In Praise of Virtue

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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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We will begin from those things which for our instruction are primary. These are perspicuous and evident to all, and though they do not apprehend the power and essence of virtue, yet according to common conceptions about virtue they awaken our desire for good through certain aphorisms, familiar to many, expressed in accordance with the visible images of real beings. These are thus set forth:

(1) As we live through the soul, it must be said that by the virtue of this we live well; just as, since we see through the eyes, it is by the virtue of these that we see well.
(2) It must not be thought that gold can be injured by rust, or virtue tainted by baseness.
(3) We should betake ourselves to virtue as to an inviolable temple, in order that we may not be exposed to any ignoble insolence of the irrational element of the soul.
(4) We should confide in virtue as in a chaste wife, but trust fortune as we would a fickle mistress.
(5) It is better that virtue should be received with poverty, than wealth with vice; and frugality with health, than abundance with disease.
(6) As much food is injurious to the body, so is much wealth pernicious to the soul evilly inclined or disposed.
(7) It is equally dangerous to give a sword to a madman, and power to a depraved man.
(8) Just as it is better for a purulent part of the body to be burned than to remain diseased, so it is also better for a depraved man to die than to live.
(9) The theorems of philosophy are to be enjoyed as much as possible, as if they were ambrosia and nectar; for the pleasure arising from them is genuine, incorruptible and divine. Magnanimity they are also able to produce, and though they cannot make us eternal beings, yet they enable us to obtain a scientific knowledge of eternal natures.
(10) If vigour of the senses is desirable, much more should prudence be sought; for it is as it were the sensitive vigour of our practical intellect. And as by the former we are protected from deception in sensations, so through the latter we avoid false reasoning in practical affairs.
(11) We shall worship the deity rightly, if we render our intellect pure from all vice, as from a certain stain or disgrace.
(12) We should adorn a temple with gifts, but the soul with disciplines.
(13) As prior to the greater mysteries the lesser are delivered, so a disciplinary training must precede the study and acquisition of philosophy.
(14) The fruits of the earth are indeed annually imparted, but the fruits of philosophy at every part of the year.
(15) Just as land must be specially cultivated by him who wishes to obtain from it the best fruit, so the soul should be most carefully and attentively cultivated, in order that it may produce fruit worthy of its nature.
Iamblichus, Exhortation to Philosophy
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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It is more important to want to do good than to know the truth.
Petrarch, "On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others"
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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He who in the present state
Vanquishes as much as possible
A corporeal life, through the exercise of
The cathartic virtues,
Passes in reality into
The fortunate islands of the soul,
And lives surrounded with
The bright splendours of truth
And wisdom proceeding from
The sun of good.
Thomas Taylor, Essay on the Eleusian and Bacchic Mysteries
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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In the present stages of spiritual experience, the believer's interior comfort, and his exterior lustre, greatly depend on the position of his heart toward the uncreated sun of righteousness. How obscure and benighted are our views, and how languid our exercise of grace, when an unbelieving, a worldly, or a careless spirit, interrupts our walk with God! But, if the out-goings of our souls are to him, and if the in-pourings of his blessed influence be felt, we glow, we kindle, we burn, we shine.
Augustus M. Toplady (d. 1778)
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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The Demon of commerce is preparing with his extended savage arm to crush the votaries of truth, and depopulate the divine retreats of philosophy. Rise then ye liberal few, and vindicate the dignity of ancient wisdom. Bring truth from her silent and sacred concealments, and vigorously repel the growing empire of barbaric taste, which bids fair to extinguish the celestial fire of philosophy and to bury the divine light of mind, in the sordid gloom of sense....

There yet remains an inheritance for the lovers of wisdom in the regions of intellect, those fortunate islands of truth, where all is tranquil and serene, beyond the power of chance, and the reach of change. Let us then fly from hence my friends, to those delightful realms, for there, while connected with body, we may find a retreat from the storms and tempests of a corporeal life. Let us build for ourselves the raft of virtue, and departing from this region of sense, like Ulysses from the charms of Calypso, direct our course by the light of ideas, those bright intellectual stars, through the dark ocean of a material nature, until we arrive at our father's land. For there having divested ourselves of the torn garments of mortality, as much as our union with body will permit, we may resume our natural appearance: and may each of us at length recover the ruined empire of his soul.
Thomas Taylor (d. 1835)
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face.
Don't trust that idea.
Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.
Dickens
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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If one does not like the T words substitute any you prefer. The point is that a humane society results from millions of individuals developing virtues like the three mentioned.
The function of Theosophists is to open mens hearts and understandings to charity, justice, and generosity, attributes which belong specifically to the human kingdom and are natural to man when he has developed the qualities of a human being. Theosophy teaches the animal-man to be a human-man; and when people have learned to think and feel as truly human beings should feel and think, they will act humanely, and works of charity, justice, and generosity will be done spontaneously by all.
Blavatsky
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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I could not tell you of any particular course to develop the inner faculties, and permit me to say that if I knew of such I would be very reluctant to tell it, because it is full of danger. It is necessary first to understand philosophy, to understand yourself so far as it can be understood on this plane; to discipline one’s self; to develop virtue, attention, fortitude; then one is prepared to go further. The best advice I can give you is to continue studying, but at the same time to add to it actual practice in the way of doing as much work as you can for other people.

To make our will strong we must have fewer desires. Let those be high, pure, and altruistic; they will give us strong will.
William Q Judge
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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Nicholas
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Re: In Praise of Virtue

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17. Kodhavagga: Anger

221. One should give up anger, renounce pride,
and overcome all fetters. Suffering never befalls
him who clings not to mind and body and is detached.
222. He who checks rising anger as a charioteer
checks a rolling chariot, him I call a true
charioteer. Others only hold the reins.
223. Overcome the angry by non-anger;
overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the
miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth.
224. Speak the truth; yield not to anger; when
asked, give even if you only have a little. By these
three means can one reach the presence of the gods.
Dhammapada
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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