While these statements might have seemed truisms a few decades ago, they need, I think, to be proclaimed anew. Weeks and weeks ago now, I told SB I was working on something about our present ills (far more than mere illnesses), and was approaching it via Covetousness, thinking G.F. Watts’ picture of ‘Mammon’ might make a suitable heading-image:
Because, it had seemed to me, the greed of a few individuals, had led them to discard all normal restraints, and that one of the recurrent themes of ‘the Law and the Prophets’ was just this: human eyes are apt to be dazzled by Gold, and, in their bedazzlement, they are unable any longer to distinguish between good actions and bad ones; also, that rich people rarely consider themselves rich, but rather, compare themselves with other wealthy people, wish to lever themselves up to their level, and beyond. Thus, King David ‘covetted’ Bathsheba, and the stratagem he eventually hit on, was to have her Husband Uriah Arkancided killed by other (enemy) hands. It took Nathan the Prophet’s stinging accusation (‘Thou art the man!’) to bring home to the King what he had done: II Sam. 11:12 – 25. I said that, instead of seeing the Tenth Commandment as the last – and therefore, the least – in our Duty to Man, we would be better to see it as a kind of summary.
Then, I realised it was more fundamental then that.
I think that The Great War was probably the watershed, ‘tipping-point’, and that the increasingly shrill denunciations of all Music, Art, Architecture, and Poetry of the nineteenth Century, as ‘Victorian’ (and therefore unarguably disgusting), was a kind of displacement activity for directly attacking Christianity. In the town where I was born, there’s a handful of ‘Art Deco’ buildings – plonked down obtrusively among pleasant little earlier houses and shops: a kind of raised finger. The rectangle and the semicircle (‘sun-burst’) became the basis, along with severe refusal to allow ornament; triumphantly announcing Modernity… but looking oddly old-fashioned now As we all know, now there is no need for using a proxy. Before 1914, people still gave at least formal acknowledgement of Faith; now, believing seems quaintly off-beam, often being equated with flat-earthism, Geocentrism, and general obscurantism.
The Jews knew all about the temptations of succumbing to the allures of up-to-dateism, Relativism, and Universalism. Hence their ‘recital-theology’, enumerating, and telling again and again, their History, a history of ‘God’s mighty Acts’, which are both humbling, and a source of glowing pride. Once in the Promised Land – and even before that – they saw what the other nations did and how they believed and behaved, and were often tempted to join in: ‘the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play’… but that it was not Dominoes or Scrabble that they played at, seems plain from the Hebrew word, connected with mockery, and St. Paul less obliquely (I Cor. 10) connecting pagan sacrificial worship and fornication, as do the Apostles in Acts 15 (The Council of Jerusalem).
The Jews also knew about our fallenness – that gravitational pull downwards [‘The good inclination and the evil inclination.’ In the typical Rabbinic doctrine, with far-reaching consequences in Jewish religious thought, every human being has two inclinations or instincts, one pulling upwards, the other downwards. These are the ‘good inclination’—yetzer ha-tov—and the ‘evil inclination’—yetzer ha-ra. The ‘evil inclination’ is frequently identified in the Rabbinic literature and elsewhere with the sex instinct but the term also denotes physical appetites in general, aggressive emotions, and unbridled ambition’: Oxford Reference] and the only way to adhere to the former (yetzer ha-tov), was ‘The Law’, and following its guidance. Professor N.P. Williams elucidated this in the Bampton Lectures of 1924 (pbd. in 1927, as ‘Ideas of The Fall and Original Sin’)
The 1890’s saw the emergence (again!) of a determined turning towards Evil – Verlaine, Swinburne, Wilde (‘I rather like bad wine; I get so bored with the good…’) as an undercurrent to the less-obvious moving away from firm belief, encouraged as much by Lutheran Biblical Scholarship’s reductiomism as by Darwinism; men as good as Parry (just listen to the wistfulness – ‘if only it were true!’ – underlying his setting of ‘My soul, there is a country’), and as seemingly committed, had largely ‘lost their faith’, much as Elgar had done, after the disastrous first performance of ‘Gerontius’ (‘I believe God is against all Art.’ and, “I believe there is nothing but complete oblivion.”), yet there was still a shared vocabulary, a common ‘universe of discourse’, and, almost universally, a shared code of morality. That verbose charlatan Shaw might have been ‘Rationalist’, vegetarian, Eugenicist, and, of course, ‘Socialist’ – i.e. Marxist – and one of Lenin’s ‘useful idiots’ when it came to proclaiming the beneficence and harmlessness of Soviet tyranny, as well as wishing a colourless, odourless gas should be found, to dispose of those of lower intellect thn himself – but his plays slid his beliefs in under cover of Irish whimsicality.
Chesterton is supposed to have said, ‘When people give up believing in God, thy do not believe in nothing, they believe in anything’ and/or ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything’. Centuries before, Our Lord told the Parable of the man from whom a devil was driven:
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.’ (Luke 11:24ff.) We, in the West, are now, by and large ‘that man’. The 1960’s ushered in an era of ‘eat, drink, and be merry…’ since nuclear weapons had made extinction within three minutes seem not so much a possibility, as a probability. Traditionally, most people then concurred about the rules governing the sexual instinct except for MPs, who vastly exaggerated the percentage of people once deemed ‘Queer’ – probably the percentage was correct for our ‘Representatives’; now, sixty-odd years later, a new, vanishingly small number of people can lay claim to another ‘victim’ status, and so become part of ‘Labour’s’ captive vote, their ‘right’ to be treated as the Gender they claim by mere assertion, never to be questioned. Next on the list – as since the days of ‘PIE’, is paedophilia (vide ‘Lolita Express’ and Epstein’s private island), and then, it is rumoured, child-sacrifice, incest, bestiality. As nothing is deemed sacred, so nothing can be declared evil, or perverted. ‘The Land of the Free’ has become the land of the morality-free: lying and deceit replacing the normal, careful approximations to the truth – especially in pursuit of a profit – no matter how very far from Reality the claim might be. Small wonder St. Paul spoke of ‘covetousness, which is idolatry.’[Colossians 35]. The yetzer ha-ra can lead a man to the very depths, and to those very depths he will plunge, without a conscience, a Guide (we are often told that that is a far better translation of the word ‘Torah’, than ‘Law’), some rein, to hold his evil impulses in check.
‘Show me a very wealthy man, and I will show you an unhappy man, an unsatisfied man.’
Unless any one else can lay prior claim to this saying, or point to a citation, I shall lay claim to it myself. Wealth, especially extreme wealth, takes over a man’s heart, mind, and soul, extinguishing his conscience. George Soros first tasted money when, as a youngster in war-time Hungary, he became a willing tool of the Nazis, as they dispossessed his fellow Jews, later describing this period as ‘the happiest time of his life’ and when asked about the morality involved, defended what he had done on the grounds that, if not he, ‘others would have done it’.
When Income increases, so does expenditure. [John Wesley was one exception to this otherwise general rule, keeping for himself the same amount of his income over the years, spending the increase on charity, year by year.] And when obscene wealth has been obtained – unscrupulously – the temptation to use it merely to gain power over other people must be irresistible – hence the Gates-Soros axis. An earlier generation of very wealthy Americans was genuinely philanthropic, founding art-galleries, museums, and opera-houses, not merely ‘making investments’ further to increase those billions.
Sir Robert Walpole once stated “Every man has his price.” In other words, Men/Politicians are all Prostitutes.
You will remember the tale of the young woman who, because the train was crowded, stepped into a First-Class compartment, and sat down opposite an obviously wealthy man, who smiled at her, then, after a pause enquired, ‘Would you sleep with me for a million pounds?’ Dumbfounded, after considerable thought, she reluctantly said, ‘Well, yes,’ (he was not that bad-looking) I suppose I would.’
‘…for half a million?’
‘Ye-es, I suppose..’
‘What do you take me for!’ was the indignant response.
‘I think we’ve established that, my dear; now, we’re just haggling over the price.
So politicians’s principles are like Groucho Marx’s: they are readily exchangeable, and the fact that they will bend in the direction of the person offering most, is entirely coincidental. Now, however, not only politicians can be easily suborned, but ‘celebrities’, scientists, almost the entire medical profession, and, perhaps most shameful of all, churchmen, who have meekly assented to the closure of churches, and the imposition of their insane ‘guidance’ on their opening. While I should have expected nothing else from the invertebrates in the Established Church, I had hoped to see Recusants showing some resolve – not so! Perhaps when Blair balefully declared ‘All our teams are in place’, this is what he meant, his evil influence having been used to make sure that a suave Cardinal in Westminster was carefully positioned here – perhaps even that the fat Argentinian Marxist was voted for by the Conclave.
But, working for Satan comes at a price (Wilde knew this. See ‘Dorian Grey’): just look at the visage of Antony Charles Lynton – the name under which he was prosecuted for ‘cottaging’ – now, and compare it with then; even more marked is the contrast between the face and whole demeanour of Alexander de Pfeffel when, e.g. Mayor of London, and the aspect now of Boris Johnson (nhrn). The faces of Whitty, Vallance, Fauci, et al, betray similar signs of the strains of working for this implacable master. Like Macbeth, they too feel that ‘go back were as tedious as go o’er’, and like Marlowe’s ‘Dr. Faustus’ feel unable to repent (The Baptist’s Gospel was one of metanoia which could be rendered as ‘change of mind’, or ‘turning away from’ – eis afesis amartiwn ‘in order to cease sins’). The Devil convinces his disciples that no such ‘u-turn’ is possible: hence, perhaps, the grisly end of Iscariot as recorded, by that careful historian Luke, in Acts 1:18.
So too, ‘the globalists’ try and ensure the continuing service of their bought underlings by the menaces of reprisals – perhaps as little as turning off the money-tap: ultimately, the prospect of being ‘killaried’. They are usually successful in this, having carefully chosen for their vampire-embrace the people most devoid of any principle.
I argue, then, that none of us can afford the luxury of being Laodiceans (Rev. 315f.) and can no longer ‘live off the fat’ of the Faith, that having been consumed over perhaps a century. This is not to say, ‘Unless you’re an Evangelical – not just any old Evangelical, mind you, but my sort of Evangelical – you’re damned!’; perhaps, rather, to say, ‘I trust the infinite wisdom of God the Father, and the infinite love of His Son, upon Whose saving death and Resurrection, I depend in Hope’. F.W. Faber put it far more succinctly and eloquently than I:
‘ There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in His justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows,
are more felt than up in heaven;.
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgement given
But we make his love too narrow
by false limits of our own,
and we magnify its strictness
with a zeal he will not own.’
© Jethro 2021