From Marinov’s The Tale of the Two Aurelii: The Hero vs. the Real Man
It has been said by many non-Christian historians that Christianity was the religion of the middle class, of those who have established their social status not by privilege or spectacular abilities and feats but by undertaking to serve the immediate needs of their neighbors and making their living from that. There is much truth in that statement. For indeed, while the middle class of the little people was ridiculed and looked down upon by the Age of Heroes, it found its true meaning and purpose under Christianity. Obedience to God and service to other men replaced pride and power and triumph as the dominant virtues in the culture; as a result, the middle class replaced the elite as the dominant group in the culture.
And this new civilization, based on the real men in the farms, in the workshops, and in the marketplaces, proved to be much more fertile and tenacious than the world of heroes and true philosophers. Little men, as weak and infirm and imperfect they are, when empowered by the Spirit of Christ, always win the cultural war against the heroes. When the political power of the Empire was reduced to nothing, it was the church that built the new civilization, based on simple men and their families, exercising obedience under God.
…when the Reformers set out to restore the doctrine of the Apostles – and of Augustine – in the Church the culture they created was again a culture of the dominance of what is called today the “middle class.” The Protestant revolutions of the 16-18th centuries were all revolutions against elitist regimes. And the outcomes of all of them were libertarian societies where the little people were given the liberty to produce, serve, innovate, and pursue their callings in life without the domination of “heroes.” The culture of the Reformation was a culture of servants, weak, simple, little, imperfect, but empowered by the grace of God; and that culture created a civilization far superior to the culture of the elites. And if you need an illustration of the difference, think Holland and Spain in the 16th century, and then Holland and Spain in the 20th century. And there are many more historical examples of the superior civilizational influence of the Augustinian ideal of man.
The two Aurelii – Marcus Aurelius and Aurelius Augustine – were the best representatives of their ages. One was the hero, the true philosopher, the perfect man bred and cultivated to take on, by his own power and virtue, the forces of chaos and bring order. The other was the imperfect, little, insignificant, common man who had no power in himself except whatever power was bestowed to him from above. One displayed the best of paganism. The other displayed the worst of paganism; and then was changed to a redeemed man.
The hero was a complete failure. His attempts were barren, and the civilization he wanted to build and maintain came down. The real man was successful far beyond his own expectations. He laid the foundation for our modern world, with its liberty, prosperity, ethical values, and increased knowledge of God and His Gospel. Godly dominion by real men always beats domination and power by heroes and elites. Always.
Something to remember.