Wednesday, March 02, 2016

A formerly current observation seems now like a then futurist prophecy of today -- or, what was said then seems about right later, meaning next year

1,899 years ago, a guy named Tacitus took his last breath. One could sometimes read his writings and imagine him writing for Newsweek or National Review. In Agricola, Tacitus said something that seems more of a prophecy of 2017 than it does the history of Tacitus’ father-in-law, which the work was. Tacitus said, “There can be great men under bad emperors…”

I think Tacitus’ posit will soon be tested.

In Histories, Tacitus also said, “From time immemorial, man has had an instinctive love of power. With the growth of our empire, this instinct has become a dominant and uncontrollable force.” I fear too, in this way, Tacitus proves to as apt a prophet of our times as he was an observer of his own.

Speaking of Nero in Histories, Tacitus said, “Even in good surroundings people find it difficult to behave well. Here every form of immorality competed for attention, and no chastity, modesty, or vestige of decency could survive.” 

I did not live in Nero’s time, and am tempted to believe it of my own times, but, alas, I believe Edmund Burke is to be heard and heeded on these matters: “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” (Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents)

This, then, goodly people is our mandate in all the ages, let us be great men and women, even if we must do so under bad emperors. We must resolve and solve our own selves to this endeavor. Like unto it, the good must associate.

Never forget the simple instruction of Scripture: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” (Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33; it is believed he was quoting Menander’s comedy Thais)

Let us be great men and women.
Let us be careful and intentional of our fellowship.
Look for good people with which to combine.

You believers out of local churches, fling yourselves back in, for surely I believe the day is coming when we will have each other or a cageless, cruel world, and no choice in between. Cardinal Francis George said this several years ago: “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.” Our little American experiment may see strenuous days, indeed.

Right Cardinal George might be, but he also goes on to say, “God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing ‘progressive’ about sin, even when it is promoted as ‘enlightened.’”

Let us be great men and women!
Together! Church, let’s be proactive in our association!
Remember, finally, we are children of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. There is none like our God!

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