The One and the Many (Athanasian Creed) - RR126D7
The media player is loading...
Almighty God our heavenly Father we give thanks unto thee that thou hast called us to be thy people, that thou hast surrounded us with thy mercies and has made us kings priests and prophets in Jesus Christ. Make us bold in faith and courageous in the face of the enemy and to the end that we may be more than conquerors through Him that loved us, in Jesus name amen. Our Scripture is from the first epistle of John, the fifth chapter verses one through eight (1 John 5:1-8) our subject the Athanasian Creed, the one and the many. The Athanasian Creed. ATHANASIAN, Athanasian. Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous. For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God, this is he that came by water and blood even Jesus Christ, not by water only but by water and blood and it is the spirit that beareth witness because the spirit is true. But there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth, the spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree in one. [00:02:44]
When Saint John declared that this is the victory which...
When Saint John declared that this is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith, he was not defining the faith in terms of our personal sense of conviction. Faith in and of itself is meaningless. I can have faith that I am a millionaire, but my faith that I am a millionaire will not make a millionaire out of me, nor will it keep my checks from bouncing. When Saint John speaks of the faith which overcometh the world, he makes clear that this is the faith in Jesus as the son of God, and in the Trinitarian doctrine. Thus the very condition of victory is established by John; Trinitarianism. Now when we speak of trinitarianism, we cannot escape speaking of the Athanasian Creed, because the Athanasian Creed defines trinitarianism in most scrupulous terms, and is the definitive statement of Trinitarian doctrine. There are two kinds of creeds, baptismal creeds and then confessional creeds, creeds which are tests of orthodoxy. Now a baptismal creed familiar to all of us is the Apostles Creed. It is required of all in any good church any true church, as their profession of faith on confirmation and baptism. In this the elementary doctrines of the faith are set forth, and none can be Christians without declaring their faith therein. The more advanced creeds such as the Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed are tests of orthodoxy. And therefor they have a tremendous significance in giving not the elements of the faith, the ABC’s as it were, but the essentials which are necessary for any mature comprehension of the Christian faith. [00:05:49]
The Athanasian Creed is the great creed in this respect...
The Athanasian Creed is the great creed in this respect. It bears the name of Athanasius even though it is not written by him. Athanasius was the one who in the controversies with Arianism or the Unitarianism of the day made the first great stand at the council of Nicaea. And so the creed took his name although actually the creed was written by the followers and associates of Saint Augustine and indeed close extensively from Saint Augustine, so that if we give it a single author we would have to say it is virtually the product of Augustine. Nonetheless it deserves the name of Athanasius in view of the great stand Athanasius took against the church and an empire that had gone over into Unitarianism and Humanism. When Athanasius made his stand he suffered for it, the emperor very quickly replaced him as Bishop of Alexandria, and George of Cappadocia was brought in to take his place and the imperial troops were sent into Alexandria in order to make George the bishop. George tried to commend himself to the Orthodox Christians of the city, not by Doctrine but by persecuting the pagans of the city, by raiding their temples and in other ways abusing them. Unfortunately when the troops were not on the job the pagans rose up in rebellion because Christianity was still relatively new in the empire, in any position of prominence, and they seized George, tied him to a camel and dragged him through the streets, paraded him back and forth and then triumphantly burned both George and the camel. So ended George of Cappadocia, the Arian or Unitarian who took Athanasius place. There’s a curious bit of history with regard to George of Cappadocia. According to Schaff and some other scholars, George went down into history as the patron saint of empires and of states, and he is now known as Saint George, and in the legends that have rung up around this great patron saint of kingdoms and of empires, saint George slays the dragon and the dragon is Athanasius. [00:08:53]
In the original form the dragon was the wizard Athanasius...
In the original form the dragon was the wizard Athanasius, but Athanasius is progressively gone downhill in the legend and George of Cappadocia uphill. When George took over Alexandria of course Athanasius was driven into the desert where he spent a number of years, he was persecuted in various ways, he was accused of murdering Arcenius, but Arcenius instead of being murdered was in hiding in order to facilitate the framing of Athanasius on murder charges. Athanasius was able to locate Arcenius and to bring him with him into the proceedings, which threw quite a bit of cold water on the hearing. However they were not through with Athanasius, one of the many other things they tried on him was to accuse him of having raped a virgin. At the hearing the virgin who was not a virgin but a prostitute and who had never seen Athanasius was told who Athanasius was, that is Athanasius was pointed out to her across the room so that at the right time she would identify him. Unfortunately she identified the man next to him who was very definitely not one of those who was to be prosecuted, but was one of the prosecuting party, and that again threw cold water on the proceedings. But it did not dampen their desire to destroy Athanasius. As a result it is fitting that the creed bears his name, since he fought so strongly for the Athanasian Creed. The creed itself has a checkered history, the eatern churches did not accept it and this is significant, because liberty declined in the east and found its home in the west. [00:11:09]
When in the middle ages the western church began to...
When in the middle ages the western church began to turn its back on the faith of the Athanasian creed it too declined and totalitarianism took over in Europe. With the reformation the Athanasian creed again came into its own and Luther declared it to be the greatest of all creeds, but since then of course it has progressively receded, it is recited once a year in the Lutheran churches, the church of England has made its use voluntary so it is virtually disappeared, the Episcopal church in this country dropped it entirely from the prayer book, and it has virtually disappeared as far as a living force in any church today is concerned. Let us now turn to the text of the Athanasian Creed itself, and after the reading of it to analyze its significance, the Athanasian Creed. Whosoever will be saved before all things, it is necessary to behold the catholic faith, which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this that we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance, for there is one person of the father another of the son and another of the Holy Ghost, but the Godhead of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Ghost. the Father increate, the Son increate, and the Holy Ghost increate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The father eternal, the son eternal and the Holy Ghost eternal, and yet there are not three eternals but one eternal, as there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible but one uncreated and one incomprehensible, so likewise the father is almighty and the Son almighty and the Holy Ghost almighty, and yet there are not three almighties but one almighty; so the Father is God the son is God and the Holy Ghost is God and yet they are not three God’s but one God. So likewise the father is Lord the son Lord and the Holy Ghost Lord, and yet not three Lords but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every person by himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say that there be three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none either Created nor begotten. The Son is of the father alone not made nor created but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the father and of the son neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one father not three fathers and one son not three sons, one Holy Ghost not three holy ghosts. And in this trinity none is before or after another, none is greater or less than another, but the whole three persons are coeternal together and coequal, so that in all things as afore said the unity in trinity and trinity in unity is to be worshiped, he therefor that will be saved must think thus of the trinity. [00:15:17]
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation...
Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ for the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ the son of God is God and man, God of the substance of the father begotten before the world and man of the substance of His mother formed in the world. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting, equal to the father a touching his Godhead and inferior to the father as touching His manhood, who although He be God and man yet He is not two but one Christ, one not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh but by taking the manhood into God, one altogether not by confusion of substance but by unity of persons. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man so God and man is one Christ who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell and rose again a third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father God almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead, at whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give an account of their own work, and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. This then is the Athanasian Creed, which defines the Orthodox doctrine of God, of the trinity. Three persons, absolutely equal, one God, so that when we use the name God we cannot mean God the father, but we must mean thereby the trinity, God the son, God the Holy Ghost, equally God with God the father, the name of God is therefore applicable to all three persons, and to reserve the name of God to the father only is Arianism, and Unitarianism. Now this doctrine is exceedingly important. The biblical doctrine as it is summarized in the philosophical language of the Athanasian Creed is the answer to the basic problem of all history, the problem of the one and the many. Now the problem of the one and the many is not commonly known today because our education has become so derelict that we are no longer aware of those things which constitute the basic problems of life, that the basic problem of all history, whether we look at the oriental cultures, the European cultures, the north African cultures, the cultures of the Americas as among the Aztecs and the Mayan Indians and the Incas. The basic problem has always been the one and the many. What is this problem? The problem is simply this: which is more basic, more ultimate in life, in the world and the universe? The oneness, the unity of things, or the many-ness, the particularity, the individuality of things? If you answer in favor of the oneness or the unity of things then you have totalitarianism, and you say the group is everything and the individual is nothing. If you answer in favor of the many-ness or particularity, or individuality of things and say this is the basic truth of the universe, then you have anarchism. [00:19:47]
This then is the problem, which is more basic, unity...
This then is the problem, which is more basic, unity or individuality? The one or the many? The group or the members of the group, the state or the citizens? Marriage as an institution or the man and the wife in marriage? The church or the members of the church? And throughout history mankind has moved from totalitarianism to anarchism, from one to the other, and seen no other way. And both answers are destructive of liberty. Today we have on the one hand the Marxists and socialists, who say the truth about things is the unity, the oneness of things, totalitarianism is the answer. On the other hand you have libertarians and you have beatniks, anarchists who say the individuality of things is the truth, the reality of life and then you have the tyranny of anarchy, of animism. And all of history virtually apart from certain Christian areas has veered from totalitarianism to anarchism, and man has always suffered between these two extremes. Now, the doctrine of the trinity alone gives an answer to the problem, there is no other answer. The doctrine of the trinity declares that there is one God, so the unity is uiltimate in God, but at the same time there are three persons in the Godhead and their threeness is as ultimate as their oneness so that individuality is equally ultimate with unity in the Godhead. [00:22:09]
So that we cannot say their unity is more important...
So that we cannot say their unity is more important than their individuality, that the tri personality of God is less important than its unity. The one and the many are equally important in the trinity; the oneness and the three-ness of God. What does this mean therefor? It means that all things having been created by God, all things therefor are in terms of God and his nature, so that in all of reality there is an equal importance to the oneness of things and to the individuality of things, to unity and to individuality, so we cannot say it is the state that is more important than the individual, or the individual than the state. Both are equally important, equally necessary. We cannot say that marriage is everything as an institution and the man and wife nothing, no, both the institution and the members of the institution are equally important. It is not the church that is everything and its members nothing but both alike have an equal importance because there is the equal ultimacy of the one and the many. Now, the implications of this are tremendous. History always before Christ and apart from the bible moved unstaidly, zig sagging back and forth between totalitarianism and anarchism. The history of Greece and the history of Rome for example are excellent illustrations of this. But, the minute this doctrine was firmly established in the minds of believers, it worked revolution. The Athanasian Creed became the creed of the west, at this point the Eastern Church became derelict, it never adopted the Athanasian Creed. What happened? The east which had had up until Chalcedon theological ascendency began to be prominent. It went into tyranny, and into bondage, but the west became the area of liberty. When the western church began to go into Aristotelianism with scholasticism, reviving the old Greek answers, it too went in to totalitarianism and then fell also into anarchism so that in the century the reformation you had your torn asunder and a conflict between vicious totalitarian tyrants and anarchists who went for every kind of cultism that we see today. There were nudist groups who believed that there was no law apart from the individual desire, no morality that could bind man because the individual was his own law, and you can find that the old trends of great parades of these people in public places in the late middle ages, demanding their rights and demanding that the whole of Europe go their way, while the tyrants were dragging it their way. With the reformation the Athanasian Creed was again given a centrality. [00:26:13]
In Western Europe, particularly those areas that were
In Western Europe, particularly those areas that were protestant became the areas of liberty and this country in particular. But as the Athanasian Creed and the faith that it represents, and the infallible word of God and in the triune God, began to recede in these countries, they again fell prey to the twin forces of totalitarianism and anarchism. And this has been the foundation, together with the work of the previous councils, of western liberty, and there can be no liberty without a return to this faith. You can expose communism all you want, you can uncover every fact that is in existence concerning the communists and it will do no good, because as long as men have only the alternatives of totalitarianism and anarchism, what hope has man? They have to have the answer, the answer which is that of Christian liberty, the answer of the trinity. The equal ultimacy of the one and the many, that neither the group nor the individual is more important, but both have an equal importance. And this doctrine is grounded on the trinity and the trinity alone. Every heresy that has rent the church has been a form of insubordinationism, of tampering with this doctrine of the trinity. A declaration that Christ is not really God and the Holy Spirit is not really God, and the destruction of this which is the one true faith. It is no wonder then that the imperial theology then as now has been a humanistic Unitarianism, a destruction of the doctrine of the trinity in order that the liberty which this doctrine gives might be destroyed. Now the Athanasian Creed has been bitterly attacked by many, for damnatory phrases. Whosoever will be saved before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith, which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And these critics have said that this is ridiculous, for anyone to understand this creed requires that they have the mind of an Augustine, and how many Augustines are there in the church? Are you saying that Augustine and a handful of theologians and philosophers since who have been able to understand him are going to go to heaven? And the answer to that is by no means. Every humble Christian is called upon to believe this doctrine. They are not expected to understand it. Similarly they are called upon to believe the word of God, they are not expected always to understand it. [00:30:28]
To take for example the prophets and the epistles of...
To take for example the prophets and the epistles of Paul, which gives us a sizeable portion of the bible, they are difficult to read, and there are great perplexities in many passages whose profundity and depth is staggering, we are asked to believe it, in order that we might understand it, and we are saved not by our understanding, but by our faith, so that our responsibility is to accept and to receive this doctrine, not to expound it. If the trinitarianism of the Athanasian Creed and of scripture is not accepted, the result is another savior than Jesus Christ. The result is that the problem of the one and the many again costs mankind, and men are- when they are free from this doctrine freed from love into slavery. Without this doctrine, God again becomes the silent God of Arianism, of humanism, unable to reveal himself. And this is the God most people want, the silent God. Augustine was honest after he became a Christian when he pointed out that one of the things that drew him to a prominent heresy of his day was the fact that it gave him an answer to the problem of sin whereby he was not responsible, and he could do as he pleased. And today as men attack the infallibility of scripture and the Trinitarian doctrine, they are saying gin effect that God is a silent God and he has not said to me: thou shalt not kill nor commit adultery nor steal nor bear false witness nor covet. Instead if there is anything that God has said: well don’t do these things if they’re inconvenient, but if you really want to then go ahead, because there is no authoritative God if this doctrine be destroyed. Thus is we are to maintain the Christian faith, we have to maintain it in its full orb complexity, in terms of the Athanasian Creed and the Trinitarian doctrine of scripture and the creeds. Thus it is clearly necessary as the creed declares that whosoever will be saved hold to this doctrine. And this is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. [00:33:55]
Let us pray. Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee that thou hast called us to be thy people, and has grounded us upon thy word, and thy most holy truth. And we pray our father that we may be more than conquerors in terms of this faith, and that we may move boldly and victoriously, knowing our God that we are destined to conquer in Christ’s name, and to be heirs of all things. Our God we thank thee, in Jesus’ name, amen. Are there any questions now? Yes.
(Rushdoony) Yes. The answer of that is first of all, this is the wildest kind of slander; it’s hardly worth bothering with. Christianity was not responsible for the fall, the Christian represented the most stable, the most conscientious element In the Empire. When Constantine recognized Christianity it was because he realized that the Empire was committing suicide by persecuting and murdering the people in the Empire who were the honest element, the best soldiers, the most stable citizens, the most faithful taxpayers, the most responsible people; and he felt that it was suicidal, and so he recognized Christianity, although he himself did not accept baptism until he was dying. Now it proved to be too late in spite of what Constantine did. The second part as for it being the greatest empire in all history, this is hyperbole because Byzantium certainly was a much greater empire, it lasted a thousand years, which no other empire has ever lasted, and it was of course from its beginning Christian. [00:36:47]
Another question? Yes Tom...
Another question? Yes Tom.
(Audience) Just what does the phrase “The son of man” mean (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) Yes, now that phrase is used two ways in scripture and in theology. In the creeds it is used to mean that he is truly very man of very man, born of humanity, son of man by His birth of the Virgin Mary. Now in the bible it has another usage also, it has that usage, but it also has the usage in Daniel, and in the gospels of the one from heaven, who comes, who is very God and becomes incarnate, so it very clearly refers in Daniel and in the gospels to the messiah, to God incarnate. Yes.
(Audience) I was wondering if you could do a newsletter on the subject of the Christian God versus other peoples God (unintelligible).
(Rushdoony) That’s a good suggestion, I- will you repeat that to me in the next couple of days, so I won’t forget it, because I think that is an excellent suggestion and I think something should be said on that, very definitely. Yes.
(Audience) In the Lord’s Prayer where it says thy kingdom come, is that thinking of the kingdom coming on earth or the kingdom in the next world, or what do you think that means?
(Rushdoony) The Lord’s Prayer makes it specific, thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So that it is very very wrong to equate the kingdom purely with the heavenly order. The prayer then becomes nonsense and we don’t have to be raptured to get to the kingdom, God’s kingdom is to be ushered into this world, its fullness will be in eternity, it is definitely and specifically for this world, and it is too bad that so many have so spiritualized the faith at this point. Yes.
(Rushdoony) Well yes, no, the concept of the division of powers, of course derives from the Trinitarian doctrine, and you had a balancing of the powers of the state as against the powers of the people, so that both are to be equal in power. [00:40:15]
Here you have the equal ultimacy you see, or importance...
Here you have the equal ultimacy you see, or importance because ultimacy belongs to God alone, the equal importance of the group as well as the individuals of the group, so that our form of government was set up to be thoroughly Christian, in fact they felt so strongly about the Christian aspect that they didn’t use the word sovereignty, not even once. No state constitution or the federal constitution used the word sovereignty, because sovereignty belonged to God alone, to the trinity.
(Audience) They are talking about it now though, I mean..
(Rushdoony) Oh yes
(Rushdoony) It was introduced into the state constitutions and it is now introduced into our federal constitutional thinking by Supreme Court decisions. Yes.
(Audience) How would you answer about as they say the word Christian on the history of a Christian nation, is not placed in the constitution, therefor it is not a Christian nation. (Not exact sentence)
(Rushdoony) Yes, the answer to that is the- there is no reference to Christ or to God in the Constitution because as the first amendment made it clear this was a matter of states’ rights exclusively. Every state had its own legislation; every state required certain things of citizens, in every state you had to, for example, believe the bible was the word of God and accept the doctrine of the trinity or you could not vote. For example in the state of Virginia, we think of Virginia as perhaps being not as strict as some of the other states, but at the time of the constitution, the time of the war of independence, if you denied the doctrine of the trinity, your children could be taken away from you for their own welfare. Now you see, they therefor said since we as separate states have the jurisdiction for the religious life of our state we don’t want the federal government interfering with our religious establishments, so it was the clergy of the United States that demanded the first amendment. Now the first amendment and someone asked me this recently at a meeting, but what about the first amendment and the statement that there must be separation of church and state, and the answer is there isn’t a single word in the constitution about the separation of church and state, not a word. The first amendment simply says the federal government, congress, can make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, in other words, the federal government is to stay out of the area of religion because this is the jurisdiction of the states, and of the counties. [00:43:37]
So this is the reason, it was because they did not...
So this is the reason, it was because they did not want a religious establishment or the prohibition of one enforced from above. What the Supreme Court has now done is to say that the states and counties have no right to set up religious requirements of their own, the federal government can prohibit or require as it wishes. So tomorrow the federal government in terms of what the Supreme Court has done could require us all to become humanists or Buddhists or what they will because they have usurped this prerogative.
(Audience) People are using that so much now to say that this is not a Christian nation under the constitution. (?)
(Rushdoony) Well they’ve redefined many words like sovereignty and others to a very great extent.
(Audience) (Unintelligible) what about the Russians and other areas in Europe when they destroyed us (unintelligible) we are not from the Trinitarian doctrine?
(Rushdoony) I couldn’t say, I’ve never given it any thought. Yes.
(Audience) In referring to the deity we often use the word God as (unintelligible) but do Unitarians refer to God as well, modern Unitarians (unintelligible) old ones. How would he change?
(Rushdoony) The old Unitarians when they referred to God referred vaguely to the first cause in the universe, didn’t have to be a person or anything. Modern Unitarians, if they refer to God refer to humanity. They are not talking about the God we are, nor are any other religions. In the remaining time, I want to read something to you because in talking this past week with some of the group I found that, and this is typical of our world today, most people today are ignorant of what is probably the greatest poem in the English language, it is a rather long poem, but it is a very great poem and a thoroughly Christian poem, The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson, now how many here do know the poem? Yes. And I know how you knew it. (laughter) I was a guest at Bobs so I made sure they came to know it. The hound of heaven was written at the end of the last century by Francis Thompson. [00:46:35]
And Francis Thompson, a young catholic poet wrote this...
And Francis Thompson, a young catholic poet wrote this poem which reflects the experience not only of himself but the language and experience of Saint Augustine as stated in his confessions, And what he is here describing is his attempt to escape from God and to have life on his terms, so he portrays himself as running away from God continually, trying to find life in terms of nature, friends, work and so on, but wherever he goes he feels he is being chased by God, and he portrays him as the hound of heaven, and someone who like a bloodhound is on his trail and will not give him rest. The Hound of Heaven. I fled him down the nights and down the days, I fled him down the arches of the years I fled him down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind, and in the midst of tears I hid from Him an under running laughter. Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears, From those strong feet that followed, followed after. But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, they beat and a voice beat more instant than the feet, all things betray thee who betrayest me. I pleaded, outlaw wise by many a hearted casement, curtained red, trellised with intertwining charities; (for though I knew His love who followed yet was I sore adread lest having having him I must have naught beside.) But if one little casement parted wide, the gust of his approach would clash it to. Fear wist not to evade as love wist to pursure. Across the margent of the world I fled, And troubled the gold gateway of the stars, smiting for shelter on their clanged bars, fretted to dulcet jars and silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon. I said to dawn: be sudden, to eve: be soon. With thy young skiey blossom heap me over From this tremendous lover float the vague veil about me lest He see. I tempted all his servitors but to my own betrayal in their constancy in faith to Him their fickleness to me, their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit. To all swift things for swiftness did I sue, clung to the whistling mane of every wind. But whether they swept, smoothly fleet, the long savannahs of the blue; or, whether thunder-driven they clanged his chariot ‘thwart a heaven, plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue. Still with unhurrying pace, deliberate speed majestic instancy Came on the following feet, and a voice above their beat naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter me. I sought no more after that which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children's eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
Come then, ye other children, Nature's—share
With me’ (said I) 'your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
With our Lady-Mother's vagrant tresses,
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.’
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature's secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that's born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day's dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning's eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine:
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven's grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noisèd Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet—
'Lo! naught contents thee, who content'st not Me.'
Naked I wait Thy love's uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou has hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amidst the dust o' the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amarinthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou canst limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i' the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpsed turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man's heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death? Now of that long pursuit Comes on at hand the bruit; That Voice is round me like a bursting sea: 'And is thy earth so marred, Shattered in shard on shard? Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me! 'Strange, piteous, futile thing! Wherefore should any set thee love apart? Seeing none but I makes much of naught' (He said), 'And human love needs human meriting: How hast thou merited— Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot? Alack, thou knowest not How little worthy of any love thou art! Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee, Save Me, save only Me? All which I took from thee I did but take, Not for thy harms, But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms. All which thy child's mistake Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home: Rise, clasp My hand, and come! Halts by me that footfall: Is my gloom, after all, Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly? 'Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest. I am He Whom thou seekest! Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me. [00:56:24]
That’s the hound of heaven by Francis Thompson, which...
That’s the hound of heaven by Francis Thompson, which is Augustinian to the core. We have time possibly for one more question. Yes.
(Audience) We like the Nicene Creed, is that (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) No, the Nicene Creed reflects the work of the Nicene, Constapolitan and Chalcedonian Councils. It’s an expansion of the apostles creed, its perhaps twice as long as the apostles creed and not nearly as detailed and as specific as the Athanasian, which concentrates exclusively on one point, the doctrine of the trinity. Well one more question. Yes.
(Audience) Isn’t it (?) for people to go to church and say the apostle’s creed (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) It is hypocrisy to use the creed without believing it, and of course most of the people today in the churches are hypocrites, in so many of the churches the apostles creed is repeated week in and week out and in scarcely any of the churches today is it believed, and they shall incur all the greater damnation for the hypocrisy. Alright, one more.
(Audience) In the cycle of totalitarianism and anarchism where are we today? (Unintelligible) where are we now?
(Rushdoony) Yes, right now we are very definitely in the totalitarian swing, but we do have the anarchists pronouncedly with us. The beatniks and some of the libertarians are definitely anarchistic, and their concept is that life can only be lived in terms of a total absence of any law that is above and over man, any state or any institution that has any authority over man. This is very pronounced in some circles, but the tide is moving towards totalitarianism. However, I do believe that the future belongs to us as Christians. We will have to adjourn now, we will continue next week with the council of the second of the second council of Constantinople. [00:59:46]