. What does the painting teach us?
4. How did Wesley say is the difference between lying and slandering?
5. What was envy considered in the Middle Ages?
6. What is the danger of hearing and reading Slander?

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7. What has happened to the fanatic?
8. How does Francis Bacon describe 'the sovereign good'?

Chapter 15 - Spoken Truth

1. What is accuracy?
2. Explain why we shouldn't qualify what we say.
3. Why isn't painstaking meticulous detail the same as accuracy?
4. Why is exaggeration wrong as well as foolish?
5. Why is it not truthful draw generalizations from only one or two experiences?
6. What are the temptations of telling a good story?
7. Tell the difference between essential and accidental truth.
8. Show the value of fiction regarding essential and accidental truth.
9. How does fiction affect our passions, and even our religion?
10. Distinguish accidental and essential truth in some Bible stories.
11. Which of the two is more important, and why?

Chapter 16 - Some Causes Of Lying

1. What kind of lies are told to make a person's friends think less of him?
2. Discuss cowardly lies.
3. Explain how the habit of being too reserved to share things is related to the falsehood of concealing truth.
4. What's wrong with boastful lies?
5. What's the harm with adventurous lies?
6. Explain why we need to be truthful even with our opponents.
7. What four attendants serve Truth?

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Chapter 17 - Integrity: Justice In Action

1. Explain how a 'Go easy' policy is dishonest.
2. By what standard is every person's work judged?
3. How are we all paid workers?
4. Explain how integrity grows slowly.
5. Why is 'Do The Next Thing' a part of integrity?
6. Why is doing the most important thing a part of integrity?
7. Why is finishing what we've begun a part of integrity?
8. Explain how drifters and dawdlers lack integrity.
9. Explain how people who steal time lacks integrity.
10. Why is it important to be honest in the use of resources?
11. How does this principle apply to small debts?
12. How does this principle apply to bargain shopping?
13. How does this principle apply to the way we treat our neighbours' property?

Chapter 18 - Opinions: Justice In Thought

1. Give examples of opinions that are worthless for three different reasons.
2. What kind of opinion is worth having?
3. Why do we need to have opinions at all?
4. What's the difference between a faddist and a reformer?
5. List a few things that we need to form opinions about.
6. Why should we work to to form opinions about books?
7. What sort of books are of lasting value to us, and why?
8. Give six things to remember about forming opinions.

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Chapter 19 - Principles: Justice In Our Motives

1. Why are our principles called 'principles'?
2. Explain how principles cany be bad or good.
3. How can we tell the difference between bad and good principles?
4. Our principles rule everything we do. What is important about choosing our principles?

Chapter 20 - Justice To Ourselves: Self-Control

1. What is our duty towards our own bodies?
2. What are some ways of being excessive?
3. Explain how soberness includes more than not drinking.
4. What tendency leads to the four paths to personal destruction?
5. What happens to friends at the parting of the ways?
6. Why does the alcohol drink?
7. What is the alcoholic's fate?
8. In what sense may we say that God puts us on our honor when it comes to self-indulgence?
9. How is excitement a kind of intoxication?
10. Explain how gluttony is as disgusting as drunkenness.
11. Discuss how interests in life safeguard us against bad habits.
12. What is a common symptom of laziness, and what is the cure?
13. Of the four paths to ruin, which one is the worst?
14. What caution and what command should help to safeguard us?

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PART IV - Careers

1. What do people want to be the kind of work they end up doing?
2. How is it possible to prepare for our calling when we don't even know yet what it will be?
3. How can we get the habit of being useful?
4. How does the rule about habit help us or hurt us?
5. A specific calling comes to each of us. What must we do to prepare ourselves for it?


Discussion Questions

BOOK II

Introduction

1. How is the body kept healthy, and how is it ruined?
2. What abilities does the mind have to deal with knowledge?
3. What functions serve the same purpose for the mind that the appetites serve for the body?
4. Name some of the virtues related to love, and some of the virtues related to justice.
5. Which virtues are related to the justice that we owe to our own bodies?
6. Why do the body, heart, and mind need governing?
7. What are the governing powers?

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Part I - The Conscience

Chapter 1 - The Court Of Appeal

1. In what ways is conscience like a judge in a court of law?
2. Conscience continually bears witness of what two or three facts?
3. Why is it possible for conscience to give wrong judgments?
4. Which ability is used to tamper with conscience?
5. Why is it necessary for the conscience to be educated?

Chapter 2 - Teaching the Conscience

1. What teachers does the conscience depend on to teach it?
2. What's the educational value of history and biography?
3. What's the educational value of the Bible in teaching morals?
4. How does poetry teach us?
5. Why is the teaching of older novels and plays to be preferred?

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Chapter 3 - Conscience's Rulings In The House Of The Body: Moderation

1. Give two or three examples from literature of immoderation in eating.
2. Give two or three examples from literature of immoderation in drinking.
3. Give two or three examples from literature of immoderation in relaxing.
4. Give two or three examples from literature of immoderation in day-dreaming.
5. What is Carlyle's advice about work?
6. What principle is moderation based on?
7. Why shouldn't we be careless about our health?
8. Explain how neglecting our health is a form of immoderation.
9. Give a few rules for the managng of our physical health.
10. Why do we need clear principles about our duty regarding our health?

Chapter 4 - The Rulings of Conscience in the House of the Body: Purity (Part 1)

1. How do overly attached friendships affect the purity of our soul?
2. 'Yet what have I done wrong?' What lesson can we learn from this question of King Edward II.'s?
3. Why aren't we free to give ourselves with unlimited abandon?

Chapter 5 - The Rulings Of the Conscience In the House Of The Body: Purity (Part 2)

1. Give some examples of sensible and sincere friendships.
2. What rules for self-management are illustrated in each of them?
3. What two kinds of friends have a right to our loyalty?

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Chapter 6 - The Rulings of Conscience in the House of the Body: Purity (part 3)

1. Show the effect of devious flirtations.
2. What habit prepares the way?
3. Which monster of our nature do we not want to be in a death-grapple with?
4. How can we keep ourselves safe from this?
5. How can we keep 'a pure heart in work and will'?

Chapter 7 - The Rulings of the Conscience in the House of the Body: Fortitude

1. Describe Botticelli's 'Fortitude.'
2. How did Isaiah give us an image of fortitude?
3. Use two or three examplesto show that there is an element of kindness in fortitude.
4. Explain how Sir Kenneth in The Talisman illustrates an example of fortitude.
5. Give an example of fortitude under distressing troubles.
6. Give an example of cheerful, serviceable fortitude.
7. What about wearing a 'black ribbon' when things go wrong?
8. Show that fortitude is a physical virtue.
9. What did the Apostle Paul say regarding fortitude?

Chapter 8 - The Rulings of the Conscience in the House of the Body: Prudence

1. Show why imprudence is the same selfishness.
2. Why do we need prudence in everything we do?

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3. Why do we need prudence in the choice of our friends?
4. How does prudence deal with undue influence?
5. Explain how prudence prefers simplicity to luxury.
6. Explain why prudent citizens are a society's most valuable asset.
7. How does prudence the way we furnish our surroundings?
8. How was the Scripture, 'My servant will deal prudently,' fulfilled?

Chapter 9 - Opinions in the Air

1. What part of our lives do we tend to think is exempt from the judgment of conscience?
2. Show the danger of casual opinions.
3. How does a fallacy work?
4. Give four rules that should help us in the matter of opinions.

Chapter 10 - The Untaught Conscience

1. Show that, in everyone, conscience is persistent about some issues.
2. What causes moral instability? Who tends to be morally unstable?
3. Show, by example, how an entire nation can be unstable.
4. Illustrate the danger of a compelling idea.
5. What are some of the dangers of moral ignorance?

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6. Show that painstaking over-vigilance is a result of ignorance.
7. What moral advantage does an instructed conscience have over an uninstructed conscience?

Chapter 11 - The Instructed Conscience

1. Give some examples to show that sensible moral judgment is a valuable asset.
2. What's the difference between the ability to form moral judgments, and the ability to live a virtuous life?
3. How can we to get the ability to form moral judgments?

Chapter 12 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: Poetry, Novels and Essays

1. Show that the ability of poetry to educate the conscience does not depend on its direct teaching.
2. Explain the gradual way in which Shakespeare influences us.
3. For what purpose should we read novels, and what sort of novels should we read?
4. Why are essays useful for teaching us?

Chapter 13 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: History and Philosophy

1. Why is history important to us now more than ever?
2. What's the difference between an informed and an ignorant patriot?

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3. Show why we need to know some philosophy.
4. How should we reach our convictions?
5. Illustrate that using Columbus as an example.
6. How may we tell the difference between a true 'message' and a fanatical notion?
7. How can we safeguard ourselves regarding philosophy?

Chapter 14 - Some of Conscience's Instructors: Theology

1. Why do most people live poor, crippled lives?
2. Contrast Jesus's method of teaching with most other methods.
3. Why are our Lord's sayings 'hard' intellectually, as well as morally?
4. 'They sit in darkness.' Who sits in darkness, and why?
5. What harm is there in entertaining questions of criticism?
6. Do we have any indications that we are declining from the knowledge of God?
7. What is the one question that really matters for all of us?
8. When are the little devotional books we use for spiritual stimulation unhealthy?
9. What should we bear in mind regarding the authors of the Scriptures?
10. What should we look for in the lives of men as told in the Bible?
11. How is the revelation contained in the Bible unique?
12. What two laws seem to apply to the revelations that God gives to the world?
13. What should we keep in mind to safeguard us from the 'Lo, here!' of each novel spiritual happening?
14. How will be come to know the difference between the merely human and the inspired elements in the Bible?

vol 4 paraphrase pg 229

15. How can we discern the essential truth in Scripture?
16. How the loss of life that shocks us in some Bible stories paralleled in our own day?
17. How can we explain the mystery of why God allows so many people to die?
18. Why do we need to set aside our prejudices and misconceptions regarding the Bible?
19. What is the penalty for ignorance about God?
20. Explain why the tendency to think of God as a 'permissive' Parent is wrong.
21. Why is every little detail of Jesus that's recorded in the Gospels precious to us?
22. Use any argument you can think of to respond to the statement that 'miracles don't happen.'
23. Show that the words of Jesus are more amazing than the miracles of the Gospels.
24. Why shouldn't we accept the modern tendency to question Resurrection and the Incarnation?
25. What danger is concealed in trivial doubts?
26. How can you explain an attitude that over-analyzes, hyper-scrutinizes and clings to every challenge to the Bible?

Chapter 15 - Some Instructors of Conscience: Nature, Science, Art

1. Show that there is no excuse for ignorance about the things of nature.
2. In what two ways does nature approach us?
3. Explain how nature teaches us our duty towards God.
4. Explain how nature moves us to gratitude.

vol 4 paraphrase pg 230

5. How has our modern preoccupation of mind shut out this teaching from us?
6. What does science teach the conscience?
7. What is the difference between science and scientific information?
8. What duty is laid upon our conscience regarding science?
9. What duty is laid upon our conscience regarding art?
10. What frame of mind should we have when we consider art?

Chapter 16 - Some of Conscience's Teachers: Sociology, Self-Knowledge

1. Why do we need to understand how other people live?
2. Why is casual help usually a hindrance?
3. What are the conditions of helpfulness?
4. What kind of knowledge about ourselves is wisdom?
5. What's so great about human nature?

Chapter 17 - Conviction of Sin

1. What is the conscience's job?
2. What convictions seem to be common to all men?
3. Explain how religion is no substitute for an educated conscience.
4. Name three mental habits that can limit the conscience.
5. Explain how uneasiness of conscience proves that sin is wrong.
6. How do our sins of omission affect us?
7. Explain why the conscience's rebuke is something to be thankful for.

vol 4 paraphrase pg 231

Chapter 18 - Temptation

1. How does temptation come upon us?
2. Where does temptation come from?
3. What is the secret of heroic lives?
4. How is a reliable spirit trained?
5. What is our role in not entering into temptation?
6. Is it possible for penitence to become an obstacle?
7. What is the proper role of penitence?
8. What does, 'I believe in the forgiveness of sins' mean?

Chapter 19 - Duty and Law

1. Why is it wrong to do wrong?
2. What is 'wrong'?
3. In what different ways have people answered these questions?
4. May we excuse wrong-doing because it's 'human nature'?
5. Compare the assured peace of an enlightened Christian conscience with the uneasiness of superstition.
6. Why is it a delight to understand and to fulfil the law?

Part II - The Will

Chapter 1 - The Will-less Life

1. Explain how conscience, love, intellect, reason, can sometimes behave foolishly and unworthily.

vol 4 paraphrase pg 232

2. What abolity within us has the job of managing the rest?
3. Show that it is possible to live without ever exercising the will.

Chapter 2 - The Will And Willfulness

1. Explain how willful people can have various dispositions.
2. What is the common characteristic of willful people? Give examples.
3. What is the difference between wilfulness and of will?
4. Give some examples from Sir Walter Scott of will-power and wilfulness.
5. Classify some people from literature or history on each side of a dividing line--on one side, the wilful people; on the other, people who use their will.
6. Classify some nations that fall on either side of such a line, and explain why they're on one side or the other.
7. What teaching has weakened the will-power of Western nations?
8. What is Jesus's teaching about the Will?

Chapter 3 - The Will Itself Is Neither Moral Nor Immoral

1. Show that will can be used for good or evil ends.
2. Show that a person of will can use evil means for good ends.
3. What's the difference between 'will' and 'an ideal?'
4. What interesting question does Browning raise about the Will?
5. What distinguishes the quality of a person?
6. What six points were discussed concerning the Will?

vol 4 paraphrase pg 233

Chapter 4 - The Will and Its Friends

1. Explain how the will is subject to appeals.
2. Explain how the Will doesn't act alone.
3. What does the Will need to do?
4. When is the Will exercised, and upon what?

Chapter 5 - The Functions of the Will

1. What is the only power that Mansoul has as a free agent?
2. What is the one thing that the Will is able to do?
3. Why is it increasingly difficult for us to make decisions?
4. What is the danger of ready-made clothes and ready-made opinions?
5. Why may we choose only for ourselves, and not for others?
6. How can you reconcile choice and obedience?
7. What's the difference between obedience that's become a habit, and obedience that's a choice.
8. What is it that we're supposed to choose between?

Chapter 6 - The Scope of the Will

1. Show how allowance often passes for deliberate choosing.
2. Compare the difference between Will and allowance in some circumstance, such as when buying clothes.
3. Do we need to make a deliberate choice of Will for every small occasion?

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4. How does the fallacy behind having to have the 'newest and cheapest' lead us astray?
5. What one consummate idea is ours to freely decide?

Chapter 7 - Self-Control, Self-Restraint, Self-Command, Self-Denial

1. What can we say about moral self-improvement for its own sake?
2. How does any obsessive absorption affect others?
3. What's the difference between absorption for a phase, or for a purpose, and self-absorption?
4. Describe a better way than moral self-improvement.
5. Show that what we call 'self-denial' makes it impossible to really love.
6. What kind of self-denial does Jesus require from us?

Chapter 8 - The Effort of Decision

1. How do we try to avoid the effort of making decisions?
2. Sum up the sort of creed that's behind 'Tolerance.'
3. Describe a picture of Ludwig Richter's that shows how 'Providence' and 'freewill' co-operate.
4. How can we tell the difference between a decision of the Will from one of 'making allowances'?
5. A person who uses his Will gathers what two assets during the course of his life?
6. How these serve him in big or little occasions?

vol 4 paraphrase pg 235

Chapter 9 - Intention, Purpose, Resolution

1. Give two or three examples of the sequence ofa resolution.
2. What truth is illustrated by the halos of pictured saints?
3. When does 'influence' become harmful?
4. What sort of influence do we need to safeguard ourselves against?
5. Influence isn't something that comes from how much opportunity a person has, or even how hard they try. Where does our influence stem from?
6. What different acts of the Will are required of us ?

Chapter 10 - A Way Of The Will

1. Sum up what we know about the Will from our reading so far.
2. What advice is there for good-intentioned people who dread temptation?
3. Which gate needs to be guarded?
4. Who are the gate-keepers on guard?
5. Should we fight or run away?
6. What can the will do in times of temptation?
7. Show that the same weapon (what weapon?) applies to intellectual and moral enemy idea.
8. Show how Jesus's condemnation of fallacies proves that opinions should be selected on the basis of moral considerations.

Chapter 11 - Freewill

1. Why is it important to know as much as we can about the behavior of the Will?

vol 4 paraphrase pg 236

2. Sum up the sixteen, or so, points we have tried to make so far.
3. Tell the difference between a person of determined Will and a conventional/mainstream person.
4. What are the only two services that man can choose between?
5. What can we discern about a person of good-will?
6. What did Tennyson say about our Wills?

Part III - The Soul

Chapter 1 - What The Soul is Capable Of

1. 'Sometimes we doubt whether we're finite creatures.' Give four or five reasons why.
2. Explain how our religious thinking has become so poor and ordinary that it colors the way we interpret religion.
3. How are our Soul's needs satisfied by God alone?

Chapter 2 - The Disabilities Of The Soul

1. What are some of the persistent obstacles and deep-rooted diseases of the Soul?
2. How can we tell if our Soul is lazy?
3. What is the cure for this laziness?
4. How does preoccupation affect our relationship with God?
5. Show how our involuntary aversion to God can actually be useful to us.
6. What's the difference between voluntary and involuntary aversion?
7. What the important deliberate choice we make with our Will?

vol 4 paraphrase pg 237

Chapter 3 - The Knowledge of God

1. Under what condition can we have the one satisfying intimacy?
2. Who is this intimacy available to?
3. What are some ways that this divine friendship touches us?
4. Name some of the first ways that we sometimes gain knowledge of God.
5. Explain why the Bible is the immediate source of this kind of knowledge.
6. How is the Bible different from other great ancient writings?
7. Show how proper and necessary the knowledge of God is to the Soul of man.
8. Is this knowledge inevitable?

Chapter 4 - Prayer

1. Describe some of the expressions of spontaneous prayer.
2. What are some of our responses to these?
3. What two requirements of the soul are thus met?
4. What are some of the times and occasions for habitual prayer?
5. How can we serve the world with our habitual prayers?

Chapter 5 - Thanksgiving

1. What things make us hesitate to express the gratitude we owe?

vol 4 paraphrase pg 238

2. 'My Soul rises and sees' what reasons to be thankful?
3. For what, besides our food, should we express thanks?
4. Why does it matter whether we thank God?

Chapter 6 - Praise

1. Explain how praise implies more than thanksgiving.
2. Who do we tend think of as being endowed with the right to praise God?
3. Explain why praise is our duty just as much as theirs.
4. Name some reasons that the Psalmist found to praise.
5. Who today especially gives us new reasons to praise?

Chapter 7 - Faith in God

1. Why do we find it frustrating to be told we need to 'just believe' in God?
2. How does faith come?
3. Explain how people have faith in each other.
4. What are the two sorts of faith that people can have?
5. Explain why we owe both kinds of faith to God.
6. How can we know if we have the faith of love?
7. Explain how faith is an act of will.
8. Show that believing in God is a duty that's required of us.
9. Is this duty fulfilled by serving our fellow man?
10. Explain how no article of the Apostles' Creed is supposed to appeal to our Reason.
11. Explain how all the great things of life also are mysteries.
12. Explain how Christianity means a relationship with Jesus.




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Paraphrased by L. N. Laurio; Please direct comments or questions to AmblesideOnline.

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