Be a Royal Priesthood of Kings: Learn from Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Jesus

Train to be a King and Ruler: Learn from Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Jesus to Become a Royal Priesthood of KingsAccording to Apostle Peter, you are a member in the royal priesthood of kings (1 Peter 2:9). This seems hard to grasp for some but it's true anyway. Recall that Jesus is King of kings and Ruler of rulers. You are one of those kings and one of those rulers.

This brings me to the example of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was no Christian by any means, but he was trained to be a king. Marcus Aurelius was roman emperor from 161AD to 180AD. He was the last of the five good empe­rors, mentored for his kingly position by various teachers. The following is some of his personal notes describing what he learned from his assorted mentors. 

From my grandfather Verus, I learned good morals and the government (control) of my temper.

From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty (freedom from conceit) and a manly character.

 From my mother, piety (reverence) and beneficence (kindness), and abstinence, not only from evil deeds but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.

From my great-grandfather, not to have frequented public schools, and to have had good teachers at home, and to know that on such things (education) a man should spend liberally.

From my governor, to be neither of the green nor of the blue party at the games in the Circus, nor a partisan either of the Parmularius or the Scutarius at the gladiators' fights; from him too I learned endurance of labor (hard work), and to want little, and to work with my own hands, and not to meddle with other people's affairs, and not to be ready to listen to slander.

 From Diognetus, not to busy myself about trifling things, and not to give credit to what was said by (false) miracle-workers and jugglers about incantations and the driving away of daemons and such things. Not to breed quails for fighting, nor to give myself up passionately to such things, to endure freedom of speech. From Diognetus as well I learned to become intimate with philosophy (rational investigation).

From Rusticus, I received the impression that my character required improvement and discipline. He taught me to read carefully, and not to be satisfied with a superficial understanding of a book, nor (hastily) to give my assent to those who talk too much.

From Apollonius, I learned the freedom of will and the undeviating steadiness of purpose, and to look to nothing else---not even for a moment---except to reason. I learned always to be the same, even in sharp pains, for example, on the occasion of the loss of a child or when ill for a long time.

From Sextus, I acquired a benevolent disposition and the example of a family governed in a fatherly manner. I learned to be serious without affectation, and to look carefully after the interests of friends, and to tolerate ignorant persons, and those who form opinions without thinking.

From Alexander, the grammarian (linguist), I learned to refrain from fault-finding, and not in a reproachful way chide those who uttered any barbarous or (socially awkward) or strange-sounding expression.

From Fronto, I learned to observe what envy and duplicity and hypocrisy are in a tyrant and that generally those among us who are called Patricians (Aristocrats )are rather deficient in paternal affection.

 From Alexander the Platonic, I learned not frequently to say to anyone or to write in a letter, that I have no leisure time. Nor to continually excuse the neglect of duties required by our relation to those with whom we live, by alleging urgent occupations.

 From Catulus, I learned not to be contentious when a friend finds fault, even if he should find fault without reason. Rather to try to restore him to his usual disposition. Moreover, to be ready to speak well of teachers and that I should love my children truly.

 My brother Severus taught me to love my family, and to love truth, and to love justice. I also received the idea of a polity (civil order) in which there is the same law for all, a polity (civil order) administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government that respects most of all the freedom of the governed.

 From Maximus, I learned self-government, and not to be led aside by anything. I learned to be cheerful in all circumstances and to do what was set before me without complaining.

In my father, I saw a love of labor and perseverance, and a readiness to listen to those who had anything to propose for the common (good). I observed too his habit of careful inquiry in all matters of deliberation and his persistence, and that he never stopped his investigation through being satisfied with appearances which first present themselves. His disposition was to keep his friends, and not to be soon tired of them, nor yet to be extravagant in his affection. My father immediately checked popular applause and all flattery; he was ever watchful over the things which were necessary for the administration of the empire and was a good manager of the expenditure.

Kingship training is not something we give much thought to, but we should all understand our high calling as ambassadors of Christ. Marcus Aurelius was well trained. He kept a journal of his teachers and what they imparted to him. Think about your leaders and mentors. What have you learned thus far? Jesus is King of kings and Ruler of rulers. 

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