Episode #11 – The New Elite, Corporate Theology, & The Throne of God
Episode #11 – The New Elite, Corporate Theology, & The Throne of God
Crisis of Confidence in Statism
The Unimportance of IQ
Eliminating Freedom Through Racism
The Civil Rights Movement
A Risk Free World
The Federal Reserve and Income Tax
The Theology of the Corporation – Michael Novak
The New Elite: The Death of Democracy – David Lebedoff
The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills
The Corrupt Society – Robert Payne
America’s Money Machine: The Story of the Federal Reserve – Elgin Groseclose
The City of Dreadful Night – James Thompson
Uphill – Christina Rosetti
Old and New World Ditties – Christian Rosetti
Transcript of Episode:
Radio Announcer: The Reconstructionist Radio Podcast Network presents The Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony.
Announcer 2: The Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony is brought to you by the Chalcedon Foundation and the GCS Apprenticeship Program. For more information, visit chalcedon.edu and gscapprenticeship.com
R.J. Rushdoony: This is R.J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair Number 11, February the 4th, 1982. We are today facing increasingly a crisis of confidence in statism. Every government in the world is facing a population that has less and less confidence in its rule. Every country in the world talks about freedom, but defines it in statist terms, to mean what they choose to make it mean. I’m reminded of what a state prosecutor in a trial in Peking said a couple of years or so ago. He declared concerning the principles of the Chinese constitution in Red China and its adherence to freedom that it means this, and I quote, “the citizen has only the freedom to support these principles and not the freedom to oppose them.”
Well, I’m afraid Washington, DC, as well as every other capital of the world, is beginning to buy that kind of definition of freedom. We have a crisis right now of the attempt by the Reagan Administration to force onto the Christian schools controls by the IRS in the name of suppressing racism. Racism is not a problem in the Christian schools. It’s a manufactured problem. All the publicity in the press has only been able to call attention to two instances and neither of them are sufficient of a problem to merit the control of every Christian school in the United States. What we are seeing is not an attempt to eliminate racism, but to eliminate freedom.
Huey Long it was, I believe, who said back in the 30s said fascism would come to the United States some day in the name of antifascism and slavery will be brought in by these statists in the name of freedom. There have been, of late, a number of books that touch on this loss of confidence in civil government. There are various explanations for this.
One such explanation is David Lebedoff’s The New Elite, the Death of Democracy. The price is $11.95 and it is published by Franklin Watts in New York, 730 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019. It’s a very interesting book. The whole point of it is that what we have seen develop in recent years is a self-styled elite, educated liberals who no longer believe in majority rule, who have forsaken all the premises of liberalism that have historically governed that element in this century.
Let me say, by the way, that Lebedoff gives every evidence of being himself one of the older liberals. For years, he was the treasurer of Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party and he has had articles published in Esquire, Harper’s and the Washington Post.
Now given his perspective, Lebedoff’s book is still a very interesting one. The point that he makes so tellingly is that this new elite must be distinguished from liberalism generally. It is made up of people who have deliberately cut themselves off from all their roots. They do not want exposure to public approval in the form of running for office. They prefer to use and manipulate the electorate and agencies of state. They have a great deal of pride in their IQ.
Incidentally, Lebedoff has some excellent things to say about the value of IQ tests. They are far from an indication of intelligence. What IQ tests demonstrate is that you are very good at taking IQ tests, not much more is proven by them. However, this new class believes itself to be measurably brighter than anyone else and, therefore, it regards itself as the new elites, as against the left behinds.
The key point is how the individual sees himself. He sees himself first as a high IQ person; second, as he says, and I quote “rejection of roots is a prerequisite for membership in the new elite. Adherence to roots or class or caste or faith is the primary barrier to such membership.” Thus, if you are a believer in Christianity or Judaism, or if you have roots in your past, a love of your family and have not separated yourself from them and forsaken all your background and inheritance, you cannot be a part of this group. They withdraw from the rest of the people, they withdraw from their own past. They are deliberately and studiously rootless. They do not want a good car that is outstanding, in other words, you can’t belong to the new elite and drive a Cadillac. You have to drive a car that shows class, but not wealth.
You cannot have a very good home in the suburbs. Better to go into a somewhat blighted area and buy a fine old house and renovate it, but keep yourself separated from your neighbors, so that you’re ostensibly living in the inner city, let us say, close to the people, but you never have contact with them. A lifestyle is predicated that suggests modest prosperity, not wealth, and you are interested not in the political processes as a part thereof, but power over the processes.
The new elite gained power first of all through the Civil Rights movement, which it adopted with considerable gusto. Not because it had any desire to associate personally with any of the minority groups, beginning with the Negros, but because it was one way of saying to rest of the United States “you are wrong, you have no class, you don’t understand the value of these people.” It was entirely a snob move. When the Civil Rights movement began to fade, of course these people were no longer interested in these minority groups. Then a second major issue was the war in Vietnam, which they opposed.
Now, in both instances, there was a great deal of merit for their position, but it was not because there was any honest conviction on their part. Their whole premise has been to be against the status quo, against the present ruling powers. It represents an attitude, rather than a principle to position. As Lebedoff says, the members of the new elite are engaged in double think, they are anti-majoritarian. It’s the kind of attitude you find in people who will avoid going to the most beautiful place on their vacation because everybody goes there, who want to go to an out-of-the-way place for a vacation, even though it means sleeping in very inadequate quarters not geared to tourists, being subjected to fleas and the like, but it has color. They have to be different. They have to establish a superiority on the basis of a separation and a self-styled mental superiority.
Now this new elite, says Lebedoff, gained great power in the 70s because it captured control to a great extent to the parties, in particular, the Democratic party. It changed the rules. It began to frustrate the will of the people. One of the results of this was, for example, the nomination of McGovern. McGovern, as a highly unpopular candidate with the people at large, was pushed through by the new elite and the result was a disaster for the Democratic party. The work of the new elite has separated the people from their parties. It has helped destroy a great deal of the party machinery and real representation by the people in the party structure.
We have seen, at the same time, a great many primaries rise up across the country, far more than we had say in the 60s, but paralleling that is a distrust in the democratic process. The new elite has thus contributed very markedly to the disintegration of confidence in this country. The people distrust their government. The new elite has a banner which, in effect, reads “lower expectations.”
The members of the new elite speak of limits, of controls, of cutbacks, of denials. They are emphatically not progressive. They are against technology, against growth. In fact, while they are socially radical in their own eyes, they are reactionary on the subject of change and of growth, of progress. For members of the new elite, says Lebedoff, hatred of growth is an almost holy cause, an article of faith. This, of course, gives a great deal of trouble to our present political processes because the new elite is bent on being vocal.
Again, another point of view of the new elite is the fear of risk. The new elite, says Lebedoff, strives in every way to obtain a risk free world. Lebedoff traces the rise of the new elite to an attitude, which developed in the 50s, was first manifested by C. Wright Mills in his book, The Power Elite, which is still used in many universities as a collateral reading. The point of the book was supposedly to expose the power held by the various elites in the US economy. But basic to rights perspective was that society should be ruled and formed by a civil service that is linked with the world of knowledge and sensibility, in other words, an elite class that is beyond control of the people. There is a marked disgust for the people, says Lebedoff, on the part of the new elite. In fact, he says, and I quote “disgust for the people has become part of mass culture.”
He documents this very tellingly from films, which reveal the perspective of this new elite. The problem, thus, is a very serious one. It has led to a growing distrust of the processes of an orderly society and it has, among other things, precipitated a rule by the courts because the new elite prefers anything which bypasses the people. It has worked to create that kind of climate of opinion.
Now Lebedoff’s book is excellent because he does put his finger very tellingly on something we’ve all known, but have not had stated as clearly and tellingly as he does. On the other hand, it is exactly what it purports to be, an analysis of an element that has arisen in our society and is governing it, or at least if not governing it, conditioning it to a very great extent. But I think the roots are far deeper than Lebedoff even considers exploring.
Let’s look in terms of that fact, the roots, to another book that goes back several years and is almost certainly out of print, Robert Payne, the Corrupt Society, New York, Praeger, 1975. The book is, in some respects, a bad one because Payne has a very superficial outlook when, in his last chapter, A Vision of the Uncorrupted Society, deals with how to eliminate the corrupted society, he says wealth and power go hand in hand and, therefore, wealth and power are the main sources of corruption.
Well, as Christians, we have to say that’s nonsense. It is man’s depravity, the fall of man, man’s sin, that is the root of corruption. Being core makes nobody good. If this were the case, our ghettos would be the most law abiding areas of our society, but sin is present in the ghetto and in the wealthiest areas. He even says, and I quote, “the mere presence of the rich is corrupting.” And he goes on, and I quote, “a nation’s wealth is too serious a matter to be left to the wealthy. The riches of a nation belong to all, to be shared among all for the general welfare. Unless there is at least an effort toward a general leveling of incomes, there can be no social peace.” Well, given that fact, Red China and the Soviet Union and a few other places should be the centers of a social peace, but they are emphatically anything but that.
Now in passing, Robert Payne, in his book, cites a couple of men without appreciating the significance of what they have to say. One whom he cites at length is [Nichie 00:20:30]. Nichie wrote, and I quote, “since the old god has been abolished, I am prepared to rule the world.” Well, that’s exactly the problem with the new elite and with modern statis man, with Washington, DC, as well as Moscow. The people in power, whether they be Brezhnev or Carter or Reagan, at best pay lip service to God. To all practical intent, God is dead for them and they’re ready to rule the world.
Now another citation, and this is from the poet Rilke, who in 1914 wrote, and I quote, “the world is no longer in the hands of God, it is in the hands of men.” That’s why we have a problem. Men have taken over and there is no fear of God in their eyes and they are ready to do as they please, to play God over men, and the result is precisely what we see today, the dramatic breakdown in law and order. Some of us who are less young than the rest of you can recall when, even in the big cities, people did not feel it necessary to lock their doors. Very different now. And it is because the world has steadily seen an attack on faith. This began with the philosophers, communicated itself to the writers and the poets, and today the man in the street, whether in the wealthy suburb or center or in the inner city, plays God. There is no fear of God in their eyes.
Men like James Thomson, in 1834 to 1882, his dates, were writing in their poetry about a world in which God no longer lived. Thomson came to believe, and I quote, “the world rolls around forever like a mill, it grinds out death and life and good and ill. It has no purpose, heart or mind or will.” Well, the results for Thomson himself were none too good because he became a poet of despair. He was ready to affirm unbelief, but it brought total night into his life. And in one of his better known poems, The City of Dreadful Night, he writes of the horror of life in a city, of crowds of people and only total loneliness and emptiness all around. He wrote, “oh melancholy brothers, dark, dark, dark, oh battling in black floods without an arc, oh spectral wanderers of unholy night. My soul hath bled for you these sunless years with bitter blood drops, running down like tears, oh dark, dark, dark, withdrawn from joy and light. And now, at last, authentic word I bring witness by every dead and living thing, good tidings of great joy for you for all there is no God. No fiend with names divine made us and tortures us, if me must pine, it is to satiate no being’s gall.” Well, Thomson lived and died a man filled with despair. His gospel was there is no God, but it brought him no joy.
Meanwhile, the sad fact is that there are too many people out there who are writing garbage and think they are making a contribution to society. They act as though that the men who represent this world of darkness have something still to contribute, as though men can be a part of that world that says God is dead and I’m going to play God and still be noble souls somehow.
One of the strangest characters who ever lived was Karl Marx. It’s very difficult to find an honest book about him because Karl Marx is turned into a Christian prophet by Christian writers, or supposedly Christian writers, and the economists make him out to be a great figure, although his economics was such confused garbage that it’s hard to make out what he meant, and I’m not sure Marx himself knew. Marx was a twisted, hate filled character, a sadomasochist to the core. He suffered all his life from tremendous outbreaks of boils. He had a poison in him, physically and spiritually, that was always coming out. He messed up almost every life that came in touch with him, certainly that of his children. He made his wife a most miserable woman and she loved him very passionately, in fact, she came of a nobility, but Marx, a real pig, was never grateful.
Here is one report about Marx, and I quote, “in private life, this is a contemporary report, he is an extremely disorderly, cynical human being and a bad host. He leads a real gypsy existence, washing, grooming and changing his linen are all things he does rarely and he is often drunk. Though he is often idle for days on end, he will work day and night, with tireless endurance when he has a great deal of work to do. He has no fixed time for going to sleep and waking up. He often stays up all night and then lays down fully clothed on the sofa at midday and sleeps til evening, untroubled by the whole world, coming and going through the room.”
Now, this is the kind of thing that Marx represented, a totally disorderly life, an inability to function normally. He had an income that should have made him a rich man, but Marx, a socialist, was always speculating in fly-by-night stocks and get-rich-quick schemes and losing his shirt, at a time in the history of England, when anyone with any common sense investing his money in the British stock market could have become rich, Karl Marx was a sucker for every fly-by-night stock scheme that came along. Then, too, this man, who wrote about the terrible capitalist exploiting the working classes and women, himself either seduced or raped his wife’s maid and fathered an illegitimate child by him, the paternity of which was blamed on someone else. Marx said women need to be controlled and he had very low and contemptuous opinions of women.
He was a strange man. His writings belong more in the sphere of pathology because they represent hatred, not economics and political science, and this is why Marx was successful. Marx was successful and a power, and is still a power, not because what he said made sense, but in a world where men were at war with God, and still are, and they hate God and man, Marx gave voice to their hatred. And it’s the hatred in Marx that is the appeal. That’s why Marxism is essentially destructive because it is destruction, a will to death, a hatred of man and of God, that motivated Karl Marx and that motivates the people who are drawn to Marx. I know when I was a student, there were people all around me, spouting Marxism who really didn’t know what was in Marx, didn’t care because it was the hatred of their fellow men that made them socialists. Well, Marx will continue to be powerful as long as you have men who have the same motivation, the same hatred in them.
Now to turn to another subject, a very interesting little paperback of 55 pages, 56 pages or so, is Michael Novak, Toward a Theology of the Corporation. It was published by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC. It can be ordered from them at 1150 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. I don’t recall what the price is.
Now the corporation is a very important concept. It’s one that Christians, in particular, should be greatly interested in because the corporation, as we know it in the modern world, has biblical roots. It is true that there were corporations of sorts in Roman antiquity, but basically the concept of a corporation in it’s developed form is a biblical concept. God, in calling unto himself a people, made them a body under Him, so that the Old Testament Church, if we may use that term, as well as the New Testament Church, constituted a corporation. And it was in terms of the continuity of that corporation that our Lord chose out 12 apostles, to signify the 12 patriarchs of Israel. The Church is the body of Christ. It is a body that does not depend upon its life or the continuing life of its members, the members die, but the body continues. It is a fictitious person which does not die, to use more modern terminology.
So the corporation, as it enters into Western history in a significant form, is the Church and also, to a minor degree, the Synagogue. These are corporations, they have a corporate life, which is a continuing life, age after age, century after century. So the corporation is an important concept. It has been picked up and applied in other areas of life.
Let me add, there’s another aspect of the life of the corporation in the Old Testament that is extremely important, one that needs revival, one that had a profound influence in Western history, but was never stronger in the Old Testament. The family in the Old Testament, the prestige family, is a corporation. The property it has does not belong to the members. They are trustees of it from the past to the future. This is why Naboth, when faced by Ahab’s demand for the sale of his vineyard at a very good price, so that Ahab was being generous, he was giving him a very large sum of money, far more than it was worth, said he could not sell. It was not his to sell. It belonged to his forefathers and to his descendants after him. Now that’s the idea of a family as a corporation. It’s a link between the past and the future, of which the present holders are trustees.
Well, we have lost a good deal of that, but it has to be revived for the future of society. Now, Novak does not go into this, but he does go into the significance of the corporation in the modern world. He attacks the idea that some theologians have that the corporations are evil forces, that they are super powers that somehow govern society. The truth is, the corporations are not as large as people assume. Let’s cite some data on that. There are, each year in Fortune, 500 corporations listed which are the largest in the country. Over the years, many of these corporations disappear and their ranks change, so that the largest corporations, let us say, of 1900 are very different from those of 1920, of 1950 and 1980.
Moreover, although the top 500 corporations employee about 16 millions Americans, about as many as those employed by the state, 4 million more than those who attend American colleges and universities as graduate students and undergraduates. This number is scattered out amongst a great many corporations. The average workforce of a top 500 corporations is 28,000, which is the same as the number of students enrolled at some of our major universities. The smallest 200 of the Fortune’s 500 average 529 employees. In other words, a majority of the Fortune 500 are of the size of universities, from 500 up to 40,000 employees.
So running a multinational corporation, says Novak, is in most instances equivalent to running a major university. Now that puts it in perspective. Your biggest oil corporation, or biggest automobile or steel corporation is on the same level as many of our state universities. In fact, most big corporations, he says, are smaller than many Roman Catholic dioceses, far smaller than some of the greater ones. Many of the trade unions are much larger in size and their pension fund assets, one could add, make them much wealthier. So that, we have to say, the idea of the size and power of the corporations is greatly exaggerated.
Novak calls attention to the anti-capitalist bias of the intellectuals. They have kindergarten notions about the system. They are given to guilt mongering. They somehow believe the corporations have bought off everybody. We might say here parenthetically that corporations are run by people who are scared of their own shadow, afraid of the power of the Federal government, they’re not the kind of people who are going to run the world.
Then, as far as the power of the executives is concerned, Novak calls attention to the fact that the average length of service of a chief executive officer of a corporation is about the same as that of a professional football player, six years. So he’s not up there that long. The pay is about the same as that of top professionals in sports, entertainment, television journalism and writers of best sellers.
Moreover, Novak says, and I quote, “no multinational corporation is as strong as a state, which has an army and can restrict and tax corporations as it will.” So Novak does a great deal to discredit the myths, which have been propagated by men in civil government who are out to control corporations and the rest of us, about the ostensible power and size of these corporations. Most Americans, by the way, work for small corporations, some of them very, very small. This does not mean that there are not problems, there are not dishonesties in the like in corporations. This is true of politics, of the professions, of colleges and universities. Immorality is no respecter of persons or of classes.
So what we have to recognize is that our free market economy, with its corporations, provides the only type of order in the world today that can provide for its people. The Socialist countries, many of whom used to be exporters of food, are no longer able to feed themselves.
Now with this in the background, Novak then goes on to develop a theology of the corporation, in the course of which he also deals with the problem of freedom. I’m not going to go into that because I want to leave that for you to study, but Novak has made an excellent contribution here. We’ve had several books of late appear about the meaning of corporations and Novak’s little book is more to the point than most of these.
I’d like next to deal with a book by a very remarkable man, a very able man, Elgin Groseclose. This book was published in 1980. I trust it is still available from Arlington House in Westport, Connecticut, at 333 Post Road West. The book is titled America’s Money Machine, the Story of the Federal Reserve. Elgin Groseclose, by the way, has a remarkable history. I won’t go into that at this time, but he is a very important person and he represents by the way a school of economics or an economic tradition that is American to the core.
In recent years, the free market economists in this country have been predominantly, overwhelmingly of the Austrian school, an excellent school of thought, and a major person therein has been Ludwig Von Mises. But Elgin Groseclose belongs to an older American tradition, oriented to a gold coin standard in the free market. And we today forget that we had a vital tradition in such thinking. Dr. Groseclose is emphatically in that tradition. He deals with what has happened in this country as a result of the Federal Reserve system and the kind of economics it represents.
It begins, by the way, with Theodore Roosevelt and Roosevelt’s hatred of the free market. We tend to forget that the earlier Roosevelt was not a friend of freedom either because Roosevelt, for one thing, hated competition. He wanted to eliminate it from the economy. He wanted a heavy progressive inheritance tax and a heavily graded income tax. The kind of thinking that Roosevelt made popular led to such things as the income tax, the 16th Amendment, and to the inheritance tax. When you come around to paying your taxes, remember two Roosevelts did us a lot of damage, the first because he introduced this kind of thinking into the political mainstream, and the second who, with World War II, brought the income tax down from the very wealthy to all of us.
Now this brings us to the point that Groseclose makes, that there were two things which changed this country dramatically, from a country which was remarkably free, to a country in which freedom is rapidly disappearing. One of these was the income tax, the 16th Amendment, and the other, the Federal Reserve System. It is with the latter, the Federal Reserve System, that Dr. Groseclose concerns himself. Instead of a sound monetary system, we have now an unsound one in which manipulation is seen as the means for solving our problems. We have the kind of attitude, prevailing very much in political circles and religious circles, that Franklin Delano Roosevelt boasted of when he showed pride in the fact that he knew nothing of economics and claimed that he was essentially a moralist in economics and in politics, too.
Well, this kind of attitude is very prevalent today. People refuse to know anything about political processes, they refuse to know anything about economics, and they pose as moralists. They have decided what they want is right and, because this is a moral cause, then you have no right to come at me with economic and political knowledge because morality takes precedence and my morality is ipso facto good.
Well, morality is important and it is basic, but it had better be sound morality. Morality can be a number of things, not necessarily good. There was a moral code in Manson’s family, and the Marxists have a moral code, but we could not call it a good one.
Well, to continue, another factor Groseclose says that has contributed to our growing catastrophe is the passive assumption by people in the goodness of man. If you believe that man is good, you’re going to be wide open to every kind of folly. You are going to believe that the problem is in the system rather than in man, and then what you will proceed to do is to tear the country apart, to remake it, and pay no attention to the essential, the moral character of man. Our public schools have been agencies of massive destruction because they have de-Christianized the American population and they have made every man God in his own eyes and the result has been a radical egoism.
There are some very important things in this book, which needs to be read and studied carefully, but one of the things that he does call attention to is that, in the post war era, the Federal Reserve System had a new entanglement and a subserviency, not now to the Treasury Department as much as to the State Department. Because the United States embarked on a new foreign policy of worldwide military alliances and a cultivation of world opinion and support through a massive expenditure, programs of assistance to other countries, the Federal Reserve was made subservient to the State Department and its policies. The results of that have been very, very disastrous for us in this century.
This book, thus, is a gold mine. You read here, for example, something that is not generally known, Theodore Roosevelt and the senior Harriman and Hamilton Fish and the fall out between the two of them. Harriman comes out so much superior to the other two that there is no comparison. You read of the role of Warburg, of Taft’s liberalism, President Taft, and of much, much more. It’s an important study, not only in economics, but in American history. By all means, read this book. It’s not a book to breeze through readily, but it is gripping reading, at least for me it was.
Now there’s so much more to go into, I don’t know where to start because we are running out of time. I’d like to share with you just a little poetry again, this time from Christina Rossetti. Christina Rossetti was a sister of a much better known poet and painter, Donte Gabriel Rossetti, a flamboyant character. Christina’s dates were 1830 to 1894. She was, I think, clearly the superior of the two. She was a Christian, something her brother was not. We have a number of lovely poems, Christian poems, from her pen. I’d like to read a couple that reflect some of her private sorrows. Up-Hill is the first:
“Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend. But is there for the night a resting-place? A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. May not the darkness hide it from my face? You cannot miss that inn. Will I meet other wayfarers at night? Those who have gone before. Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? They will not keep you standing at that door. Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? Of labor you shall find the sum. Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yea, beds for all who come.”
And this, entitled Heaven Over Arches:
“Heaven over arches, earth and sea, earth’s sadness and sea bitterness. Heaven over arches, you and me, a little while and we shall be. Please God, where there is no more sea nor a barren wilderness. Heaven over arches, you and me, all earth’s gardens and her graves. Look up with me until you see the day break and the shadows flee. What though tonight wrecks you and me, if so, tomorrow saves.”
She was a remarkable woman, a very lovely poet. I’d like to read still another old and new world ditties:
“Passing away, saith the World, passing away: Chances, beauty and youth, sapp’d day by day: Thy life never continueth in one stay. Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to gray that hath won neither laurel nor bay? I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May: Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay on my bosom for aye. Then I answer’d: Yea.
Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away: With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play, hearken what the past doth witness and say: rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array, a canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay. At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay: Watch thou and pray. Then I said: Yea.
Passing away, saith my God, passing away: Winter passeth after the long delay: New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray, turtle calleth turtle in Heaven’s May. Though I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray. Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day, My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say. Then I answer’d: Yea.”
Well, so much for these poems by Christina Rossetti. We live today in a time that has little time for beauty or for peace and quiet, but a time which never needed these things more. And while Christina Rossetti was a rather withdrawn figure, her withdraw was not a fear of life, but it was based on a faith and a recognition that this was her place. Hers was not a time where there was a place for her in the center of life, but whatever our place is, we need to have our eyes fixed on the same things as Christina Rossetti.
We cannot be like Rilke in his generation, looking at the world around us and believing that God is no longer in control, man is in control, and therefore everything depends on us. I think this is one reason why our generation has so much trouble sleeping and sleeping pills are so commonplace. The Psalmist long ago declared, “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, but Thou Lord only makest me dwell in safety.” What David there expressed was a faith that, because the government is on God’s shoulders, he could lie down at night and rest, knowing that the world was not going to fall apart because he had gone to sleep. It didn’t depend on him lying away and worrying and fretting, it wasn’t going to collapse when he went to sleep.
Consequences of a loss of faith reach into our dreams, as well as into our waking moments. They alter our lives and today we have a world that is full of fearfulness because there is no fear of God in their eyes, and men are afraid of God no longer but afraid of man. But the Bible tells us it is the fear of God that is clean, not the fear of man. We are not living in easy times and certainly it is an ugly day that we see when we look at Washington and Moscow and London and other world capitals. Men playing God and creating a hell on earth.
But in this situation, we must do as God requires us, take hands off our lives then and look, sleep in the confidence that even the rath of man shall praise Him, as the Old Testament tells us. That God has so ordered life that the evil men do will work together for good because it will accomplish God’s purposes. It will confound what men do in this world. We have a corrupt society all around us, but it’s a society that is destroying itself. So we need to take heart and to rejoice. God is on the throne, not Ronnie baby or anybody else, God is on the throne and He knows the score. That’s our confidence concerning the future.
Well, I’ve enjoyed this session, as others, and I always wind up with a stack of things I planned to go into and I didn’t have time. In fact, today I really felt overwhelmed because I had so many things on my mind I wanted to say, that I couldn’t get into an hour session, so I’ll see you again in the next session, and the session after that, the Lord willing, and after that for a long time to come.
Announcer 2: Thank you for listening to The Easy Chair with R.J. Rushdoony. Please visit chalcedon.edu for more materials by R.J. Rushdoony and the Chalcedon Foundation.
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