Monday, April 16, 2007

A Puritanical View of What to Do With God's Enemies.

"Quest. IX. May we not hate the enemies of God? How then must we love them as ourselves?

Answer. We may and must hate sin in every one; and where it is predominant, as God is said to hate the sinner for his sin, so must we; and yet still love him as ourselves: for you must hate sin in yourselves as much or more than in any other; and if you are wicked you must hate yourselves as such; yea, if you are godly, you must secundum quid, or in that measure as you are sinful, abhor, and loathe, and hate yourselves as such. And yet you must love yourselves according to the in measure of all that natural and moral goodness which is in you; and you must desire and endeavour all the good to yourselves that you can. Just so must you hate and love another; love them and hate them impartially as you must do yourselves."
Wait a minute! Here we have an actual, literally Puritanical Sermon, "Cases and Directions for Loving Our Neighbour as Ourselves", by Richard Baxter, a man born in 1618, taken from the site, Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings. Where are the mentions of racks and ethnic cleansing-- you know all those things that have led to the association of biblical literalism with sheer brutality?

I don't see it. Maybe all that nastiness is not the actual tradition of the Christian Church, but the actions of brutes wanting to co-opt the faith for whatever they wanted to do anyway. You know, like we are seeing today across the planet.

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