Our God is in our land! The Browns had entrusted their savings with Father Divine in Sayville back in They left the movement in wishing to live as husband and wife again, but were unable to get their money back. In light of their evidence and testimony from Faithful Mary and others critical of the movement, the court ordered repayment of the money.
However, this opened up an enormous potential liability from all ex-devotees, so Father Divine resisted and appealed the judgment. In , Father Divine was cleared of criminal charges and Mother Divine recovered. Faithful Mary, impoverished and broken, returned to the movement.
Father Divine made her grovel for forgiveness, which she did. By the late s, the movement stabilized, although it had clearly passed its zenith. Father Divine's political focus on anti-lynching measures became more resolved. By , his followers had gathered , signatures in favor of an anti-lynching bill he wrote. However, passage of such statutes came slowly in New York and elsewhere. The Verinda Brown lawsuit against Father dragged on and was sustained on appeal. In July, , he was ordered to pay Brown or face contempt of court. Instead, Father Divine fled the state and re-established his headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He still visited New York , however. After moving to Philadelphia , Father Divine's wife, Penninah, died.
The exact date is not known, because Father Divine never talked about it or even acknowledged her death. However, it occurred sometime in , and biographers believe Penninah's death rattled Father Divine, making him aware of his own mortality. It became obvious to Father Divine and his followers that his doctrine might not make one immortal as he asserted, at least not in the flesh. The subject was "You got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. It was also recorded by Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters that same year.
The ceremony was kept secret even from most members until Ritching's visa expired. Critics of the movement believed that Father Divine's seemingly scandalous marriage to year-old Ritchings would destroy the movement. Instead, most followers rejoiced, and the marriage date became a celebrated anniversary in the movement. To prove that he and Ritchings adhered to his doctrine on sexual abstinence , Father Divine assigned a black female follower to be her constant companion.
He claimed that Ritchings, later called "Mother S. Divine", was the reincarnation of Penninah. Reincarnation was not previously part of Father Divine's doctrine and did not become a fixture of his theology. Followers believed that Penninah was an exceptional case and viewed her "return" as a miracle. Going into the s, the press rarely covered Father Divine, and when it did, it was no longer as a menace, but as an amusing relic.
For example, light-hearted stories ran when Father Divine announced Philadelphia was capital of the world and when he claimed to inspire invention of the hydrogen bomb. Father Divine's predominantly lower-class following ebbed as the economy swelled. This French Gothic manor served as his home and primary site of his increasingly infrequent banquets until his death in As his health declined, he continued to petition for civil rights.
In , he advocated reparations to be paid to the descendants of slaves. He also argued in favor of integrated neighborhoods. However, he did not participate in the burgeoning American Civil Rights Movement because of his poor health and especially his dislike of the use of racial labels, denying he was black. On September 10, , Father Divine died of natural causes at his Woodmont estate. His widow and remaining followers insist his spirit is still alive and always refer to Father Divine in the present tense.
Believers keep the furnishings of Father Divine's personal rooms at Woodmont just as they were as a shrine to his life. Edna Rose Ritchings became spiritual leader of the movement. In , she fought an attempt by Jim Jones to take over the movement's dwindling devotees. Jones based some of his doctrines on the International Peace Mission movement and claimed to be the reincarnation of Father Divine.
Although a few members of the Mission joined Peoples Temple after Jones made his play for leadership of the movement, the power push was, in terms of its ultimate objective, a complete failure. That Jones was 34 years old at the time of Father Divine's death made his claims of being a new incarnation rather hard to sustain - Jones claimed Divine's spirit had entered his body upon the passing of the elder man - and Ritchings was left unimpressed by Jones' impassioned rhetoric.
Jones' custom of tape-recording all his sermons was copied from Divine, who "spoke" to his followers via archived sermon tapes once ill health forced him to cease speaking at meetings. Through most of his life, he maintained a fastidious appearance and a neat moustache that he kept well groomed, his hair was invariably neatly combed, and since his days in Sayville , New York , he almost always wore a suit in public. Father Divine was said to be very charismatic. His sermons were emotionally moving and freely associated between topics.
His speech was often peppered with words of his own invention like "physicalating" and "tangiblated". An attendee at a Harlem "kingdoms" meeting in the s recalled that he rhythmically intoned "Tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands, millions. Tens, hundreds, Yes he's God. For example, nearly every sermon began with the greeting and exhortation "Peace! Father Divine preached of his divinity even before he was known as "Father Divine" in the late s.
Father Divine also lectured that Christ existed in "every joint" of his follower's bodies, and that he was "God's light" incarnated in order to show people how to establish heaven on earth and to show them the way to eternal life. For example:. Father Divine and his followers capitalized pronouns referring to him, much like " LORD " translated from the tetragrammaton is capitalized in the English Bible.
Father Divine's definition of God became quite celebrated at the time because of its unusual use of language: "God is not only personified and materialized. He is repersonified and rematerialized. He rematerialized and He rematerialates. He rematerialates and He is rematerializatable. He repersonificates and He repersonifitizes. Father Divine can be considered part of the New Thought Movement ; indeed, many of his white followers came from this tradition. Father Divine was particularly concerned with the downtrodden of society, including but not limited to Blacks.
He was opposed to people accepting welfare. Scholars disagree about whether Father Divine, an African American , was a civil rights activist, but he certainly advocated some progressive changes to race relations.
Is it a diligent attention to truth and righteousness, is it dedication and resolve and devotion to the good pleasure of God, is it the desire to attract the favorable consideration of the ruler and to merit the approval of the people? Her sister Anna, for instance, will argue shortly that giving in to her feelings should be no cause for pudor whatsoever. The phrasing has precedents in Homer, Ennius, and Lucretius. It is obvious that these holy words do not refer exclusively to searching out the implications of the Law, observing the forms of worship, avoiding greater and lesser sins, practicing the religious ordinances, and by all these methods, protecting the Faith. This is the very foundation of every laudable human quality; indeed, these few words embody the light of the world, the impregnable basis of all the spiritual attributes of human beings.
For example, because he believed that every human was accorded equal rights , he believed that all members of lynch mobs ought to be tried and convicted as murderers. Father Divine's anti-lynching campaigns resonated in the black ghettos where his congregations lived, and he got over a quarter million people to sign his anti-lynching proposals.
Father Divine advocated that followers think of themselves as simply Americans. He believed that America was the birthplace of the "Kingdom of God", which would ultimately encompass truths of all religious principles, promoting equality and brotherhood. The Movement was supportive of the United States Declaration of Independence , the Constitution , and particularly the Bill of Rights as inspired documents, believing that they outlined a more ideal life.
Toward this life, followers of Father Divine owned and managed property collectively. The movement strove to alleviate poverty by feeding the poor and through education in written English , which the Movement believed was the "universal language. Father Divine established an "International Modesty Code" which forbids smoking , drinking , and profanity. Additionally, it forbade tips, bribes, receiving presents, and "undue mixing of the sexes," along with women wearing slacks or short skirts and men wearing short-sleeves.
Although Father Divine himself was married, the movement discouraged marriage, along with any excessive mingling of the sexes. In the "Heavens" and other living spaces the Movement maintained, separate areas existed for men and women. Father Divine advocated a number of economic practices, which his followers abided by. He opposed life insurance which converts were to cancel , welfare , social security , and credit.
Thus, the Movement advocated economic self-sufficiency. Business owners in the Movement named their ventures to show affiliation with Father Divine, and obeyed all of these practices.
They dealt only in cash, refusing credit in any of its forms. Each was to sell below competitor's prices while refusing any sorts of tips or gratuities. Finally, they refrained from trade in alcohol or tobacco. Some biographers, such as Robert Weisbrot, speculate that Father Divine was a forerunner to the Civil Rights Movement during the s and s, heavily influenced by his upbringing in the segregated South. Others, such as Jill Watts, reject not only this characterization, but also the theory that Father Divine grew up in the Deep South.
Watts asserts that Rockville was less oppressive than the South or even Baltimore, Maryland , and believes his civil rights positions are unintelligible without evaluating them in the context of the Doctrine of Father Divine. Although Father Divine strove extensively against lynching and bigotry , he accepted many of the negative characteristics assigned African Americans.
He concluded that those who identified themselves as "black" manifested these characteristics. In short, he believed blacks perpetuated their own oppression by thinking racially. Then they exiled him to the Human realms, to work out his sentence helping Humans. His destination: Divine's Emporium, a curiosity shop touched with magic, on the edge of the odd town of Neighborlee, Ohio. His parole officer: Angela, the proprietress of Divine's Emporium, touched with magic and a shadowy past of her own.
His sentence: Help the Humans who come into Divine's to find answers, freedom, their own magic, and true love. Not necessarily in that order. His problem: How does a five-inch-tall Fae, invisible to most Humans, win the heart of the ugly duckling who has caught his interest, his sympathy, and then his heart--when she can't see or hear him? Maurice- the exiled, shrunken Fae with wings even Tinkerbell would scorn--has one wish: to be real for Holly, the librarian. In her dreams, they are in love, but she doesn't remember or see or hear him when she's awake.
He is only allowed is one day, four times a year, to be full-sized, able to talk with her and try to win her heart. Christmas is coming, and his next day as an ordinary man. As he waits impatiently for his rendezvous with Holly, life goes on in Neighborlee, Ohio. Albeit, life in Neighborlee isn't what most people would call normal.
Especially when three couples come to town with various magical dilemmas to resolve. Bethany is a local girl who became a Hollywood starlet. All she wants is an ordinary Christmas, sans paparazzi. With the help of Harry and his malfunctioning invisibility spell, she just might get it. And a lot more. Wilfred and Philomena are best buddies, and their Fae relatives want them separated so each one can find their true love. But what happens when your true love is under your nose, and you can't convince him — or her — of that important little fact?
Lori is allergic to mistletoe, and on the run from her aristocratic relatives who want to pair her with an "appropriate" Fae man. She hides out in Neighborlee and meets Brick, who has some romantic interference problems of his own. He believes in magic — but can he believe in Fae or think she's insane when she tells him the truth?
Christmas is the most magical time of the year — especially for Fae in search of love in Neighborlee, Ohio. Equinox: Maurice has a day of full-size freedom to spend with his true love, Holly. Since, therefore, all things are uncertain, we must either believe all or none: if we are to believe no one, then the wise have no existence , because while they separately affirm different things they think themselves wise; if all, it is equally true that there are no wise men, because all deny the wisdom of each individually.
Therefore all are in this manner destroyed; and as those fabled sparti of the poets, so these men mutually slay one another, so that no one remains of all; which happens on this account, because they have a sword, but have no shield. If, therefore, the sects individually are convicted of folly by the judgment of many sects , it follows that all are found to be vain and empty; and thus philosophy consumes and destroys itself. And since Arcesilas the founder of the Academy understood this, he collected together the mutual censures of all, and the confession of ignorance made by distinguished philosophers , and armed himself against all.
Thus he established a new philosophy of not philosophizing. From this founder, therefore, there began to be two kinds of philosophy : one the old one, which claims to itself knowledge ; the other a new one, opposed to the former, and which detracts from it. Between these two kinds of philosophy I see that there is disagreement, and as it were civil war. On which side shall we place wisdom, which cannot be torn asunder?
If the nature of things can be known , this troop of recruits will perish; if it cannot, the veterans will be destroyed: if they shall be equal, nevertheless philosophy , the guide of all, will still perish, because it is divided; for nothing can be opposed to itself without its own destruction. But if, as I have shown, there can be no inner and peculiar knowledge in man on account of the frailty of the human condition, the party of Arcesilas prevails. But not even will this stand firm, because it cannot be the case that nothing at all is known. For there are many things which nature itself, and frequent use, and the necessity of life, compel us to know.
Accordingly you must perish, unless you know what things are useful for life, in order that you may seek them; and what are dangerous, that you may shun and avoid them. Moreover, there are many things which experience finds out. For the various courses of the sun and moon, and the motions of the stars, and the computation of times, have been discovered, and the nature of bodies, and the strength of herbs by students of medicine, and by the cultivators of the land the nature of soils, and signs of future rains and tempests have been collected.
In short, there is no art which is not dependent on knowledge. Therefore Arcesilas ought, if he had any wisdom, to have distinguished the things which were capable of being known , and those which were incapable. But if he had done this, he would have reduced himself to the common herd. For the common people have sometimes more wisdom, because they are only so far wise as is necessary. And if you inquire of them whether they know anything or nothing, they will say that they know the things which they know , and will confess that they are ignorant of what they are ignorant.
He was right, therefore, in taking away the systems of others, but he was not right in laying the foundations of his own. For ignorance of all things cannot be wisdom, the peculiar property of which is knowledge. And thus, when he overcame the philosophers , and taught that they knew nothing, he himself also lost the name of philosopher , because his system is to know nothing.
For he who blames others because they are ignorant , ought himself to have knowledge ; but when he knows nothing, what perverseness or what insolence it is, to constitute himself a philosopher on account of that very thing for which he takes away the others! For it is in their power to answer thus: If you convict us of knowing nothing, and therefore of being unwise because we know nothing, does it follow that you are not wise, because you confess that you know nothing? What progress, therefore, did Arcesilas make, except that, having dispatched all the philosophers , he pierced himself also with the same sword?
Does wisdom therefore nowhere exist?
Yes, indeed, it was among them, but no one saw it. Some thought that all things could be known : these were manifestly not wise. Others thought that nothing could be known ; nor indeed were these wise: the former, because they attributed too much to man; the latter, because they attributed too little. A limit was wanting to each on either side. Where, then, is wisdom? It consists in thinking neither that you know all things, which is the property of God ; nor that you are ignorant of all things, which is the part of a beast.
For it is something of a middle character which belongs to man , that is, knowledge united and combined with ignorance. Knowledge in us is from the soul , which has its origin from heaven; ignorance from the body, which is from the earth: whence we have something in common with God , and with the animal creation. Thus, since we are composed of these two elements, the one of which is endowed with light, the other with darkness, a part of knowledge is given to us, and a part of ignorance. Over this bridge, so to speak, we may pass without any danger of falling; for all those who have inclined to either side, either towards the left hand or the right, have fallen.
But I will say how each part has erred. The Academics argued from obscure subjects, against the natural philosophers , that there was no knowledge ; and satisfied with the examples of a few incomprehensible subjects, they embraced ignorance as though they had taken away the whole of knowledge , because they had taken it away in part.
But natural philosophers , on the other hand, derived their argument from those things which are open, and inferred that all things could be known , and, satisfied with things which were manifest, retained knowledge ; as if they had defended it altogether, because they had defended it in part. And thus neither the one saw what was clear, nor the others what was obscure; but each party, while they contended with the greatest ardour either to retain or to take away knowledge only, did not see that there would be placed in the middle that which might guide them to wisdom.
But Arcesilas, who teaches that there is no knowledge , when he was detracting from Zeno, the chief of the Stoics , that he might altogether overthrow philosophy on the authority of Socrates, undertook this opinion to affirm that nothing could be known. And thus he disproved the judgment of the philosophers , who had thought that the truth was drawn forth, and found out by their talents — namely, because that wisdom was mortal, and, having been instituted a few ages before, had now attained to its greatest increase, so that it was now necessarily growing old and perishing, the Academy suddenly arose, the old age, as it were, of philosophy , which might dispatch it now withering.
And Arcesilas rightly saw that they are arrogant, or rather foolish, who imagine that the knowledge of the truth can be arrived at by conjecture. But no one can refute one speaking falsely , unless he who shall have previously known what is true ; but Arcesilas, endeavouring to do this without a knowledge of the truth , introduced a kind of philosophy which we may call unstable or inconstant.
For, that nothing may be known , it is necessary that something be known. For if you know nothing at all, the very knowledge that nothing can be known will be taken away. Therefore he who pronounces as a sentiment that nothing is known , professes, as it were, some conclusion already arrived at and known : therefore it is possible for something to be known. Of a similar character to this is that which is accustomed to be proposed in the schools as an example of the kind of fallacy called asystaton ; that some one had dreamt that he should not believe dreams. For if he did believe them, then it follows that he ought not to believe them.
But if he did not believe them, then it follows that he ought to believe them. Thus, if nothing can be known , it is necessary that this fact must be known , that nothing is known. But if it is known that nothing can be known , the statement that nothing can be known must as a consequence be false. Thus there is introduced a tenet opposed to itself, and destructive of itself. But the evasive man wished to take away learning from the other philosophers , that he might conceal it at his home. For truly he is not for taking it from himself who affirms anything that he may take it from others: but he does not succeed; for it shows itself, and betrays its plunderer.
How much more wisely and truly he would act, if he should make an exception, and say that the causes and systems of heavenly things only, or natural things, because they are hidden, cannot be known , for there is no one to teach them; and ought not to be inquired into, for they cannot be found out by inquiry!
For if he had brought forward this exception, he would both have admonished the natural philosophers not to search into those things which exceeded the limit of human reflection; and would have freed himself from the ill-will arising from calumny , and would certainly have left us something to follow. But now, since he has drawn us back from following others, that we may not wish to know more than we are capable of knowing , he has no less drawn us back from himself also. For who would wish to labour lest he should know anything?
Or to undertake learning of this kind that he may even lose ordinary knowledge? For if this learning exists, it must necessarily consist of knowledge ; if it does not exist, who is so foolish as to think that that is worthy of being learned, in which either nothing is learned, or something is even unlearned?
Wherefore, if all things cannot be known , as the natural philosophers thought, nor nothing, as the Academics taught, philosophy is altogether extinguished. Let us now pass to the other part of philosophy , which they themselves call moral, in which is contained the method of the whole of philosophy , since in natural philosophy there is only delight, in this there is utility also.
And since it is more dangerous to commit a fault in arranging the condition of life and in forming the character, greater diligence must be used, that we may know how we ought to live. For in the former subject some indulgence may be granted: for whether they say anything, they bestow no advantage; or if they foolishly rave, they do no injury. But in this subject there is no room for difference of opinion, none for error.
All must entertain the same sentiments, and philosophy itself must give instructions as it were with one mouth; because if any error shall be committed, life is altogether overthrown. In that former part, as there is less danger, so there is more difficulty; because the obscurity of the subject compels us to entertain different and various opinions. But in this, as there is more danger, so there is less difficulty; because the very use of the subjects and daily experiments are able to teach what is truer and better. Let us see, therefore, whether they agree, or what assistance they give us for the better guidance of life.
It is not necessary to enlarge on every point; let us select one, and especially that which is the chief and principal thing, in which the whole of wisdom centres and depends. Epicurus deems that the chief good consists in pleasure of mind , Aristippus in pleasure of the body. Callipho and Dinomachus united virtue with pleasure, Diodorus with the privation of pain, Hieronymus placed the chief good in the absence of pain; the Peripatetics, again, in the goods of the mind , the body, and fortune.
The chief good of Herillus is knowledge ; that of Zeno, to live agreeably to nature; that of certain Stoics , to follow virtue. Aristotle placed the chief good in integrity and virtue. These are the sentiments of nearly all. In such a difference of opinions, whom do we follow? Whom do we believe? All are of equal authority. If we are able to select that which is better, it follows that philosophy is not necessary for us; because we are already wise, inasmuch as we judge respecting the opinions of the wise.
But since we come for the sake of learning wisdom, how can we judge, who have not yet begun to be wise? Especially when the Academic is close at hand, to draw us back by the cloak, and forbid us to believe any one, without bringing forward that which we may follow. What then remains, but that we leave raving and obstinate wranglers, and come to the judge, who is in truth the giver of simple and calm wisdom?
Which is able not only to mould us, and lead us into the way, but also to pass an opinion on the controversies of those men. This teaches us what is the true and highest good of man; but before I begin to speak on this subject, all those opinions must be refuted, that it may appear that no one of those philosophers was wise.
Since the inquiry is respecting the duty of man , the chief good of the chief animal ought to be placed in that which it cannot have in common with the other animals. But as teeth are the peculiar property of wild beasts, horns of cattle, and wings of birds, so something peculiar to himself ought to be attributed to man , without which he would lose the fixed order of his condition.
For that which is given to all for the purpose of life or generation, is indeed a natural good; but still it is not the greatest, unless it be peculiar to each class. Therefore he was not a wise man who believed that pleasure of the mind is the chief good, since that, whether it be freedom from anxiety or joy , is common to all. I do not consider Aristippus even worthy of an answer; for since he is always rushing into pleasures of the body, and is only the slave of sensual indulgences, no one can regard him as a man: for he lived in such a manner that there was no difference between him and a brute, except this only, that he had the faculty of speech.
But if the power of speaking were given to the ass, or the dog, or swine, and you were to inquire from these why they so furiously pursue the females , that they can scarcely be separated from them, and even neglect their food and I drink; why they either drive away other males, or do not abstain from the pursuit even when vanquished, but often, when bruised by stronger animals, they are more determined in their pursuit; why they dread neither rain nor cold; why they undertake labour, and do not shrink from danger — what other answer will they give, but that the chief good is bodily pleasure?
Shall we then seek precepts of living from these men, who have no other feelings than those of the irrational creatures? The Cyrenaics say that virtue itself is to be praised on this account, because it is productive of pleasure. True, says the filthy dog, or the swine wallowing in the mire. For it is on this account that I contend with my adversary with the utmost exertion of strength, that my valour may procure for me pleasure; of which I must necessarily be deprived if I shall come off vanquished.
Shall we therefore learn wisdom from these men, who differ from cattle and the brutes, not in feeling, but in language? To regard the absence of pain as the chief good, is not indeed the part of Peripatetic and Stoic, but of clinical philosophers.
For who would not imagine that the discussion was carried on by those who were ill, and under the influence of some pain? What is so ridiculous, as to esteem that the chief good which the physician is able to give? We must therefore feel pain in order that we may enjoy good; and that, too, severely and frequently, that afterwards the absence of pain may be attended with greater pleasure. He is therefore most wretched who has never felt pain, because he is without that which is good ; whereas we used to regard him as most happy , because he was without evil.
He was not far distant from this folly, who said that the entire absence of pain was the chief good. For, besides the fact that every animal avoids pain, who can bestow upon himself that good, towards the obtaining of which we can do no more than wish? But the chief good cannot make any one happy , unless it shall be always in his power; and it is not virtue , nor learning, nor labour, which affords this to man , but nature herself bestows it upon all living creatures.
They who joined pleasure with virtuous principle, wished to avoid this common blending together of all, but they made a contradictory kind of good; since he who is abandoned to pleasure must of necessity be destitute of virtuous principle, and he who aims at principle must be destitute of pleasure.
The chief good of the Peripatetics may possibly appear excessive, various, and — excepting those goods which belong to the mind , and what they are is a great subject of dispute — common to man with the beasts. For goods belonging to the body — that is, safety, freedom from pain, health — are no less necessary for dumb creatures than for man; and I know not if they are not more necessary for them, because man can be relieved by remedies and services, the dumb animals cannot. The same is true of those which they call the goods of fortune; for as man has need of resources for the support of life, so have they need of prey and pasture.
Thus, by introducing a good which is not within the power of man , they made man altogether subject to the power of another. Let us also hear Zeno, for he at times dreams of virtue. The chief good, he says, is to live in accordance with nature. Therefore we must live after the manner of the brutes. For in these are found all the things which ought to be absent from man: they are eager for pleasures, they fear , they deceive, they lie in wait, they kill; and that which is especially to the point, they have no knowledge of God. Why, therefore, does he teach me to live according to nature, which is of itself prone to a worse course, and under the influence of some more soothing blandishments plunges headlong into vices?
Or if he says that the nature of brutes is different from the nature of man , because man is born to virtue , he says something to the purpose; but, however, it will not be a definition of the chief good, because there is no animal which does not live in accordance with its nature. He who made knowledge the chief good, gave something peculiar to man; but men desire knowledge for the sake of something else, and not for its own sake. For who is contented with knowing , without seeking some advantage from his knowledge?
The arts are learned for the purpose of being put into exercise; but they are exercised either for the support of life, or pleasure, or for glory. That, therefore, is not the chief good which is not sought for on its own account. What difference, therefore, does it make, whether we consider knowledge to be the chief good, or those very things which knowledge produces from itself, that is, means of subsistence, glory , pleasure? And these things are not peculiar to man , and therefore they are not the chief goods; for the desire of pleasure and of food does not exist in man alone, but also in the brutes.
How is it with regard to the desire of glory? Is it not discovered in horses, since they exult in victory, and are grieved when vanquished? So great is their love of praises, so great is their eagerness for victory. Nor without reason does that most excellent poet say that we must try what grief they feel when overcome, and how they rejoice in victory.
But if those things which knowledge produces are common to man with other animals, it follows that knowledge is not the chief good. Moreover, it is no slight fault of this definition that bare knowledge is set forth. For all will begin to appear happy who shall have the knowledge of any art, even those who shall know mischievous subjects; so that he who shall have learned to mix poisons, is as happy as he who has learned to apply remedies.
I ask, therefore, to what subject knowledge is to be referred. If to the causes of natural things, what happiness will be proposed to me, if I shall know the sources of the Nile, or the vain dreams of the natural philosophers respecting the heaven? Why should I mention that on these subjects there is no knowledge , but mere conjecture, which varies according to the abilities of men? It only remains that the knowledge of good and evil things is the chief good. Why, then, did he call knowledge the chief good more than wisdom, when both words have the same signification and meaning?
But no one has yet said that the chief good is wisdom, though this might more properly have been said. For knowledge is insufficient for the undertaking of that which is good and avoiding that which is evil , unless virtue also is added. For many of the philosophers , though they discussed the nature of good and evil things, yet from the compulsion of nature lived in a manner different from their discourse, because they were without virtue.
But virtue united with knowledge is wisdom. It remains that we refute those also who judged virtue itself to be the chief good, and Marcus Tullius was also of this opinion; and in this they were very inconsiderate. For virtue itself is not the chief good, but it is the contriver and mother of the chief good; for this cannot be attained without virtue.
Each point is easily understood. For I ask whether they imagine that it is easy to arrive at that distinguished good, or that it is reached only with difficulty and labour? Let them apply their ingenuity, and defend error. If it is easily attained to, and without labour, it cannot be the chief good. For why should we torment ourselves, why wear ourselves out with striving day and night, seeing that the object of our pursuit is so close at hand, that any one who wishes may grasp it without any effort of the mind?
But if we do not attain even to a common and moderate good except by labour, since good things are by their nature arduous and difficult, whereas evil things have a downward tendency, it follows that the greatest labour is necessary for the attainment of the greatest good. And if this is most true , then there is need of another virtue , that we may arrive at that virtue which is called the chief good; but this is incongruous and absurd, that virtue should arrive at itself by means of itself.
If no good can be reached unless by labour, it is evident that it is virtue by which it is reached, since the force and office of virtue consist in the undertaking and carrying through of labours. Therefore the chief good cannot be that by which it is necessary to arrive at another. But they, since they were ignorant of the effects and tendency of virtue , and could discover nothing more honourable , stopped at the very name of virtue , and said that it ought to be sought, though no advantage was proposed from it; and thus they fixed for themselves a good which itself stood in need of a good.
From these Aristotle was not far removed, who thought that virtue together with honour was the chief good; as though it were possible for any virtue to exist unless it were honourable , and as though it would not cease to be virtue if it had any measure of disgrace. But he saw that it might happen that a bad opinion is entertained respecting virtue by a depraved judgment, and therefore he thought that deference should be paid to what in the estimation of men constitutes a departure from what is right and good, because it is not in our power that virtue should be honoured simply for its own deserts.
For what is honourable character, except perpetual honour , conferred on any one by the favourable report of the people? What, then, will happen, if through the error and perverseness of men a bad reputation should ensue? Shall we cast aside virtue because it is judged to be base and disgraceful by the foolish? And since it is capable of being oppressed and harassed, in order that it may be of itself a peculiar and lasting good, it ought to stand in need of no outward assistance, so as not to depend by itself upon its own strength, and to remain steadfast.
And thus no good is to be hoped by it from man, nor is any evil to be refused. I now come to the chief good of true wisdom, the nature of which is to be determined in this manner: first, it must be the property of man alone, and not belong to any other animal; secondly, it must belong to the soul only, and not be shared with the body; lastly, it cannot fall to the lot of any one without knowledge and virtue.
Now this limitation excludes and does away with all the opinions of those whom I have mentioned ; for their sayings contain nothing of this kind. I will now say what this is, that I may show, as I designed, that all philosophers were blind and foolish, who could neither see, nor understand, nor surmise at any time what was fixed as the chief good for man. Anaxagoras, when asked for what purpose he was born, replied that he might look upon the heaven and the sun. This expression is admired by all, and judged worthy of a philosopher.
But I think that he, being unprepared with an answer, uttered this at random, that he might not be silent. But if he had been wise, he ought to have considered and reflected with himself; for if any one is ignorant of his own condition, he cannot even he a man. But let us imagine that the saying was not uttered on the spur of the moment.
Let us see how many and what great errors he committed in three words. First, he erred in placing the whole duty of man in the eyes alone, referring nothing to the mind , but everything to the body. But if he had been blind, would he lose the duty of a man , which cannot happen without the ruin of the soul? What of the other parts of the body? Will they be destitute, each of its own duty?
Why should I say that more depends upon the ears than upon the eye, since learning and wisdom can be gained by the ears only, but not by the eyes only? Were you born for the sake of seeing the heaven and the sun? Who introduced you to this sight? Or what does your vision contribute to the heaven and the nature of things? Doubtless that you may praise this immense and wonderful work. Therefore confess that God is the Creator of all things, who introduced you into this world, as a witness and praiser of His great work.
You believe that it is a great thing to behold the heaven and the sun: why, therefore, do you not give thanks to Him who is the author of this benefit?
Why do you not measure with your mind the excellence, the providence , and the power of Him whose works you admire? For it must be, that He who created objects worthy of admiration, is Himself much more to be admired. If any one had invited you to dinner, and you had been well entertained, should you appear in your senses, if you esteemed the mere pleasure more highly than the author of the pleasure?
So entirely do philosophers refer all things to the body, and nothing at all to the mind , nor do they see beyond that which fails under their eyes. But all the offices of the body being put aside, the business of man is to be placed in the mind alone. Therefore we are not born for this purpose, that we may see those things which are created, but that we may contemplate, that is, behold with our mind , the Creator of all things Himself.
Wherefore, if any one should ask a man who is truly wise for what purpose he was born, he will answer without fear or hesitation, that he was born for the purpose of worshipping God , who brought us into being for his cause , that we may serve Him. But to serve God is nothing else than to maintain and preserve justice by good works. But he, as a man ignorant of divine things, reduced a matter of the greatest magnitude to the least, by selecting two things only, which he said were to be beheld by him. But if he had said that he was born to behold the world, although he would comprise all things in this, and would use an expression of greater sound, yet he would not have completed the duty of man; for as much as the soul excels the body, so much does God excel the world, for God made and governs the world.
Therefore it is not the world which is to be contemplated by the eye, for each is a body; but it is God who is to be contemplated by the soul : for God , being Himself immortal , willed that the soul also should be everlasting. But the contemplation of God is the reverence and worship of the common Parent of mankind. And if the philosophers were destitute of this, and in their ignorance of divine things prostrated themselves to the earth, we must suppose that Anaxagoras neither beheld the heaven nor the sun, though he said that he was born that he might behold them.
The object proposed to man is therefore plain and easy, if he is wise; and to it especially belongs humanity. For what is humanity itself, but justice? What is justice , but piety? And piety is nothing else than the recognition of God as a parent. Therefore the chief good of man is in religion only; for the other things, even those which are supposed to be peculiar to man , are found in the other animals also.
For when they discern and distinguish their own voices by peculiar marks among themselves, they seem to converse: they also appear to have a kind of smile, when with soothed ears, and contracted mouth, and with eyes relaxed to sportiveness, they fawn upon man, or upon their own mates and young. Do they not give a greeting which bears some resemblance to mutual love and indulgence?
Again, those creatures which look forward to the future and lay up for themselves food, plainly have foresight. Indications of reason are also found in many of them. For since they desire things useful to themselves, guard against evils , avoid dangers, prepare for themselves lurking-places standing open in different places with various outlets, assuredly they have some understanding. Can any one deny that they are possessed of reason, since they often deceive man himself? For those which have the office of producing honey, when they inhabit the place assigned to them, fortify a camp, construct dwellings with unspeakable skill, and obey their king; I know not if there is not in them perfect prudence.
It is therefore uncertain whether those things which are given to man are common to him with other living creatures: they are certainly without religion. I indeed thus judge, that reason is given to all animals, but to the dumb creatures only for the protection of life, to man also for its prolongation. And because reason itself is perfect in man, it is named wisdom, which renders man distinguished in this respect, that to him alone it is given to comprehend divine things. And concerning this the opinion of Cicero is true : Of so many kinds of animals, he says, there is none except man which has any knowledge of God ; and among men themselves, there is no nation either so uncivilized or so savage, which, even if it is ignorant of due conceptions of the Deity, does not know that some conception of Him ought to be entertained.
From which it is effected, that he acknowledges God , who, as it were, calls to mind the source from which he is sprung. Those philosophers , therefore, who wish to free the mind from all fear , take away even religion, and thus deprive man of his peculiar and surpassing good, which is distinct from living uprightly, and from everything connected with man, because God , who made all living creatures subject to man , also made man subject to Himself. What reason is there why they should also maintain that the mind is to be turned in the same direction to which the countenance is raised?
For if we must look to the heaven, it is undoubtedly for no other reason than on account of religion; if religion is taken away, we have nothing to do with the heaven. Therefore we must either look in that direction or bend down to the earth. We are not able to bend down to the earth, even if we should wish, since our posture is upright. We must therefore look up to the heaven, to which the nature of the body calls us.