Friday, November 25, 2016

Conviction and love as "motives of Faith"

"That Divine Revelation is infallible, is an acknowledg'd Principle by all Men: for natural Reason dictates that unerring Wisdom, and infinite Goodness, are essential perfections of God; so that he cannot be deceived, nor deceive those that trust in his Word.  The proofs of the truth of Christian Religion are of a moral nature; and though not of equal clearness with the testimonies of Sense, or a Mathematical Demonstration, yet are so pregnant and convincing, that the considering dispassionate spirit fully acquiesces in them.  A Mathematical Demonstration brings so strong a Light that the Mind cannot suspend its assent, but is presently overcome by the naked propounding of the Object:  And hence it is that in Mathematical matters, there are neither Infidels nor Hereticks.  But the motives of Faith are such, that although the Object be most certain, yet the Evidence is not so clear and irresistible, as that which flows from Sense, or a Demonstration.  And 'tis the excellent observation of Grotius, God has wisely appointed this way of perswading Men the truth of the Gospel, that Faith might be accepted as an act of Obedience from the reasonable Creature.  For the Arguments to induce belief, though of sufficient certainty, yet do not so constrain the mind to give its assent, but there is prudence and choice in it.  Not that the Will can make a direct impression upon the Mind, that it should comply with its desire, and see what it does not see. It cannot make an obscure Object to be clear to its perception, no more than it can change the colour of visible things, and make what appears green to the Eye to seem red. But the mind enlightned by sufficient Reasons that the Christian Religion is from God, represents it so to the Will, and the Will, if sincere and unbiast by carnal affections, commands the Mind not to disguise the Truth, to make it less credible, nor to palliate with specions colours the pretences of Infidelity. And thus the belief of it results from conviction and love."

     William Bates, The divinity of the Christian religion (London:  JD, 1677), 41-43, as quoted by David Wootton, The invention of science:  a new history of the scientific revolution (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2015), 422, and supplemented on both ends by the TCP, above.

Intellectual vice

"There are some men, who have sufficient abilities to discern betwixt the true difference of things; but what through their vicious affections and voluntary prejudices, making them unwilling that some things should be true; what through their inadvertency or neglect to consider and compare things together, they are not to be convinced by plain Arguments; not through any insufficiency in the evidence, but by reason of some defect or corruption in the faculty that should judg of it.  Now the neglect of keeping our minds in such an equal frame, the not applying of our thoughts to consider of such matters of moment, as do highly concern a man to be rightly informed in, must needs be a vice."

     John Wilkins, Of the principles and duties of natural religion (London:  T. Basset, 1675), 35-36 (5th ed., 1704), as quoted by David Wootton, The invention of science:  a new history of the scientific revolution (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2015), 423.

Caught in the act

     "Freedwoman Martha Hendricks found herself in a similar situation when she fled her husband's attackers, baby in arms, to take shelter in the home of her white neighbors, the Grogans.  Mrs. Grogan at first discouraged Hendricks from entering, but when Hendricks plead that it was cold and there was nowhere else to go, Mrs. Grogan begrudgingly offered hospitality.  Hendricks and her baby sat in a room with Mrs. Grogan and her toddler son to await news.  The cause of Mrs. Grogan's reluctance to admit Hendricks became apparent when her son inadvertently revealed to Hendricks that Mr. Grogan was among her husband's attackers.  Both women pretended not to have noticed the slip and continued to spend what must have been an unimaginably painful evening.  When Grogan returned, after a hushed conversation with his wife, he assumed a casual and protective role to Hendricks, assuring her that he had heard that her husband had escaped his pursuers (as indeed he had).  Perhaps Mrs. Grogan and Jeter's attacker's wife acted more kindly than their husbands would have wanted.  Perhaps the white men had joined the attacks reluctantly, or even intervened to spare Hendricks's and Jeter's lives.  It seems most likely, however, that the white men were attempting, through their use of disguise, to have two parallel relationships with Hendricks and Jeter."

     Elaine Frantz Parsons, Ku-Klux:  the birth of the Klan during Reconstruction (Chapel Hll:  The University of North Carolina Press, 2015), 98.  "The Ku-Klux's performance enabled southern men to shed the antebellum manhood they had come to idealize for a more starkly, explicitly violent postbellum version.  The Ku-Klux's brief reign marked a transition space between distinct regimes of violence:  the threshold between the patriarchal violence of the antebellum years and the chivalric violence of the war, on the one hand, and the public lynchings of the Progressive Era.  If performance is a way of figuring loss, representing that which is passing away and may be forgotten, the Ku-Klux's histrionics marked and mourned the fall of antebellum white southern manhood and erected a new modern southern manhood in its place" (100-101).