Saturday, May 24, 2014

"We now live, if you stand fast in the Lord."

"The comfort of their Faith was so great to him, that it would be as life to him, if they stood fast in it. . . . Life is not only the Union of Soul and Body.  Comfort is the Life of the Soul, especially that which springs from Divine Causes.  And on the contrary the apostacy and degeneracy of a People doth kill the hearts of their faithful Teachers."

     [Matthew Poole] on 1 Thess 3:8.   Annotations upon the Holy Bible. . . . Vol. II. being a continuation of Mr. Poole's work by certain judicious and learned divines, 4th ed. (London:  1700).  So is this Poole?  And does it occur in the Synopsis criticorum aliorumque sacrae scripturae interpretum et commentatorum as well?

"A faithful Minister will not only tell the People of the Crown, but of the Cross of Christ."

     [Matthew Poole] on 1 Thess 3:4.  Annotations upon the Holy Bible. . . . Vol. II. being a continuation of Mr. Poole's work by certain judicious and learned divines, 4th ed. (London:  1700).  So is this Poole?  And does it occur in the Synopsis criticorum aliorumque sacrae scripturae interpretum et commentatorum as well?
     I was put on to this by Anthony C. Thiselton, 1 & 2 Thessalonians through the centuries, Blackwell Bible commentaries (Malden, MA:  Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 89.  It is also to be found on p. 740 of this 19th century printing.

"a truth that precedes culture"

"religion is culture.  It is our collective response to a truth that precedes culture, since it precedes all things.  This responsiveness distinguishes the 'values', 'symbolism', 'practices', 'identity' and so on of religious culture from those of secular culture; it makes all the difference in the world to how we live."

     Clare Carlisle, "Fertile gloss," a review of Culture and the death of God, by Terry Eagleton, Times literary supplement no. 5794 (April 18, 2014):  28.  The following come next and are Carlisle's last words:  "It is strange that a book about the death of God should remain so stubbornly uninterested in what 'God' meansnot to mention who, how, and where God might be."

Dutch tolerance

     "Dutch tolerance was never 'nice'.  It was, as Shorto remarks, built not on admiration or even celebrating difference, but precisly on indifference, on letting others live their lives regardless of what one might think of their practices and beliefs, as long as they did not interfere with the business of society and of business itself.  It was a shoulder-shrugging tolerance.  During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Amsterdam's liberalism exercised a decisive influence on European debates through its print shops, from where a constant stream of writing by such heretics and dissidents as Spinoza, Descartes, Le Mettrie, Holbach, and Diderot flowed across the borders.  But inviting persecuted thinkers, as well as Huguenots and Jews, into the city was a result not of humanitarian sentiments but of a shrewd appreciation of the fact that encouraging diversity, attracting expertise and trading networks, establishing strong civic institutions and lowering ideological thresholds would all yield sound economic results."

     Philipp Blom, "Gedogen streets," a review of Amsterdam:  a history of the world's most liberal city, by Russell Shorto, Times literary supplement no. 5796 (May 2, 2014):  5, italics mine.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Its shame and reproach gladly bear"

"History does not have sides.  It is an impersonal and contingent sequence of events, events that are determined in decisive ways by human deliberation, judgment, choice, and action.  The future of marriage and of countless human lives can and will be determined by our judgments and choicesour willingness or unwillingness to bear faithful witness, our acts of courage or cowardice.  Nor is history, or future generations, a judge invested with god-like powers  to decide, much less dictate, who was right and who was wrong.  The idea of a 'judgment of history' is secularism's vain, meaningless, hopeless, and pathetic attempt to devise a substitute for what the great Abrahamic traditions of faith know is the final judgment of Almighty God.  History is not God.  God is God.  History is not our judge.  God is our judge.
     "One day we will give an account of all we have done and failed to do.  Let no one suppose that we will make this accounting to some impersonal sequence of events possessing no more power to judge than a golden calf or a carved and painted totem pole.  It is before Godthe God of truth, the Lord of historythat we will stand.  And as we tremble in His presence it will be no use for any of us to claim that we did everything in our power to put ourselves on 'the right side of history.'"