Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Zeitgeist

St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:6-12 (NIV):

We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.


Friedrich von Schlegel, The Philosophy of History [James Baron Robertson, tr. Bohn (London: 1846) pp. 474-475]:

Christianity is the emancipation of the human race from the bondage of that inimical spirit who denies God, and, as far as in him lies, leads all created intelligences astray. Hence the Scripture styles him, "the prince of this world;" and so he was in fact, but in ancient history only, when among all the nations of the earth, and amid the pomp of martial glory, and the splendour of Pagan life, he had established the throne of his domination. Since this divine era in the history of man, since the commencement of his emancipation in modern times, this spirit can no longer be called the prince of this world, but the spirit of time [Zeitgeist], the spirit opposed to divine influence, and to the Christian religion, apparent in those who consider and estimate time and all things temporal, not by the law and feeling of eternity, but for temporal interests, or from temporal motives, change, or undervalue it, and forget the thoughts and faith of eternity.

John Henry Newman, "Human Responsibility, as Independent of Circumstances", Oxford University Sermons:

The influence of the world, viewed as the enemy of our souls, consists in its hold upon our imagination. It seems to us incredible that any thing that is said every where and always can be false. And our faith is shown in preferring the testimony of our hearts and of Scripture to the world's declarations, and our obedience in acting against them. It is the very function of the Christian to be moving against the world, and to be protesting against the majority of voices. And though a doctrine such as this may be perverted into a contempt of authority, a neglect of the Church, and an arrogant reliance on self, yet there is a sense in which it is true, as every part of Scripture teaches. "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil," is its uniform injunction. Yet so irksome is this duty, that it is not wonderful that the wayward mind seeks a release from it; and, looking off from what is within to what is without, it gradually becomes perplexed and unsettled.

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