Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Prinum; Temperantia

By temperantia one integrates one's desires, with reason, so that reason does not become enslaved by passion. Temperantia is the mean, for example, between lust and frigidity or apathy and willingness, it means 'holding control or holding in', self-control, holding the passions in hand, it is the practice of moderation by reason and that reason being the mind rightly exercised; having right intellectual judgment; clear and fair deductions from true principles; that which is dictated or supported by the common sense of mankind; right conduct; propriety; and justice and these forming the temper of the mind with regard to the actions and reactions of people to each situation involving a decision which has the chance to escalate or subdue a matter. The Greek words translated temperance indicate a sober, temperate, calm, and dispassionate approach to life, a mastering of personal desires and passions. Temperance calls for a self-disciplined life following Christ’s example of being in the world but not of it.

The subject of temperance refers to the dangers stemming from too lax a view of a matter, or on the other hand, to the danger of pressing a matter too far; and in order to know a man's views, and not to do injustice to him, it is proper to understand the particular aspect in which he looks at it, and the particular object which he had in view. The Golden Rule sets a principle for the settlement of doubtful cases because there will always be occasions when the line of duty towards our neighbour is not clearly defined. Self-interest and private feelings will sometimes dim our perceptions of right and wrong. Plato says: "There is no light in the earthly copies of justice or temperance or any of the higher qualities which are precious to souls: they are seen through a glass, dimly" Temperance provides for the assimilation of reasonable expectations of behaviour with the passionate response of people to people in conflicting and/or extenuating circumstances. There is within every circumstance an opportunity to diffuse or intensify and Jesus supplies us with a precept containing wisdom for our guidance; a precept which transcends ethnic origins, religious beliefs, social status, and political opinion.--"As you would that men should do to you, do you also to them likewise." To do to others as they do to us, and return evil for evil, is the standard of the world and is the fully expected response. To behave to others as we should like others to behave to us, whatever their actual behaviour may be,--this should be the mark at which the Christian should aim. To turn the other cheek is never desirable, but, how often in error or in passion or in vindictiveness have we inflicted pain and have hoped upon hope in coming to our sensibleness that there would be no retribution for our actions. ["do unto ... as you would have...'] If Jesus had dealt with the world as the world dealt with Him, we should all have been ruined for ever in hell.

It is true if a man knows what is right, and does not do it, he is guilty of sin. A sin of omission. "To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin." Thomas Aquinas If he understands what his duty is; if he has the means of doing good to others; if by his name, his influence, his wealth, he can promote a good cause; if he can, consistently with other duties, relieve the distressed, the poor, the prisoner, the oppressed; if he can send the gospel to other lands, or can comfort the mourner, encourage the distressed, fortify the weak; if he has talents by which a word can be spoken in favour of temperance, chastity, liberty, and religion, he is obligated to do it: and if, by indolence, or avarice, or selfishness, or the dread of the loss of popularity, he does not do it, he is guilty of sin before God. No man can be released from the obligation to do good in this world to the extent of his ability; furthermore, no one should desire to be.

The conquered also, and enslaved by war,
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose
And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned
In sharp contest of battle found no aid
Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal,
Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure,
Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear
More than enough, that temperance may be tried:
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved;
Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot;

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