The Historical Development of the Rule of St

All religion,—viewing it in its relation to morality and happiness, and as it has therefore become a matter of feeling,—rests upon a want or necessity of the soul. It is obvious that in thus restricting my view, I am not considering religion in so far as reason perceives, or fancies it perceives, any religious truth; for the perception of truth is independent of all influence from the will or desire;—nor in so far as revelation tends to strengthen any particular belief; since even historical belief should be exempt from all such influences derived from our sensitive nature. We hope, we dread, because we desire. Wherever there is no vestige of spiritual culture, this want or necessity is purely sensuous in its character. Fear and hope with regard to the phenomena of external nature, which are transformed by fancy into spiritual existences, constitute the whole sum of religion. But when culture dawns on the spirit, this is no longer sufficient and satisfying. The soul then yearns towards an intuition of perfection, of which a scintillation faintly glimmers in itself, but whose clear, complete effulgence, a deep presentiment assures it, is without. This first intuition gradually merges into admiration; and conceiving of himself as in some relation to this higher existence, man’s wonder ripens into love, from which there springs a longing to assimilate himself to this outward manifestation of perfection,—a desire for union. This development of the religious idea is even true of nations in the lowest grade of civilization; for it is from this very process of conception that, even among the rudest tribes, the chiefs of the people are brought to believe themselves lineally descended from the gods, and destined, after death, to return to them. It is only to be observed that the actual conception of the Divine Nature varies according to the different ideas of perfection which prevail in particular ages and nations. The gods of the remoter ages of Greece and Rome, and those worshiped by our own earliest forefathers, were simply ideals of bodily strength and prowess. When to this view of perfection the idea of sensuous beauty succeeded and gradually became refined, the sensuous personification of beauty was exalted to the throne of Deity; and hence arose what we would designate as the Religion of Art. Further, when men ascended from the sensuous to the purely spiritual—from the beautiful to the good and true, the sum of all moral and intellectual perfection became the high object of their adoration, and religion the property of philosophy. It might perhaps be possible to estimate the comparative worth of the different forms of religion that have prevailed according to this ascending scale, if it were true that religion varied according to nations and sects, and not according to the nature of single individuals. But, as it is, religion is wholly subjective, and depends solely on the manner of individual conception.

Porfiryj Pidruchnyj, OSBM Introductory remarks 1

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Akira Rabelais : Book of Changes

The points of view from which these last considerations are suggested, and from which indeed our whole argument proceeds, have no other object than simply man’s power, as such, and his internal development. Such reasoning would be justly chargeable with onesidedness if it wholly disregarded the conditions which must exist in order that that power may operate at all. And while mentioning this, we must not overlook the question that naturally arises in this place, viz. whether those very things from which we would withdraw the operation of State solicitude, could ever flourish without it and of themselves. We might here pass before us in successive review, the different kinds of handicraft, agriculture, industry, commerce, and all those distinct departments we have hitherto considered in common, and could bring in the aid of technical knowledge to exhibit the evils and advantages derivable in each case from unhindered freedom, and the abandonment of men to themselves. But, while the want of such technical insight prevents my entering on such a discussion, I am inclined to believe it no longer essential for arriving at the true merits of the question. Still, if such an investigation could be radically, and, what is especially important, historically conducted, it would not fail to be useful, in that it would tend still more convincingly to approve these ideas, and ascertain at the same time the possibility of their being put in practice, however materially modified,—for the once existing order of things in any political community would scarcely allow of their unmodified application. Leaving this inquiry however to the proper hands, I shall content myself here with a few general reflections. Every occupation, then, of whatever nature, is more efficiently performed if pursued for its own sake alone, rather than for the results to which it leads. So deeply grounded is this in human nature, that what has at first been chosen for its utility, in general becomes ultimately attractive in itself. Now this arises from nothing else than this, that action is dearer to human nature than mere possession, but action only in so far as it is spontaneous. It is just the most vigorous and energetic who would prefer inactivity to a course of labour to which they are constrained. Further, the idea of property gains proportionate strength with the idea of freedom, and it is to the feeling of property that we owe the most vigorous activity. The accomplishment of any great ultimate purpose supposes unity of plan. This requires no proof; and it is equally true of measures for the prevention of great calamities, famines, inundations, etc. But this unity might as easily proceed from national as from merely governmental arrangements. It is only necessary to extend to the nation and its different parts the freedom of entering into contracts. Between a national and a governmental institution there is always a vast and important difference. That has only an indirect—this, a direct influence; and hence with the former there is always greater freedom of contracting, dissolving, and modifying unions. It is highly probable that all State unions were originally nothing more than such national associations. And here experience shows us the fatal consequences of combining with provisions for security, the attainment of other ultimate ends. Whoever engages in this design must, for the sake of security alone, possess absolute power. But this power he extends to the execution of the remaining projects; and in proportion to its duration and the remoteness from its origin, the power of an institution increases, and the traces of the primary contract vanish. A national measure, however, only retains its proper force in so far as it adheres faithfully to this original compact and its authority. This reason alone might seem sufficient; but, granting even that the fundamental compact was rigidly observed, and that the State union was, in the strictest sense, a national association, still the will of the individuals could only be ascertained through a system of Representation; and it is impossible for the representative of a plurality to be so true an organ of all the opinions of the represented. Now the point to which the whole argument conducts us, is the necessity of securing the consent of every individual. But this very necessity renders the decision by a majority of voices impossible; and yet no other could be imagined in the case of a State union which, in regard to single objects, extended its activity to the positive welfare of the citizen. Nothing would be left to the non-consenting but to withdraw themselves from the community in order to escape its jurisdiction, and prevent the further application of a majority of suffrages to their individual cases. And yet this is almost impossible when we reflect that to withdraw from the social body is just tantamount to separating oneself from the State. We would observe, further, that it is better to enter into separate unions in single associations, than to contract them generally for undetermined future cases; and lastly, that to form associations of free men in a nation is attended with peculiar difficulty. For although this last consideration may seem prejudicial to the attainment of ultimate purposes, it is still certain that every larger association is in general less beneficial; and it should not be forgotten that whatever is produced with difficulty gains from the very fact a more lasting vigour by the implied consolidation of forces long tested and exercised. The more a man acts for himself, the more does he develope himself. In large associations he is too prone to become an instrument merely. A frequent effect of these unions moreover is to allow the symbol to be substituted for the thing, and this always impedes true development. The dead hieroglyphic does not inspire like living nature. In place of other examples I need only instance the case of poor-laws. Does anything tend so effectually to deaden and destroy all true commiseration,—all hopeful yet unobtrusive entreaty,—all loving trustfulness of man in man? Do we not all fitly despise the beggar who rather resigns himself to be fed and nursed in an almshouse than, after sore struggling with want, to find, not a mere hand flinging him a pittance, but a tenderly sympathizing heart? I am willing to admit, in conclusion, that without the mighty masses as it were, with which we have been working in these last centuries, human progress might not have advanced with strides so rapid,—and yet perhaps not rapid alone. The fruit had been longer in expanding and maturing, but still it would really have ripened, and that with a far richer and more precious blessing. Granting this, it is needless to dwell longer on this objection. But two others remain to be tested as we proceed, viz: Whether the maintenance of security even would be possible, with those limitations of the State’s activity we have here prescribed? and secondly, Whether the necessary provision of means for the manifestation of its activity, even when thus limited, does not come to necessitate a more manifold encroachment of the wheels of the State machine, into the relations of the individual citizen?

I Ching Richard Wilhelm's and Cary F

It may, perhaps, be argued that there are many other means of securing this invigorating discipline in the school of trial and danger—that there are a thousand forms of employment full of mere physical peril, and innumerable crises of moral conflict which assail the firm, unfaltering statesman in the silence of the cabinet, and the free and fearless thinker in his solitary cell. But I cannot divest myself of the belief, that as everything spiritual is but the more exquisite bloom and development of the corporeal, so too, in war, the noblest forms of action and daring are crowned with the fairest moral issues. It is true we still possess, in the eventful past, the strong stem, as it were, from which these active virtues could continue to shoot and bud forth in the present. But the memory of the past is ever dimly receding from our eyes in the distances of oblivion; and while the number of those who fondly cherish its teaching is always diminishing in a nation, its influence even on them tends also gradually to decline. We seldom acknowledge, moreover, in other pursuits, however difficult or perilous, that inherent idea of greatness and glory so inseparably associated with warlike achievement—an idea, based as it is on the conception of superior power, which is far from being chimerical or imaginary.

Baynes translation "I Ching: Or, Book of Changes" [3rd
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History of Eucharistic Adoration - The Real Presence

It is certain, then, that nothing would be more conducive to the successful issue of our present inquiry, than to weigh the advantages intended by such institutions against the disadvantages necessarily inherent in their consequences, and especially against the limitations of freedom which these consequences imply. But it is always a matter of extreme difficulty to effect such a balancing of results, and perhaps wholly impossible to secure its perfect accuracy and completeness. For every restrictive institution comes into collision with the free and natural development of power, and gives rise to an infinite multiplicity of new relations; and even if we suppose the most equable course of events, and set aside all serious and unlooked-for accidents, the number of these relations which it brings in its train is not to be foreseen. Any one who has an opportunity of occupying himself with the higher departments of State administration, must certainly feel conscious from experience how few political measures have really an immediate and absolute necessity, and how many, on the contrary, have only a relative and indirect importance, and are wholly dependent on foregone measures. Now, in this way a vast increase of means is rendered necessary, and even these very means are drawn away from the attainment of the true end. Not only does such a State require larger sources of revenue, but it needs in addition an increase of artificial regulations for the maintenance of mere political security: the separate parts cohere less intimately together—the supervision of the Government requires far more vigilance and activity. Hence comes the calculation, no less difficult, but unhappily too often neglected, whether the available resources of the State are adequate to provide the means which the maintenance of security demands; and should this calculation reveal a real misproportion, it only suggests the necessity of fresh artificial arrangements, which, in the end, overstrain the elasticity of the power—an evil from which (though not from this cause only) many of our modern States are suffering.

The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of …

If we cast a glance at the history of political organizations, we shall find it difficult to decide, in the case of any one of them, the exact limits to which its activity was conformed, because we discover in none the systematic working out of any deliberate scheme, grounded on a certain basis of principle. We shall observe, that the freedom of the citizen has been limited from two points of view; that is, either from the necessity of organizing or securing the constitution, or from the expediency of providing for the moral and physical condition of the nation. These considerations have prevailed alternately, according as the constitution, in itself powerful, has required additional support, or as the views of the legislators have been more or less expanded. Often indeed both of these causes may be found operating conjointly. In the ancient States, almost all the institutions relating to the private life of the citizens were of a strictly political character. Possessed, as it was, of but little absolute authority, the constitution was mainly dependent for its duration on the will of the nation, and hence it was necessary to discover or propose means by which due harmony might be preserved between the character of established institutions and this tendency of national feeling. The same policy is still observable in small republican States; and if we were to regard it in the light of these circumstances alone, we might accept it as true, that the freedom of private life always increases in exact proportion as public freedom declines; whereas security always keeps pace with the latter. It is true the ancient legislators very often, and the ancient philosophers invariably, directed their attention to the inner life of the individual; and, in their eyes, the moral worth of human nature seemed to deserve the highest regard: of this we have an illustration in Plato’s Republic, of which Rousseau has very truly observed that it has more the character of an educational than a political treatise. Now if we compare the example of the most modern States, with regard to this tendency, we shall find the design of acting for the individual citizen, and of providing for his welfare, to be clear and unmistakable from the number of laws and institutions directed to this end, and which often give a very determinate form to private life. The superior internal consistency of our constitutions,—their greater independence of national character and feeling,—the deeper influence of mere thinkers, who are naturally disposed to more expanded views,—the multitude of inventions which teach us to follow out and improve the common objects of national activity; and lastly, and before all, certain ideas of religion which represent the governing power as responsible, to a certain extent, for the moral and future welfare of the citizens, have all contributed to introduce this change and develope this positive solicitude. But if we examine into the origin of particular institutions and police-laws, we find that they frequently originate in the real or pretended necessity of imposing taxes on the subject, and in this we may trace the example, it is true, to the political characteristics of the ancient States, inasmuch as such institutions grow out of the same desire of securing the constitution which we noticed in them. With respect to those limitations of freedom, however, which do not so much affect the State as the individuals who compose it, we are led to notice a vast difference between ancient and modern governments. The ancients devoted their attention more exclusively to the harmonious development of the individual man, as man; the moderns are chiefly solicitous about his comfort, his prosperity, his productiveness. The former looked to virtue; the latter seek for happiness. And hence it follows, that the restrictions imposed on freedom in the ancient States were, in some important respects, more oppressive and dangerous than those which characterize our times. For they directly attacked that inner life of the soul, in which the individuality of human being essentially consists; and hence all the ancient nations betray a character of uniformity, which is not so much to be attributed to their want of higher refinement and more limited intercommunication, as to the systematic education of their youth in common (almost universal among them), and the designedly collective life of the citizens. But, in another point of view, it will be allowed that these ancient institutions contributed especially to preserve and elevate the vigorous activity of the individual man. The very desire which still animated all their political efforts, to train up temperate and nobleminded citizens, imparted a higher impulse to their whole spirit and character. With us, it is true, man is individually less restricted; but the influence of surrounding circumstances only the more operates to produce and continue a limiting agency,—a position, however, which does not preclude the possibility of beginning a conflict against these external hindrances, with our own internal antagonistic strength. And yet the peculiar nature of the limitations imposed on freedom in our States; the fact that they regard rather what man possesses than what he really is, and that with respect to the latter they do not cultivate, even to uniformity, the physical, intellectual, and moral faculties; and lastly and especially, the prevalence of certain determining ideas, more binding than laws, suppress those energies which are the source of every active virtue, and the indispensable condition of any higher and more various culture. With the ancients, moreover, the increase of force served to compensate for their uniformity; but with the moderns uniformity is aggravated by the evil of diminished energy. This difference between the States of antiquity and those of our own times, is in general thoroughly evident. Whilst in these later centuries, the rapid strides of progress, the number and dissemination of artistic inventions, and the enduring grandeur of establishments, especially attract our attention; antiquity captivates us above all by that inherent greatness which is comprised in the life of the individual, and perishes along with him,—the bloom of fancy, the depth of thought, the strength of will, the perfect oneness of the entire being, which alone confer true worth on human nature. Their strong consciousness of this essential worth of human nature, of its powers and their consistent development, was to them the quick impulse to every manifestation of activity; but these seem to us but as abstractions, in which the sense of the individual is lost, or at least in which his inner life is not so much regarded as his ease, his material comfort, his happiness. The ancients sought for happiness in virtue; the moderns have too long been endeavouring to develope the latter from the former; and even he who could conceive and portray morality in its purest form, thinks himself bound to supply happiness to his ideal of human nature through the medium of a highly artificial machinery, and this rather as a reward from without, than as a boon obtained by man’s own exertions. I need not trace any further the features of this striking difference, but will draw these hints to a conclusion with an illustrative passage from Aristotle’s Ethics:—“For that which peculiarly belongs to each by nature, is best and most pleasant to every one; and consequently, to man, the life according to intellect (is most pleasant), if intellect especially constitutes Man. This life therefore is the most happy

Great Theosophical teachings of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater

It will not be supposed for a moment that the death of a fallen warrior has something in it more beautiful to my eyes than the death of the fearless Pliny, or, to instance devotion somewhat too little honoured, the death of Robert and Pilatre du Rozier. But such instances are rare; and it may be fairly questioned whether they would ever, even, occur without the inspiring memory of those former examples. Neither have I selected the most favourable position in the case of war, nor regarded the finer manifestations of its high-souled enthusiasm. Let me recall the Spartans at Thermopylæ, and ask what influence such an illustrious example of heroism in its sons is likely to exercise on the general character of a nation. I do not deny that such a spirit of daring devotedness and self-sacrifice can find room for manifestation in any form or position in life, nor that it actually does thus exhibit itself; but can we blame him, if, as a sentient being, man is most fondly captivated with its most vivid and visible embodiment, or refuse to believe that such a conspicuous expression of courageous virtue exercises the most living and lasting influence on the national spirit and character? And as to the bracing discipline of ordinary life I would observe that, with all that I have heard of evils more terrible than death, I never yet knew any, save the enthusiast, who, while in the full fruition of all the joys of existence, could really afford to despise it. Least of all would we look for such a spirit in antiquity, where as yet the thing itself was superior to the name, and the reality of the present more highly prized than the shadowy uncertainty of the future. My view of the warrior, then, does not apply to such as were trained up and devoted to warlike pursuits in Plato’s Republic, but to men who take life and death, like other things, for what they really are, and who, having the highest in view, can dare to set the highest at stake. Lastly, it is to be observed that all those situations in which contrasting extremes are most closely and variously intermingled, are the deepest and richest in interest, and conduce most remarkably to human development; but of what is this so true and so striking a characteristic as of war—where inclination and duty, and the duty of the man and that of the citizen, seem ever in irreconcilable conflict, and where, nevertheless, all these intricate antagonisms find their clearest and fullest solution, as soon as the spirit of just defence has put weapons into our hands?