Passive Obedience, Non-Jurors, and the Spiritual Autonomy of the Church

In morality the eternal rules of action have the same immutable universal truth with propositions in geometry. Neither of them depends on circumstances or accidents, being at all times and in all places, without limitation or exception, true. ‘Thou shalt not resist the supreme civil power’ is no less constant and unalterable a rule, for modelling the behaviour of a subject toward the government, than ‘multiply the height by half the base’ is for measuring a triangle. And, as it would not be thought to detract from the universality of this mathematical rule that it did not exactly measure a field which was not an exact triangle, so ought it not to be thought an argument against the universality of the rule prescribing passive obedience that it does not reach a man’s practice in all cases where a government is unhinged, or the supreme power disputed. There must be a triangle, and you must use your senses to know this, before there is room for applying your mathematical rule. And there must be a civil government, and you must know in whose hands it is lodged, before the moral precept takes place. But, where the supreme power is ascertained, we should no more doubt of our submission to it, than we would doubt of the way to measure a figure we know to be a triangle.

In the Various Changes and Fluctuations of Government, it is impossible to prevent that Controversies shou’d sometimes arise concerning the Seat of the Supreme Power. And in such Cases Subjects cannot be Denied the Liberty of Judging for Themselves, or of taking part with some, and opposing others, according to the best of their Judgments; all which is Consistent with an exact Observation of their Duty, so long as, when the Constitution is clear in the Point, and the Object of their Submission undoubted, no Pretext of Interest, Friends, or the Publick Good, can make them depart from it. In short, it is acknowledged, that the Precept enjoyning Non-Resistance is Limited to particular Objects, but not to particular Occasions. And in this it is like all other Moral Negative Duties, which consider’d as general Propositions, do admit of Limitations and Restrictions, in order to a distinct Definition of the Duty; but what is once known to be a Duty of that sort, can never become otherwise by any good or ill Effect, Circumstance, or Event whatsoever. And in Truth if it were not so, if there were no General Inflexible Rules, but all Negative as well as Positive Duties might be Dispensed with, and Warpt to Serve particular Interests and Occasions, there were an end of all Morality. (Berkeley, Discourse of Passive Obedience, LIII-LIV)

These concluding arguments were how George Berkeley, a lowly Anglo-Irish priest, concluded his defense of passive obedience. A doctrine made a shibboleth for all High Churchmen, Tories waived it proudly in their loud cries that the Church was in danger. And in the early eighteenth century, this was, at best, only partially true. Nevertheless, the ambiguity of this cry to honor the supreme magistrate created consternation among the government. It was a call that was ambiguous, especially as the throne itself was contested. According to Berkeley’s logic, this meant that an Anglican Christian could be faithful through obedience to both the Jacobean Stuarts or the new Hanoverian dynasty. And more importantly, it did not, by necessity, include the ministers of the king. Were they, exactly, executing his will? It had been a long time trope that the evils of the realm may be products of wicked scheming counselors. But for those who held the purse-strings of the Kingdom, the mercantile-inclined land magnates of Parliament, what level of protection did they have? Per Berkeley, it was entirely reasonable to resist laws which had no basis in legitimacy. And thus poor George, a favorite of Queen Caroline’s and in her Enlightened republic of letters, lost many opportunities of preferment. While Berkeley would ascend to the bishopric of Cloyne in the Church of Ireland (a modest appointment), he would never attract the support necessary for his missionary college in the Americas or his efforts to reform Ireland’s economic situation.

This essay is the second part of a dialectical discussion of Anglican “libertarianism” that began first with a reconstruction of Benjamin Hoadly’s Whiggish defense of conscience. To telegraph where this essay will head, we will see the Enlightened vision of Hoadly’s intractable foes: the Non-Jurors. They will hammer at the joints of Hoadly’s schema, which will leave him open to serious criticism. Caught between the radical Hookerian whiggery of Hoadly and the Non-Juror’s rival vision, many High Churchmen will hedge their bets in siege mode (in both their Tory and Court Whig factions) for their corporate privileges. They will come to terms with Parliament’s increasing dominance over the affairs of Great Britain, which saw material flourishing (even if provoking a greater threat of spiritual depravity). This essay is not about them, a history which is familiar to most students of the Church of England (especially in its dramatic revision from enflamed pens of Victorian Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics). This essay is, instead, a defense of Passive Obedience as a means to resist unjust, illicit, and, even, wicked government from the truculent defenders of the Church. This essay is about the Non-Jurors.

A quick history of the Non-Juror schism:

The Restoration (1660/62) saw many churchmen rejoice as they returned from exile. Priests had to memorize the prayerbook to avoid Cromwellian Triers (a state lay oversight board of England’s many, puritanized, parishes). Many fled to France with the uncrowned Stuart heir. The Restoration of the Church under Charles II’s Cavalier Parliament restored the ecclesiastical program of King Charles and Archbishop William Laud with a vengeance. Charles II’s pledge of toleration, in the Declaration of Breda, was tossed aside. Refusal to conform to the restored prayerbook saw the ejection of many puritan ministers, beginning their transformation into Dissent. However, this restored Church did not correct the governmental deficiencies which beset the Church before the Civil Wars. A few “high fliers” were concerned the spiritual ministry of the Church was hampered through a lack of independency and a wooden diocesan structure for bishops. But they mainly kept silent before the laicizing Laudian Parliament, which fought vigorously for their interests. They would, in general, form the ecclesiastical core of Tories, defending royal power against Parliament’s bid to reject James II’s succession in the Exclusion Crisis. They stood up for James Stuart, though a papist, out of royal privilege, but they were not cowed. When James overstepped his boundary, requiring the Church to declare toleration from the pulpit, seven bishops stood their ground and refused. In a classic practice of passive obedience, they said no and accepted the unjust royal punishment, locked in the Tower of London. Nevertheless, James was still their king.

When William of Orange (James II’s nephew and son-in-law) took up the cause of the beleaguered English nobility, receiving and responding to the request of the Immortal Seven, they maintained their loyalty. James had fled and William, at the head of his four thousand man army, summoned a constitutional convention. The result was the Glorious Revolution, where James had (through a legal fiction) abdicated and William, with his far more legitimate wife Mary, was crowned. Those jailed bishops refused to recognize this turn of events. As William, and his Parliamentary allies, feared instability, new oaths were required. Bishops and the priests loyal to James, per passive obedience, refused and awaited their fate. William sacked them, about four-percent of the clergy, and then, the damning act, replaced them. It was this royal interference in clerical succession, not the oaths or their removal from their places of worship, which triggered the Non-Juror schism.

The Non-Jurors thought William was a usurper and his oaths an unjust imposition. However, these were not sufficient to provoke open conflict with churchmen who conformed to the revolutionary settlement. It was the royal encroachment of ecclesiastical privileges. As Henry Dodwell, doyen of the Non-Jurors and one of their brightest lights, the tradition of St. Cyprian of Carthage was normative. The bishop was a spiritual monarch of the Church, who respected the diocesan boundaries of his fellow princes of the Church. For Dodwell, as well as many of his fellow Non-Jurors, this ecclesiastical element set the Reformed Church of England apart from both Rome and the Erastian trends of the Reformation. In the former, the pope usurped episcopal authority through his inflated claims; in the latter, derelict Protestants foolishly handed this authority over to temporal princes. From the Non-Jurors’ own accounting (which may or may not be tenuous in its reconstruction) the Church of England understood the firm distinctions between temporal and spiritual power. The monarch was not the head of the Church (despite the Henrician tyranny), but its governor, and this titular authority only applied to the Church’s civil affairs. The Church sat its bishops in the House of Lords, it was awarded property, and it was given money and royal honors. These things the crown governed, with or without Parliament, per its prerogative as supreme magistrate. However, this authority was not spiritual. The Church’s mission pertained to the salvation of souls, and how this manifested in the physical and tactile lives of the faithful. This split didn’t cut down between inner-invisible and outer-visible, but two missions. Kingdoms were established for temporal peace among men, whereas the Church was established for the development of saints for the Kingdom of God. Dodwell, along with other Cyprianic Non-Jurors, believed the Glorious Revolution had blurred this distinction towards a corrupt Erastian bargain.

Thus, for the Non-Jurors, and some of their High Church (a distinct faction within the Church) admirers, it was precisely out of obedience to the divine constitution of the Church and the temporal authority of the crown that they would resist. Some of their politics resulted in active conspiracy with James II and his son, the Pretender, James III. But mostly it was offering a substantive critique of both politicians and churchmen who could not sufficiently justify the new regime. For Non-Jurors, the path to a solution was clear. The king and the bishop were parallel sets of authority who had valid succession from their predecessor. As George Hickes, Non-Juror bishop and one of their most authoritative authors, put it: “as Kings are Bishops of the State, so Bishops are as Kings in the Church” (Two Treatises, 201).

It was out of this forceful distinction between church and state, on offices identified along lawful possession, that stirred arch-Whig Hoadly. The context for the bishop of Bangor’s infamous sermon was his refutation of George Hickes. Hoadly, representing the polar opposite of the Non-Jurors, would not settle for the legal fiction of an abdicated throne. Rather, Hoadly offered a full-throated defense of armed conflict if the king threatened the nation. While his many enemies would denounce old Ben as a Hobbist, a republican, and a regicide, Hoadly was enunciating a view of Parliament that was not unlike Hooker’s understanding of how the monarch ruled through Parliament as the collective wisdom of the nation. Hoadly did not advocate democracy or mob politics, swiftly denouncing violence from the rabble. Nevertheless, the proper channels of authority, manifest in the classes represented in both the Lords and the Commons, had the right to defend themselves, their property, and the realm from an overreaching king. Similarly, the Church, as a temporal institution synthesized with the Christian kingdom, had a similar responsibility. The bishops, seated in the upper-house, guided the laws of the kingdom, including doctrinal standards. Hoadly did not deny the tripartite hierarchy of the Church (bishop-priest-deacon) as venerable and preferable in all times. Also, Hoadly did not deny that prior to a kingdom’s conversion that the Church stood independently from the other organs of society. Nevertheless, following other so-called “Latitude men,” like Archbishop Tillotson and Bishop Stillingfleet, the integration of the kingdom meant an intermixture of these different organizations. The Church, seated in Parliament and under the governance of the Crown, was part of England’s historic constitution, representative of the nation.

In all of the above, Hoadly drew upon the rich legacy of Hookerian polity and ecclesiology. This should be treated with care and respect. Nevertheless, the violent response to Hoadly reflected the changed context of both the English government and the Church of England. Confessionalism had ended in carnage and burnout. Protestants, both Lutheran and Reformed, sought other pathways for both church and state. Leibniz’s rationalism was not antithetical, but derivative, of his ecumenical Lutheran faith. The so-called Cambridge Platonists (a far less unified informal network of English Neo-platonic rationalists) were irenic Protestants against materialism and skepticism. The Enlightenment was, in general, a broad movement to deal with the wasteland of the failure of Confessional warfare. The renaissance humanism of Hooker would metastasize into the ecclesiastical thought of Benjamin Hoadly.

Additionally, the framework of government in state and church had changed. Parliament had ceased to be an “event,” as it was in Hooker’s time, and become an institution. Parliamentary elections were regular and its meeting had become the means for rival visions to be hammered out antagonistically through party and faction. The normalization of partisanship still left a very bitter taste in the mouths of many eighteenth-century contemporaries; how much more to Hooker’s day and age! Similarly, the ecclesiastical body of Convocation had become the source of increasing strain and stress. Being consumed with handling Trinitarian heresies, combined with antipathy between the court-inclined episcopal bench and the gentry-inclined presbyterate, saw Convocation ultimately silenced. Hoadly’s controversial sermon provoked the backlash and fierce argument that saw Convocation ultimately closed. In the increasingly policed polite polity of Whig-dominated England, institutions that could not control these forces outside the channels of proper aristocratic rule were put aside. Convocation, as a rival and strictly ecclesiastical body, had no place as a rival to the ecclesiastical policies of Parliament.

However, as should be clear, this silencing of Convocation was not secularization. Rather, it was that Parliament (with its overwhelmingly lay membership) would determine the religious policy of the kingdom. And what would that policy be? In a religiously pluralistic empire, with Presbyterians in Scotland and Northern Ireland, Congregationalists in New England, various rambling enthusiasts in Pennsylvania, Parliament pursued a broad Protestant coalition. With the succession of a former (and nominal) German Lutheran to the throne, and the immigration of Continental Protestants to British North America, the British Empire (“commercial, mercantile, Protestant, and free”) became the source of a united front against Rome (particularly in her eldest daughter, France). And if Parliament was to pursue policies representative of this empire, then it would restrain the Church of England from disturbing this balance. However, this restraint was to create a broad Protestant culture out of which churches could generally flourish under a policy of benign neglect. The Church of England never ceased to be the established institution, but it was pushed to be an increasingly broad vehicle of “Protestantism” (largely defined as anti-Roman) throughout the Empire. Long after Hoadly, this ecumenical Protestantism would incorporate any resistance towards the French Revolution and its many aftershocks. This breadth would include the romantic Coleridge and the quasi-Deist Paley.

The purpose of looking down the pipeline is to understand a distinction between Hoadly’s doctrine of sincerity and its application. Within this ecumenical Protestant milieu, which primarily sought to incorporate Reformed orthodox and Reformed heterodox (Arminians), one’s conscience was free to pursue the truth of things. However, such an arrangement was in no way a step towards “liberalism,” defined as the valorization of independent inquiry in any direction whatsoever. Rather, it was out of a concern to secure a broadly Protestant Empire to stand against Catholicism (among other things) that this bounded discourse existed. The point is not, as it is with much uninteresting “critical” historiography, to show that Britain was not so liberal and tolerant as it claimed to be. You can read contemporaries, from both Tories and Whigs outside the halls of power, leveling the same criticism. Rather, the point is to raise a question of how the sincere conscience formed. It’s worth noting that Hobbes rejected any coercive measures against the conscience, since laws and force could in no way intrude into the mind (though, per Hobbes’ spiritual materialism, outward conformity would eventually produce inner harmony). In short, Hoadly in no way rejected the formative/teaching mission of the Church. The spiritual work of the bishop was to put forth the truth of Scripture, to win and persuade the congregation. However, this itself was bounded. By whom? Parliament, which would form the doctrinal basis of the Church. It could threaten and punish (as it did with the obnoxious Henry Sacheverell for preaching passive obedience) for those outside of its bounds. This formula could guarantee an affable and fair catholicity within the Church, a striking alternative towards any drive towards confessionalism that motivated many Puritans in the previous century (as well as arch-conformists, like Archbishop Whitgift, who wanted a stronger Calvinist orthodoxy in the Church). But its catholicity, its breadth and its limits, would be determined through the Christianized Parliament, which increasingly took up an imperial jurisdiction over the entire Empire.

In the eyes of the Tractarians, who damned Hoadly as a precursor to the Gorham controversy, this arrangement began the necessary spiral into vague utilitarian deism of the English establishment. While the Tractarians’ own historiography has been substantially revised (Hoadly’s era was not a downward decline or some necessary “Protestantizing” logic unfolded before Leviathan), Hoadly’s application of sincerity raises substantial questions: not about the freedom of the conscience, but its molding. If bishops, like Hoadly, depended on Parliamentary support for their office, their teaching would be a product of the regnant Parliamentary consensus. In one way, this approach was not different from the lay rule of the Cavalier Parliament, only that it tolerated broader Protestant movements than those linked strictly to the Laudian Reformed-Patristic theology of the 1662 Prayerbook. In both cases, the shaping of the conscience flowed from the boundaries Parliament determined. And what plan? For most of the Augustan period, the Whig government of Robert Walpole maintained attachment to High Churchmanship, as long as it did not intrude too much into social affairs. But for a few spurts, the aggressive Whig program of Stanhope-Sunderland threatened to strip more prerogatives of the Church (as well as pursue an aggressive militant Continental policy). The latter found support from, and in turn supported, the ministry of Hoadly. Nevertheless, Parliament led the way in forming these mores, even as it left alone many dissenters who raged against this slide into comfortable commercial society.

Non-Jurors, instead, vigorously rebutted Hoadly, and none more famously than William Law. A late-comer to the Non-Juror movement (part of the second-wave during the succession of George I), William Law was a lowly priest and remained so the rest of his life. Law would become renowned as a spiritual authority for his devotional manual (A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life), as well his fairly orthodox interpretation of Jakob Boehme’s mystical theology. But before all of this, Law’s genius shined forth in his response to Hoadly. It was not full of vitriol or heat, but rather a cool response to the proponent of calm and logical preaching.

Law rejected Hoadly’s straw-man of the Non-Juror position. The purpose of clerical authority was not to hold the people enslaved to a Romish superstition. Rather, the priestly vocation was installed to bless and reconcile the many peoples into the Church, not to damn or save (Second Letter, 37-38). Like the sacraments, normal elements sanctified for spiritual use, so too did ordination sanctify men for the exercise of God’s spiritual government. And since this arrangement, like the sacraments, was from God, no man or power could alter this promise (39-41).  And as the Godman had installed the Apostles, and the Apostles installed the bishops, so too would this copying process continue through the same means. Just as copied Bibles emerged from Bibles, so too did clergy reproduce clergy; they were not a civil order instantiated at will (41-42). Law agreed with Hoadly that the hierarchy had no right to the temporal sword (55-56), but what powers, precisely, did the Church have? Law turned Hoadly’s argument around: if ordained spiritual authority took away from God, then did Parliamentary government take away from the king (58-59)? In some way Law’s argument fails against Hoadly himself, but it raises more particular questions. Hoadly would’ve rejected the logic of Law’s sacramental comparison because Hoadly opted for something borderline memorialist. For Hoadly, the Supper was powerful because of its obedience to God’s command to enact a memorial until the Lord comes, but it was not a supreme rite in the life of the Church that communicated any special grace. Similarly, preaching and ministering were faithful obedience to promote faithful living and cultivate virtue.

Additionally, Hoadly may very well accept that the appointment of ministers limited the king’s power, but this was not analogous to Christ, who held direct rule over his subjects. Thus the analogous parallel between the spiritual Kingdom of God and the temporal kingdoms of men was snapped, for God governed in a way very different from men. All secrets, all hearts, all actions were open to God in the way inaccessible to any mere mortal. But one may raise the question of the significance of Christ’s continued humanity, his appointment of the Apostles, the importance of forming communities with hierarchs. What kind of authority did they have? If it was mere ability to properly teach and profess the faith, then this raises the kind of authority they had within the Roman Empire. And it was this confusion that Hoadly failed to clarify. On the contrary, Law’s Non-Juror ecclesiology made clear the mediated spiritual authority of holy orders.

For Law, Hoadly was not clear or straightforward (virtues he praised) in his applied doctrine of sincerity. The direct rule of Christ was not contradicted through a mediatory priesthood. No Non-Juror believed the priesthood was absolute or could tyrannize the conscience, yet they accepted the clergy did have authority over the conscience. They had a right to pronounce things right or wrong, true or false, about the Kingdom of God. Thus the analogy with civil authority was important, for both had their own intrinsic limits (Third Letter, 113-115). For even in a constitutional monarchy, limited by constant consultation with the best (Lords-aristocracy) and many (Commons-democracy), errors and injustices may be made. Hoadly was clear that, out of natural law, a man may disobey a law that would result in his death, the same way a child may fight back against a father seeking to kill him. Contrary to Hoadly, these responses derive out of one’s conscience and judgment. Therefore conscience was not strictly spiritual, but pertained to both spiritual and temporal affairs. The difference between spiritual and temporal, if not conscience, “one presides over us in things relating to religion and the service of God, the other presides over us in things relating to civil life” (120).

The fundamental failure for Hoadly, per Law, was his inability to understand spiritual authority as federal. Whatever the merits of Hoadly’s doctrine of sincerity, his Hookerian emphasis on an English commonwealth, the interrelatedness of Church and state in a Christian society, Law struck his weakest joint. For Hoadly, even as he was no Lockean, lacked Hooker’s Platonic metaphysics and rich sacramental symbolism. Law compared Hoadly’s assessment of excommunication to an analysis of Baptism that looked at the chemical composition of water: it missed the point entirely. Excommunication was not a sociological function of group maintenance, it was a covenant sign (143-147). Law confessed that no, spiritual authority has no teeth in this life, but it is the future reality forming the present through an awareness of significance (151-153).  In an analogous situation, the reading out of a law does not have any immediate effect, but a looming shadow of the judgement that would/could come (163-165). In more contemporary terms, a parking ticket is not the judgement itself, but an effective symbol, even a sacrament, of the state according to the law installed. To call a parking ticket a symbol does not remove its force. It summons a sense of dread, frustration, or indignity and will prompt a response to pay or resist. The federal nature of Christian sacraments is their powerful present significance for the shape of time. To simply dismiss the Eucharist as mere symbol, or to diminish holy orders to rhetoric efficacy misses the point. In God’s judgement they possess potency, and Christians should honor this as they partake and participate mystically in the New Covenant. Human laws may help shore up the divine reality of the Church, and are mere sign-posts of a deeper truth (181-184). In other terms, a city may up a fence around a ravine to add a layer of signification to the cliff. But the government does not create the symbolic real of height and depth, and it certainly does not legislate the impact of gravity!

In short, for Law, Hoadly couldn’t understand the Non-Jurors because he rejected federal theology when it counted most. And his doctrine of sincerity, left to the raging waves of the rapidly developing British Empire, did not provide the necessary bulwark for the Church of England to stand its own particular ground. While Hoadly cannot be blamed for the future, it is easy to trace his Whiggish empiricism (in stark contrast to Bishop Berkeley’s empirical-idealism) to the positivistic materialism of the nineteenth-century, an era that saw the vigorous rejection of Hoadly in both the Evangelical and Tractarian movements. And in this way, despite Hoadly’s merits, Law the Non-Juror stood as a clarion call of danger.

What does Non-Juror ecclesiology and sincerity have to do with the doctrine of Passive Obedience? Much in every way. Hoadly’s defense of the sincere conscience leaves open the question of legitimacy, the same as George Berkeley’s conclusion about passive obedience. There are two distinct questions between the moral requirement and its application. And it is in the realm of the conscience where such would be worked out. And what are the broad contours upon which conscience is formed, pressured, and oriented? Should it be a modern state, made up of representatives (a dubious category that requires refinement) of the nation of varied loyalties? Or should it be the hierarchy of the Church? In no way does the latter require slavish obedience to institutional authority. Hoadly and the Non-Jurors, perhaps strangely at first, agree over the freedom of the conscience and the importance of sincerity to make belief meaningful. The Church had no right to cajole and coerce through taxes, fines, and punishments. Nevertheless, the spiritual authority of the Church could impose upon the conscience through the question of excommunication. Contrary to Hoadly’s accusations, no Non-Juror ever believed his authority to be absolute; God could always overrule it providentially or at the Last Judgement. However, it’s a question of where this power to determine norms be found. Non-Jurors did not advocate laicization or secularity; they were quite comfortable with cooperation between a crown/council with the Church. Nevertheless, these were parallel sets of authority, one eternal and the other temporal, which ought to respect each other’s boundaries. It is in this forceful demarcation, which set Non-Jurors as key spiritual ancestors to the American Anglican breakaway, capable of existing through the bishops, without royal (or state) authority whatsoever.

Passive obedience, as a virtue, is precisely in recognizing the alienness of the state (or any other form of temporal governance) from eternal mission of the Church. Christians may thank God for sending a Constantine, who rewards and blesses the Church for fidelity. But such was never normative for understanding either the Church or her mission. Instead, since the eternal precedes the temporal, so too will the Church help shape the conscience through certain moral guidance. And as the Non-Jurors themselves practiced, accepting the temporal punishments of the legitimate civil magistrate may lead to active resistance against illegitimate government or law. It’s no surprise that Passive Obedience threatened, not consoled, a sitting regime. For the steeling the nerves of the faithful to witness against evil government or law often did more to topple wicked ministers than active revolt. The Monmouth Rebellion failed, but the Seven Bishops crippled James’ absolutism and re-Catholicizing program.

Applied, an Anglican Christian may practice Passive Obedience in refusing to recognize certain government mandates as a legitimate or legal form of authority. One may sincerely refuse unlawful coercive measures, appealed to the legitimate supreme authority (e.g. legislative power of Congress, the Constitution, the People, etc.) Similarly, the logic of Passive Obedience is the virtuous willingness to suffer. It does not conspire or scheme with a certain faction of elites to topple one regime or another. Rather it is a groundswell of resistance, to refuse compliance boldly and accept the penalties meted out. It’s no surprise that, in the history of the English church, it was around the flag of the Church that popular disobedience crippled the moral legitimacy or authority of the reigning Parliament. Passive Obedience is not simply an archaic virtue, a way to slavishly grovel before authority, as many critics have offered. Rather it is a fundament for resistance, not out of anarchic willfulness but the authority of Heaven. For when you stand alone, you are not naked before the power of the state, but stand enveloped in a great cloud of witnesses. The promises of God are with you, partaking mystically from the eternally new covenant of the Lamb slain before the Foundation of the World. Let the reality of God’s future govern your present. And having stood, stand.


A man asking the questions. Interests in patristics, continental philosophy, early modern history (with a focus on Britain). Long live the Keswick Movement. Blog: Podcast:

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