J66185

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Jun 26, 2018
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We had an exceptional food historian, Paul Freedman; I say had not because he's gone but because I'm graduated. Delightful man with great lectures not only on standard history but the impact of history on food and food on history.

As a matter of fact I will be in England, come the Fall, for further studies. A certain gentleman on this forum by the name of Porter says I should try to find the time to meet you if all things work out. The veil will be dropped and you'll come to learn that the real life volksmarschall is very much an Anglophile. Perhaps it's just because it's my native tongue, but a lot of English literati are among my favorite: Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Coleridge, Swift, Wordsworth, Tolkien, and Orwell, just to name a few. Many of them are often referenced directly, or indirectly, in my actual work. Though English philosophers, especially that devil incarnate Francis Bacon, I would generally pass over. I find it peculiar to the English tradition that English speaking literati were far deeper in thought and understanding the human condition than English philosophers, like Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Mill, and Ayer, ever were. This is generally true in the American experience too. John Dewey is pathetic when compared to someone like Steinbeck or Hawthorne or Melville.

o_O There's a lot of surprising things I have heard of about the academia, but I would like to know how food exactly fits in the all-encompassing theories in a study?
 

GulMacet

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Since the topic of English(speaking) literati has come up, could I ask an offtopic question (if not, just ignore this post)? What is your opinion on Henry Mencken? Apart from the racism, of course - but a man who produces thoughts like
Henry Louis Mencken said:
All of us, if we are of reflective habit, like and admire men whose fundamental beliefs differ radically from our own. But when a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or count himself lost. … All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

and manages to thusly perfectly predict Trump in the 1920s can't be all bad...
 

stnylan

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As a matter of fact I will be in England, come the Fall, for further studies. A certain gentleman on this forum by the name of Porter says I should try to find the time to meet you if all things work out.
By all means drop me a PM in due course, would love to meet up if the stars align.
 

volksmarschall

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o_O There's a lot of surprising things I have heard of about the academia, but I would like to know how food exactly fits in the all-encompassing theories in a study?

Not a food historian. Nor do I spend time of the history of cuisine. But some books on the practicality of food technology, like how meals could be cheaply produced, prepared, and organized for soldiers after the Industrial Revolution, clearly had an impact on the formation of professionally mobilized and regimented armies.

Since the topic of English(speaking) literati has come up, could I ask an offtopic question (if not, just ignore this post)? What is your opinion on Henry Mencken?

That depends on the two faces of Mencken we're talking about and how he relates to me. Mencken was a genuine conservative in America - I use that term in its proper philosophical and political philosophical context, unlike most "conservatives" today. To that end, and as a critic of the New Deal and the mechanical world of hedonistic economics that it would usher in, I find him on point. But in comparison to figures like Swift and Huxley, Mencken is rather flat.

His satire, comparatively speaking, is somewhat crude and nothing particularly insightful that older generation of literary critics hadn't already said. In lampooning the materialistic, hedonistic, and mathematical-scientistic philosophy of his era in the Laputans, Swift was far and away more insightful about the damages of embracing that kind of worldview would do to us as humans. The Laputans can't see straight (get it? :p), they can't do routine tasks anymore and so have servants to do the tasks that humans had long done on their own, and the Laputans are nothing more than sex craved hedonists - especially the Laputan women. And to deal with their problems, floating overhead, they just hurl rocks down upon the naughties! Man, kind of like what modern Western countries do a lot today if you understand the connection I'm making here! ;)

Huxley, of course, builds from Swift in his criticism of this mechanical and sterile way of life in Brave New World which is equally profound and brilliant, seeing the sterile artificiality and mass hedonism and nihilism as the end state of the revolution of Francis Bacon. So Mencken's opposition to materialistic economism and its parasitic like lifestyle that it would produce is already said by a contemporary of his in a book that will live through the ages and by another literati more than 200 years earlier.

Thus, comparatively, Mencken isn't particularly deep in my mind. Professionally, I'll reference, directly or indirectly, Swift, Huxley, Orwell, Steinbeck, and others. I won't reference Mencken. Mencken sits in a personal library.

As a master of modern English prose, however, Mencken is quite superb. And he was king of the one-liners. But as a writer and thinker of the human condition I think Mencken was seriously lacking. Which is why he is not in the same pantheon as other English literati. A timely critic and master of early 20th century American English he was. But that's about it. And certainly we don't need to go down the road any further here about my interdisciplinary work with literati and literature; whether English, German, or Russian.

Great to see you around GM! Always good to see a familiar name drop in from time to time! :)

By all means drop me a PM in due course, would love to meet up if the stars align.

You can count it.
 

Idhrendur

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Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Coleridge, Swift, Wordsworth, Tolkien, and Orwell, just to name a few.

I'm distressed by your lack of Chesterton, MacDonald, Lewis, and Williams, though perhaps you were just keeping your list in check. I'm a bit of a Inklings (and Inklings-adjacent) fanboy,
if you couldn't tell.
 

volksmarschall

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I'm distressed by your lack of Chesterton, MacDonald, Lewis, and Williams, though perhaps you were just keeping your list in check. I'm a bit of a Inklings (and Inklings-adjacent) fanboy,
if you couldn't tell.

Can't name them all otherwise it would be too long. :p Though, if I'm inferring Lewis to be C.S. Lewis, I'm actually not much a fan of. You can crucify me now if you like. :p
 

Idhrendur

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Can't name them all otherwise it would be too long. :p Though, if I'm inferring Lewis to be C.S. Lewis, I'm actually not much a fan of. You can crucify me now if you like. :p

Nah, it's cool. Most of his non-fiction would likely be pretty shallow to you (after all, you philosophical sorts weren't the target audience), and while I love Narnia, even Tolkien didn't like it much. I'm actually more a fan of the Space Trilogy, but it has to be contextualized as a response to some weird 'scientific' ideas of the time.
 

GulMacet

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Thanks, that fits my opinion on Mencken as well - like a sugary snack, his one-liners feel good, but they are not filling, and after having a few, the taste turns bland...

Great to see you around GM! Always good to see a familiar name drop in from time to time!

Oh, I am following all your works here in the forums, but I since they focus on Christianity, Europe and America and my academic line of work is Sinology, I don't feel like I have anything interesting to contribute (you know, si tacuisses). But I do read and enjoy!
 

volksmarschall

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BOOK II: THE REFORMATION

PART ONE: THE ROAD TO BABYLON


IV

Anglo-Saxon Protestant Exceptionalism

Perhaps the most consequential aspect of the Protestant Reformation in England was that it gave rise to a unique bible nationalism in which the English-speaking peoples understood themselves as the new chosen people to spread the gospel of liberty to the lands and waters they traversed. The relationship of Protestantism with the New Israel was common in the lands of the Dutch and the English, but in England it held more sway on that tiny island safe from the sectarianism of the continent. Though internal conflicts between the Catholic lay majority and the Protestant aristocratic majority, the birth of English Protestantism with the Age of Discovery ensured the Atlantic Ocean to be seen as the new Red Sea and the New World the Holy Land that the chosen people (the English) would cross and eventually arrive at the Promised Land.

As I already made mention earlier in this chapter, Protestantism was born not in the New Testament but the rediscovery of the Old Testament. The Reformed tradition, especially, was inculcated with a strict Old Testament consciousness that spread to the dissenting traditions within English Protestantism, and those dissenters, in particular, were the ones who migrated to the New World in great numbers to found New England* The identification of a national people with a covenant with God, rather than an ecclesiastical polity as taught by the Catholic Church, was what many in Protestantism latched onto in their readings of the Old Testament. This was especially true among the English who interpreted themselves as that chosen people destined to struggle against the foreign powers of Satan (Catholicism) and help “baptize the nations” and hasten the return of Christ.

As the Old Testament was filled with the chosen people, and then Christ chose 12 men to be his apostles, the English Protestants read the chosen people as continuous in the Old Testament and New Testament. God did not work through a “church,” but a nation of men. Israel in the Old Testament, the apostles in the New Testament; and now the English people in the present who were the inheritors and preservers of the apostolic mission. England’s blessings was also interpreted as evidence of their chosenness.

John Davis, the English explorer and navigator, even said, “There is no doubt but that we of England are this saved people, by the eternal and infallible presence of the Lord predestined to be sent unto these Gentiles in the sea, to those Isles and famous Kingdoms, there to preach the peace of the Lord.” John Donne, the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral—that most exquisite of cathedrals in England—said, “Act over the Acts of the Apostles; be you a Light to the Gentiles, that sit in darkness. God taught us to make ships, not to transport ourselves, but to transport Him. You shall have made this island, which is but the suburbs of the old world, a bridge, a gallery to the new; to join all to that world that shall never grow old, the kingdom of heaven.” And, of course, John Winthrop, in journeying to America, preached his famous sermon on-board the Arabella declaring the New World experiment as being the “City upon the Hill” for all the eyes of the world to see and be transformed by the example of these brave people of God.[1] The discovery of the idea of a chosen people, an Elect Nation, is arguably the most important legacy of the English Reformation.

Iphi9cK.png

SCREENSHOT 1: English-Protestant North America, around the turn of the seventeenth century, surrounded by its great enemy: Spanish-Catholic North America. Over the course of two centuries of conflict, English Protestants secured much of the Atlantic Coast.

This consciousness embodies one of the important legs of Protestant hermeneutics: the finding yourself in the drama of salvation of history. The Reformation was millenarian in character and so it is not altogether surprising that many Protestants saw themselves in a nearly apocalyptic light. And there were strong reasons for this too among the English.

As the colonial race drew itself out, the English (and later the Dutch) saw themselves as the light to the New World to free the captive natives from the errors of their ways and the superstitious temptations of the Catholic Church. As England separated from Christendom, the Spanish, that other great Catholic monarchy and empire, attempted to coerce England back into the fold through the open blessings of Pope Calistus III and the dangers of a continental alliance of Babylonian devil worshippers (Catholics) to overthrow the Protestant lights was a real and present danger to the Dutch, Swiss, Germans, and English.

To this end the famous incident of the Spanish Armada was important in the new national mythology of the English. The Spanish, having overthrown the Moors from Iberia, and having colonized much of the New World, turned their wealth and power, and alliance with France—with Papal blessing—against the English. A large Spanish fleet was assembled to invade England and the English New World; gathering ships from the port of Vigo and the Caribbean where the two would then link together off Vigo Bay and sail north to England. While this fleet may had better been pressed into service to stop the concurrent Ottoman advance across the Mediterranean and Europe, the combined might of the Spanish fleet was a sight to behold.

The superior Spanish fleet set sail and there were reports of the great Leviathan, that seven headed serpent, arising from the seas to strike at the people of God. Seeing the apocalypse just over the horizon—quite literally—the English assembled a swift but smaller fleet to contend with the Spanish and the English prepared for what they saw as the inevitable invasion of England and the English colonies. The colonists assembled the militias to defend against the Spanish who enveloped them from the north in Canada and the south in Florida. Likewise, the English peoples on the isles were equally assembled to stand alongside the army to defend the beaches of the English Isles from invasion.

Though outnumbered nearly two to one, a storm had hit the Spanish fleet sailing from the Caribbean for the preceding week which weakened many ships and demoralized and exhausted the Spanish sailors and soldiers. Already disjointed from joining New World and home squadrons together, when the two sides met on the open seas, the English pressed their advantage taking it as a favored blessing from God and, despite numerical inferiority, halted the Spanish fleet in its track. Although the English, under Sir William Anson, withdrew as well—they did so only after having inflicted serious damage to the Spanish fleet, which also withdrew back to Vigo Bay. In the New World, the English colonial militias beat back two successive Spanish invasions and a peace reestablishing the status-quo antebellum was agreed upon by England Spain and Pope Calistus III abandoned Roman claims to the English throne as more important matters relating to the Ottoman invasion of the Mediterranean, raid on Genoa, and conquests of central and eastern Europe posed greater threats that the Roman curia and its leadership had to deal with.

4iIy0vD.png

SCREENSHOT 2: The English fleet halts the Spanish fleet.

SsBYpQs.jpg

FIGURE 1: The Battle of the Spanish Armada. Although a “draw”, the English scored a strategic victory in turning the Spanish fleet back to Spain allowing the English fleet to return home relatively unmolested.

The end of the Spanish threat to England and English North America was a turning point in the national identity and religious consciousness of the English people. If there were any concerns about the direction of the chosen people now it was subsumed by confidence. How could God not have chosen the English people given their great victory over a greater—material—power? If England was safe the new geographical battle zone was North America. And this was the spillover of the sectarian conflicts on the continent. North America, a side theatre to be sure, was still a theatre of conflict between Catholics and Protestants, and among French, English, Spanish, and Dutch colonists.

Given the English victory, and the contest over the Mediterranean brewing that led to the Battle of Lefkada, the English transformed themselves into the foremost ocean-going nation in the world. The sea, the traditional residence of the chaos monsters of old, was now the domain to be tamed by the chosen nation; though not without much struggle on part of the English. Thousands of ships would be lost in the navigation of the world, the establishment of international trade lanes, and race for colonization. For many mothers, the setting sail of a ship of sail was the last time they would see their sons and husbands. If not battle against other naval powers then the battle against Tiamat would claim them.


*In this timeline, the middle Atlantic.

[1] All actual quotes; in this timeline Winthrop and the Puritans settle in Virginia.



SUGGESTED READING

Michael Hoberman,
New Israel/New England: Jews and Puritans in Early America

E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America, Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War

Thomas Kidd, The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism

Edmund S. Morgan, essay, “The Puritan Ethic and American Revolution” (1967)
 
Last edited:

Idhrendur

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Spanish Canada, eh?

And, oh man, Reformed theology. I had more than a few 'enthusiastic' discussions with a reformed roommate during college.
 

stnylan

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One might think there would be a number of Anglo-Spanish wars over the new world.
 

Dang Fool

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With the expulsion of Catholics, English would flee looking for refuge across the channel. In OTL that especially included Douai, part of Burgundian Picardy on EU4 maps. There was the English College seminary associated with the University of Douai that hosted many former Oxford professors and which trained English priests willing to return and administer the hidden Catholics, despite the risk. They also developed a translation of "The Holie Bible faithfvlly translated into English ovt of the avthentical latin", aka the Douay Bible.

Provence would have gotten the University of Two Burgundies, aka the University of Dole, from what they received from Phillippe the Hapless.
 

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Huxley, of course, builds from Swift in his criticism of this mechanical and sterile way of life in Brave New World which is equally profound and brilliant, seeing the sterile artificiality and mass hedonism and nihilism as the end state of the revolution of Francis Bacon.

I read that book in high school. It is a very deep book for the reasons you have stated. The mass production of human life, the idea that we all belong to each other, the replacement of Jesus Christ and God with Henry Ford...I actually remember more of the content in "Brave New World" than other stuff I was taught in high school.
 
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Oh wow now that doesn't happen often enough what a victory for England.

England got pretty lucky if I could say so as a spectator of the events far away as I was busy with European events.

Spanish Canada, eh?

And, oh man, Reformed theology. I had more than a few 'enthusiastic' discussions with a reformed roommate during college.

Vermigli, Zwingli, and Calvin forever, right? :p

One might think there would be a number of Anglo-Spanish wars over the new world.

Many, though most will fall out of our timeline for this volume so I'm mostly just referencing future events.

With the expulsion of Catholics, English would flee looking for refuge across the channel. In OTL that especially included Douai, part of Burgundian Picardy on EU4 maps. There was the English College seminary associated with the University of Douai that hosted many former Oxford professors and which trained English priests willing to return and administer the hidden Catholics, despite the risk. They also developed a translation of "The Holie Bible faithfvlly translated into English ovt of the avthentical latin", aka the Douay Bible.

Provence would have gotten the University of Two Burgundies, aka the University of Dole, from what they received from Phillippe the Hapless.

Hello DF! Nice to see you. Thanks for your comment and information you provided. Perhaps I'll find a way to work it into the AAR at the appropriate time and section. Hope you're continuing to enjoy this project! :)

I read that book in high school. It is a very deep book for the reasons you have stated. The mass production of human life, the idea that we all belong to each other, the replacement of Jesus Christ and God with Henry Ford...I actually remember more of the content in "Brave New World" than other stuff I was taught in high school.

BNW is one of my favorite novels. And my latest essay deals with it, along with Swift, and other literati. My favorite paper for AP English in high school was my exposition of the satire in Huxley's great work. A memorable book indeed. John "the Savage" died in the end, for being human. The ultimate irony and satire in the book.
 

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BOOK II: THE REFORMATION

PART ONE: THE ROAD TO BABYLON


V

Lutheran and Reformed Theologies

Turning away from the world of events, I would like to explore the theologies of the first generation Protestants: Lutherans and Calvinists, whose influence over the development of the rest of historical Protestantism was profound and consequential. Historically, and confessionally, Lutheranism did preserve the tradition of classical humanism as I explored in the chapter on Renaissance culture. Although the notion of theosis, or divinization of matter, is absent in confessional Lutheranism unlike as in Catholicism. Nevertheless, Lutheranism retained the aesthetical feel for materiality of earlier Christianity and did not embrace iconoclasm like Calvinism and Anabaptism—at least not with the stringent opposition to material images to the point of destruction of them. Lutheranism preserved the idea that Beauty was a gateway to Truth and God, properly understood, and therefore saw no problem with the preservation of the high aesthetical quality and theology of Catholicism. Furthermore, Lutherans preserved the tradition of the saints.

Perhaps the most novel of theological inventions of Luther was the first comprehensive doctrine of “Double-Predestination.” Accordingly, Luther taught that God did preserve and select an Elect from before the beginning of creation, in his Lectures on Genesis Luther stated, “I hear that here and there among the nobles and persons of importance vicious statements are being spread abroad concerning predestination or God’s foreknowledge. For this is what they say: ‘If I am predestined, I shall be saved, whether I do good or evil. If I am not predestined, I shall be condemned regardless of my works” (5.43). There is debate whether this constitutes “double-predestination” since the terminology is more commonly referred to Calvin’s doctrine. Here, we do see that the Elect have been eternally chosen by God, but that the non-Elect are neither forcibly willed to damnation nor willed to salvation—in their being “passed over” some scholars discuss the merits of double- or single predestination in Luther. Historically, confessional Lutherans have defended a form of double that is distinct from Calvinism.

Lutheran theology established in Christianity the doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Justification by faith alone (sola fide), resistible grace, and the possibility of falling away from those who fall into the awkward category of being under “efficacious grace” in Lutheranism. By Total Depravity Lutheranism maintained that humans could never, on their own will, choose the good and true after the Fall of Man,* therefore all men choose concupiscence. As such, God needed to Elect the saved and, by God’s grace, rather than human will, allowed the Elect to choose the good and true. The reprobate, in Luther’s own words, are “condemned regardless of [one’s] works.” Total Depravity is not a Catholic, or even Augustinian, doctrine; rather, Catholicism maintains the inability of men, with free will, to always choose the good and true. The corruption, universal to all, leads to men struggling between the lower goods and the higher goods, whereby God’s grace is given to those who struggle for the higher goods.

The most important hermeneutical contributions to worldwide Protestantism from Lutheranism were the “three solae” (or solas; the original solas were three to deliberately mirror the Trinity, the so-called “Five Solas” in Reformed Calvinism came later): Sola Fide (Faith alone), and Sola Gratia (Grace alone) and Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), which has since become de-facto in all major Protestant circles. None of these principles, at least as expressed in confessional Lutheranism and Calvinism, are found in Catholic and Orthodox history—with the exception of salvation by grace. Rather, you have prima Scriptura in Catholicism and Orthodoxy where natural reason, natural law, and the created order can all equally point to God; this idea has a long tradition going back to the late first century, it became the official position in Orthodoxy and Catholicism after St. Augustine promoted the doctrine in his works, especially in De Doctrina Christiana. And concerning grace and faith, Catholicism maintains works as a contingent manifestation of one’s grace and faith—following the epistle injunction from St. James that “faith without works is dead.” Claiming faith, to Catholics and Orthodox, is pointless since anyone can claim faith.

Reformed Theology

Reformed Protestants, who first began to find their home in Switzerland, were stringent supporters and expositors of what is known as Covenant Theology. Shorthanded in many circles to “Calvinism” after French Protestant expatriate to Geneva John Calvin, the covenant theologies of the various strands of the Reformed tradition is what unites Reformed theology together for the multitude of Reformed sects have widespread ecclesiastical disagreements. For instance, you have autonomous Free-Reformed churches, Presbyterian, and congregational traditions—even a few high ecclesiastical episcopal traditions too. However, the most common ecclesiastical polities within the Reformed traditions were Presbyterian, especially in Scotland,[1] congregationalism in England and the Dutch Confederacy, with free regional churches common in Switzerland.[2] Reformed episcopal polities were generally contained to the English though always a minority among the Reformed polities in English Protestantism which, as mentioned, favored congressional polities more often than not.

The most important contribution among the Reformed traditions was the development of what is remembered as “Covenant Theology,” as stated hitherto. Covenant Theology later influenced the Enlightenment social contract theories, especially in Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, but this is not the place to hold that discussion.** Historically, there was a Double Covenant in first generation Calvinism: The Covenant of Redemption and Covenant of Works. Eventually added was the Covenant of Grace in the Westminster Confession. The Puritans would later add the National Covenant which many historians and philosophers considered the National Covenant from the Puritans as the origin of “American Exceptionalism.” Covenant Theology is unique to the Calvinists and serves as the underpinning of the otherwise intellectualist-theology of the Calvinism because of the aforementioned polity differences.

LQVslhF.png

SCREENSHOT 1: The Reformation by 1536.

The Covent of Redemption is the covenant compact made within the Trinity by God the Father to send Christ the Son to Earth to suffer death to atone for the sins of humanity. This Covenant has existed eternally before creation because of Calvin’s Double-Predestination theology. This is the “Covenant of Election” in some circles. This is also a non-breakable covenant.

The Covenant of Works is the Covenant compact established by God to humanity, which granted humanity the mandate to work the creation and subdue it. The Covenant of Works is the “Command Commission” for human action in the world and is the way of life (prior to the Fall). In sin, the Covenant of Works was broken and death entered the world. This would necessitate the Redemption of humanity, but this was double-predestined (e.g. created the covenant with Adam and willed Adam to break it). The Covenant of Works is officially decreed in the Westminster Confession. With the broken covenant, however, humans have lost the covenant command and now exist in a state of total depravity. This is a breakable Covenant. In Double-Predestination theology, or supralasianism, the breaking of the covenant was willed by God.

The Covenant of Grace is the covenant compact established by God, thru Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection, as an extension of the Covenant of Redemption, which established the irresistible grace for the Elect. In this covenant, God wills grace to his Elect. The Westminster Confession explains it in Section VII: “Man by his fall having made himself incapable of life by that covenant (the Covenant of Works), the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: wherein he freely offered unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe” (VII.3).

Through the Covenant of Grace the Covenant is restored which re-establishes the Covenant of Works for the faithful (not as the means of their salvation) but as the Command Commission for proper human action in the world. (This is important in Social Gospel and Social Justice interpretations of Christianity too, whereby the faithful have a commission to confront oppression, injustice, etc. to transform society back to its Edenic state. The renewal of the Covenant of Works via the Covenant of Grace is also a major theme in post-millennial strands of Reformed Calvinism.) The Covenant of Grace is, therefore, a non-breakable covenant. The Covenant of Grace is what saves you, and it’s intact only with the Elect. The restored Covenant of Works is no longer necessary but is restored for the faithful allowing the Elect to do good works but those works are otherwise inconsequential to salvation. Salvation comes from grace alone.

The National Covenant is a unique covenant theology that is found only in Anglo-American Puritanism of the Congregationalist variety, although ideas of national covenant were later picked up by Scottish Presbyterians. Coming from the Reformation, and their understanding of Matthew 5, “Ye shall be a light to the world”, the Puritans posited the notion of a national covenant between God and his faithful believers in any nation (initially), that is, through the Covenants of Grace which restore the Covenant of Works, the faithful become an example for all peoples to emulate. The faithful, through the restored Covenant of Works, have a Command Commission to cleanse and purify their communities as part of the Command Commission. This covenant mirrors the Covenant with the Israelites in the Old Testament, and it is breakable. Some scholars see this as evidence of supersessionism—the view that Christians have replaced the Israelites as “God’s chosen people,” a view that is condemned in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy but can be found in some fundamentalist Presbyterian churches. Most Calvinists, however, have not historically promoted supersessionism, with Calvin and the Heidelberg Catechism (one of the most important Reformed confessionals) both explicitly rejecting supersessionist views.

AlcMNaG.jpg

FIGURE 1: Peter Paul Rubens, “The Annunciation of Yolande du Quenoy of the conception of Louis-Joseph I.” During the height of the Reformation, Louis-Joseph I of the Angevin Crown declared himself Defender of the Faith and pushed a policy of anti-Protestantism in Europe while simultaneously contending with the continued advancements of the Ottoman Empire into Central Europe and the Western Mediterranean. During the Religious Wars, the Catholic Church employed the arts as a means of propaganda against the Protestants. Filled with references to Antiquity along with religious imagery, the Catholic sponsorship of art and Europe’s “pagan” lineage was an attempt to highlight Catholic continuity with Europe’s past while Protestantism represented a rupture and, therefore, was instinctively revolutionary at its core. Yolande du Quenoy, the wife of the last Angevin king from the Valois line, mothered Louis-Joseph out of wedlock, but later claimed Louis' lineage to Nicholas I, thus paving the way for his ascension to the throne. Yolande was later proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church.

In America, after the Restoration Era, the American Puritans altered the National Covenant from being a light found in any nation to a light only be found in the “Bible Commonwealths” of New England. Many believe this to be the origin of American Exceptionalism. Others see this as another important forerunner to progressivism in politics, as one should be able to glean. This is a breakable covenant which brings judgment upon the nation. The Cambridge Platform (1648) and Saybrook Platform (1709) in America are landmark events in American Reformed Congregationalism providing creedal confessions and statements for American Reformed congregationalism.

The Westminster Confession (sections VII and XXVIII) and the Helvetic Consensus of 1675 expound the Covenant Theologies most explicitly. That said antecedent roots of it can clearly be found in Calvin’s Institutes, especially Book II, though Calvin never explicitly explains and defines the three covenants which come from the Puritans. Thus, some historians consider the covenant unique to Puritanism in formation, and later (and rapidly) becoming standard for all Reformed traditions.

It is often said that Calvinism denies Free Will. This is both true and not true. This is also the case in Lutheranism. Both Luther and Calvin accept free will as part of natural freedom but in sin we lost free will in bondage to sin. The original state of man has free will and free will is restored to the Elect through transformative grace. The fallen state of man is otherwise deterministic—that is, no free will. In fact, the rise of Newtonian science and scientific determinism in the Enlightenment was utilized by Reformed theologians as further evidence of their theological anthropology. And other Enlightenment scientists, many with Reformed sympathies, equally saw their discoveries in such light.

Since God is absolutely sovereign, in Calvin, only through God’s grace to the Elect does God move ones will toward himself. Calvin states in The Institutes, “Those who think that repentance precedes faith instead of flowing from, or being produced by it, as the fruit by the tree, have never understood its nature, and are moved to adopt that view on very insufficient grounds” (Institutes III.3.1). Election and Salvation are “inseparable from the free imputation of righteousness” (Ibid.) In Calvinism, following the logic from the Covenants, because of human sin humans need grace (the Covenant of Grace), in God’s mercy he grants grace to the Elect (who are in bondage to sin in failing to keep the Covenant of Works), not by the doing of anything the Elect have done to merit grace but solely by God’s action (preserving God’s sovereignty). So the Elect have free will through regenerative grace, but it wasn’t from their choosing but by God. Hence the Elect are able to return to the Covenant of Works and keep it because of God’s grace, though the Covenant of Works is not integral to salvation.

Although Reformed theology prides itself on being the religion of biblical faith and sola fide in particular, the theology of the Reformed tradition is exceedingly rationalistic. It is a rigid system, to be sure, but all successive theological contentions follow from its starting premises. It is unsurprising that the Reformed, in particular, did not concur with Luther that human reason was a whore, and therefore promoted education and the humanities just as their Catholic counterparts did. Among the greatest of the Reformed philosophers and humanists, Peter Vermigli was an extensive reader of the Greek and Roman classics and the patristic fathers and the true father of “Calvinism.”

Vermigli developed the doctrine of double predestination before Calvin, influenced the Reformation in England,[3] the Book of Common Prayer, established the basis of Reformed systematic theology, and his Bible commentary became the Reformed holy grail of biblical commentaries. Calvin, moreover, had read Vermigli and much of Calvin’s theology that passed across Switzerland to the Dutch Confederacy, and then to the Dutch overseas territories, and the English Reformed movements and their outposts in North America, were through the glasses of Peter Vermigli, the greatest and most forgotten of the Reformation fathers. Moreover, Vermigli also influenced the development of Gallicanism within Catholicism in France—for it was Vermigli who argued that political authority was the terrestrial authority of the religious establishment, thus paving the way for state Protestant churches (something that Catholicism never developed in its political theology) and the development of late Enlightenment curtailing of Catholic and Jesuit institutions by Catholic monarchs. Vermigli also influenced the great French political theorist Jean Bodin and his Six Books of the Commonwealth which also set the groundwork for the development of Gallicanism.

1YhhiTL.jpg

FIGURE 2: A portrait of Peter Vermigli, arguably the most important of the Reformed theologians, even more important and influential than Zwingli and Calvin, though his name has been lost to popular histories of the Reformation. Vermigli taught himself Greek so as to read Plato and Aristotle in their original languages, knew Latin and Hebrew, and was an influence over the Puritan Fathers of North America, including John Cotton and Cotton Mather.


[1] True in our timeline as well as in game.

[2] True in our timelines as well as in game.

[3] True in our timeline as well as in game.

*In orthodox Christianity, held by confessional Anglicans, Calvinists, and Lutherans, Catholics, and Orthodoxy, the Fall of Man represented man’s (Adam’s) rejection of human rationality to order his will to know the good and true and live by the standard of the good and true that is the order of nature. In rejecting rationality, man rejected God because God is Reason and, more specifically, Christ is Reason (the Logos). Augustine provided the most explicit argument concerning the Fall of Man in City of God (14.4) when he wrote that the eating of the Tree of Knowledge represented man’s attempt to decide for himself what was good and true and, as a result, would come to rationalize his actions toward lower goods as that which was good and true. As such, man would inevitably live by the standard of falsity rather than truth. Arguments over the ramifications of this Fall of Man was whether man has any ability after the Fall to still know the good and true and live in union with the good and true or if he has no ability to know the good and true. Catholicism and Orthodoxy maintained man could, though cannot sustain it without God’s help, and will therefore fall short of union with the good and true due to sin. Lutheranism, Calvinism, and confessional Anglicanism (subscribing to the Westminster Confession) assert man cannot altogether, and is therefore in need of God's total grace to reorient the will to the good and true which allows him to choose and live by the standard of nature.

**The Covenant of Works would also be a major influence upon social contractarian theorists in the Enlightenment, most famously in Hobbes and Locke. In their work, the Covenant of Works took on a more explicitly political purpose, although one should see how that is not far removed from its original theological origin. The Covenant of Works is an essential aspect of the Commonwealth in Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Locke explains the insufficiency of the Covenant of Works in Part I of Two Treatises of Government, which necessitate the need for the Social Contract to overcome the limitations of the Covenant of Works, which leads to his formation of the unbreakable social contract in liberal political theory. Locke's social contract, in formation, mirrors the Covenant of Grace. The Covenant of Works is also an important undercurrent in the writings of Rousseau.


SUGGESTED READING

Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will; Lectures on Genesis

John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Westminster Confession of Faith

Peter Vermigli, Philosophical Works, Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Predestination and Justification: Two Theological Loci
 
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See, you approach this from an academic perspective, but to someone without formal knowledge on Christianity like me, it sounds like he wants his Church to be totally depraved, and the idea of a prim and proper pastor-type going on about his orgies and general love of blasphemous swears is just funny!
 

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See, you approach this from an academic perspective, but to someone without formal knowledge on Christianity like me, it sounds like he wants his Church to be totally depraved, and the idea of a prim and proper pastor-type going on about his orgies and general love of blasphemous swears is just funny!

Oh. I get your comment now! Without this context I was lost as to your first post. :p I took it two ways: either a jest to our French narrator, or concern that my statement was wrong. I obviously leaned to the latter given that this post doesn't have much about the game apart from two asides on images. Your comment of snickering made me think of the former, but your capitalization moved me to the latter. :p EDIT: Upon re-reading your OP I realize I misunderstood your comment completely! :oops:

Isn't this the case though? - which is why I have inserted this post into the AAR to try and bring formal context to Reformation theology: Lutheran and "Calvinist." And Vermigli! Because it won't be long until we see Europe tear itself apart from the inside, and then from the Green horde in the east. Ask any Catholic about Catholic teachings and you'll probably get nowhere.

BTW, if you don't mind, since I just "agreed" to your response on Mencken, how did you get into him or read some of him if you don't mind me asking?
 
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Having read it, now I know the formal context too, of course. Still didn't stop my mind from reading it the entirely wrong way. :D

I first learned about Mencken because one of his quotes (Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.) is included in the loading screen of the Darkest Hour version of Kaiserreich, it caught my eye and I started reading from there. And there are people who say video games don't teach!