Saturday, April 24, 2010

every spot is home...

Before his long and influential ministry at All Souls in Washington DC, Ulysses G.B. Pierce served congregations in Decorah, Iowa,  Pomona, CA, and Ithaca, NY.  Here is more from the introduction to "The Creed of Epictetus"...

"It is by virtue of this belief in the universal Providence that we have the Stoic conception of the World Citizen. We are to name ourselves after the most lordly of our dwellings, not after the most miserable. Therefore Epictetus commends to us the habit of Socrates who, upon being asked what was his native place, was wont to claim, not Athens or Corinth, but the universe. And with Epictetus this is no mere figure of speech, but a truth leading to many practical conclusions. For thus man is to regard himself as a living member of the universe, a citizen not an alien, a fellow-member not merely an integral part. The world is his Fatherland, and every spot is Home. " Can any man," he asks, " cast me out of the universe? He cannot; but whithersoever I may go, there will be the sun, and the moon, and there the stars, and visions, and omens, and communion with the Gods." And being members of the family universal, we are to hold nothing as profitable for self that does not contribute to the good of the whole. For as the foot is useless and dead save as a member of the body, so the individual fulfils himself only through this universal relationship. To keep this kinship inviolate and to suffer nothing to sever this relationship must be the constant aim. The good man, accordingly, is he who submits himself to God just as the good citizen submits himself to the laws of the state.

A direct inference from the belief in God as Father relates to the nobility and worth of man. For by origin, nature, capacity, vocation, and destiny man's divine ancestry is witnessed. If he could fully appreciate this truth, never would he think meanly or ignobly of himself. If kinship with Caesar would exalt one, what should be the elation upon knowing that we are sons of God! And should not this avail to rescue us from all despondency and to set us free from all fear?"


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