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Miscellaneous Writings - page 270 / 358

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TRUE PHILOSOPHY AND COMMUNION

It is related of Justin Martyr that, hearing of a Pythag-

3orean professor of ethics, he expressed the wish to be- come one of his disciples. "Very well," the teacher replied; "but have you studied music, astronomy, and

6geometry, and do you think it possible for you to under- stand aught of that which leads to bliss, without hav- ing mastered the sciences that disengage the soul from

9objects of sense, so rendering it a fit habitation for the intelligences?" On Justin's confessing that he had not studied those branches, he was dismissed by the

12professor.

Alas for such a material science of life! Of what avail would geometry be to a poor sinner struggling with

15temptation, or to a man with the smallpox?

Ancient and modern philosophies are spoiled by lack of Science. They would place Soul wholly inside of body,

18intelligence in matter; and from error of premise would seek a correct conclusion. Such philosophy can never demonstrate the Science of Life, — the Science which

21Paul understood when he spoke of willingness "to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord." Such philosophy is far from the rules of the mighty Nazarene

24Prophet. His words, living in our hearts, were these: "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein." Not through

27astronomy did he point out the way to heaven and the reign of harmony.

We need the spirit of St. Paul, when he stood on Mars'

30hill at Athens, bringing Christianity for the first time

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1into Europe. The Spirit bestows spiritual gifts, God's presence and providence. St. Paul stood where Socrates

3had stood four hundred years before, defending himself against the charge of atheism; in the place where De- mosthenes had pleaded for freedom in immortal strains

6of eloquence.

We need the spirit of the pious Polycarp, who, when the proconsul said to him, "I will set the beasts upon

9you, unless you yield your religion," replied: "Let them come; I cannot change from good to bad." Then they bound him to the stake, set fire to the fagots, and his

12pure and strong faith rose higher through the baptism of flame.

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