If we are honest, we freely admit that the Christian system involves difficulties; but so does every other system. No thoughtful person gives up a position merely because he finds difficulties in it; he does not abandon it until he is able to find other and alternative systems with fewer difficulties. . . . I learned from my professors of philosophy. . . that, while philosophy might not provide me with a watertight intellectual defense of the Christian faith, it would, if used aright, help me to reveal the weakness of its enemies. By careful analysis it is possible to see that there are glaring weaknesses and non-sequiturs in atheism, naturalism, positivism, scientism, and psychologism. The Christian must be a fighter, for he is always under attack. The Church will not be as strong as it ought to be until each local pastor uses his precious freedom from outside employment in order to become a scholarly participant in the intellectual struggle of our day and generation.
Abraham Lincoln tells somewhere that as a boy when he met an obscure or ambiguous sentence in his reading it threw him into a sort of rage. The fact is that this was simply a form of instinct for clear thinking which is found in every child and manifests itself abundantly to the perception of the good teacher. Far more important than any particular piece of knowledge, than geography or arithmetic or spelling, is this love of clearness in our mental life and instinctive hatred of confusion and obscurity. Let us learn to know what we know clearly and definitely, and also how we know it. The great intellectual need of men and women in the outer world is not so much more knowledge as it is better knowledge and better thinking. There is much philosophy in the humorist's remark, "It was never my ignorance that done me up, but the things I know'd that wasn't so." The great enemies of intellectual life are superstition, gullibility, and fallacious reasoning. A mere knowledge of facts, important as that is, is no safeguard against these. A conscious desire and resolve to think clearly is the true remedy. Our national success will depend largely upon the development of a generation of men and women who have formed a love and habit of clear thinking and who can do their part in solving the problems that confront civilized man today.
Edward O. Sisson
Source: The Essentials of Character, The Macmillan Company, 1915
It is coming. . . . I feel Already shod with marble . . . gloved with lead. . . . Let the old fellow come now! He shall find me On my feet sword in hand [ He draws his sword. ] I can see him there he grins He is looking at my nose that skeleton. What's that you say? Hopeless? Why, very well! But a man does not fight merely to win! No no better to know one fights in vain! . . . You there. Who are you? A hundred against one I know them now, my ancient enemies. [ He lunges at the empty air. ] Falsehood! . . . There! There! Prejudice. Compromise. Cowardice. [ Thrusting ] What's that? No! Surrender? No! Never never! . . . Ah, you too, Vanity! I know you would overthrow me in the end. No! I fight on! I fight on! I fight on!
It is coming... I feel Already shod with marble... gloved with lead... Let the old fellow come now! He shall find me On my feet sword in hand [ He draws his sword. ] I can see him there he grins He is looking at my nose that skeleton What's that you say? Hopeless? Why, very well! But a man does not fight merely to win! No, no, better to know one fights in vain! ... You there, Who are you? A hundred against one I know them now, my ancient enemies [ He lunges at the empty air. ] Falsehood! ... There! There! Prejudice Compromise Cowardice [ Thrusting ] What's that? No! Surrender? No! Never never! ... Ah, you too, Vanity! I know you would overthrow me in the end No! I fight on! I fight on! I fight on!
Edmond Rostand (1868 - 1918)
Source: Death scene spoken by Cyrano, Cyrano de Bergerac