About a week ago I talked about slavery. After some awkward discussion on Friday night I realized that that post was not enough, though enough it was indeed to give three people a near-headache (I being one of those three). One who was with us, perhaps judiciously, dodged the question we tossed at him, though he often waxes philosophical. What is freedom?
Freedom is being unconstrained in ability and unfettered choice (Rom. 6.16-23) to love the Lord God with all one’s heart, and with all one’s soul, and with all one’s mind, and with all one’s strength.
For you were called to freedom, brothers.(A) Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love(B) serve one another. (Gal. 5.13)
Loving the Lord (Mt. 22:37) is the beginning and the end (in the telic sense, not the cessative sense) of freedom. This entails too something about education:
The end then of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection. (Milton, “Tractate on Education”)
It must be clear that John Milton viewed good education as instrumental (in both purpose and effect) to pursuing a life’s walk with the Lord. Nevertheless, recovering education of the free person, which does not mean West-bashing “American Cultures” courses, is no small task in a society that handicaps its citizens in their discharge of earthly citizenship in the city of Rome in service of citizenship in the city of God:
If the Judeo-Christian position is the truth of all reality—and it is—then all the disciplines, and very much including a knowledge of, and I would repeat, an appreciation of, the humanities and the arts are a part of Christian education. Some Christians seem absolutely blind at this point.
If Christianity is not just one more religion, one more upper story kind of thing (as I speak of it in Escape From Reason and in my other books) then it has something to say about all the disciplines, and it certainly has something to say about the humanities and the arts and the appreciation of them. And I want to say quite firmly, if your Christian school does not do this, I do not believe it is giving a good education. It is giving a truncated education and it is not honoring to the Lord.
If truth is one, that is if truth has unity, then Christian education means understanding, and being excited by, the associations between the disciplines and showing how these associations are rooted in the Creator’s existence. I do not know if you know what you are hearing or not. It is a flaming fire. It is gorgeous if you understand what we have in the teaching and revelation of God. If we are going to have really a Christian education, it means understanding truth is not a series of isolated subjects but there are associations, and the associations are rooted in nothing less than the existence of the Creator Himself. (Schaeffer on Education)
May it be that we, too, can say as does the Lady in Milton’s Comus:
Comus. Nay, Lady, sit. If I but wave this wand,
Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,
And you a statue, or as Daphne was,
Root-bound, that fled Apollo.
Lady. Fool, do not boast.
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
Thou hast immanacled while Heaven sees good.
That though bound we should be free to look heavenward! Ah, we still haven’t quite defined enslavement, have we? Ah, well, at least this time we do not have a materially circular set of definitions. Yes, all the links except the one to the dictionary are necessary.