Saturday, April 18, 2020

Ethics and Reasoning Index

As noted at the beginning, this was a barebones introduction to forms of reasoning in ethics, following loosely the order in my Ethics courses while stripping out most secondary readings. Doing the latter required some occasional re-organization; it also made sense to explain in a bit more detail a few things that I can usually only gesture briefly at in lectures, or that I usually explain by way of class activity or assignment rather than directly, where it was relevant to understanding the main figure in question.

Consequentialist
I (Bentham)
II (Mill)
III (Mill)

Deontological
IV (Kant)
V (Kant)

Virtue-Ethical
VI (Aristotle)
VII (Aquinas)
VIII (Aquinas)

If one were going beyond the limited range of primary topics I can cover in a term, one could certainly look at more: non-utilitarian consequentialisms, non-Kantian deontologies, non-Aristotelian virtue ethics. But the point here, of course, was not an exhaustive survey but a first look.

One thing that is perhaps worth emphasizing in general is that in no case is ethics actually seen as standalone, or even something that can be adequately addressed as a standalone field; ethics is always touching on and related with law (Bentham, Aquinas), aesthetics (Mill, Kant), and natural theology (Kant, Aquinas), in quite substantive ways, and here I've only even looked at a few of the really obvious cases -- politics and education are both topics, for instance, that are much more important to ethical reasoning than one would be able to see just from the above survey. Ethics, to be sure, is a sea that touches every shore, but it is more than just general relevance; it draws on and is strengthened by other fields. An ethics standing alone, sealed off from aesthetics, law, religion, politics, education, etc., is a malnourished ethics.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ethics and Reasoning VIII (Aquinas)

Moral life according to Aquinas requires not just our own self-cultivation (development of virtues exercised in ways appropriate to our state of life), but also external helps. These external helps are not external in the sense of being wholly outside us (and indeed, the most important cases are not), but in the sense that they are not things we ourselves develop; rather, we receive them in some way. There are many such helps; the most important are law and grace. Both of these will also in a number of ways overlap and support the virtues.

St-thomas-aquinas
Altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli, showing Thomas Aquinas's association with law and grace in both sacrament (church) and teaching (book).

One of Aquinas's most famous philosophical contributions is his definition of law. According to Aquinas, law is

(1) a rational ordering
(2) to common good
(3) by one who is caretaker for what is common
(4) promulgated.

The purpose of a law is to act as guide and be a standard for rational beings, so it is necessary for it to be something that reason can use as a guide and standard. There are many kinds of rational guides and standards, though, even in practical matters. To be a law, it must be something that applies stably to everyone in the community; it must therefore deal with some stable motivation for the community. As an Aristotelian, of course, Aquinas takes this to be happiness, but it must be happiness insofar as it is shared as a goal by the community itself. Thus all law is concerned with that kind of happiness that is the totality of good in a life insofar as it is lived with others. Every community is formed around some common good, some good shared in common by the members of that community, whether that good is possessed or sought. Indeed, community just means 'the whole of what is common' or 'the state of having things in common'. This brings us to the third element of law; to have something of the authority that comes from the common good constituting a community, the law has to be put forward in a way adequate to that common good, that is to say, it can't be just anybody's rational ordering, but must be the rational ordering of a reason that is particularly connected to the common good. It must be put forward by someone who has the care (cura) for what is common. Usually the natural caretaker for a community is the whole community itself working together, but in practice it is often somebody who is designated a public person by the community and who acts as viceregent of everybody. This feature is what distinguishes law from the advice of private persons (which may be providing a rule relevant to common good but are not acting on behalf of the community whose common good it is) or the rules imposed by parents on a household (parents having the care of what is by definition only a partial contribution to common good). And finally, it must be actually applied. That is to say, if the rule is to be obeyed, it must be such that those who obey it can know it, so it must be promulgated or published.

Aquinas takes this to be a strict definition of law. Every law will have all four properties, anything that has all four properties is a law, and these are both true regardless of whether we call it a law or not. Both of them have points that are controverted by other philosophies of law. For instance, it follows from Aquinas's account that something cannot be a law at all if it is in itself inconsistent with common good -- such a thing is really a usurpation of power and an act of violence against the community, even if people call it a 'law'. And there will be quite a few different kinds of laws that will fit this definition, even if they are not what we typically call 'laws'.

The most general and encompassing kind of law is what Aquinas calls eternal law, which is the rational order of divine providence; God, being the good to which the totality of the world is directed and the source of everything in the universe, is the natural caretaker for what is common to the entire universe. The eternal law is in a sense the idea of law itself insofar as the entire world is subject to it. All other kinds of law depend on this, for the simple fact that none of the other kinds of law would exist without it.

More directly relevant to any consideration of ethics and reasoning, however, is natural law. Human practical reason operates according to practical principles, which are the standard against which one measures whether a plan or decision is a good one or a bad one, whether it 'makes sense', whether it is worth implementing, just like the principle of noncontradiction and other principles of theoretical reason are standards against which one measures whether theoretical reasoning is good or bad. These practical principles cover absolutely every practical plan and decision we make. And the most general of these, the noncontradiction of practical reasoning, so to speak, is Good is to be done and sought, bad is to be avoided. If any practical plan violates this, then to that extent it is irrational. To be rational is in part to recognize and apply principles like this.

This principle of practical reason concerns every kind of good or bad. But suppose we look in particular at good that human beings share as human beings. There is a human community; we can recognize goods that we have in common with all other human beings. Examples are things like survival, reproduction and education and care for children, or rational life. But if we focus on this kind of good, then we find that the first principle of practical reason fits the definition of law. By supposition it is being applied in a way that concerns common good; by definition it is a rational ordering to good; as all rational beings can know it, it is promulgated; and it is promulgated by all human beings, who are together the natural caretaker of the common good of all human beings. The same will be true of other principles insofar as they touch on human common good, as well as any conclusions of those principles that do the same. There is a law natural to our own reason, which is our participation in eternal law, and its existence follows from the bare fact that we are rational beings who share a rational human nature with each other. We are always already under law.

An important aspect of how Aquinas builds his account of natural law -- and it is sometimes forgotten even by natural law theorists -- is that natural law serves as a general rational standard, not a rigorous account of the full moral life. It is in fact very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to reason out precisely what natural law requires for every single situation. Natural law is linked to acquired virtue in that it obligates us to acquire each virtue and act according to it in some way. It does not obligate us to every act of every virtue, nor does natural law cover every aspect of moral life; but as our virtues all have bearing on the common good of the human race, virtues in a general way are all obligatory under natural law. Natural law cannot replace the virtue of prudence, although it does obligate us to be prudent, and most of the reasoning involved in our actual moral lives will derive from the virtue of prudence approximating and estimating and developing guidelines appropriate to circumstances, not directly by reasoning from natural law.

It is also perhaps worth recognizing that all obligation is in Aquinas's account communal. Without a common good, there is no law. Without a role in a community, there are no offices, i.e., duties based on our state of life. Private goods, goods belonging entirely to one and only one individual, obligate nobody. Obligation is something that arises out of our lives in community. But it is also important to recognize that we are all in community, and cannot function as human beings without being so. Reason is in-common by its very nature; we are social beings not merely in the fact that our natures lead us to try to be in society but in the fact that we are already in a community by the bare fact of being human. Natural law reflects this.

Natural law is a general standard; we often need something more specific. This gives us positive laws, laws that are made for specific purposes, of which there are two kinds, divine law and human law. The essential idea in both is that our moral life is a life of virtue, and acquired virtue is something we can have only by training, for which natural law provides only general guidance. Some of this is training we ourselves develop. But none of us are sufficient of ourselves to determine all the training that must be done in order to be virtuous. We need in part to be trained by others. Advice and admonition will sometimes be enough, for at least some things, but their implementation still depends entirely on our choosing to take them into account, and in matters of common good, it's not possible for everybody just to make their own decision about what should be done, particularly given that some people will choose in ways that are utterly inconsistent with virtue. So we need additional laws that give us specific guidance going beyond natural law. If this comes from God, like the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) or the precepts of Christ, it is divine law; if it comes from the human community, it is human law. Human law has no legitimate rationale other than to make it easier for us to become and to be virtuous people living with others who are becoming and being virtuous people.

All genuine human law by definition has to be consistent with natural law. However, because human means of enforcement cannot cover everything practical reason can, not every precept of natural law can be legislated by human law. For instance, if in addition to recognizing that lying is against natural law, we made it illegal ever to lie by human law, the enforcement of this would be so difficult that we certainly could not enforce it without violating natural law ourselves. So it makes sense simply to endure the fact that people will violate natural law by lying, and confine ourselves only to those things we can morally enforce. This is called the doctrine of toleration: human law must sometimes tolerate violations of natural law. On the other side, though, it is often necessary for us to be in agreement about particular matters that natural law does not on its own decide, so human law gives us a way to work together on particulars that are not rationally necessary but have to be determined if we are to act as we should.

Besides law, the other major factor of our moral lives that enters from outside is grace. 'Grace' is used in three different ways, all connected with the root meaning of the word in Latin, which is freedom. It can mean the love or favor of another person (this is the sense in which you are in someone's 'good graces'). It can mean a gift that is freely given. And it can mean a response to such a gift that is appropriate (this is the sense in which we are grateful or gracious). These are all interlinked: the first gives rise to the second, which gives rise to the third. The second, however, is the primary kind of thing Aquinas has in mind, and the most important thing fitting this description is the quality of the soul, which makes us worthy of God, added to our very being by God in order to lead human beings to God. Such grace can either be a gift directly leading someone to God (sanctifying grace), or a gift helping someone to lead someone else to God (gratuitous grace).

Grace, of course, is the foundation of the infused virtues, which raise human beings to a higher degree of society. However, Aquinas also thinks that we cannot fulfill the obligations of natural law without grace -- we have a tendency toward wrongdoing, so we need grace to compensate for this, and even if we did not, we would still need grace in order not just to conform to the law but to do so in a way that is appropriate to it. We cannot fully act well without divine help; our freedom needs a free gift from God in order to come to the end suitable for it.

In practical life, the notion of grace is generally (although not always) linked with the notion of sacrament, which is also a point at which law and grace intermingle. A sacrament is a sensible sign of something holy insofar as it contributes to our being holy, like sacrifices and tithes. Prior to any specification by divine law, in a regime of natural law, our sacraments our determined by our own vows or (at times) by special divine inspiration; these sacraments have only the most indirect connection with grace, in that we hope that God will give grace to help us because we are recognizing explicitly that we need it. When God gives the Law through Moses, however, He institutes a new regime, one that both gives a divine specification of the sacraments and a greater assurance of divine grace. These sacraments, like circumcision or Old Testament sacrifices, signify grace more consistently and accurately than other sacraments could, and convey a sort of promise that grace will be given. However, as a Christian, of course, Thomas holds that these sacraments are merely preparatory to a more complete form of sacrament, given in the New Law received from Christ; this New Law is itself given by grace, and its sacraments, like baptism, are signs of grace that both contain and cause grace directly to those who are properly disposed. It is in the sacrament of baptism, for instance, that we receive the infused virtues, and it is by the sacrament of penance that the infused virtues are restored if we act so as to lose them. And since, of course, law is by its very nature a communal thing, and determines the nature of sacrament, our primary form of expressing our readiness for grace, and in the case of the New Law, the primary form of receiving it, grace, like law, makes clear that our moral life is a communal life.

Both law and grace, Aquinas thinks, are ultimately founded on divine providence, and thus the moral life can only be fully lived when it is lived in a way appropriate to the broader context established by this divine providence, which is like a higher prudence -- 'prudence', in fact, is just a short form of the word 'providence'. We are not isolated individuals, and cannot be moral as isolated individuals. Our moral life presupposes others, whether by law or by grace or by some lesser assistances like these, and it is done in community with others, both God and other human beings, and it is diversified according to the communities of which we are part and our roles in those communities, and the goal of that life, whether the incomplete goal of peaceful and harmonious felicity or the higher goal of beatitude, is a goal shared in common. And understanding that Thomas sees life as structured in this way by community is essential to understanding his virtue ethics.

Thought Laboratory

Comparing how one perfection or another (life, knowledge, language, love) is achieved in a pure spirit and in a human being allows us to determine simultaneously the analogically universal stable nucleus of this perfection and the particular features that it assumes in man. The specificity of the human condition stands out all the more clearly as a result. For example, the study of such an exotic topic as the language of the angels allows us to sort out the fundamental structures of all communication and to identify the things in our experience of language that depend on specifically human modalities. Moreover, an examination of the metaphysical structure of an angel reveals, like a photographic image chemically developed in a darkroom, the fundamental truth of the composition of being and essence in every creature. In short, angelology is a "thought laboratory" that allows the philosopher to distill and refine his metaphysical or noetic concepts and to define further what is properly human.

Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P., Angels and Demons, Miller, tr. The Catholic University of America Press (Washington, DC: 2016), p. 2.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

But Even Mine Own Long-Lost Abandoned Home

Knowledge
by Richard Chenevix Trench

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting. -- Wordsworth.

True knowledge is the waking up of powers
To conscious life, which were already ours.

What now is mine in leaf and flower and fruit,
Was mine before in blossom, bud, and root.

The writing that had faded quite, again
By chymic art comes out distinct and plain.

Springs that were stopped, when that is cleared away
Which choked them, bubble forth in open day.

The stars look forth at eve, which yet have been
All day in heaven, although till now unseen.

The dawn lights up the landscape; the great Sun
Shows, but not makes, the world he looks upon.

I found a rich pearl flung upon my coast,
Which yet no other than myself had lost.

I entered a large hall--no foreign dome,
But even mine own long-lost abandoned home.

In what at first appeared a stranger's face,
An ancient friend I daily learn to trace.

I am at rest--my centre I have found,
The circle's edge I had been wandering round.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Evening Note for Tuesday, April 14

Thought for the Evening: The Landscape of Possible Arguments

Scott Aikin and Nicholaos Jones had a paper a few years back called "An Atheistic Argument from Ugliness". In that paper they put forward a few claims of interest: (1) teleological arguments for God's existence have 'evil twins'; (2) that there is a specific teleological argument for God's existence based on beauty; (3) that (from the prior two points) there is an atheistic argument from ugliness, combining the evil twin of the argument from beauty with the premise that God must be good; (4) that there is a generally exportable way to reverse 'theodicies' addressing the 'problem of ugliness'; and (5) that this suffices for at least an 'agnostic tie'. I find the paper interesting in part because I have an interest in 'abstract history of philosophy', one element of which is looking at the landscape of possible argument that is traveled in the development of actual arguments, and I think the paper exemplifies a very common failure in metaphysics and philosophy of religion to understand how the possible-argument landscape relates to real argument, and it does so in several ways.

Is there an 'evil twins' problem for theistic teleological arguments? We have to be somewhat careful here; 'teleological argument' is a very broad and loose category. Aikin and Jones mean a very specific kind of teleological argument, which they characterize as having a particular structure:

[a] a premise assigning a property X to the universe or parts of it;
[b] a premise attributing X at least usually to purposive action creating something to be X;
[c] a premise ruling out that the purposive action for X attributed to the universe or parts of it can be human;
[d] a conclusion that the universe is due to purposive action creating to be X.

At least this is what they start out purporting to discuss; they immediately then explain further what they mean by giving a brief historical survey that jumbles it together with arguments that do not have this structure. But their argument is stronger if we stick with this structure, so let's ask about this structure whether it allows 'evil twins'.

The answer is obviously yes; this is trivially true, given that you can plug in anything into X and get a new argument. 'Twins' underplays the combinatorial possibilities. For instance,

(1) The universe is cool.
(2) Coolness usually requires purposive action creating something to be cool.
(3) Human action can't be what makes the universe cool.
(4) Therefore the universe is likely the product of a purposive agent creating it to be cool, namely, God.

(1) The universe is uncool.
(2) Uncoolness usually requires purposive action creating something to be uncool.
(3) Human action can't be what makes the universe uncool.
(4) Therefore the universe is likely the product of a purposive agent creating it to be cool, namely, God.

We can get infinitely many possible arguments this way, using whatever property you want for X: big, orange, wicked, round, up someone's nostril, whatever. So obviously, you can have arguments from beauty and ugliness both. You can have arguments from anything.

But we don't, and this is because human beings don't reason with the bare landscape of possible argument. And the reason we don't is that truth distorts the landscape. For instance, if we plug 'up my nose' for X, then 'The universe is up my nose' is obviously false given the understanding of noses and the universe had by virtually everyone outside the madhouse; you have but to look up my nose to see that the universe is not up it. What's more, 'The universe is up my nose' is probably necessarily false: that is to say, my nose is probably necessarily a finite part of the universe, and therefore cannot have the universe as a part bounded by it. Add any truth at all, and like a star warping space and time, it makes the landscape of possible arguments non-flat. Once truth is in the mix, not all possible arguments are equal. Shift in terms yields an argument with the same structure but not an argument by parity.

The same point arises again for their theodicy reversals. Can you turn every beauty-based theodicy into an ugliness-based theodicy? Yes, and again trivially: it follows directly from the fact that theodicies have a logical structure detachable from the content of their terms. But this too does not establish parity of argument.

This is of significance to their argument because you can only get an 'agnostic tie' on grounds of parity, not on grounds of the multiple realizability of logical structure. It is irrational to treat arguments equally merely because they have the same logical structure. I mean, literally irrational; one would have to be insane to do it.

When they actually make their 'atheistic argument', Aikin and Jones come close to recognizing that replacing terms is not the only thing that must be considered. The 'evil twin' of the theistic argument from beauty is, of course, a theistic argument itself. The atheistic argument is a very different argument that treats the theistic argument from ugliness as a reductio when added to the premise, assumed true, that God could not possibly love ugliness nor be ugly nor torture us with ugliness. It's analogous to atheistic arguments from 'bad design'; these are not 'twins' of theistic arguments from design, because they can't possibly have the same logical structure. Whether something is (really, as opposed to merely apparently) designed badly or well brings one to the same conclusion: there is a designer. To get an atheistic argument, you have to treat 'There is a designer who designed this badly' as conflicting with a more fundamental assumption about what's true, either your own (if you are putting it forward categorically) or that of the person with whom you are arguing (if you are arguing ad hominem in the Lockean sense). To get the atheistic argument, you have to know something about God that the original argument does not require you to know. And so here. But the point is that treating something as a reductio already requires recognizing that the landscape of possible arguments twists around truths, so that assuming something to be true changes the acceptability or cogency of arguments. What really does their work in the 'agnostic tie' conclusion is the assumption, which they never establish for any of the evil twins or reverse theodicies, that the premises are equally supportable given the way the world is. This is where the real action is.

And there are reasons why people do not in general treat arguments and their 'evil twins' as on a level: they usually aren't. The Pyrrhonists used to draw agnostic conclusions from the isosthenia of arguments, the sameness of strength on opposing sides; but sameness of strength is actually very difficult to get -- you can usually only get it if you are assuming an even larger-scale agnosticism to begin with, one concerning everything else that's relevant to the arguments and thus could possibly change their supportability. Start assuming things and the symmetries begin to be broken. This is a major reason, arguably, why Pyrrhonist skepticiam is not a popular position, why it is, in fact, easier to be a dogmatist than a Pyrrhonist: equilibrium requires that all the forces balance, and that requires a very specific set-up.

In the actual history of philosophy, a lot of the dynamics of arguments comes about through this sort of symmetry-breaking -- something is taken as true, and the possible arguments are no longer equally possible; something else is taken as true, and the possible arguments that can be made shift again. What historians of philosophy often are doing is looking at (1) the factors introducing assumptions and (2) the effects that these introductions have on the salience and viability of possible arguments. But it is in fact essential to understanding and comparing arguments to recognize that the landscape of possible arguments for us is never flat, and that the bare fact of using arguments, rather than merely contemplating them, requires that more than logical structure be considered.

Various Links of Interest

* Why is the sky green before a tornado? at "Science Notes"
How to subsitute baking powder and baking soda
Make hot ice from baking soda and vinegar

* Lydia Moland, The Philosophical Activism of Lydia Maria Child

* J. D. Vance, How I Joined the Resistance

* Lucie Levine, Was Modern Art Really a CIA Psy-Op? The evidence that a significant portion of modern art's success was funded by intelligence agencies is quite undeniable. How much the intelligence agencies pushing an anti-Soviet (and thus in part anti-Soviet-propaganda) propaganda campaign were the engine of modern art movements, as opposed to simply taking advantage of what was already working on its own, is a more tricky question.

* A.-S. Barwich, It's hard to fool a nose

* Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Confucius, at the SEP
Thomas Szanto and Dermot Moran, Edith Stein

* Udo Schuklenk, Health Care Professionals Are Under No Ethical Obligation to Treat COVID-19 Patients. A very rare instance of my agreeing with Schuklenk on an ethical matter (although he ruins it by detouring into a rant on political policy that at most optimistic assessment has only indirect bearing on the immediate ethical question of personal medical obligations). It's of course undeniably good for health care professionals to do so if they can genuinely help (but this is not the same as an obligation); there are particular situations in which particular health care professionals might be obligated to care for particular COVID-19 patients (but this is not the same as a general obligation); it is in principle possible to draft health care professionals for a medical emergency in the same way we draft soldiers for war (but we have not done so, and healthcare professionals are not organized as a soldiery under command). One sometimes finds people arguing about a duty to care; but the duty to care that healthcare professionals have is just the same duty to care that we all have, allowing for the fact that their skills give them an expanded range of action. Doctors and other practitioners in the medical tradition have rights; and just as there is a legitimate space for both technical objection and conscientious objection, so there is legitimate space for personal safety objection. And it is very important to recognize the degree to which doctors risking themselves for others is voluntary and not something simply to be expected, as well as to recognize that if you want them to take such risks as a consistent thing, you need to support them properly for it.

People are always trying to rig ethics to get the results they want; you have to be careful about assuming that because a result is tragic that the actions to avoid it are obligatory rather than just good, and even more so that they are obligatory on particular people rather than being the responsibility of all of us. There is such a thing as obligation creep, in which things that are not obligations are treated as such because people like the results, or in which responsibilities that are really shared are fobbed off on particular people as 'their' obligations. I think people especially tend to conflate these matters when talking about 'healthcare', and it is a very dangerous moral habit.

* Christiaan Kappes, Transubstantiation: Maybe Dositheos Got It Right

* Ben Zion Katz, The Breadth of Rabbinic Opinion Regarding Mosaic Authorship of the Torah in the Middle Ages

* Loebolus. All the public domain Loeb editions, available for download.

* Dan Solomon and Paula Forbes, The Inside Story of How H-E-B. Planned for the Pandemic. For those who don't know, H-E-B is the major local grocery chain here in Texas. There is no question that its handling of recent events has been exemplary.

* The mathematician John Conway, most famous for his Game of Life and surreal numbers, has recently died due to COVID-19.

Currently Reading

Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
Stephen Jarvis, Death and Mr. Pickwick
Ed Peters, tr., The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law
John C. Wright, Count to a Trillion

All Eyes Outside

Self-Knowledge
by John Holland


"A man can never understand himself till he make a right estimate of his knowledge; till he examine what kind of knowledge he values himself most upon, and most diligently cultivates: how high a value he seta upon it; what good it does him; what effect it hath upon him; what he is better for it; what end it answers now; or what it is likely to answer hereafter."—Mason.

Most men by instinct, interest, or caprice,
Or by the current of the crowd, are led;
Perchance their aims wide as the world are spread,
Their vigorous mental motions never cease
During their waking hours; yea, of a piece
With daylight duties, are their dreams a-bed:
Wealth is their wisdom; and full oft they shed
On those around, glad proof of wealth's increase:
But never pause they one short hour to trace
The secret source of action or of thought;
Nor, meeting their own spirits face to face,
By introspection are they warn'd or taught:
All eyes outside--they scape life's dangerous shelves,
And know--base Knowledge! all things, but--themselves.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Ubi Est Mors Victoria Tua?

Christ is risen!

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulchre. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you.”
[RSVCE]

Sonnet 68
by Edmund Spenser


Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrowed hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we, for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
May live forever in felicity:
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
May love with one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought,
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

An Easter Carol
by Christina Rossetti


Spring bursts to-day,
For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play.

Flash forth, thou Sun,
The rain is over and gone, its work is done.

Winter is past,
Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last.

Bud, Fig and Vine,
Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine.

Break forth this morn
In roses, thou but yesterday a Thorn.

Uplift thy head,
O pure white Lily through the Winter dead.

Beside your dams
Leap and rejoice, you merry-making Lambs.

All Herds and Flocks
Rejoice, all Beasts of thickets and of rocks.

Sing, Creatures, sing,
Angels and Men and Birds and everything.

All notes of Doves
Fill all our world: this is the time of loves.