CHAPTER FOUR

NOBILITY

You have seen that Divine Spirit is the special quality which God has given to his chosen people, for the purpose of living lives of Dynamic Struggle, for a purpose of expressing God thru our lives, with a destiny of inheriting the vineyard and perfecting it. Many of us know that we are truly in the midst of this long struggle, and we are willing to give ourselves for this cause. One great and wonderful blessing available to us is the consolation and encouragement we can have by remembering those in history who have not retreated from being noble when things got difficult. There have been many, whose stories we can read; some can be watched as movies. One wonderful book of such stories is titled, HERETICS [by Walter Nigg: New York; Dorset Press, 1990] that tells of many genuine spiritual "Davids," who stood boldly for their beliefs. For most of them, it cost them their lives. The truths which they saw in their minds were so clear to them that they could not recant without denying themselves and their God. On the flyleaf of the book is a quotation by Saint Augustine: "Do not think that heresies could have arisen from a few beggarly little souls. Only great men have brought forth heresies." To stand for your convictions, even to the point of death, that is truly noble.

I have enjoyed the movie, Cleopatra, because of its wonderful portrayals of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. They stood alone nobly and regally, before their people. They fulfilled their destinies Nobly. Divine Spirit and Dynamic Struggle gave them their greatness.

Queen Cleopatra placed around her young son's neck a chain with a ring, given her by Marc Antony, and said to him, "The ring your father gave me; it is yours now to keep; wear it with pride and with honor." The boy said, "I'm afraid; I know I shouldn't be." She held him close and softly said, "Who told you that? All kings, and especially Queens are afraid. They just manage not to show it, something ordinary people cannot do." She kissed him on the forehead and he rode off to his own future. She would never see him again.

Later, after Cleopatra was captured and held by Octavian, she called for the basket of figs which held a poisonous viper, and into it she placed her hand. When Octavian and his guards found her lying in royal funeral dress, one of the soldiers shouted angrily at Cleopatra's dying maid, "Was this well done of your lady?" The maid replied, "Extremely well, as befitting the last of so many noble rulers." At such times of magnificent historical events, that which is noble is greater than death!

One of Octavian's soldiers reported to him that, "Marc Antony is with her they say. He's dead." Octavian, enemy of Antony, paused, silent, then spoke softly, "What?" The soldier repeated, "Lord Antony is dead." Octavian spoke from the depth of his nobility, "Is that how one says it, as simply as that? Marc Antony is dead. Lord Antony is dead. The soup is hot. The soup is cold. Antony is living. Antony is dead." And then rage filled his shout, "Shake with terror when such words pass your lips, for fear they be untrue and Antony cut out your tongue for the lie, and if true, for your lifetime boast that you were honored to speak his name even in death. The dying of such a man must be shouted, screamed, it must echo from the corners of the universe!" [my own excerpts from the movie, CLEOPATRA, with my own comments]

Noble in life, noble in death. Life comes and passes but nobility is eternal. God gives one a life to SPEND, not to keep; it's ultimate value is determined by how one spent it. Nobility is that characteristic that drives the souls of mere few. Nobility is what makes them great and is the substance of legends which follow. Nobility was the essence of heroes back in those days when we held them dear. Just what are the ingredients in this thing, nobility? They are the values of honor, justice, integrity, principles, honesty, values, ideals, truth, forthrightness, courage, high goals. Accountability and responsibility are unquestioned. Occasionally some reach upward out of sight, out even of their own sight; they strive, they demand, they claim, they proclaim and they sometimes attain. They demonstrate examples for the world, of some potential within our species, a potential of greatness which lies beyond our imaginations. They embarrass us because they turn on a light in our darkness, permitting us to see how far short we ourselves have come. But they also give us hope; in them we get a hint of what might yet be possible. Those who give their lives to this quest get recorded in history as noble. There is no higher medal of honor! Nietzsche's "uebermensch" was his own vision of the ultimate, divine potential with which we are endowed, of being truly Noble.

There have been many many Christians who have lived and died nobly. During that thousand years of hell which we call the Dark-Ages, there were many who disagreed with the Roman Catholic church and died because of it. Michael Servetus was led to the stake on October 27, 1553. A friend of Calvin, Guillaume Farel, walked beside Servetus haranguing him. When the executioner began his work, Servetus whispered with trembling voice, "Oh God, Oh God!" Farel snapped, "Have you nothing else to say?" Servetus answered, "What else might I do, but speak of God!" Michael Servetus' crime against the church was that he enjoined Christians to forget the Christ of dogma and return to the Christ of the Bible. He knew the reality of the New Covenant. He criticized some of the politically motivated dogmas which came out of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. He was lifted onto the pyre and chained to the stake. The faggots were ignited. Piercing screams and cries for mercy came from the midst of the smoke. This lasted more than half an hour for the wood was green and burned slowly. Yet Michael Servetus did never deny that which he believed. He didn't question the idea of nobility; he lived it and by it he died. We remember him with love and with profound grief. Others who deserve high honor would be Sebastianus Castellio, Sebastian Franck, Hans Denck, Thomas Muntzer, Baruch Spinoza, Arnold of Brescia, the Cathars, the Waldensians, and that intensely spiritual seeker, Giordano Bruno, who spoke out against the intellectuals who made a trade out of philosophy instead of promoting simple faith. When his sentence was announced, he said, "Perhaps you proclaim your verdict against me with greater fear than I receive it." He was burned at the stake on February 17, 1600 A.D. It is estimated that the Roman Catholic church killed about fifty-million European white-race Christians during its Inquisitions.

Along with those Christians who died nobly we might remember also Jesus who would not deny himself to save his life. We might also remember the thousands who died in the Roman Coliseum before gladiators and lions.

The Medal of Honor is given for war heroes, usually posthumously, who sacrifice their own lives for the sake of others. While we live our daily lives, focused upon trivial absurdities, why don't we pause for a moment and ponder the monumental heroic acts of those few souls who die willingly for their beliefs and for others. What Godly power motivates such heroic acts? Exactly what is it that causes one to sacrifice his life knowingly? Is there anything for which you would give your life?

Seriously, is there any value for which you would give your life? How about freedom? History is full of stories of valiant men who gave their lives willingly so that others might know freedom. Our own nation was founded for the sake of freedom. The French Revolution used the word, "Liberty" on their banners. And in 1848 there was a revolt against tyrants in Paris that became the plot for a book by Victor Hugo, a man who understood real nobility. His book, Les MisÚrables has been made into a play by the same name and wonderfully portrays the struggles of a truly noble man against merciless laws and tyrants. One of the numbers in the musical is titled, Do You Hear the People Sing? They sing, "Will you give all you can give so that our banner may advance? Some will fall and some will live; Will you stand up and take your chance? The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of France! Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men? It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again! When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!"

Later, after the battle, Marius sings the song, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables: "From the table in the corner they could see a world reborn, And they rose with voices ringing. I can hear them now, the very words that they had sung Became their last communion On the lonely barricade at dawn! Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me That I live and you are gone. There's a grief that can't be spoken, There's a pain goes on and on. Phantom faces at the window, Phantom shadows on the floor. Empty chairs at empty tables where my friends will meet no more."

In the epilogue of this meaningful and very moving drama they sing, "Do you hear the people sing Lost in the valley of the night? It is the music of a people Who are climbing to the light. For the wretched of the earth There is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. They will live again in freedom In the garden of the Lord. They will walk behind the plough-share They will put away the sword. The chain will be broken And all men will have their reward. Somewhere beyond the barricade Is there a world you long to see? Do you hear the people sing, Say, do you hear the distant drums? It is the future that they bring When tomorrow comes."  [Les Miserables, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer & Alan Boublil, based on the novel by Victor Hugo]

Isn't that the essence of nobility: that we yearn so hungrily for freedom and the quest to live up to man's potential that we value it more than our own lives? When Patrick Henry proclaimed, "Give me liberty or give me death," that was no melodramatic statement for TV cameras! He understood what he was saying and he felt it so natural to his soul that he could not deny it. And we, who live as heirs to the freedom which our founding fathers won, are now forced again to choose between freedom and the tranquility of servitude. There are some, perhaps a few, who do still stand tall today and proclaim "liberty or death," even though it isn't politically correct or recognized by the moral-relativism of today's media. Unheralded, perhaps even scorned by those in power, Nobility does yet live. If you feel it within yourself, you need to know that you are not alone. You are part of a long list of great beings who through history gave their lives for noble causes.

Of course, what we are looking at in these heroes is not men who performed because they were forced to by laws, but at men who performed nobly because it was in their hearts to do so, a quality which the humanist liberals deny possible. They demonstrated the fulfillment of God's promises in the New Covenant, in that God said through Jeremia, "I will give them another way and another heart, to fear me continually, and that for good to them and their children after them. And I will make with them an everlasting covenant." [Jeremia 32:39-40 (LXX)] God is talking about the Divine Spirit which empowers His children, yes, the divine minds with which they think! The alleged heretics and mystics and Christian martyrs gave their lives nobly because God had written upon their hearts and put in their minds what was His truth and His will. No politician or despotic Pontiff could erase that! For such children of God, death was preferable to denying what they knew in their hearts.

St. Paul looked at Death and boldly asked, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?" [I Corinthians 15:55] And with those words he robbed Death of all its power. Isn't it interesting that in our contemplation of values and principles we must constantly face the reality of death? Why can't nobility exist outside the danger of death? But isn't it death that gives nobility its real value, its greatness? If death were not a probable consequence, nobility could be claimed by everyone easily. But why then would they claim it? Their alternative could be self-gratification with no limits, like today's liberals demand. Interesting also is this, that self-gratification contributes nothing to the long term process of man's progress. Some few individuals possess an instinctive drive to climb the ladder, to progress, to work toward their highest potentials, to be all they can be. For them who possess this noble instinct, that drive is greater than any for an earthly pleasure,. It is a proof of God's existence that we can feel such a value, a value for which no earthly reward is adequate; we know there is something higher! So, we turn our eyes heavenward, and for Him we undertake life's difficult quest to progress and to improve the genetic strengths we want to pass on to succeeding generations. This is a special instinct, a powerful drive which compels us toward man's ultimate potential. It is with our species just like with other species, that we must not propagate weakness and deficiencies. It is a crime against nature to promote genetic weakening. Such destructive inclination is the very opposite of nobility! It is a perversion of one's values and ideals. And it is certainly not noble to fear death so much that we permit fear to define our society. Such perversion is the essence of the liberal philosophy. They sacrifice the strong and healthy for the sake of the weak and mutant; they despise heroes, they scorn morality and principles; integrity is for them whatever brings the most immediate gratification. That's what they mean by their philosophy of "moral-relativism". And now they have influenced legislation to achieve tyrannical oppression and exploitation of all who would live nobly. Here is the last desperate grab by evil against good, before everything crashes and a new civilization is born, to then be based upon spiritual values rather than material ones, a new age where nobility will be rewarded instead of punished.

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