Some timely quotes from A Man For All Seasons in seasons of tyranny.

In the first quote St. Thomas More’s daughter informs him that the English Parliament was requiring an oath to the usurper church of England.

Meg: By this Act they’re going to administer an oath about the marriage! More: Under what compulsion is the Oath? Meg: High treason. More: But what is the wording? Meg: What do the words matter? We know what it will mean? More: What do the words say? An oath is made of words…it may be possible to take it. Meg: Take it?? More: Yes, and if it can be taken you must take it too. Meg: No! More: Listen Meg, God made the angels to show Him splendor as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity, but man He made to serve Him wittily in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping then we may stand to our tackle as best we can. And yes Meg, then we can clamor like champions if we have the spittle for it. But it’s God’s part nor our own to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping. If I can take this Oath I will.

The next quotes are from when More’s family is allowed to visit him in prison on the condition that they would try and convince him to take the oath and acknowledge the authority of the usurper church and illegitimate marriage of the King.

More: If we lived in a state where virtue was profitable common sense would make us saintly. But since we see that avarice, anger, pride and stupidity commonly profit far beyond charity, modesty, justice and thought, perhaps we must stand fast a little even at the risk of being heros.

Meg: Say the words of the Oath and in your heart think otherwise. More: What is an oath then? But words we say to God.–When a man takes an oath he’s holding his own self in his hands like water. And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again. Some men aren’t capable of this, but I’d be loathe to think your father one of them.

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