So also in the case of men; those who are under the dominion of anger, or appetite, or any other passion, or of treacherous wickedness, are in every respect slaves; and those who live in accordance with the law are free. But the unerring law is right reason; not an ordinance made by this or that mortal, a corruptible and perishable law, a lifeless law written on lifeless parchment or engraved on lifeless columns; but one imperishable, and stamped by immortal nature on the immortal mind. (Philo: full text here)
Most of us have not considered the fact that when we engage in things that are evil, we are securing for ourselves our own slavery. Evil is bondage, and those people who engage in it are slaves; even if they hold high government or religious office. This is why when we submit to anger in our emotions, we are in a sense contributing to our own slavery because anger will usually lead to something bad or even worse than the thing that made us angry. On the other hand, those of us who wish to live in freedom can do so by taking off the shackles of bondage by living in according to the natural law or God's commandments. The people who are truly free are those who can manage to control their behavior to stay within the natural law. I believe all of us already know what the natural law is if we take the time to think about such things.
Here in this example, Philo explains that the "unerring law" is right reason. I understand this to mean that the laws that we observe through nature and our own ability to reason is much stronger and gives life. Whereas, written laws coming from mankind have no life in them because they are probably not capable of it. The reason is that man-made laws are corruptible, lifeless, written on dead trees; whereas, the laws that give life are stamped by immortal nature and on the immortal mind.
The laws that give life are those laws that we observe every day. We, as men and women, should be more careful considering our own actions and words.
I don't know anyone in their right mind who would be willing to get on the next slave ship, and then be beaten, tortured, and worked to the bone to an inch of his life. Yet, when we do evil things, that's exactly what we are doing to ourselves. When we choose evil we are then as people who are on a slave ship. Evil provides no profit, no happiness, no goodness, and no life--only death. So it seems to me that the better course of action is to head off the evil before it gets started in our lives; making us slaves to our own bad judgment.
Government and religion as we know them today do not provide life as God intended. I'm sure that the Creator never envisioned the type of lives that we know today. But a lot of it is caused because most of us never knew anything different. We really thought that evil was fun: love, sex, and rock n roll. Love should have been a consideration for other people such as kindness, compassion, and making other people happy. But love, as said by an evil person, is generally used as a word for lust. Sex is primarily for the procreation of children; not an end unto itself. Rock n roll provides the drumbeat-trance for the lust.
This is how most of us were enslaved, and we thought we were having a good time. The problem is that these things become our chains of bondage. Homosexuals think that they have more freedom when the facts are they are slaves to their own depravity. And in order to make themselves feel better in their true misery, they try to force others to accept their deviant behavior. Evil is the chain of bondage. So, while most people would never consider embarking upon the slave ship voluntarily, that's exactly what we do when we chose the side of evil. Nothing good gets done with things that are evil. If I do evil, then I can expect a complete life in misery and bondage. It's worth my while to stay separated from that to the extent it is possible.
The way that we can disembark from this slave ship is to understand that the natural law is contained in right reason and that when we choose those things which are virtuous and seemly, we are now throwing off the chains of bondage. The bad results of evil depart from our being and life become more enjoyable and more productive. But the choosing of evil will continually conflict with our own mind and soul it will inflict not only bondage but continual pain. So, if I don't like the bad things, the easiest thing to do is to stop being a bad person. Start to become a good person by learning how to properly abide by the natural laws that God established.
As one who has tried to use government laws, I can tell you first hand, that Philo's description of them being corruptible, perishable, lifeless, and written on lifeless parchment is spot on. Even speaking with a government official now is to speak with a chronic liar. When I hear their speech, I hear gibberish. It really doesn't make any sense to me and I don't bother trying to understand it any longer. It is a big waste of time as it is people like that who are the "unlawful masters." The only laws any man is responsible for are God's natural laws. If the law is confusing or not obvious, then I don't think it came from God, but rather, the perverted mind of a man.
But all virtuous men are skilful in all the affairs which belong to life, inasmuch as they are so with respect to the things which belong to universal nature; and some of them are free; and so therefore are they who have the freedom of speaking to them on equal terms; therefore no virtuous man is a slave, but all are free.
A virtuous man becomes skilful not only in the affairs in his life, he is able to keep himself off the slave ship. I think this also means that he becomes on equal terms with those who would want to enslave him. A man of virtue and good conduct is a free man; he has no chains of bondage. He is free to live the way God intended. And even though we all may be caught up in the evil at one time are another, the easiest way to avoid it is to cut off the evil and disassociate ourselves from it. While governments and religions seem to enjoy making people miserable, it is they themselves who are the slaves. They are the depraved ones who do not respect what God created. It is the government and religious people who instigate all kinds of evil against others; thereby ruining their own lives as they themselves are slaves to their own depravity.
Holding the line against evil is important in order to be a free man. Free men do good things without offending the Creator. Thus, the objective for every man, woman, and child should include efforts to be a good person. We are supposed to be good people. Many so-called "Christians" may object to this, but they are slaves to their own vicious teachings in which they say that no man can be a good person; completely defeating life as God intended. This is why I don't listen to people like that because they are in gross error and they cannot use right reason. However, building virtues and learning the difference between right and wrong will keep a man off the slave ship and will provide him with the path for freedom.
Walter Allen Thompson is the author of: