Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son, Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire Help waste a sullen day, what may be won From the hard season gaining? Time will run On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun. What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air? He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
Good people, things will never go well in England so long as goods be not in common, and so long as there be villeins and gentlemen. By what right are they whom we call lords greater folk than we? On what grounds have they deserved it? Why do they hold us in serfage? If we all came of the same father and mother, of Adam and Eve, how can they say or prove that they are better than we, if it be not that they make us gain for them by our toil what they spend in their pride? They are clothed in velvet and warm in their furs and their ermines, while we are covered with rags. They have wine and spices and fir bread; and we oat-cake and straw, and water to drink. They have leisure and fine houses; we have pain and labour, the rain and the wind in the fields. And yet it is of us and of our toil that these men hold their state.
They even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had entrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure; with a power of dispensation over all the rules and obligations of morality; with authority to license all sorts of sins and crimes; with a power of deposing princes and absolving subjects from allegiance; with a power of procuring or withholding the rain of heaven and the beams of the sun; with the management of earthquakes, pestilence, and famine; nay, with the mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine the flesh and blood of God himself. All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity, and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude to him and his subordinate tyrants, who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God and that was worshipped.
John Adams (1735 - 1826)
Source: Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law, 1765.
An old priest told me this story. "Centuries ago a great artist was engaged to paint a mural for the cathedral in a Sicilian town. The subject was the life of Christ. For many years the artist labored diligently, and finally the painting was finished except for the two most important figures: the Christ Child and Judas Iscariot. He searched far and wide for suitable models. "One day while walking in the city he came upon some children playing in the street. Among them was a 12-year-old boy whose face stirred the painter's heart. "The artist took the child home with him, and day after day the boy sat patiently until the face of the Christ Child was finished. But the painter still had found no model for the portrait of Judas. "The story of the unfinished masterpiece spread afar, and many men, fancying themselves of wicked countenance, offered to pose for Judas. But in vain the old painter looked for Judas, as he envisioned him-a man warped by life, enfeebled by surrender to greed and lust. "Then one afternoon as he sat in a tavern, a gaunt and tattered figure staggered across the threshold. 'Wine, wine,' he begged. The startled painter looked into a face that seemed to bear the marks of every sin of mankind. "Greatly excited, the old painter said, 'Come with me, and I will give you wine.' "For many days the painter worked feverishly to complete his masterpiece. As the work went on, a change came over the model. A strange tension replaced the stuporous languor, and his bloodshot eyes were fixed with horror on the painted likeness of himself. One day, perceiving his subject's agitation, the painter paused in his work. 'My son,' he said, 'what troubles you so?' "The man buried his face in his hands, sobbing. After a long moment he lifted pleading eyes to the old painter's face. "'Do you not then remember me? Years ago I was your model for the Christ Child.'"
Hugh B. Brown (1883 - 1975)
Source: The Abundant Life, p.228, quoting an article by Bonnie Chamberlin printed in Saturday Review
The fallen hazel-nuts, Stripped late of their green sheaths, The grapes, red-purple, Their berries Dripping with wine, Pomegranates already broken, And shrunken fig, And quinces untouched, I bring thee as offering.
They [the Persians] are accustomed to deliberate on matters of the highest moment when warm with wine; but whatever they in this situation may determine is again proposed to them on the morrow, in their cooler moments, by the person in whose house they had before assembled. If at this time also it meet their approbation, it is executed; otherwise it is rejected. Whatever also they discuss when sober, is always a second time examined after they have been drinking.
Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprized, or said in some way, that we felt like a new man in the old, and to retain it would be like putting new wine in an old bottle.