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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Silenus and His Kin.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young. See that they look up to you because you are an example to believers in your speech and behavior, in your love and faith and sincerity (1 Timothy 4:12 J.B. Phillips).
In Plato's dialogue Symposium one of the participants, Alcibiades, compares Socrates to a statue of Silenus.

Silenus was a minor Greek deity, an unprepossessing, squat, middle-aged, companion of Dionysus the god of wine. Little statues of Silenus were sold as knicknacks and good-luck charms. The statues had doors in their pot bellies that opened up to reveal tiny, golden images inside.

Alcibiades comments: ''I once caught him (Socrates) when he was open like Silenus' statues, and I had a glimpse of the figures he keeps hidden within. And they were so bright and beautiful, so utterly amazing that I felt I must do whatever he told me'' (216E-217A).

Socrates was famously ugly, but Alcibiades saw beyond the philosopher's appearance to the beauty of his character and deferred to him.

Charm, charisma, chutzpah (or lack thereof) count for little in the long run. What matters is the person you are becoming. “In a word, be a saint” (Balthasar).

Spurgeon said, “It is a common matter of observation that, so far as we can judge here below; the better is the life of the pastor, the greater fruit he bears, however small his rhetoric and however ordinary his instruction. For it is the warmth that comes from the living spirit that clings; whereas the other kind of pastor will produce very little profit, however sublime be his style and his instruction.”

David Roper
Sept 22, 2015

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