An Ancient Sermon: Is Reason Master over the Passions? (Part Four)

in The City of Neoxian2 months ago


Next Installment of the Ancient Sermon: Fourth Maccabees

We are continuing the dissertation on "Inspired Reason" and how it is able to be Master over the passions: both pleasure and pain. Why do we need "Inspired Reason"? Because the Most High God has put in place His Universal Laws and if we were unable to be guided by this wisdom, why would He have given them? I hold the controvertible position that perfection in the Torah is possible, although our evil inclination cause this to require effort. The passion of Messiah is our example of how to use "Reason" to overcome the trials and passions in our daily life.

Where does this "Reason" come from? We are born with the seed of "Reason", but it has to be nurtured and developed over time as we age, as in our immaturity we live as little hedonists. If we never grow up, we will behave as children with no control over our passions. Our morals will become corrupted and we will live depraved and sinful lives. But the law of sin and death (aka "passions") no longer reigns in our bodies, because the Holy Spirit (aka "Inspired Reason") is Master over them all through the completed work of the Messiah Yeshua.

The author of this dissertation continues speaking about "reason" and how it is master over the passions.

Thus begins the ancient sermon: Is Inspired Reason Master over the Passions?


Lessons from Our Fathers

Moses, when he was angered against Dathan and Abiram, did not give free course to his wrath, but governed his anger by his Reason. For the temperate mind is able, as I said, to win the victory over the passions, modifying some, while crushing others absolutely.

Why else did our father Jacob blame the houses of Simeon and Levi for their unreasoning slaughter of the tribe of the Shechemites, saying "Cursed be their anger!" For had not Reason possessed the power to restrain their anger, he would not have spoken thus.

In the day when God created man, He implanted in him his passions and inclinations - but also, at the very same time, set the mind on a throne amidst the senses to be his sacred guide in all things and to the mind He gave the Torah, by the which if a man order himself, he shall Reign over a Kingdom that is temperate and just and virtuous and brave.

If you do not well, sin crouches at the door and his impulses are upon you, but you must rule over him. Genesis 4:7

The Powerful Ally

Well then, someone may ask, "If Reason is Master of the passions, why is it not master of forgetfulness and ignorance?" The this argument is supremely ridiculous. For Reason is not shown to be Master over the passions or defects in itself, but over those of the body. Here are some examples:

None of you are able to extirpate our natural desire, but Reason can enable him to escape being made a slave by our natural desire.

None of you are able to extirpate anger from the soul, but it is possible for Reason to come to his aid against anger.

None of you can extirpate a malevolent disposition, but Reason can be his powerful ally against being swayed by malevolence.

Reason is not the extirpate of the passions, but their antagonist.

A Lesson from King David

The case of the thirst of King David may serve at least to make this clearer. For when David had fought the live-long day against the Philistines and by the help of our country's warriors, had slain many of them, he came at evening to the royal tent (all fordone with sweat and toil) around which was encamped the whole army of our ancestors. So all the host fell to their evening meal, but the king, being consumed with an intense thirst, though he had an abundance of water, was unable to drink it. Instead, an irrational desire for the water that was in possession of the enemy with growing intensity burned him up and unmanned and consumed him. Then when his body-guard murmured against the craving of the king, two youths, mighty warriors, ashamed that their king should lack his desire, put on all their armor and took the water-vessel and scaled the enemy's ramparts and stealing undetected past the guards at the gate, they searched through all the enemy's camp. And they bravely found the spring and drew from it a drought for the king.

But David, though still burning with the thirst, considered that such a draught reckoned as equivalent to blood, was a grievous danger to his soul. Therefore, opposing his desire by Reason, he poured out the water as an offering to God. For the temperate mind is able to conquer the dictates of passions, and to quench the fires of desire, and to wrestle our bodies though they be exceedingly strong and by the moral beauty and goodness of Reason to defy with scorn all the domination of the passions.

This concludes part four of the Ancient Sermon: Is Reason Master over the Passions?


Benjamin Turner: God fearer. Rooted in Messiah. Husband of @lturner. Father of FIVE wonderful children. The guy behind the camera. Blockchain enthusiast.

Bless the Most High!


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