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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Great Spirit is Without Any Doubt Whatsoever The God of Abraham

There are many primary sources showing evangelicals, including Elias Boudinot, using the term "Great Spirit", and it would take too long to post them all. It will be posted all later. However, what is interesting is the Indians themselves using the "Great Spirit" when talking about Christ and the Gospel:
Brother, the Chiefs have agreed that I [Capt. Pollard, an Indian] should speak to you in their name. We are happy to see you among us. We are happy to hear about the Great Spirit. We are happy to hear the gospel. We have understood almost everything you have told us. We like it very much. We thank you for coming to talk to us...I made a short reply..that should we never meet together again to worship the Great Spirit upon earth..blessing the God and Redeemer.
--Abiel Holmes, D. D. Secretary. Nov. 6, 1817.

Like I have been saying all along, the Great Spirit was a diplomatic term we used to spread the Gospel. Here is Congress using the "great spirit." How ironic, the man who said this was the Chairman of Congress, and an Evangelical:
Congress hopes to enjoy the friendship of the Indian Nations, and to live with them like brothers as long as the Sun and Moon shall last. We recommend to you peace and a steady adherence to the Treaties made between the thirteen States and your people. We wish you a good Journey home, and pray that the great spirit above may direct you, and take you under his special care. [bold face mine]
--David Ramsay, Chairman of Congress, May 5, 1786. Journals of Continental Congress.

This forever erases the idea unitarians thought all religions had the same god. Not even Thomas Jefferson believed that rubbish given his Christian Virginia Act for Religious Freedom was Christian.


Tom Van Dyke said...

You definitely have George Washington publicly asserting that the God of the American Founding---Whose Divine Providence GWash felt clearly helped the American Revolution---is the same as the God of the Old Testament:

May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivered the Hebrews from their Egyptian oppressors, and planted them in the promised land, whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation, still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven, and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.

---Letter to the Jews of Savannah, 1790

As for the "Great Spirit" stuff, you need to do more work on the etymology. It could be that the Christians heard the term "Great Spirit" from the Native Americans and hijacked it for Christianity.

Paul the Apostle does the same on Mars Hill [Acts 17:22]:

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you..."

Paul "hijacks" this Unknown God for the Judeo-Christian God Jehovah. So too, the "Great Spirit" of the native Americans could be brought under the Judeo-Christian umbrella of monotheism.

Our Founding Truth said...


Good point using the Apostle Paul on Mars Hill.

Our Founding Truth said...

I am acquiring some quotes from Christians who wrote about the "Great Spirit." It could be Christians only used this term to Christian Indians. Here is a quote from perhaps the greatest Calvinist besides Calvin:

We are altogether without strength by nature—how can we run after Him until He first comes to us and gives us the power to do so? We are unable to perceive the Holy Spirit—the carnal man knows not the things which are of God for they are spiritual and must be spiritually discerned. We must be endowed with a spirit before we can discern the great Spirit. Flesh cannot transform itself into spirit. No, it is the Lord Himself who must come and breathe into us the Spirit of life and then we perceive Him who is the Spirit of Truth.


Our Founding Truth said...
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Our Founding Truth said...


I tend to believe the term was used by Christendom prior to dealing with Indians. Here is a nominal catholic similiar to Erasmus, sounding the same as TJ, JM, and GW:

For, though all that has been ascertained regarding this expression above has the inflexible strength of reason, I am especially compelled to a more careful discussion of this expression by the fact that it proved to be identical with the supreme Spirit himself. For, if this Spirit created nothing except through himself, and whatever was created by him was created through that expression, how shall that expression be anything else than what the Spirit himself is?

--St. Anselm,(1033-1109)Archbishop of Canterbury Proslogium; Monologium; An Appendix in Behalf of the Fool by Gaunilon; and Cur Deus Homo.CHAPTER XXIX.

As you related with Paul, I don't think the framers made this appellation up. It had been passed down from centuries gone by. Anselm is using this "supreme spirit" in a general term like Paul did at Mars Hill. It's all over this paper. Incidentally, Anselm was not your typical catholic. He had a pretty good political theory too.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, you have Spurgeon in 1889, which doesn't help us much. And Anselm was probably writing in Latin there, so we have no help with "Great Spirit' as a term either.

I'm simply encouraging you to get to the bottom of the term---whether the colonists heard it from the Native Americans or vice-versa. I'd like to know.

In the meantime, monotheism itself is an OK place to start if you don't push the Bible too far into it. The first quote from GWash to the Jews of Savannah is enough to establish that the God of the Founders was the same One God of the Bible, without overreaching in that David Barton sort of way.

If you can do that for the Great Spirit, so much the better. For instance, the Masons' "Great Architect of the Universe" is also an appellation used by John Calvin. Stuff like that.

I don't think you can ever get to Jesus Christ-as-God, but "Judeo-Christian" is an admission that the Jesus Christ part is off the table.

Is the Great Spirit the same as the Judeo-Christian God, synonymous with the unknown God of Mars Hill and the One God the Jews called Jehovah? You might be able to get there from here--with more research. I shall keep tabs on your adventures in this vein.

Our Founding Truth said...
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Our Founding Truth said...

If "Judeo-Christian" was the overall idea I wouldn't buy it. I believe that etymology came around in the 20th century. But the term "Mediator" or "Redeemer" used in Congress and the State Constitutions are not of unitarian origin. Rather, 18th century unitarian terminology denied a mediator, and believed in the Father's mercy through good works and a good heart.

Here is Wesley in a poem. I doubt he had the Indians in mind:

Thine is whate'er we are: Thy grace In Christ created us anew,
To sing Thy never-ceasing praise, Thy unexhausted love to show;
And, arm'd with Thy great Spirit's aid, Blameless in all Thy paths to tread

--Praise for Redemption, HYMNS AND SACRED POEMS, 1739. The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley.

Tom Van Dyke said...

True, "Judeo-Christian" is a neo-logism, a 20th century term. However, it has the virtue of backing off the Jesus-as-God question. Although the Continental congress uses Trinitarian language, it falls out of favor the closer we get to 1787 and the Constitution.

"Mediator" or "Redeemer" used in Congress and the State Constitutions are not of unitarian origin.

Oh, it certainly is unitarian language. "Messiah" as well. Jesus is unique in mankind's history, above all [other] men---just not God, is all.

"The word UNITARIANISM, as denoting this opposition to Trinitarianism, undoubtedly expresses the character of a considerable part of the ministers of this town and its vicinity, and the commonwealth...We both agreed in our late conference, that a majority of our brethren believe, that Jesus Christ is more than man, that he existed before the world, that he literally came from heaven to save our race, that he sustains other offices than those of a teacher and witness to the truth, and that he still acts for our benefit, and is our intercessor with the Father. This we agreed to be the prevalent sentiment of our brethren."

Tom Van Dyke said...

And the Wesley quote appears to me to reference the Holy Spirit, not God the father as the "Great Spirit." Reads that way to me, anyway---Thy great Spirit's aid seems to me an ideal formulation for the work of the Holy spirit..

Our Founding Truth said...

Madison (Federalist) and et al., said it didnt fall out of favor; that there was no change from under the Articles of Confederation--least of which the change in definition of terms.

The definition of Redeemer refers to "buying back" "redeeming" or "purchasing" (check Strong's Concordance) connecting itself to the Atonement of Christ's Blood atoning for our sins. This is entirely foreign to 18th century unitarianism, which relies on the mercy of God that was given to Christ. You will be hard-pressed to find 18th century unitarian statesmen use "Redeemer." It doesn't work in their milieu.

The word "intercessor" used by unitarians has a different meaning than what the Bible says. The Bible says Christ can only intercess or "fill the gap" due to His Atonement for Sin. Without Christ's sacrifice for sin there is no standing in the gap. Begging and pleading at the Father's right hand won't work. The Framers knew all this. It's all connected back to Genesis.

Wesley's poem read the same to me too, but the term is the same. We are refering to terms, which is why these Christians used "great spirit" not Holy Spirit, as you mention in Acts 17:22. The borrowering of the term is our point right?

Our Founding Truth said...

You're probably right about the great spirit applying only to the Father.

Our Founding Truth said...

It sounds like Wesley is agreeing with this:

But beside these innumerable objects which we cannot see by reason of their distance, have we not sufficient ground to believe that there are innumerable others of too delicate a nature to be discerned by any of our senses Do not all men of unprejudiced reason allow the same thing, (the small number of Materialists, or Atheists, I cannot term men of reason,) that there is an invisible world, naturally such, as well as a visible one But which of our senses is fine enough to take the least knowledge of this We can no more perceive any part of this by our sight, than by our feeling. Should we allow, with the ancient poet that, Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep; should we allow, that the great Spirit, the Father of all, filleth both heaven and earth; yet is the finest of our senses utterly incapable of perceiving either Him or them. All our external senses are evidently adapted to this external, visible world. They are designed to serve us only while we sojourn here, -- while we dwell in these houses of clay. They have nothing to do with the invisible world; they are not adapted to it. And they can take no more cognizance of the eternal, than of the invisible world; although we are as fully assured of the existence of this, as of anything in the present world.

--The Sermons of John Wesley - Sermon 113. The Difference Between Walking By Sight, And Walking By Faith. "We walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You will be hard-pressed to find 18th century unitarian statesmen use "Redeemer." It doesn't work in their milieu.

Unitarian John Adams' thanksgiving proclamation, 1799:

"For these reasons I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions in time to come; that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind..."

Adams is walking a fine line with Trinitarianism here, but as you see, Jesus' role as "Redeemer" is in his intercession with the Father---nothing about his dying for our sins, the Atonement.

Our Founding Truth said...
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Our Founding Truth said...

I was thinking about that right after I wrote my last post. I was going to write a post about it.

The point is Adams hated that proclamation remember? It was evangelical because of those words you highlight.

Adams didn't believe a word of that fast proc, but the public did. There is no intercessor in 18th century unitarianism. As TJ said, you do the best you can, to your neighbor, be as virtueous as you can, and believe you will go to heaven as the Father raised Jesus. But that is not in the Bible.

There is lot here to go through but remember, this is before Channing set unitarianism straight in 1819.

JA, TJ, and Ben Franklin didn't use those words because they knew what they meant[atonement and Deity] and rejected it. I am being taught right now what a mediator is and His function for mankind. Only God can access God. 18th century seminaries taught the same, probably more so than now. That Harvard's President was unitarian doesn't mean every graduate was the same. Rufus King for example.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I don't speak of Jefferson as a "unitarian" in the New England Congregationalist way. He is indeed a sect to himself.

As for Franklin, he says at the end of his life in the Letter to Stiles that he never gave much thought to Trinitarianism except that he had his doubts.

As for John Adams, his displeasure about the thanksgiving proclamation was that it made him look to be a political ally of the [pushy] Presbyterians [and helped lose him the 1800 election]. The theological content of the proclamation is a clever avoidance of Jesus as God or Savior via the Atonement, dying for our sins.

You can say that 18th century unitarianism is muddled and doesn't conform to the 1817 William Ellery Channing formulation, but that formulation is largely a consensus among the New England preachers--I don't see how you can prove it's anything new. Founding era New England unitarianism was indeed an evolving fad [eventually devolving into its current God-is-optional form], and can only be spoken of in a general sense, since there was no unitarian magisterium or pope.

Only God can access God.

This sounds more like a Protestant argument against Catholic devotion to Mary and the veneration of saints as intercessors.

Regardless, Jesus as "author and finisher of our faith" [Heb 12:2] seems unobjectionable to unitarians.

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.";view=fulltext

A 19th c. history and theology of Unitarianism, as we stipulate, its metaphsics of Christ all over the map:

We wish to think rightly of Christ, in order that we may believe in him, may rest our confidence in his authority and his sufficiency; and in order that we may love him, as he made our affection the highest condition for putting us into such a relation to him as will constitute him our Saviour. It is simply and wholly through force of convictions wrought by a serious study of the Scriptures, that Unitarians, who agree in a denial of the Deity of Christ, are led to differ in their metaphysical views of him. Their differences range over the whole field of conception between an idea of Christ as a man miraculously endowed, and an idea of him as the sharer of God's throne, his counsellor and companion, holding rank above all other orders of being, and touching upon the prerogatives of Deity. To some, the Arian hypothesis of Christ as pre-existent, ranking above all angels, and dwelling before all worlds were made in the bosom of God, has been a favorite conviction. To others, this hypothesis is barren of all that gives to a high theme of faith its glow and grandeur, as it vainly attempts to exalt Christ chiefly by extending his existence through a longer space of time. Others still insist that the very last question suggested by the New Testament, as a matter of concern to us, is that of Christ's nature, inasmuch as we are interested only in his office, and have to do with him only as a visitor to this earth for the especial purposes of revelation which he has now fulfilled. And yet again, we have met on Unitarian pages an accepted use of the phrase "the eternal generation of the Son."

Our Founding Truth said...

I was only thinking of TJ a unitarian as he called himself and wanted the nation to be.

As for Franklin, he says at the end of his life in the Letter to Stiles that he never gave much thought to Trinitarianism except that he had his doubts.

If BF did not reject orthodoxy, are you implying he is more orthodox than Locke? If so, why does everyone call him a unitarian if he was neutral?

This is only Adams's opinion, which contradicts history anyway, but he connects the fast with the Presbyterian Church:

The National Fast, recommended by me turned me out of office. It was connected with the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church, which I had no concern in. That assembly has allarmed and alienated Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonists, Moravians, Swedenborgians, Methodists, Catholicks, protestant Episcopalians, Arians, Socinians, Armenians, & & &, Atheists and Deists might be added. A general Suspicon prevailed that the Presbyterian Church was ambitious and aimed at an Establishment of a National Church..

The Fast didn't turn him out of office, Hamilton splitting the party and the death of Edward Rutledge, giving SC and GA to TJ did. Add GW's death as well. The entire quote is a complete falsehood. The Presbyterians fought against an establishment.

Channing changed unitarians in various ways, for one, approving unitarians to take communion.

Only God can access God is taken directly from the Scriptures:

That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

--1 Tim 6:14-16

Christ is mediating only in the context of a sacrifice, fulfilling the entire Old Testament structure of a spotless lamb covering the sins of Israel. This goes back to the beginning when Abel's sacrifice of blood was accepted, and Cain's sacrifice without blood, was not.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

--1 Peter 1:18-19

Redeeming is always connected to Blood. Unitarians have no biblical basis Christ can mediate other than by the atonement. God is Holy and Just, and cannot take part in sin; as if I had to tell you this, leaving unitarians forced to believe in God's mercy without sacrifice, contradicting the entire Old and New Testament sacrificial system.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Franklin was much more neutral than "common knowledge" gives him credit for.

He was skeptical of dogma, but more of an agnostic towrad it than a hater of it like Jefferson.

Here is Locke, in "The Reasonableness of Christianity" on how Jesus bringing The Word makes him Our Saviour. This is the unitarian [Arian, Socinian] way to make Jesus the Messiah without being divine.

"But natural religion, in its full extent, was nowhere, that I know, taken care of by the force of natural reason. It should seem, by the little that has hitherto been done in it, that 'tis too hard a task for unassisted reason, to establish morality, in all its parts, upon its true foundations, with a clear and convincing light. And 'tis at least a surer and shorter way, to the apprehensions of the vulgar, and mass of mankind, that one manifestly sent from God, and coming with visible authority from him, should, as a King and law-maker, tell them their duties, and require their obedience, than leave it to the long, and sometimes intricate deductions of reason, to be made out to them: such strains of reasonings the greatest part of mankind have neither leisure to weigh, nor, for want of education and use, skill to judge of. We see how unsuccessful in this, the attempts of philosophers were, before Our Saviour's time. How short their several systems came of the perfection of a true and complete morality, is very visible. And if, since that, the Christian philosophers have much outdone them, yet we may observe, that the first knowledge of the truths they have added are, owing to revelation; though as soon as they are heard and considered, they are found to be agreeable to reason, and such as can by no means be contradicted."

Also, ibid.:

"Or whatever else was the cause, 'tis plain in fact, that human reason unassisted, failed men in its great and proper business of morality. It never, from unquestionable principles, by clear deductions, made out an entire body of the law of Nature. And he that shall collect all the moral rules of the philosophers, and compare them with those contained in the new testament, will find them to come short of the morality delivered by Our Saviour, and taught by his apostles; a college made up, for the most part, of ignorant, but inspired fishermen.

Though yet, if any one should think, that out of the saying of the wise heathens, before Our Saviour's time, there might be a collection made of all these rules of morality, which are to be found in the Christian religion; yet this would not at all hinder, but that the world, nevertheless, stood as much in need of Our Saviour, and the morality delivered by him."

Our Founding Truth said...

You write:Though yet, if any one should think, that out of the saying of the wise heathens, before Our Saviour's time, there might be a collection made of all these rules of morality, which are to be found in the Christian religion; yet this would not at all hinder, but that the world, nevertheless, stood as much in need of Our Saviour, and the morality delivered by him.

I am fairly familiar with Locke now that I've read his Adversaria, but what you posted does not differ from my previous opinion of him. From the above, Locke refers to morality, reason, the philosphers etc., yet I don't see anything about Christ's divinity or salvation. If Locke believed salvation from works (which I doubt), he denies Grace and even more heterodox than I thought. If you believe Locke was all about works (morality), you will need to source it.

Locke also says revelation is part of The Law of Nature:

Or whatever else was the cause, 'tis plain in fact, that human reason unassisted, failed men in its great and proper business of morality. It never, from unquestionable principles, by clear deductions, made out an entire body of the law of Nature.

Tom Van Dyke said...

But Locke doesn't say that discerning the natural law via reason is impossible, only that man [and the greatest philosophers] didn't achieve it in toto, just in bits and pieces.

But to the greater point--a parallel discussion is happening over at AC---Locke insists that believing Jesus is the Messiah is the SOLE qualification for salvation, not believing in other such such as the Atonement, or Jesus' divinity.

Scroll down to the "second Vindication":

"Why did Jesus Christ and his
apostles require assent to, and belief of, this one ar-
tide alone, viz. That Jesus is the Messiah, to consti-
tute and make a man a Christian, or true member of
Christ, (as it is abundantly evident they did, from the
Reasonableness of Christianity,) if the belief of more
articles is absolutely necessary to make and constitute a man a Christian?"


Our Founding Truth said...

Why did Jesus Christ and his
apostles require assent to, and belief of, this one ar-
tide alone, viz. That Jesus is the Messiah, to consti-
tute and make a man a Christian, or true member of
Christ, (as it is abundantly evident they did, from the
Reasonableness of Christianity,) if the belief of more
articles is absolutely necessary to make and constitute a man a Christian

This is where Locke's theology departed from the Bible.

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

--Matthew 26:27-28.

Mark, Luke, and Paul cover the same event and explain the covenant. But after the resurrection they understood it completely, Jesus explaining it to them from the O.T:

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

--Luke 24:25-26

After the resurrection, the O.T. covenant must have hit them like a ton of bricks. Having it drilled into their heads everyday since childhood, all the sacrifices throughout the Torah; Abel, Abraham, Moses, etc., to cover their sins, and the final sacrifice right in front of them:

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises..And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

--Hebrews 8:6, 12:24

Jesus Christ is mediating a covenant. Like I mentioned earlier, Peter says it's not "corruptible things like silver or gold" but sinless blood that atones for sin, consistent from Genesis 3-4.

The Vicarious Atonement is mandatory for salvation because it's how our sins are atoned for. "The soul that sins shall die" and "The life of the flesh is in the Blood." Jesus's Blood is life.

Locke disregarded parts of the Scriptures, which wasn't figured out till later. Locke was more of a political influence. It would be interesting what Ben Franklin thought of the atonement. We know TJ and JA rejected it for their own reasons.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, although we suspect he did in his own mind, Locke doesn't publicly reject the Atonement--that's the whole point of his battles with the bishop. Locke's point is that the apostles and the Good Thief were saved by Faith Alone.

And I do understand your point theologically, but speaking as a student of history, cosmic truth claims are above my pay grade: Like Franklin, I cannot say whether Jesus is God or that He died for our sins.

The "vindications"--the letters Locke wrote in self-defense from the Bishop of Worcester's attacks, are worth reading. He maintains a "plausible deniability" about Trinitarianism--although we suspect he rejected it, he keeps it unsaid.

FTR, he does mention that Jesus' suffering and death are part of fulfilling the Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah, so they're not meaningless.

As for Franklin, I'm aware only that he's not a salvation-by-works guy like Jefferson [I hate seeing them lumped together!]:

"You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards.

He that, for giving a draft of water to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands, compared with those who think they deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mixed, imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world, are rather from God's goodness than our merit; how much more such happiness of heaven!"

Our Founding Truth said...

The Adversaria is clear he rejected the Trinity, Atonement, etc. I'll post it in a minute.

If Locke thinks the Apostles were saved by faith alone; faith in what? Like I mentioned earlier, salvation is based on Christ's sacrifice.

"Why did Jesus Christ and his
apostles require assent to, and belief of, this one ar-
tide alone."

This is a nice way of Locke rejecting the Atonement. He's saying the Apostles didn't believe it, which is why I don't.

Maybe BF was a pseudo Christian, denying biblical inerrancy.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The Adversaria is clear he rejected the Trinity, Atonement, etc. I'll post it in a minute.

Looking forward to it. However, the "Adversaria" is a commonplace booke, meaning Locke wrote down passages from other books for future consideration. Commonplace books are not formal works nor are they necessarily Locke's own beliefs.

"Under the heading 'Satisfactio Christi Aff.' later in 'Adversaria theologica', Locke recorded no arguments at all. This blank page faced a lengthy argument that...

Well, I don't feel like copying it out, but the argument was that there was Atonement for those inclined for "holynesse," but not for all.

But beware of taking this stuff as Locke's own argument. That's a misunderstanding of what "commonplace" books were for.

Tom Van Dyke said...

As for Franklin, I think he was agnostic about the Bible, but I mean "agnostic" in the best way; "I don't know."

Mebbe it's the word of God, mebbe not.

"Revelation had indeed no weight with me, as such, but I entertained an opinion, that, though certain actions might not be bad, because they were forbidden by it, or good, because it commanded them; yet probably these actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the circumstances of things considered."

"And this persuasion [that the Bible is good for you---TVD], with the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favourable circumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me through this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my father, free from any wilful immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from my want of religion. I say wilful, because the instances I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with; I valued it properly, and determined to preserve it."

---BF's Autobiography

I get the feeling that later in life, he leaned toward the Bible being divinely inspired, although again, not 100% certain.

"And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel..."

Our Founding Truth said...

The author notes they are Locke's views in the commonplace book. It becomes obvious once you read through it.

BF had a problem with Jael in judges 4.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, you're right about Franklin having a problem with the woman Jael inviting the enemy general into her tent to rest, and then nailing his head to the floor.

There are many problematic passages in the Old Testament that give people trouble to this day. The New Testament is pretty mellow--nobody except Jesus gets nailed to anything.

As for Locke's Adversaria, it was an unfinished experiment, and I shall reply there.

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