Friday, November 09, 2018

Bossuet: Politics Drawn from the Very Words of the Holy Scripture

Below is a passage excerpted from Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet's Politics Drawn from the Very Words of the Holy Scripture (1709). For the text online, click here.

We have already seen that all power is of God.[1] The ruler, adds St. Paul,[2] “is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”[3] Rulers then act as the ministers of God and as his lieutenants on earth. It is through them that God exercises his empire. Think ye “to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David?”[4] Consequently, as we have seen, the royal throne is not the throne of a man, but the throne of God himself. The Lord “hath chosen Solomon[5] my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.”[6] And again, “Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord.”[7]

Moreover, that no one may assume that the Israelites were peculiar in having kings over them who were established by God, note what is said in Ecclesiasticus: “God has given to every people its ruler, and Israel is manifestly reserved to him.”[8] He therefore governs all peoples and gives them their kings, although he governed Israel in a more intimate and obvious manner.

It appears from all this that the person of the king is sacred, and that to attack him in any way is sacrilege. God has the kings anointed by his prophets with the holy unction in like manner as he has bishops and altars anointed. But even without the external application in thus being anointed, they are by their very office the representatives of the divine majesty deputed by Providence for the execution of his purposes. Accordingly God calls Cyrus[9] his anointed. “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him.’’[10]  . . .[11] Kings should be guarded as holy things, and whosoever neglects to protect them is worthy of death. . . .

There is something religious in the respect accorded to a prince.[12] The service of God and the respect for kings are bound together. St. Peter unites these two duties when he says, “Fear God. Honour the king.”[13] . . .

But kings, although their power comes from on high, as has been said, should not regard themselves as masters of that power to use it at their pleasure; . . . they must employ it with fear and self-restraint, as a thing coming from God and of which God will demand an account. “Hear, O kings, and take heed, understand, judges of the earth, lend your ears, ye who hold the peoples under your sway, and delight to see the multitude that surround you. It is God who gives you the power. Your strength comes from the Most High, who will question your works and penetrate the depths of your thoughts, for, being ministers of his kingdom, ye have not given righteous judgments nor have ye walked according to his will. He will straightway appear to you in a terrible manner, for to those who command is the heaviest punishment reserved. The humble and the weak shall receive mercy, but the mighty shall be mightily tormented. For God fears not the power of any one, because he made both great and small and he has care for both.”[14] . . .

Kings should tremble then as they use the power God has granted them; and let them think how horrible is the sacrilege if they use for evil a power which comes from God. We behold kings seated upon the throne of the Lord, bearing in their hand the sword which God himself has given them. What profanation, what arrogance, for the unjust king to sit on God’s throne to render decrees contrary to his laws and to use the sword which God has put in his hand for deeds of violence and to slay his children! . . .

The royal power is absolute. With the aim of making this truth hateful and insufferable, many writers have tried to confound absolute government with arbitrary government. But no two things could be more unlike, as we shall show when we come to speak of justice.  The prince need render account of his acts to no one. “I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God. Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not on an evil thing for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing.”[15] Without this absolute authority the king could neither do good nor repress evil. It is necessary that his power be such that no one can hope to escape him, and, finally, the only protection of individuals against the public authority should be their innocence. This conforms with the teaching of St. Paul: “ Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good.”[16]

I do not call majesty that pomp which surrounds kings or that exterior magnificence which dazzles the vulgar. That is but the reflection of majesty and not majesty itself. Majesty is the image of the grandeur of God in the prince.

God is infinite, God is all. The prince, as prince, is not regarded as a private person: he is a public personage, all the state is in him; the will of all the people is included in his. As all perfection and all strength are united in God, so all the power of individuals is united in the person of the prince. What grandeur that a single man should embody so much!

The power of God makes itself felt in a moment from one extremity of the earth to another. Royal power works at the same time throughout all the realm. It holds all the realm in position, as God holds the earth. Should God withdraw his hand, the earth would fall to pieces; should the king’s authority cease in the realm, all would be in confusion.

Look at the prince in his cabinet. Thence go out the orders which cause the magistrates and the captains, the citizens and the soldiers, the provinces and the armies on land and on sea, to work in concert. He is the image of God, who, seated on his throne high in the heavens, makes all nature move. . . .

Finally, let us put together the things so great and so august which we have said about royal authority. Behold an immense people united in a single person; behold this holy power, paternal and absolute; behold the secret cause which governs the whole body of the state, contained in a single head: you see the image of God in the king, and you have the idea of royal majesty. God is holiness itself, goodness itself, and power itself. In these things lies the majesty of God. In the image of these things lies the majesty of the prince.

So great is this majesty that it cannot reside in the prince as in its source; it is borrowed from God, who gives it to him for the good of the people, for whom it is good to be checked by a superior force. Something of divinity itself is attached to princes and inspires fear in the people. The king should not forget this. “I have said,”—it is God who speaks,—“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”[17] “I have said, Ye are gods”; that is to say, you have in your authority, and you bear on your forehead, a divine imprint. “You are the children of the Most High”; it is he who has established your power for the good of mankind. But, O gods of flesh and blood, gods of clay and dust, “ye shall die like men, and fall like princes.” Grandeur separates men for a little time, but a common fall makes them all equal at the end.

O kings, exercise your power then boldly, for it is divine and salutary for human kind, but exercise it with humility. You are endowed with it from without. At bottom it leaves you feeble, it leaves you mortal, it leaves you sinners, and charges you before God with a very heavy account.

1. See Romans 13:1–2.
2. Paul the Apostle (c. 5–c. 67) was an influential apostle of Jesus Christ who wrote several books of the New Testament and spread Christ’s teachings throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
3. Rom. 13:1–7.
4. 2 Chronicles 13:8.
5. Son of David and king of Israel, according to the Bible, who ruled around 970 to 931 BC.
6. 1 Chron. 28:5.
7. 1 Chron. 29: 23.
8. Ecclesiasticus 17:14–15.
9. Cyrus the Great of Persia (r. 559–530 B.C.) was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, which conquered most of the ancient Near East and Southwest Asia, and was recorded in the Bible as treating the Jews kindly during their exile.
10. Isaiah 14:1.
11. All ellipses from source.
12. The term “prince” was often used generically to refer to any ruler.
13. 1 Peter 2:17.
14. Book of Wisdom 6:2.
15. Ecclesiasticus 8:2–5.
16. Romans 13:3.
17. Psalms 82:6–7.

Adapted from an online resource at found here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Racism and Tolerance

Racists oppose men from other tribes having sexual access to women of their tribe.  Tolerant people make no negative judgment about men of other tribes having sexual access to women of their tribe.  This dialectic presupposes the normalcy of fornication.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Human Sacrifice

Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Christianity is inescapably a religion of sacrifice.  Not only so, but along with all earlier divinely founded forms of Judaism, Christianity is inescapably a religion of human sacrifice
Human sacrifices have been both commanded and accepted by God in the past and, what is more, are demanded in the present.  Any religion calling itself Christianity but denying human sacrifice and refusing to practice it, is not Christianity.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Comment on Abortion & the Alt-Right

A few years back, I thought about making a bumper sticker that said KEEP ABORTION LEGAL, LET THE PAGANS KILL THEIR OWN BABIES.  This line of thinking led me from conservative pro-lifeism to be anti-abortion but only half-heartedly pro-life.  Contrary to Spencer, there is in fact a moral binary here; abortion is either good or evil, either permissible or impermissible according to the natural law.  I am anti-abortion not because it psychologically devastates women, or because it's racist against blacks, or discriminatory against the retarded, or even because it's dysgenic for whites or Christians.  I'm anti-abortion because it is intrinsically a grave offense against the natural law.  It has no place in a society ordered to the laws of God. 

That said, in a society that refuses to submit to the rule of Christ, abortion used as birth control is allowed by God to curse idolaters.  In the same way that sodomy is a judgment of God to allow people to be enslaved to their own lusts, so abortion as birth control--as the woman's right to choose--carries in itself its own curse.  It is an abominable act, and it curses whoever performs or participates in it.  These will live with the spiritual and psychological consequences of their crime forever.

And I guess I'm not Alt-right.  Spencer says individuals obtain their dignity and their rights solely by virtue of belonging to a particular natural community.  Though I'm a traducianist, a minority opinion in the Church, I'm fully on board with the proposition that human dignity and rights were given by the Creator to be the common heritage of all men.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Feminism is Disloyalty

Supposedly, health insurance today promotes virility and does not promote childlessness. But virility and childlessness are not opposites. Apples and oranges.

If they wanted true equality on this point, feminists would be pushing for insurance to cover the equivalent of Viagra for women. But they aren't, so it seems modern feminism's really about promoting childlessness.

Why promote childlessness? In order to increase the power of women as a political interest group, freeing them from burdens imposed by nature to bear and raise children.

This power-seeking on the part of women is why many developed nations' fertility rates are below replacement level.

It's time to call feminism out for what it does: it puts the interests of women as a political class above the survival of the nations to which they belong. Demonstrably hostile to national survival, feminism is a disloyal outlook fit only for disloyal women.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Atheistic Science

Atheistic Science

From RationalWiki:

"Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific "dead ends" and God of the gaps-type hypotheses. To avoid these traps scientists assume that all causes are empirical and naturalistic; which means they can be measured, quantified and studied methodically.

"However, this assumption of naturalism need not extend beyond an assumption of methodology. This is what separates methodological naturalism from philosophical naturalism - the former is merely a tool and makes no truth claim; while the latter makes the philosophical - essentially atheistic - claim that only natural causes exist."

Can anyone doubt that the grand scientific theories simplified and promulgated in the mainstream discourse of our day are intended to form our understanding, not only of our physical surroundings, but of our self-understanding, and the courses of action we should take?

It cannot be doubted.

The grand theories of cosmology, evolution, climate change, and all the rest are narratives composed and arranged out of facts selected by the method of methodological naturalism. 
What is more, all narratives must follow a certain logic.  In our day, this logic is supplied by philosophical naturalism, i.e., materialistic atheism.

Therefore, the above quoted definition disingenuously separates method from philosophy.

However, the scientific method wasn't always practiced this way.  In the past, many theistic scientists assumed a Creator and a creation designed to operate according to laws established by the Creator.

For the Christian, there is an additional source of true information found in special divine revelation--the Bible.

The Bible isn't a scientific textbook or naturalistic historical account.  Yet, it presents us with true facts pertaining to history, natural phenomena, and the origins of the universe.  

Before dismissing me as a wild-eyed biblical fundamentalist, let me ask a simple question:

What should have priority in the Christian mind--the Christian Creed or atheistic narratives arranged from facts selected by a method presupposing naturalism?  In other words, is Theology the Queen of the Sciences or not?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Israel in the Church

The Church is the eschatological expansion, exaltation, and glorification of OT Israel. Her head is Christ qua Christ, the great Prophet, Priest, and King of *Israel*. He sits on the throne of his father David, which has been raised & exalted above all thrones & powers, even the angels. All the nations, not just Israel, have become the Son's inheritance.

But ethnic Israel has a favored place as the elect core of the Church. We wild olive branches owe our continued preservation to God's favor to the Israelites, his intention to preserve a remnant until Israel's fullness be brought in.

 Relevant here is Romans 15: 25-27:

"But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things."

 Here, we see that even in the Church of God Gentile Christians have an abiding obligation to care for the physical needs of Jewish Christians. This means that even in the one new man Jew and Gentile identity is maintained to a degree.
St. Paul gave a spiritual reason why we Gentile Christians are especially obligated to minister to the corporeal needs of Jewish Christians: because we partake in the spiritual things belonging to the Jews.

Therefore, in the Church there is a special place of preference for Jewish believers. The elect remnant has a special place within the body.
Just as man and woman remain man & woman when they become one flesh, so Jew and Gentile remain Jew & Gentile when they become one new man in Christ. They receive salvation equally but they don't receive the same position in the body.

It is not necessary for Gentiles to become Jews to be included in the new covenant, and ethnically Jewish Christians haven't lost their ancestral connection.
The remnant of Israel remains intact in the bosom of the Church.
At the present time, Gentile blessing depends on honoring Abraham's seed.  Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Those who curse it will be cursed.

There are varying degrees of this. We Gentiles who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be blessed with salvation for ourselves, but if we fail to bless his natural brethren our lines of descent will not endure.
And this brings me to the subject of the Christian family. Gentile Christian families as units have been joined to Israel as honorary member houses of Israel. This is why the expectation that the intergenerational offspring of faithful Christian believers be Christian too is valid. And, it is a significant reason why our children should be baptized. Christian baptism accomplishes incorporation into Christ, and hence into His covenant people, the Israel of God.

God sovereignly saved and gave the Spirit to all, whether Jew or Gentile. Separate instructions for different sexes, races, and stations in life imply differentiation within the body. Equal membership, but not equal status or equal treatment, except to recognize each other's priceless dignity as Christ-bearers.

What needs to be overcome is an unbiblical notion of equality, proceeding from the amorphous spirituality of Gnosticism, i.e., spiritual vs. physical, heavenly vs. earthly, grace vs. nature, love vs. justice, etc. On the cross, where our Incarnate God died, all these oppositions were reconciled and the world, with all its beauty and diversity, was redeemed.

Comparative to the unsurpassable dignity of being in Christ, circumcision means nothing. But, it isn't nothing.

In the West, feminism, homosexuality, gender confusion, and all other varieties of social disorder proceeded from denying the validity of differentiation within the body of Christ. Today, the place of the Jew in the Church is denied, tomorrow the leadership of women will be accepted, later, open immorality. These things will be tolerated in any church that denies the Jew’s favored place, should it last long enough.

The pattern has replicated enough times to be certainly true.