chapter III – the doctrine of Truth
“happy is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is” (5).
often Truth is thought of as some kind of virtue or object which is worthy of our study. it is not, however, thought of as a person. what if Jesus is Truth. to know Truth, would then cease to be intellectual pursuit of some transcendant thing, and would become knowing Jesus. it is all too often we pursue knowledge aside from pursuing Christ. what if truth was made manifest and revealed to mankind? what if we could know Truth?
“what good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgement Day? neglect of things which are profitable and necessary and undue concern with those which are irrelevant and harmful, are great folly. we have eyes and do not see” (5).
this, unfortunately, is the case with much of philosphy. for example, i am an active member on a forum called youthpoint. i cannot recall the number of times people have got into heated debates and discussion over things which are “irrelevant and harmful.” the same can be said for the katimavik at tyndale. the kat is a often a place of theological (or not so theological) debate and discussion. i am not trying to imply that there is a problem with discussing theology, however, it is not usually worth being argumentative over. the bottom line is that with many of these issues, our ignorance of them “will not be hald against us on Judgement Day.” rather, we ought to redirect our attention to issues “which are profitable and necessary,” so that Christ’s Kingdom may be advanced.
“he to whom the Eternal Word speaks is free from theorizing. for from this Word are all things and of Him all things speak…without this Word no man understands or judges aright. he to whom it becomes everything, who traces all things to it and who sees all things in it, may ease his heart and remain at peace with God” (5).
how often scholars pursue knowledge while forsaking the Eternal Word. how often, we Christians, pursue Christ but forsake the Scriptures. to know this Word and to be one with him is to remain at peace with God. it is true that faith without works is dead. but deader still are works without faith, for what good are good actions if the soul remains disconnected from it’s Creator.
“o God, You Who are the truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. i am often wearied by the many things i hear and read, but in You is all that i long for. let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; You alone speak to me” (6).
“…in You is all that i long for…You alone speak to me.” nuff said.
“the more recollected a man is, and the more simple of heart he becomes, the easier he understands sublime things, for he receives the light of knowledge from above” (6).
“this ought to be our purpose, then: to conquer self, to become stronger each day, to advance in virtue” (6).
“humble knowledge of self is a surer path to God than the ardent pursuit of learning. not that learning is to be considered evil, or knowledge, which is good in itself and so ordained by God; but a clean conscience and virtuous life ought always to be preferred. many often err and accomplish little or nothing because they try to become learned rather than to live well” (6-7).
knowledge without action (wisdom) is like faith without works, dead. to follow Christ and obey is far greater than the pursuit of knowledge.
“if men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. on the day of judgement, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived” (7).
“how many there are who perish because of vain worldly knowledge and too little care for serving God. they became vain in their own conceits because they chose to be great rather than humble” (7).
this is it. there is no other way to follow Christ than to humble oneself. it is the only way. worldly knowledge is vanity and cannot compare to the greatness of knowing Christ and becoming one with him. our society prizes itself on greatness. this is a problem. there is, however, nothing wrong with greatness. the problem arises in our pursuit of greatness. whereas the world teaches that to be great we must exalt ourselves above our circumstances, Jesus comes and says that in order to be great one must become a slave to all. in order to be great you must go low in humilty. “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.””
“he is truly great who has great charity. he is truly great who is little in his own eyes and makes nothing of the highest honour. he is truly wise who looks upon all earthly things as folly that he may gain Christ. he who does God’s will and renounces his own is truly very learned” (8).
chapter IV – prudence in action
“do not yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. for very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good” (9).
wisdom is quick to listen and slow to speak. if so, then why do many of us speak so very quickly? we hear evil about others and are so quick to believe it (all the while forgetting that “human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech”). speak good, not evil, even if evil is all you hear.
“seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations” (9).