- Podcast Recap
- Directory - judsiohenphytat.tk
- Ep 0060 – Bravery, Identity and Stéfanie’s Secret Topic 3
- The Lazy Girl's Guide To Losing Weight And Getting Fit
Yet whence was this unless from the sin and vanity of this life? For I was but flesh, a wind that passes away and comes not again. I did not love You, and committed fornication against You; and those around me thus sinning cried, Well done! Well done!
And for this I shed no tears, though I wept for Dido, who sought death at the sword's point, myself the while seeking the lowest of Your creatures — having forsaken You — earth tending to the earth; and if forbidden to read these things, how grieved would I feel that I was not permitted to read what grieved me. This sort of madness is considered a more honourable and more fruitful learning than that by which I learned to read and write.
But now, O my God , cry unto my soul ; and let Your Truth say unto me, It is not so; it is not so; better much was that first teaching. But it is true that over the entrance of the grammar school there hangs a veil; but this is not so much a sign of the majesty of the mystery , as of a covering for error.
Let not them exclaim against me of whom I am no longer in fear , while I confess to You, my God , that which my soul desires, and acquiesce in reprehending my evil ways, that I may love Your good ways. Neither let those cry out against me who buy or sell grammar-learning. Again, if I should ask which, if forgotten, would cause the greatest inconvenience in our life, reading and writing, or these poetical fictions, who does not see what every one would answer who had not entirely forgotten himself?
I erred, then, when as a boy I preferred those vain studies to those more profitable ones, or rather loved the one and hated the other. One and one are two, two and two are four, this was then in truth a hateful song to me; while the wooden horse full of armed men, and the burning of Troy, and the spectral image of Creusa were a most pleasant spectacle of vanity.
But why, then, did I dislike Greek learning which was full of like tales? For Homer also was skilled in inventing similar stories, and is most sweetly vain, yet was he disagreeable to me as a boy.
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I believe Virgil, indeed, would be the same to Grecian children, if compelled to learn him, as I was Homer. The difficulty, in truth , the difficulty of learning a foreign language mingled as it were with gall all the sweetness of those fabulous Grecian stories. For not a single word of it did I understand, and to make me do so, they vehemently urged me with cruel threatenings and punishments. There was a time also when as an infant I knew no Latin; but this I acquired without any fear or tormenting, by merely taking notice, amid the blandishments of my nurses, the jests of those who smiled on me, and the sportiveness of those who toyed with me.
I learned all this, indeed, without being urged by any pressure of punishment, for my own heart urged me to bring forth its own conceptions, which I could not do unless by learning words, not of those who taught me, but of those who talked to me; into whose ears, also, I brought forth whatever I discerned. From this it is sufficiently clear that a free curiosity has more influence in our learning these things than a necessity full of fear.
But this last restrains the overflowings of that freedom, through Your laws , O God — Your laws , from the ferule of the schoolmaster to the trials of the martyr , being effective to mingle for us a salutary bitter, calling us back to Yourself from the pernicious delights which allure us from You. Hear my prayer , O Lord; let not my soul faint under Your discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto You Your mercies, whereby You have saved me from all my most mischievous ways, that You might become sweet to me beyond all the seductions which I used to follow; and that I may love You entirely, and grasp Your hand with my whole heart, and that You may deliver me from every temptation , even unto the end.
For lo, O Lord, my King and my God , for Your service be whatever useful thing I learned as a boy — for Your service what I speak, and write, and count. For when I learned vain things, You granted me Your discipline; and my sin in taking delight in those vanities, You have forgiven me. I learned, indeed, in them many useful words; but these may be learned in things not vain, and that is the safe way for youths to walk in. But woe unto you, you stream of human custom! Who shall stay your course?
How long shall it be before you are dried up? How long will you carry down the sons of Eve into that huge and formidable ocean, which even they who are embarked on the cross lignum can scarce pass over? Do I not read in you of Jove the thunderer and adulterer? And the two verily he could not be; but it was that, while the fictitious thunder served as a cloak, he might have warrant to imitate real adultery. Yet which of our gowned masters can lend a temperate ear to a man of his school who cries out and says: These were Homer's fictions; he transfers things human to the gods.
I could have wished him to transfer divine things to us. But it would have been more true had he said: These are, indeed, his fictions, but he attributed divine attributes to sinful men, that crimes might not be accounted crimes, and that whosoever committed any might appear to imitate the celestial gods and not abandoned men. And yet, you stream of hell , into you are cast the sons of men , with rewards for learning these things; and much is made of it when this is going on in the forum in the sight of laws which grant a salary over and above the rewards.
And you beat against your rocks and roar, saying, Hence words are learned; hence eloquence is to be attained, most necessary to persuade people to your way of thinking, and to unfold your opinions. So, in truth , we should never have understood these words, golden shower, bosom, intrigue, highest heavens, and other words written in the same place, unless Terence had introduced a good-for-nothing youth upon the stage, setting up Jove as his example of lewdness:—.
And see how he excites himself to lust , as if by celestial authority, when he says:— Great Jove, Who shakes the highest heavens with his thunder, And I, poor mortal man, not do the same! I did it, and with all my heart I did it. Not one whit more easily are the words learned for this vileness, but by their means is the vileness perpetrated with more confidence.
I do not blame the words, they being, as it were, choice and precious vessels, but the wine of error which was drunk in them to us by inebriated teachers; and unless we drank, we were beaten, without liberty of appeal to any sober judge. And yet, O my God — in whose presence I can now with security recall this — did I, unhappy one, learn these things willingly, and with delight, and for this was I called a boy of good promise. Bear with me, my God , while I speak a little of those talents You have bestowed upon me, and on what follies I wasted them.
For a lesson sufficiently disquieting to my soul was given me, in hope of praise, and fear of shame or stripes, to speak the words of Juno, as she raged and sorrowed that she could not. Yet were we compelled to stray in the footsteps of these poetic fictions, and to turn that into prose which the poet had said in verse. And his speaking was most applauded in whom, according to the reputation of the persons delineated, the passions of anger and sorrow were most strikingly reproduced, and clothed in the most suitable language.
But what is it to me, O my true Life, my God , that my declaiming was applauded above that of many who were my contemporaries and fellow-students? Behold, is not all this smoke and wind?
Ep 0060 – Bravery, Identity and Stéfanie’s Secret Topic 3
Was there nothing else, too, on which I could exercise my wit and tongue? Your praise, Lord, Your praises might have supported the tendrils of my heart by Your Scriptures; so had it not been dragged away by these empty trifles, a shameful prey of the fowls of the air. For there is more than one way in which men sacrifice to the fallen angels.
But what matter of surprise is it that I was thus carried towards vanity, and went forth from You, O my God , when men were proposed to me to imitate, who, should they in relating any acts of theirs — not in themselves evil — be guilty of a barbarism or solecism, when censured for it became confounded; but when they made a full and ornate oration, in well-chosen words, concerning their own licentiousness, and were applauded for it, they boasted?
You see this, O Lord, and keepest silence, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth , as You are. Will You keep silence for ever? And even now You draw out of this vast deep the soul that seeks You and thirsts after Your delights, whose heart said to You, I have sought Your face, Your face, Lord, will I seek. For it is not by our feet, nor by change of place, that we either turn from You or return to You. Or, indeed, did that younger son look out for horses, or chariots, or ships, or fly away with visible wings, or journey by the motion of his limbs, that he might, in a far country, prodigally waste all that You gave him when he set out?
A kind Father when You gave, and kinder still when he returned destitute! Behold, O Lord God , and behold patiently, as You are wont to do, how diligently the sons of men observe the conventional rules of letters and syllables, received from those who spoke prior to them, and yet neglect the eternal rules of everlasting salvation received from You, insomuch that he who practises or teaches the hereditary rules of pronunciation, if, contrary to grammatical usage, he should say, without aspirating the first letter, a uman being, will offend men more than if, in opposition to Your commandments, he, a human being, were to hate a human being.
As if, indeed, any man should feel that an enemy could be more destructive to him than that hatred with which he is excited against him, or that he could destroy more utterly him whom he persecutes than he destroys his own soul by his enmity. And of a truth , there is no science of letters more innate than the writing of conscience — that he is doing unto another what he himself would not suffer.
When a man seeking for the reputation of eloquence stands before a human judge while a thronging multitude surrounds him, inveighs against his enemy with the most fierce hatred , he takes most vigilant heed that his tongue slips not into grammatical error , but takes no heed lest through the fury of his spirit he cut off a man from his fellow-men.
These were the customs in the midst of which I, unhappy boy, was cast, and on that arena it was that I was more fearful of perpetrating a barbarism than, having done so, of envying those who had not. These things I declare and confess unto You, my God , for which I was applauded by them whom I then thought it my whole duty to please, for I did not perceive the gulf of infamy wherein I was cast away from Your eyes. For in Your eyes what was more infamous than I was already, displeasing even those like myself, deceiving with innumerable lies both tutor, and masters, and parents , from love of play, a desire to see frivolous spectacles, and a stage-stuck restlessness, to imitate them?
Pilferings I committed from my parents' cellar and table, either enslaved by gluttony , or that I might have something to give to boys who sold me their play, who, though they sold it, liked it as well as I In this play, likewise, I often sought dishonest victories, I myself being conquered by the vain desire of pre-eminence.
The Lazy Girl's Guide To Losing Weight And Getting Fit
And what could I so little endure, or, if I detected it, censured I so violently, as the very things I did to others, and, when myself detected I was censured, preferred rather to quarrel than to yield? Is this the innocence of childhood? For these same sins , as we grow older, are transferred from governors and masters, from nuts, and balls, and sparrows, to magistrates and kings, to gold, and lands, and slaves, just as the rod is succeeded by more severe chastisements.
It was, then, the stature of childhood that You, O our King, approved of as an emblem of humility when You said: Of such is the kingdom of heaven. But yet, O Lord, to You, most excellent and most good, Thou Architect and Governor of the universe , thanks had been due unto You, our God , even had You willed that I should not survive my boyhood. For I existed even then; I lived, and felt, and was solicitous about my own well-being — a trace of that most mysterious unity from whence I had my being; I kept watch by my inner sense over the wholeness of my senses, and in these insignificant pursuits, and also in my thoughts on things insignificant, I learned to take pleasure in truth.
I was averse to being deceived, I had a vigorous memory, was provided with the power of speech, was softened by friendship, shunned sorrow, meanness, ignorance.