Category Archives: Ethics

Quote

Love Your Personal Enemy

Carl Schmitt in The Concept of the Political:

‘As German and other languages do not distinguish between the private and political enemy, many misconceptions and falsifications are possible. The often quoted “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27) reads “diligite inimicos vestros,” and not “diligite hostes vestros.” No mention is made of the political enemy. Never in the thousand-year struggle between Christians and Moslems did it occur to a Christian to surrender rather than defend Europe out of love toward the Saracens or Turks. The enemy in the political sense need not be hated personally, and in the private sphere only does it make sense to love one’s enemy, i.e., one’s adversary. The Bible quotation touches the political antithesis even less than it intends to dissolve, for example, the antithesis of good and evil or beautiful and ugly. It certainly does not mean that one should love and support the enemies of one’s own people.’

Aside

Theodore J. Kaczynski on the privileged taking of politically correct offence: ‘When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about him (or about groups with whom he identifies) we conclude that he has inferiority feelings or low self-esteem. … Continue reading

Offences’ Debts

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Will God’s forgiveness free me now
From bondage unto man?
Are all my debts to man absolved
According to the plan?

I know his Spirit gives me pow’r,
Upon Christ’s perfect merits,
Without the law to plead his grace;
For whom he loves, inherits.

But what inheritance is worth
Enough my dues to pay?
For if I shun my duties now,
My hope will not appear:

If by my works I see my faith,
Which only justifies,
Then all assurance I dream up
Is nothing but cruel lies.

Could Newton make it up
To those he’d taken slaves?
No, he could only hope in God,
His final judge who saves.

No tears, no groans, no paltry works
Can heal the lashes’ scars;
But Christ, who meekly gave himself,
Will make them like the stars.

And is that treasure not enough
To satisfy all want,
Abundant beyond man’s design,
Your baptism’s full font?

From riches give that he has giv’n,
Incalculable worth,
And weigh not money’s sum but love –
Now have you any dearth?

A Heart of Hope

A gentle heart that, deep in thought, is veiled
In philosophic pondering I now
Perceive, where notes Romantic once exhaled
Their longing spirit in a total vow.
And my own heart is warmed to hear this other,
In silent sounds awakened from the past,
Remembrance of a dream’s sweet, pensive brother,
Desiring peace and beauty that will last.
I’ll drink to that; the honey that you poured
For me I’ll drain, and raise another glass
To songs that won’t be conquered by the sword
Indiff’rent to the dew upon the grass.
Where heart lies open to another heart,
That world will never end, nor shall our part.

Refuse the Image

O set a watch, O set a watch
Over my lips. I see the deep
State with its eunuch-poison botch

The soul of man, to make us cheap
And free to be ourselves and not
Ourselves when in the mirror’s leap.

O liberty! which by a plot
Doth forge my roboself
In autostep to bleed and clot –

All for the worn and weary shelf
To be replenished for the show
Of life imagined by a Guelf,

Whose totalizing vision’s woe,
Inflicted now upon us all,
He casts as rapture to forgo

If we would reckon it a fall
Of recollection to espouse
A people’s death as its halal.

New popery, new deadly vows,
A votive for new Antichrist.
Imperium it disavows.

Ha! we at thirty shekels priced
Shall be delivered to the priest,
Our natural spirit neatly sliced

And our right reason softly leased,
For quiet safety’s sake,
To the seductions of the Beast.

Of usury now let God shake
The heavens and the cursed earth,
And swiftly of this cursed ache.

Tell me how much your faith is worth
When desolating idols come
To cut off Israel’s second birth,

When to exact their token sum,
They will demand apostasy:
A pinch of incense, just a crumb

For loyalty. O Maccabee,
Resist in battle for your hearts
The terms that ‘for the gospel’ see

Smooth comfort for the ruling parts
In halls of pow’r, and not for poor
And broken reeds in ‘bigot’ carts;

For those despisers of the pure
Who worship sea-beasts, not for those
That trust the word of God is sure.

By this clear sign, whom YHWH chose
(When all are passing through the fire)
Is shown against his false-friend foes.

O Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
That we may love him who hath saved
And doth our living faith require;

To turn from images depraved
And serve the living Christ with fear,
His justice in our hearts engraved.

Love rises up, sometimes austere
Against the image on the plain,
Waiting for God soon to appear.

Meanwhile these precepts here remain:
To live is Christ, to die is gain.

Aside

Are there Christian mutual funds that, like Amana and other Islamic mutual-fund trusts, are not involved in usury? Or have Christians treated it as a foregone conclusion that, in a capitalistic world œconomy, avoiding usury is neither morally necessary nor … Continue reading

Acts29 and Radically Diverse Churches

Manosphere blogger Dalrock criticizes Matt Chandler’s vision for the Acts29 Network. Three of the values named – planting churches that plant churches, being known for holiness and humility, and earnestly proclaiming the gospel and seeking conversion – are good and godly, for which God bless Acts29. But Mr Chandler’s third hope for Acts 29 is ‘that we might boldly and unapologetically become a radically diverse crowd over the next few years’. In pursuing this agendum, especially with the commitments they have implied, I think Acts29 and the Gospel Coalition are not wise. May the Lord enlighten us.

The Church itself is meant to be diverse, for the Lord intends – and will surely accomplish! – that it encompass all nations. And indeed the biblical vision of ethnic and racial harmony is that, in Christ, there should be intercourse among the nations, that all these parts of the Church catholic should recognize that they already belong to one Body: If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? Yet God has so created man, and the Church embodying man’s redemption, that not everyone is an eye, nor everyone a foot. Though fitted together, the peoples of the earth are, like the parts of a natural human body, to be distinct but not separate.

And in particular places this natural order means that trying to become ‘a radically diverse crowd’ is often misplaced. For the diversity of the earth to work rightly, a hand or an eye, even while subservient to the needs of the whole body, has also to maintain its identity as a hand or an eye. To turn a cold shoulder to those of other nations is a sin; to bar a Black man from entering on the mere basis of his Blackness is abhorrent. But racial integration, or its appearance in the political mythology of America, has not stopped the breakup of Black communities, nor has it led Black and White American Christians to embrace their brotherhood. Rather, the end of segregation has sometimes done little more than destroy Black businesses serving their local Black communities and tear at the social fabric of Black America. Many Black Americans have called for stronger Black families and neighbourhoods, including Black churches. Locally, rather than trying to be ethnically diverse in itself, a mostly White congregation may do better to accept and even to embrace being largely White, and to affirm that God honours its cultural Whiteness, but make a real effort – such as has often not been made – to comfort and support existing historically Black churches in their work. What is most ædifying?

I used to think that a local church’s ideal form was a microcosm of the catholic Church which approached the diversity of the heavenly kingdom as a whole, but I have since changed my mind. Even in those days, I valued for the sake of the Chinese community those churches in the United States which held Lord’s Day services in Chinese and allowed Chinese parents to bring up their children in their own language and some form of their own culture. The microcosm is not in every assembly of the Church, for naturally men will meet with men, and women with women, and others with those who are in certain ways like themselves. In such homosociality there is nothing unseemly. More than in this temple or that, however, the local church is the visible expression of the Church in a place, the Church visible in every part of the commonwealth. And it is in the space of the commonwealth that the Church shows forth the gospel’s catholicity – for it is indeed a call to everyone – and the righteousness of God in every part of life. The Church, as a royal priesthood, is bound to welcome all sinners to the love of God; but the form of welcome is not the obliteration of either self or other, nor must it destroy the natural inheritance also given by God.

To have fellowship, to testify against the alienation caused by sin, humanity in the gospel must also affirm the natural gifts that God has kept for us and even developed in history by the wisdom of his providence. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. No less, the fathers who begot us and the mothers who nursed us we are not free to despise, nor to forsake; throughout all generations, our descent from Adam through Noah and our children and children’s children are witness to God’s keeping us, to his love for us and our kind beyond the womb and beyond the grave. It is in our particular inheritances that we recognize our common humanity, and in the particular saving acts of God that we see the grace of God shown to all mankind. To rejoice in the particular glories of our own line’s recognition of God’s law is to give thanks for our creation, præservation, and all the blessings of this life; only in this position can we bless him for the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace does not destroy nature.

That said, it is a sickness when Christian congregations are bound more by homophily than by the gospel of Christ. If the spirit be not of love but of unconcern, it is a sickness unto death, the spirit of silent schism. The Church gathers not as a social club but as the witness of Christ to the nations, and if it does otherwise it grieves the Holy Spirit. When affluent White Christians do ‘urban ministry’ looking for ‘diversity’, with no regard either for God’s work in Black Christians already working in the same place or for the plight of poorer Whites in Appalachia, they seek to please men and not God. Believing that theirs is the Lord’s work, they have neglected certain men for the sake of their own itch, and they have set up an image in the sanctuary of the Lord, to whose gold they have bowed at the trumpet. The Lord purge them, that tried by his Spirit they may become pure gold. For the love of the Lord is pure and perfect, and his people are merciful by his eye. Let them not be deceived who refuse to welcome those to church who are unlike themselves, and let them not be deluded who think the idol of diversity will sanctify the Church.

Video

A Carol for the Feast of St Stephen

Performed by Magpie Lane.

Saint Stephen was a holy man
Endued with heavenly might,
And many wonders he did work
All in the people’s sight;
And by the holy Spirit of God,
Which did his heart inflame,
He spared not, in every place,
To preach God’s holy Name.

O man, do never faint nor fear,
When God the truth shall try;
But mark how Stephen, for Christ’s sake,
Was a-willing for to die.

Before the elders he was brought,
His answer for to make,
But they could not the spirit withstand
Whereby this man did speak.
While this was told, the multitude
Beholding him aright,
His comely face began to shine
Most like an angel bright.

Then Stephen did put forth his voice,
And he did first unfold
The wond’rous works which God had wrought
E’en for their fathers old;
That they thereby might plainly know
Christ Jesus should be he
That from the burden of the law
Should quit us frank and free.

But, oh! quoth he, you wicked men,
Which of your fathers all
Did not the prophets persecute,
And keep in woeful thrall?
But when they heard him so to say,
Upon him they all ran,
And there without the city gates
They stoned this holy man.

There he most meekly on his knees
To God did pray at large
Desiring that he should not lay
This sin unto their charge;
Then yielding up his soul to God,
Who had it dearly bought,
He lost his life, and his body then
To the grave was seemly brought.

Privatized Christianity in America

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Christianity Today reports on a great number of lone-ranger Christians in the United States:

‘Despite believing their church emphasizes spiritual growth, engagement with the practices associated with discipleship leave much to be desired,’ the report stated. Fewer than half of practicing Christian adults are involved in activities such as Sunday school or fellowship groups (43%), a group Bible study (33%), or meeting with a spiritual mentor (17%).

The same article also gives this telling pie chart, showing that 38% of Christians who say spiritual growth is very or somewhat important also would rather do their discipleship on their own:

To me, discipleship on one’s own, just ‘me and Jesus’, just seems a contradiction in terms. St Paul says in Ephesians, after all, that the whole Body of Christ builds itself up. Even those who are much deprived of the Church’s physical presence generally should seek what fellowship can be had, that they may be built up by the Church and themselves contribute to the Church they belong to by faith.

Is the wrong doctrine of Christian life being taught? I think so. The problem, I think, is the emphasis on private devotions as the home of personal piety. As I have written before, to have one’s own private experience validated in the midst of a multitude is not public piety at all, but rather a projection of oneself onto others: there is not thereby created a public piety, but an exhibitionist piety. Whatever helps fulfil the individual end is what many Christians wish to do; they have little sense of distinct ends held by a group in common. But Althusius, following both the Scriptures and the philosophers, affirms the existence of these ends and the life of the organized body as distinct from, though connected to, the lives of the members:

Political order in general is the right and power of communicating and participating in useful and necessary matters that are brought to the life of the organized body by its associated members. It can be called the public symbiotic right.

The thing is not only about ‘accountability’, the appeal of the man desperate to find justification for the involvement of other persons in individual life. Indeed, the very idea of accountability makes no sense but as an unnatural imposition from without unless – and this truth bears repetition – there is by human nature such a thing as common life, whose ends are intrinsic to man, and known by his very body and soul, but unable to be fulfilled by the individual in himself. Our responsibility to one another comes from the need, which by right of nature we pursue, to fulfil the end of what Althusius calls ‘political “symbiotic” man’, namely ‘holy, just, comfortable, and happy symbiosis, a life lacking nothing either necessary or useful’. Keeping ignorance of this natural fact by artifice, however, we find ourselves unable to justify social life except on the grounds of freely desired desire.

Not helping matters is the notion of going to heaven, by oneself, as ascending to the place where God dwells. The idea would appear to be well substantiated: the Psalms speak of the desire to remain in God’s temple, saying that one day in his courts is better than thousands elsewhere. The temple of stone having been made obsolete and then destroyed, we think then of some ascent to heaven, some separation from earthly things. The notion of ascent to the heavenly temple is not untrue, but the mystical quest can overshadow real human life unless we remember by whose work we are united to Christ in the first place, and to what end. The Holy Spirit by whose secret work we are in Christ also equips us to fulfil his priestly mission as one priesthood under the high priesthood of Christ. The whole earth is to be the Lord’s holy temple, for it shall be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. The beatific vision, glimpsed in our Lord’s Transfiguration, is the glory that, in the holiness of our lives, is to fill the earth as it is in heaven; and this task requires all flesh to see the glory together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Aside

N. T. Wright on what the resurrection of Jesus started: ‘Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, … Continue reading

Aside

Analects 11.1: 子曰:「先進於禮樂,野人也;後進於禮樂,君子也。如用之,則吾從先進。」 ‘The Master said, “Those of my disciples who were first to enter into study of ritual and music with me were simple rustics, whereas those who entered later were aristocrats (junzi 君子). If I had to employ … Continue reading

In Defence of Defence

‘In response to the San Bernardino terror attack two weeks ago,’ World magazine reports, ‘college students from around the country joined thousands of Liberty [University] students in supporting [university president] Falwell’s public address, which encouraged students to get concealed-carry permits to protect themselves and their classmates in case of similar attacks by Muslim extremists.’ Some student leaders at Wheaton College, on the other hand, have responded with an open letter, as have some Ph.D. students at Princeton Theological Seminary. The Wheaton students say,

In his remarks, [Mr Falwell] called for students to arm themselves so that they could ‘end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them’, exhorting the students to ‘teach them a lesson if they ever show up here’. While these sorts of remarks epitomize the ever-growing fear and hostility directed toward Muslims, we as Evangelical Christians hold that Christ calls us not to react with religious oppression or violence – instead, we have the responsibility to live out fearless love in order to pursue unity.

I agree with the call for Christians to respond with courage rather than reacting without reflection. This call, such as it is, I find admirable and wise. To clam up against an actual or merely perceived enemy is less than human, falling short of the reason we ought to exercise in the image of God. To move against Muslims in general, simply for believing in and practising a certain religion, is foolish and unworthy of a Christian; to treat others poorly for the sake of their beliefs, indeed, fits the definition of bigotry exactly, and to do so is contrary both to our Protestant heritage and to the law of the Lord.

What the students at Wheaton and PTS do not see is that they are themselves reacting against what they perceive to be a threat – to their usual way of life or to their prestige. Mr Falwell’s comments, they say, ‘detract from the witness of the Gospel and the call to love our neighbors and pursue unity’. I doubt not that they think so, but the claim rings hollow nonetheless. Is it witness to Muslims that would be hurt by a call to defensive violence? Is it not rather the liberals whose good opinion the students cherish, whose company they covet? Much as the students may identify with evangelical Christianity, they are loath to be associated with ‘the wrong sort’. I can relate, as can anyone who is tied, by unchosen relations, to persons whose conduct he finds embarrassing. But this aversion of theirs, understandable as it is, has brought out bad exegesis of holy Scripture. The remonstrating students rely upon abstractions that, rather than being supported by the word of God, encode the values of the liberal chattering classes. They have criticized fear on the basis of the proposition that, in the words of St John, there is no fear in love. Ergo, they say, we must resist fear of Muslims. What does St John actually say?

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.

Because we know that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, and confess that Jesus of Nazareth is this Son of God, we know the love of God; and it is this love that sets us free from the fear of judgement and torment, as we behold the love that God has shown to us.

To be sure, the truth of this passage applies to Christians’ relations with Muslims. First, we have no need to justify ourselves by making Muslims out to be subhuman, and by comparison to stand out as chosen and approved. Second, the love of God, which we have experienced, calls upon us as well, that we should show forth in our conduct the image of his love; and just as Christ died for all men without exception, so ought we to love all men without exception. St John assures us that those who do otherwise do not have the love of God within them, and that they do not know God. His words are stern, and those who think themselves made of sterner stuff should think again. A hard teaching it may be, but he who would live must accept the truth; let them complain of God’s meanness whose love is greater than his.

Let us not have meaningless group hugs and bromides about unity and brotherhood. Christ has died for all without exception, but he has not died for all without distinction. Those who believe in his holy Name and those who blaspheme against it are not one. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. To unite the two, says St Paul, is to put together Christ and a harlot: it is as great a sin as the Muslims imagine Christians commit in ‘associating partners with God’, the blasphemous idolatry of shirk. ’Tis one thing to commit to showing the love of Christ in our bodies, but quite another thing to commit our bodies to destruction for the sake of boasting in the flesh.

And such committal is what we have in those who, professing godly love for enemies, would rather die at the hands of wicked men, and call others so to die, and think themselves godlier than those who would not, than stop those to whom they owed no allegiance. Render unto Cæsar, says the Lord, but it is no noble martyr’s death to offer no resistance to a thief, and thus to give over to death a bearer of the holy gospel. The would-be martyrs, would they surrender the sacred vessels of the Lord’s most precious body and blood? If they would not there be traditores, how much more should they keep themselves living witnesses and living members of the Body of Christ? To follow Christ’s blameless steps in holy martyrdom is an honour, but suicide is dishonour to the body.

We should count it honour to suffer for the sake of Christ, and in suffering to love our enemies: for our sakes our Lord scorned the shame of the Cross. But nowhere has love overruled good sense. To know the love of God is not to take leave of our senses. To be armed, if slow to anger, if not overzealous to kill, is to use that sense which is common to man – and which the wisdom of God will not deny, for God is one. For the calamities that have come upon us for our sins, let us beseech the Lord to hear us, that he may turn these evils from us when we repent of our evil; but, though the kingdom of God spreads only by the sword of the Spirit, let us also be willing to defend our lives and our people with the sword of steel. God is not a pacifist.

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Update: For quite a different view, Nijay Gupta at George Fox Evangelical Seminary has written a piece entitled ‘Advent Lament: The Falwell Threat and the Apostolic Mission (Power and Suffering in the Acts of the Apostles)’.

A Counterproposal to That of Mr Trump

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King David Handing the Letter to Uriah.

How to deal with the Gentiles when they submit to peace, and when they will rather make war:

When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: and when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

So, too, though in a more spiritual sense, should Christian nations deal with those who are not of God: those who will have peace, who even if not believing the holy gospel will submit to its political terms, to live peaceably under its law and the explicit acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as the Lord of the state, Christians are to accept; for we no longer have a call to destroy utterly the Amorites in the land. Those, however, who will make war and dissimulate with seditious taqiyya even though not oppressed for the sake of their belief, them we ought to smite or expel. The terms imposed may include the requirement that foreigners not professing the Christian faith attend an approved Christian church service twice a month, in order to ensure that (barring catastrophe) certain religions do not come to rule the nation. In this way we may live without feeling the need to examine Moriscos with an Inquisition, but instead be freed to treat them kindly as friends living faithfully under the same ruler.

In token of their good faith, then, foreigners may be required to give an oath of allegiance, similar to the one imposed by the Quebec Act upon those professing the religion of the Church of Rome:

I A.B., do sincerely promise and swear: That I will be faithful, and bear true Allegiance to his Majesty King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my Power, against all traitorous Conspiracies, and Attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his Person, Crown, and Dignity; and I will do my utmost Endeavor to disclose and make known to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, all Treasons, and traitorous Conspiracies, and Attempts, which I shall know to be against him, or any of them; and all this I do swear without any Equivocation, mental Evasion, or secret Reservation, and renouncing all Pardons and Dispensations from any Power or Person whomsoever to the contrary. So help me GOD.

These terms, I believe, are milder than those which Islamic rulers have ordered for Christians, denying Muslims neither the free exercise of their religion, provided they observe the bounds of good order, nor the opportunity to live well and unmolested under the rule of an unbigoted law.

And, as I have before, so I continue to support the return of the Alien Acts passed in 1798.

The Anxiety of the Chinaman

Lu Xun, A Madman’s Diary.

Lu Xun, A Madman’s Diary.

Why do the Chinese always call others lazy? Wrapped up in this crass rhetoric, we seem indifferent to the suffering of others. The Westerner hears our words and sees our conduct, and he acknowledges to himself that he simply cannot understand. We have always been creatures of subtlety, inscrutable, and the Westerner is able only to ascribe our strange behaviour to this ineluctable racial essence. But in fact our attitude is quite intelligible with some empathy, even if Westerners cannot share this attitude. This posture of ours is of a piece with our recent and ongoing struggle with the modern West.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the subjects of the Son of Heaven, the people who stood closest to the spiritual pole of the world, the nexus of heaven and earth, had never suffered domination by a non-central (i.e. non-Sinitic) power without doing what Greece had done to Rome: Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit. Nevertheless, we had twice in a single millennium been ruled by northern barbarians, the Mongols (1271–1368) and then the Manchus (1644–1911), both of whom had kept us in an inferior caste rather than assimilating fully to our superior culture. When the Western powers came barging in, we were still ruled by the Manchu dynasty. To then be forced by thoroughly non-Sinitic powers to be one nation among many, rather than the source of all civilization with the imperial Son of Heaven at our head, was the last straw. It was the toppling of a sacred order whose sanctity had never been seriously violated.

When we suffered foreign insult in the nineteenth century, insult that continued into the twentieth, some of our intellectuals promoted social Darwinism as a way of recovering national prestige, and most of us tried very hard to imitate the dominating success of the Western nations we envied, especially by playing up technocracy. If Japan was playing that game, such a people at the edge of the world could not be winning at our expense except by our own decadence. If there was something fundamentally unsound about us, we nevertheless were Heaven’s elect, living where Heaven’s blessing came to earth, endowed with the gifts of civilization. Any failure, therefore, was due to laziness and other kinds of moral weakness. We believed in palingenesis.

Whether we stayed in China or moved on to other lands – lands of mastery – our destiny was the same. Some of us had no God and felt ourselves elect all the same. But God is free, and God is the one who chooses; he is the one who elected to send the only-begotten Son of Heaven to die in our stead, that believing we might live. He alone is our hope. It is that Elect man who gathers up all things in himself; it is that Elect man in whom the Chinese nation must believe; it is that Elect man in whom we are truly the elect of God. We cannot forsake God and wonder lama sabachthani: why hast thou forsaken me? In the end, national destiny is not about industry, nor is it about flesh improving flesh. All things will die. What remains is, Will we be raised?

A Call to Christians Drawn toward Paganism

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Brethren, to be saved is not only to be caught out of the evil age but also to be given the power to build for the kingdom without end, to be cleansed now in promise of a crown of glory. Many take no care for their words, and corrupted names lead to corrupted practices, whereas rectified names lead to rectified practices. An informed Protestant knows, as does all of Christendom who knows the catholic faith rightly, that we have been saved in Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, are being saved in Christ’s intercession in heaven and gift of the Holy Ghost, and will be saved in Christ’s coming in glory at the Last Day. Do not be shaken by those who introduce all manner of innovation in the name of religion: in the end they will be confounded, and their corruptions destroyed.

The system of works and doctrine, necessary as these are, is the framework for the mystical life, which is the presence of Christ’s Holy Spirit through faith in the selfsame Christ. Indeed, we must consider how they were saved who were counted righteous before the coming of God’s only-begotten Son in the flesh: they too, as the Apostle says, pleased God by faith, knowing that he is, and that he rewards all who diligently seek him. Thus Abraham believed, and through faith he was counted righteous; for, as the Psalmist would say, Christ was his light and his salvation. It is possible, therefore, among those who have not heard the gospel fully laid out, that they that do not explicitly know Christ are saved through him, just as all were saved of old before his coming in the flesh. In this way, those of our ancestors were saved who put their ultimate trust in God himself: O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Therefore we can trust God. No one but he sees the secrets of every heart; and whatever truth remains from Noah down to the present, and whatever else is by man inferred from the law of nature, is the basis of religion on which men knew God, and solely indeed through Christ the life-giving truth, God of God, light of light, very God of very God; begotten, not made; being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made. That this is so, and that this was how any man could have been saved before the full knowledge of Christ, in no way requires postmodern thought, but is all within classical Christian thought. To say such things, one has not even for a moment to step out of catholic Christian doctrine: far from being a perennialist thing, it is a simple recognition of the facts.

Nevertheless, to return from the full revelation of the truth of Christ to shadows and figures is to turn away, like the Jews, to a darkened mind. Simply put, to do so is foolhardy and must needs be in substance a rejection of person of Christ, and thus of God, who is whole and entire, without parts or any possible division. The condemnation that hangs over the Jews is the fire that burns him who turns from the greater to the lesser, who having seen the only God turns from him to the worship of idols. Lady Wisdom calls to all: Be wise.