Friday, August 30, 2019

Biblical Christianity vs Apostolic Christianity

Protestants often make reference to what they call Biblical Christianity.  For them this is the Church in all her purity, as free of errors as she will ever be, the Church guided by the Bible alone.  Furthermore, there are three marks by which one may know that he is part of Biblical Christianity:

The Reformers were clear: The one true holy and apostolic church is present where (1) the word of God (and the Gospel) is preached and taught; (2) the sacraments of the church are rightly administered (namely baptism and the Lord's Supper) and (3) church discipline is faithfully exercised. 

The only problem with this is that, as others have pointed out, the most fundamental doctrine of Protestantism, the authority of the individual conscience as the final judge over what is true and right and what is not, overturns all the finery laid out on the table of Biblical Christianity.  If John Doe Protestant one day has an epiphany that the Book of Ruth is not historical fact but simply an allegory, who has the authority to discipline him?  Is his conscience supreme, or is it not?  Is the individual believer an absolute king and priest, or is he subject to those wretched ‘intermediaries’ between himself and God, such as pastors, councils, creeds, etc.?

The Bible alone is not a safe foundation to build the Church upon, as the whole history of Protestantism has shown, with schism upon schism mounting up to the heavens.  Even the version of the Bible most Protestants read from is actually an incomplete version, for it is missing several Old Testament books (the so-called Apocryphal books), thus making the foundation of their sects all the more unreliable.

What is astonishing is that some Protestants actually admit that the Protestant ‘church’ is a mixture of truth and error:

The first mark of the church is the pure preaching of the Word of God and sound doctrine, for without this, the church could not possibly exist. Such a mark houses a certain amount of flexibility since some true churches are more pure or less pure than others. The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error.”[3] Though some churches have a purer understanding of the Word than others, the Scriptures demonstrate this mark as essential to the visible church from a host of passages.

This is a sad commentary on the inability of Protestantism to know and practice the fulness of the Faith.

But there is hope for Protestants who want more from a church than a gathering of men and women ‘subject both to mixture and error’.  There is something far better than Biblical Christianity.  It is Orthodox Christianity, the Church whose foundation truly is the Lord Jesus Christ, and one may recognize her from the four characteristics listed in the Nicene Creed:  one, holy, catholic (or universal), and apostolic.  St Justin Popovich of Serbia (+1979), describes them as follows (bolding added):

The attributes of the Church are innumerable because her attributes are actually the attributes of the Lord Christ, the God-man, and, through Him, those of the Triune Godhead. However, the holy and divinely wise fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council, guided and instructed by the Holy Spirit, reduced them in the ninth article of the Symbol of Faith to four—I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. These attributes of the Church—unity, holiness, catholicity (sobornost), and apostolicity—are derived from the very nature of the Church and of her purpose. They clearly and accurately define the character of the Orthodox Church of Christ whereby, as a theanthropic institution and community, she is distinguishable from any institution or community of the human sort.

The Unity and Uniqueness of the Church

Just as the Person of Christ the God-man is one and unique, so is the Church founded by Him, in Him, and upon Him. The unity of the Church follows necessarily from the unity of the Person of the Lord Christ, the God-man. Being an organically integral and theanthropic organism unique in all the worlds, the Church, according to all the laws of Heaven and earth, is indivisible. Any division would signify her death. Immersed in the God-man, she is first and foremost a theanthropic organism, and only then a theanthropic organization. In her, everything is theanthropic: nature, faith, love, baptism, the Eucharist, all the holy mysteries and all the holy virtues, her teaching, her entire life, her immortality, her eternity, and her structure. Yes, yes, yes; in her, everything is theanthropically integral and indivisible Christification, sanctification, deification, Trinitarianism, salvation. In her everything is fused organically and by grace into a single theanthropic body, under a single Head—the God-man, the Lord Christ. All her members, though as persons always whole and inviolate, yet united by the same grace of the Holy Spirit through the holy mysteries and the holy virtues into an organic unity, comprise one body and confess the one faith, which unites them to each other and to the Lord Christ.

The Christ-bearing apostles are divinely inspired as they announce the unity and the uniqueness of the Church, based upon the unity and uniqueness of her Founder—the God-man, the Lord Christ, and His theanthropic personality: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11).

Like the holy apostles, the holy fathers and the teachers of the Church confess the unity and uniqueness of the Orthodox Church with the divine wisdom of the cherubim and the zeal of the seraphim. Understandable, therefore, is the fiery zeal which animated the holy fathers of the Church in all cases of division and falling away and the stern attitude toward heresies and schisms. In that regard, the holy ecumenical and holy local councils are preeminently important. According to their spirit and attitude, wise in those things pertaining to Christ, the Church is not only one but also unique. Just as the Lord Christ cannot have several bodies, so He cannot have several Churches. According to her theanthropic nature, the Church is one and unique, just as Christ the God-man is one and unique.

Hence, a division, a splitting up of the Church is ontologically and essentially impossible. A division within the Church has never occurred, nor indeed can one take place, while apostasy from the Church has and will continue to occur after the manner of those voluntarily fruitless branches which, having withered, fall away from the eternally living theanthropic Vine—the Lord Christ (John 15:1-6). From time to time, heretics and schismatics have cut themselves off and have fallen away from the one and indivisible Church of Christ, whereby they ceased to be members of the Church and parts of her theanthropic body. The first to fall away thus were the gnostics, then the Arians, then the Macedonians, then the Monophysites, then the Iconoclasts, then the Roman Catholics, then the Protestants, then the Uniates, and so on—all the other members of the legion of heretics and schismatics.

The Holiness of the Church

By her theanthropic nature, the Church is undoubtedly a unique organization in the world. All her holiness resides in her nature. Actually, she is the theanthropic workshop of human sanctification and, through men, of the sanctification of the rest of creation. She is holy as the theanthropic Body of Christ, whose eternal head is the Lord Christ Himself; and Whose immortal soul is the Holy Spirit. Wherefore everything in her is holy: her teaching, her grace, her mysteries, her virtues, all her powers, and all her instruments have been deposited in her for the sanctification of men and of all created things. Having become the Church by His incarnation out of an unparalleled love for man, our God and Lord Jesus Christ sanctified the Church by His sufferings, Resurrection, Ascension, teaching, wonder-working, prayer, fasting, mysteries, and virtues; in a word, by His entire theanthropic life. Wherefore the divinely inspired pronouncement has been rendered: "…Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:25-27).

The flow of history confirms the reality of the Gospel: the Church is filled to overflowing with sinners. Does their presence in the Church reduce, violate, or destroy her sanctity? Not in the least! For her Head—the Lord Christ, and her Soul—the Holy Spirit, and her divine teaching, her mysteries, and her virtues, are indissolubly and immutably holy. The Church tolerates sinners, shelters them, and instructs them, that they may be awakened and roused to repentance and spiritual recovery and transfiguration; but they do not hinder the Church from being holy. Only unrepentant sinners, persistent in evil and godless malice, are cut off from the Church either by the visible action of the theanthropic authority of the Church or by the invisible action of divine judgment, so that thus also the holiness of the Church may be preserved. "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (I Cor. 5:13).

In their writings and at the Councils, the holy fathers confessed the holiness of the church as her essential and immutable quality. The fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council defined it dogmatically in the ninth article of the Symbol of Faith. And the succeeding ecumenical councils confirmed it by the seal of their assent.

The Catholicity (Sobornost) of the Church

The theanthropic nature of the Church is inherently and all-encompassingly universal and catholic: it is theanthropically universal and theanthropically catholic. The Lord Christ, the God-man, has by Himself and in Himself most perfectly and integrally united God and Man and, through man, all the worlds and all created things to God. The fate of creation is essentially linked to that of man (cf. Romans 8:19-24). In her theanthropic organism, the Church encompasses: "all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers" (Col. 1:16). Everything is in the God-man; He is the Head of the Body of the Church (Col. 1:17-18).

In the theanthropic organism of the Church everyone lives in the fullness of his personality as a living, godlike cell. The law of theanthropic catholicity encompasses all and acts through all. All the while, the theanthropic equilibrium between the divine and the human is always duly preserved. Being members of her body, we in the Church experience the fullness of our being in all its godlike dimensions. Furthermore: in the Church of the God-man, man experiences his own being as all-encompassing, as theanthropically all-encompassing; he experiences himself not only as complete, but also as the totality of creation. In a word: he experiences himself as a god-man by grace.

The theanthropic catholicity of the Church is actually an unceasing christification of many by grace and virtue: all is gathered in Christ the God-man, and everything is experienced through Him as one's own, as a single indivisible theanthropic organism. For life in the Church is a theanthropic catholicization, the struggle of acquiring by grace and virtue the likeness of the God-man, christification, theosis, life in the Trinity, sanctification, transfiguration, salvation, immortality, and churchliness. Theanthropic catholicity in the Church is reflected in and achieved by the eternally living Person of Christ, the God-man Who in the most perfect way has united God to man and to all creation, which has been cleansed of sin, evil, and death by the Savior's precious Blood (cf. Col. 1:19-22). The theanthropic Person of the Lord Christ is the very soul of the Church's catholicity. It is the God-man Who always preserves the theanthropic balance between the divine and the human in the catholic life of the Church. The Church is filled to overflowing with the Lord Christ, for she is "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:23). Wherefore, she is universal in every person that is found within her, in each of her tiny cells. That universality, that catholicity resounds like thunder particularly through the holy apostles, through the holy fathers, through the holy ecumenical and local councils.

The Apostolicity of the Church

The holy apostles were the first god-men by grace. Like the Apostle Paul each of them, by his integral life, could have said of himself: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). Each of them is a Christ repeated; or, to be more exact, a continuation of Christ. Everything in them is theanthropic because everything was recieved from the God-man. Apostolicity is nothing other than the God-manhood of the Lord Christ, freely assimilated through the holy struggles of the holy virtues: faith, love, hope, prayer, fasting, etc. This means that everything that is of man lives in them freely through the God-man, thinks through the God-man, feels through the God-man, acts through the God-man and wills through the God-man. For them, the historical God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the supreme value and the supreme criterion. Everything in them is of the God-man, for the sake of the God-man, and in the God-man. And it is always and everywhere thus. That for them is immortality in the time and space of this world. Thereby are they even on this earth partakers of the theanthropic eternity of Christ.

This theanthropic apostolicity is integrally continued in the earthly successors of the Christ-bearing apostles: in the holy fathers. Among them, in essence, there is no difference: the same God-man Christ lives, acts, enlivens and makes them all eternal in equal measure, He Who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). Through the holy fathers, the holy apostles live on with all their theanthropic riches, theanthropic worlds, theanthropic holy things, theanthropic mysteries, and theanthropic virtues. The holy fathers in fact are continuously apostolizing, whether as distinct godlike personalities, or as bishops of the local churches, or as members of the holy ecumenical and holy local councils. For all of them there is but one Truth, one Transcendent Truth: the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Behold, the holy ecumenical councils, from the first to the last, confess, defend, believe, announce, and vigilantly preserve but a single supreme value: the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The principal Tradition, the transcendent Tradition, of the Orthodox Church is the living God-man Christ, entire in the theanthropic Body of the Church of which He is the immortal, eternal Head. This is not merely the message, but the transcendent message of the holy apostles and the holy fathers. They know Christ crucified, Christ resurrected, Christ ascended. They all, by their integral lives and teachings, with a single soul and a single voice, confess that Christ the God-man is wholly in His Church, as in His Body. Each of the holy fathers could rightly repeat with St. Maximus the Confessor: "In no wise am I expounding my own opinion, but that which I have been taught by the fathers, without changing aught in their teaching."

And from the immortal proclamation of St. John of Damascus there resounds the universal confession of all the holy fathers who were glorified by God: "Whatever has been transmitted to us through the Law, and the prophets, and the apostles, and the evangelists, we receive and know and esteem highly, and beyond that we ask nothing more… Let us be fully satisfied with it, and rest therein, removing not the ancient landmarks (Prov. 22:28), nor violating the divine Tradition." And then, the touching, fatherly admonition of the holy Damascene, directed to all Orthodox Christians: "Wherefore, brethren, let us plant ourselves upon the rock of faith and the Tradition of the Church, removing not the landmarks set by our holy fathers, nor giving room to those who are anxious to introduce novelties and to undermine the structure of God's holy ecumenical and apostolic Church. For if everyone were allowed a free hand, little by little the entire Body of the Church would be destroyed."

The holy Tradition is wholly of the God-man, wholly of the holy apostles, wholly of the holy fathers, wholly of the Church, in the Church, and by the Church. The holy fathers are nothing other than the "guardians of the apostolic tradition. " All of them, like the holy apostles themselves, are but "witnesses" of a single and unique Truth: the transcendent Truth of Christ, the God-man. They preach and confess it without rest, they, the "golden mouths of the Word." The God-man, the Lord Christ is one, unique, and indivisible. So also is the Church unique and indivisible, for she is the incarnation of the Theanthropos Christ, continuing through the ages and through all eternity. Being such by her nature and in her earthly history, the Church may not be divided. It is only possible to fall away from her. That unity and uniqueness of the Church is theanthropic from the very beginning and through all the ages and all eternity.

 . . .

Biblical Christianity is a distortion of the true Christianity of the Orthodox Church.  To define Christianity by the Bible alone, by only one part of the Church’s Holy Tradition (which is what the Holy Scriptures are, one part of that Tradition, though an important one), is akin to defining a human being by only one part of him:  a toe, a white blood cell, a kidney.  Because of that severe distortion, Protestantism will always be in upheaval.  But the Orthodox Church, the Church of the Apostles, is ever waiting for them, ever inviting them to the Heavenly Banquet of the Divine Liturgy, to the union with the divine-human Body of Jesus Christ in which the Fulness of the Holy Ghost dwelleth, to the Glory of God the Father.  Amen


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Secularizing the Church

Please forgive us, but it is drivel like the following that shows just how far away from the truth ‘Christian America’ has fallen:

Woodberry and Shah continued:

"Most Protestants . . . tend toward separation and independence from ancient church structures and traditions as well as political authorities. The main reason for this is the important role of individual conscience.

Because saving faith must be uncoerced and individual, it requires in practice a diversity of independent churches to satisfy the inevitable diversity of individual consciences."

 . . .

Rather than view the many denominations negatively, it was instead viewed positively, that they would be a check on each other to insure no one would be established as the official state denomination.

Is the Holy Church, the ascended and glorified Body of Christ, really of the same nature as a fast food restaurant, a knot of competing chains fighting for ‘marketshare’ of potential customers?  Should these competing church chains ‘sell’ salvation by slyly tailoring it to appeal to individual tastes, by stirring up the fallen passions, the same way Burger King and Wendy’s sell a hamburger combo to the man on the street?

Anyone who would divide the Church like this does a great evil.  If ‘churches’ were meant to divide and fight for members like a pack of wild dogs over the bones of a carcass, then St Paul would not have admonished the Corinthians, who were doing exactly that:

[10] Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
[11] For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
[12] Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
[13] Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
[14] I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
[15] Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

Christ is not divided, nor is His Body the Orthodox Church.  But more on that soon, we hope.

In the meantime, may Misters Federer, Woodberry, and Shah pray to God for me, a sinner.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Offsite Post: ‘Still Vikings, Still Hobbits’

In a previous essay about American Gnosticism, we drew attention to the differences between the North and the South and how this influenced the relationship between the two.  Since both continue to reside within a common (forced) union, and since both continue to antagonize one another, it is a good idea to explore further why those differences exist and what they portend for the future.

Deep within the Past

In order to rightly understand both Yankees and Dixiefolk, we need to study the origins of both peoples.  Though there has been a large admixture of other kin-groups since their original colonial births, those foundings set the patterns that have continued to the present:  New England being settled by immigrants from East Anglia and Essex in England and the South by immigrants from Wessex and elsewhere in southwest England.  New England’s forefathers of the east coast of England, having received a fair amount of Vikings/Scandinavians into their society over the centuries, developed a different way of looking at the world than the other English peoples round about them.  To properly trace the contrasting worldviews of Essex and Wessex, we need to go to the very beginnings of the recorded history of each kin-group. 

The pre-Christian Scandinavian mind of Essex/East Anglia has left a number of works available for study.  And what they show is an intense preoccupation with man’s interaction and struggle with the gods, and most notably with Ragnarök, the violent cataclysm at the end of time that will destroy the whole cosmos.  For these reasons we may say that the East Anglian worldview is predominantly eschatologically oriented.  The Scandinavian ‘Voluspo’ provides a good glimpse into this mindset.  Here is only a small part of it:

40. The giantess old | in Ironwood sat,
In the east, and bore | the brood of Fenrir;
Among these one | in monster's guise
Was soon to steal | the sun from the sky.

41. There feeds he full | on the flesh of the dead,
And the home of the gods | he reddens with gore;
Dark grows the sun, | and in summer soon
Come mighty storms: | would you know yet more?

42. On a hill there sat, | and smote on his harp,
Eggther the joyous, | the giants' warder;
Above him the cock | in the bird-wood crowed,
Fair and red | did Fjalar stand.

43. Then to the gods | crowed Gollinkambi,
He wakes the heroes | in Othin's hall;
And beneath the earth | does another crow,
The rust-red bird | at the bars of Hel.

44. Now Garm howls loud | before Gnipahellir,
The fetters will burst, | and the wolf run free;
Much do I know, | and more can see
Of the fate of the gods, | the mighty in fight.

45. Brothers shall fight | and fell each other,
And sisters' sons | shall kinship stain;
Hard is it on earth, | with mighty whoredom;
Axe-time, sword-time, | shields are sundered,
Wind-time, wolf-time, | ere the world falls;
Nor ever shall men | each other spare.

46. Fast move the sons | of Mim, and fate
Is heard in the note | of the Gjallarhorn;
Loud blows Heimdall, | the horn is aloft,
In fear quake all | who on Hel-roads are.

47. Yggdrasil shakes, | and shiver on high
The ancient limbs, | and the giant is loose;
To the head of Mim | does Othin give heed,
But the kinsman of Surt | shall slay him soon.

The combination in the soul of the Essexmen of the belief in angry, warlike, and deceitful gods who ruled mankind rather harshly and the nervous energy created by the foreboding of Ragnarök would go on to form the basic characteristics of the modern New England Yankee, which we will look at in more detail shortly:  rejection of divine authority, war against God, and the desire to control nature and history themselves in order to thwart fate.  This created a rather grim sort of man – cold-hearted, miserly, judgmental, narcissistic.

When one examines the earliest literature of the pre-Chrstian Anglo-Saxons outside the east coast of England, something quite different meets the reader.  Theology and eschatology are mostly muted in favor of more mundane things:  a jilted wife, gold, funny riddles, the hall, and so on.  The divinity in their worldview seems rather distant and impersonal.  The ordinary, the expected, the traditional is thus the dominant theme in the Wessex mindset.  The customary has been elevated to quasi-divine status:  For instance, it is referred as ‘Saint Use’ in the traditional Englishman Maurice Hewlett’s long poem The Song of the Plow (published in 1916). 

Here are two examples of the Wessex soul from early English literature to illustrate all of this.  The first is from the elegiac poem, ‘Wulf’:

Prey, it’s as if my people have been handed prey.
They’ll tear him to pieces if he comes with a troop.

O, we are apart.

Wulf is on one island, I on another,
a fastness that island, a fen-prison.
Fierce men roam there, on that island;
they’ll tear him to pieces if he comes with a troop.

O, we are apart.

 . . .

--The Anglo-Saxon World: An Anthology, trans. Kevin Crossley-Holland, Oxford UP, New York, 2009, p. 59

The second comes from a set of maxims after the coming of Christianity to the English.  However, one will note the calmness and restraint present in the invocations of Christ and God, as set over against the violent, intense interactions with the gods of the Scandinavians, as well as the focus on the earthly, the contentment with the ordinary, of the passage:

Wind in the air is swiftest,
thunder sometimes is loudest, the glories of Christ are great,
fate is strongest, winter is coldest,
spring the frostiest – it is cold the longest –
summer brightest with sun, sky is hottest,
autumn most glorious – brings to men
the fruits of the year which God sends them –
truth is clearest – treasure is dearest,
gold to everyman – and an old man most prudent,
wise with distant years, who has experienced much.

--Mark Atherton, Complete Old English (Anglo-Saxon), McGraw-Hill, 2010, p. 64

From this comes the typical Southern gentleman, whose concern is mainly with what is here below, women, war, family, farm; ready to entertain kin and kith at his table laden with the fruits of the earth, living intimately and happily with the cycle of the seasons - ‘at nature’s pace’ as the saying goes, in no way at enmity with God and his creation.

We have jumped from the beginning to the end, however.  There are still some gaps that need to be filled in to show the continuity of thought of these two peoples.

The Colonial Settlements

For the sake of shortness, we will pass in silence over the upheaval of the Great Schism, the Norman Invasion, and all the chaos that followed upon them. 

The next time period we will examine, then, is that of the colonial era, when the Eastern English settled New England and the Southwestern English settled the South.  It is noteworthy that the character of the two peoples did not change appreciably even over this long and tumultuous era, as we will now see.

The coming of Calvinism to England in the 16th hundredyear completed the Yankee character.  After his forebears absorbed John Calvin’s teaching of the wrathful Father-God and double predestination, his career as self-ordained savior and re-creator of the world was set.  But the traditional ways inherited by the Southern gentlemen would be defended and retained by the high-church Anglican (and at times Roman Catholic) establishment.  A good representative of this latter is the Anglican priest Richard Hooker (1554-1600), who was born in Devon County (which lies in southwestern England).  It is his disputations with the Yankees’ immediate predecessors, the Puritans, that developed into his book Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.  And it is there, in that book, where the continuity of both Northern and Southern types may be clearly seen.

The Puritan he describes in all his self-righteous, narrow-minded delusion:

The Book of God they notwithstanding for the most part so admired, that other disputation against their opinions than only by allegation of Scripture they would not hear; besides it they thought no other writings in the world should be studied; insomuch as one of their great prophets exhorting them to cast away all respects unto human writings, so far to his motion they condescended, that as many as had any books save the Holy Bible in their custody, they brought and set them publicly on fire. When they and their Bibles were alone together, what strange fantastical opinion soever at any time entered into their heads, their use was to think the Spirit taught it them. Their phrensies concerning our Saviour’s incarnation, the state of souls departed, and such-like, are things needless to be rehearsed. And forasmuch as they were of the same suit with those of whom the apostle speaketh, saying, “They are still learning, but never attain to the knowledge of truth,” it was no marvel to see them every day broach some new thing, not heard of before. Which restless levity they did interpret to be their growing to spiritual perfection, and a proceeding from faith to faith. The differences amongst them grew by this mean in a manner infinite, so that scarcely was there found any one of them, the forge of whose brain was not possessed with some special mystery.  . . .  Their own ministers they highly magnified as men whose vocation was from God; the rest their manner was to term disdainfully Scribes and Pharisees, to account their calling an human creature, and to detain the people as much as might be from hearing them (Preface, ch. viii, 7,

Nonetheless, he does not leave the reader without a description of the traditional Englishman’s view of the orderly world held together by various goodly laws to which all should submit.  And to do this, he uses a subject that is humorously altogether fitting for the homely English/Southern man, food.  Part of the passage reads,

For the better inuring therefore of men’s minds with the true distinction of laws, and of their several force according to the different kind and quality of our actions, it shall not peradventure be amiss to shew in some one example how they all take place. To seek no further, let but that be considered, than which there is not any thing more familiar unto us, our food.

What things are food and what are not we judge naturally by sense; neither need we any other law to be our director in that behalf than the selfsame which is common unto us with beasts.

But when we come to consider of food, as of a benefit which God of his bounteous goodness hath provided for all things living; the law of Reason doth here require the duty of thankfulness at our hands, towards him at whose hands we have it. And lest appetite in the use of food should lead us beyond that which is meet, we owe in this case obedience to that law of Reason, which teacheth mediocrity in meats and drinks. The same things divine law teacheth also, as at large we have shewed it doth all parts of moral duty, whereunto we all of necessity stand bound, in regard of the life to come.

But of certain kinds of food the Jews sometime had, and we ourselves likewise have, a mystical, religious, and supernatural use, they of their paschal lamb and oblations, we of our bread and wine in the Eucharist; which use none but divine law could institute.

Now as we live in civil society, the state of the commonwealth wherein we live both may and doth require certain laws concerning food; which laws, saving only that we are members of the commonwealth where they are of force, we should not need to respect as rules of action, whereas now in their place and kind they must be respected and obeyed (Book I, ch. xvi, 7,

Once Puritan and Anglican settled their respective territories in Massachusetts (1620) and Virginia (1607), the character types of each section crystalized quickly.  One of the South’s ablest defenders, Richard Weaver, did an excellent job of contrasting the beliefs and ways of the two peoples in his essay exploring the diaries of William Byrd II of Westover, Virginia (1674-1744), and Cotton Mather of Boston, Massachusetts (1663-1728), entitled ‘Two Diarists’ (In Defense of Tradition, ed. Ted Smith III, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, Ind., 2000).

Prof Weaver details the traits of New England by way of Mather.  There is severe narcissism, the belief that God has great plans for them (pgs. 723-4).  Because of this chosenness, they felt they were permitted to press others into the mold of their way of life (p. 727).  Relations with other people are marked by ‘anxiety, fear, and self-accusation, along with the imputation of the spirit of lying to others’ (p. 730).  There is also ‘the almost total indifference to nature’ (p. 730).  ‘The great sensible world loses its office of mediation, . . . nature was not regularly suggestive of God; . . . the way is open for the prying, experimenting, and controlling which come to their fruition in modern science’ (pgs. 731-2).  Summing up, Prof Weaver gives the New England worldview the name of demonism:  ‘Demonism is definable as that habit of mind which judges everything and apperceives nothing.  . . .  The demon has one view of the world, and according to that he must make his will prevail’ (pgs. 732-3).

It is otherwise with William Byrd and the South.  . . .


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!