The Federalist Papers, No. 19 – The Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

631px-james_madisonThe Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

For the Independent Journal

Saturday, December 8, 1787

By: James Madison with Alexander Hamilton

 

 

 

In addition to the old confederacies, we here will hear about some of those which existed in the 18th Century. First we read about Germany’s system.

THE examples of ancient confederacies, cited in my last paper, have not exhausted the source of experimental instruction on this subject. There are existing institutions, founded on a similar principle, which merit particular consideration. The first which presents itself is the Germanic body. In the early ages of Christianity, Germany was occupied by seven distinct nations, who had no common chief.

Out of this feudal system, which has itself many of the important features of a confederacy, has grown the federal system which constitutes the Germanic empire. Its powers are vested in a diet representing the component members of the confederacy; in the emperor, who is the executive magistrate, with a negative on the decrees of the diet; and in the imperial chamber and the aulic council, two judiciary tribunals having supreme jurisdiction in controversies which concern the empire, or which happen among its members.

The powers of Emperors are here enumerated. I love that it ends by stating that the Empire is akin to an upset stomach!

The prerogatives of the emperor are numerous. The most important of them are: his exclusive right to make propositions to the diet; to negative its resolutions; to name ambassadors; to confer dignities and titles; to fill vacant electorates; to found universities; to grant privileges not injurious to the states of the empire; to receive and apply the public revenues; and generally to watch over the public safety. In certain cases, the electors form a council to him. In quality of emperor, he possesses no territory within the empire, nor receives any revenue for his support. But his revenue and dominions, in other qualities, constitute him one of the most powerful princes in Europe. From such a parade of constitutional powers, in the representatives and head of this confederacy, the natural supposition would be, that it must form an exception to the general character which belongs to its kindred systems. Nothing would be further from the reality. The fundamental principle on which it rests, that the empire is a community of sovereigns, that the diet is a representation of sovereigns and that the laws are addressed to sovereigns, renders the empire a nerveless body, incapable of regulating its own members, insecure against external dangers, and agitated with unceasing fermentations in its own bowels.

There has been constant warring in Germany.

The history of Germany is a history of wars between the emperor and the princes and states; of wars among the princes and states themselves; of the licentiousness of the strong, and the oppression of the weak; of foreign intrusions, and foreign intrigues; of requisitions of men and money disregarded, or partially complied with; of attempts to enforce them, altogether abortive, or attended with slaughter and desolation, involving the innocent with the guilty; of general imbecility, confusion, and misery.

But what has kept it together? The weakness of the members.

It may be asked, perhaps, what has so long kept this disjointed machine from falling entirely to pieces? The answer is obvious: The weakness of most of the members, who are unwilling to expose themselves to the mercy of foreign powers; the weakness of most of the principal members, compared with the formidable powers all around them; the vast weight and influence which the emperor derives from his separate and hereditary dominions; and the interest he feels in preserving a system with which his family pride is connected, and which constitutes him the first prince in Europe;—these causes support a feeble and precarious Union; whilst the repellant quality, incident to the nature of sovereignty, and which time continually strengthens, prevents any reform whatever, founded on a proper consolidation.

Next we read briefly about Poland and its calamities as well as the Swiss cantons.

If more direct examples were wanting, Poland, as a government over local sovereigns, might not improperly be taken notice of. Nor could any proof more striking be given of the calamities flowing from such institutions. Equally unfit for self-government and self-defense, it has long been at the mercy of its powerful neighbors; who have lately had the mercy to disburden it of one third of its people and territories.

The connection among the Swiss cantons scarcely amounts to a confederacy; though it is sometimes cited as an instance of the stability of such institutions. They have no common treasury; no common troops even in war; no common coin; no common judicatory; nor any other common mark of sovereignty.

In Switzerland we have some specifics related to us about the warring Protestant and Catholic cantons.

So far as the peculiarity of their case will admit of comparison with that of the United States, it serves to confirm the principle intended to be established. Whatever efficacy the union may have had in ordinary cases, it appears that the moment a cause of difference sprang up, capable of trying its strength, it failed. The controversies on the subject of religion, which in three instances have kindled violent and bloody contests, may be said, in fact, to have severed the league. The Protestant and Catholic cantons have since had their separate diets, where all the most important concerns are adjusted, and which have left the general diet little other business than to take care of the common bailages. That separation had another consequence, which merits attention. It produced opposite alliances with foreign powers: of Berne, at the head of the Protestant association, with the United Provinces; and of Luzerne, at the head of the Catholic association, with France.

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The Federalist Papers, No. 18 – The Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

631px-james_madisonThe Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

For the New York Packet

Friday, December 7, 1787

By: James Madison with Alexander Hamilton

 

 

 

Madison and Hamilton now discuss some of the concerns with ancient Confederacies to demonstrate how such a form of government is not that which is best for a United States. This specific paper discusses those confederacies of the Grecian Republics. First is the Amphictyonic Council.

AMONG the confederacies of antiquity, the most considerable was that of the Grecian republics, associated under the Amphictyonic council. From the best accounts transmitted of this celebrated institution, it bore a very instructive analogy to the present Confederation of the American States.

As with all politics, the theory is generally better than the experiment. Although, the American experiment has proven to do quite well. As Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Very different, nevertheless, was the experiment from the theory. The powers, like those of the present Congress, were administered by deputies appointed wholly by the cities in their political capacities; and exercised over them in the same capacities. Hence the weakness, the disorders, and finally the destruction of the confederacy.

Dissensions from within are what often take down a weak government. And they bring about problems from without.

As a weak government, when not at war, is ever agitated by internal dissentions, so these never fail to bring on fresh calamities from abroad.

The next to be discussed is The Achaean League.

The Achaean league, as it is called, was another society of Grecian republics, which supplies us with valuable instruction. The Union here was far more intimate, and its organization much wiser, than in the preceding instance. It will accordingly appear, that though not exempt from a similar catastrophe, it by no means equally deserved it.

Again, there were dissensions which were fueled by Rome. And then Rome completed the ruin of Achaia.

A new crisis ensued to the league. Dissensions broke out among it members. These the Romans fostered. Callicrates and other popular leaders became mercenary instruments for inveigling their countrymen. The more effectually to nourish discord and disorder the Romans had, to the astonishment of those who confided in their sincerity, already proclaimed universal liberty throughout Greece. With the same insidious views, they now seduced the members from the league, by representing to their pride the violation it committed on their sovereignty. By these arts this union, the last hope of Greece, the last hope of ancient liberty, was torn into pieces; and such imbecility and distraction introduced, that the arms of Rome found little difficulty in completing the ruin which their arts had commenced. The Achaeans were cut to pieces, and Achaia loaded with chains, under which it is groaning at this hour.

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On The Sermon on the Mount (394) – 2

Augustine_of_HippoThanks for reading this latest installment from my current project of reading (and blogging) through Augustine’s works.

This book is one of Augustine’s longer early works at around 240 pages. This book is simply his exposition of The Sermon on the Mount. It is divided into two books, so I will have multiple blog posts with quotes from each respective book.

 

 

We now continue after The Beatitudes. Augustine points out a juxtaposition that he sees between anger in one’s heart and murder.

The least commandment, therefore, is not to kill; and whosoever shall break that, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall fulfil that commandment not to kill, will not, as a necessary consequence, be great and meet for the kingdom of heaven, but yet he ascends a certain step. He will be perfected, however, if he be not angry without a cause; and if he shall do this, he will be much further removed from murder. For this reason he who teaches that we should not be angry, does not break the law not to kill, but rather fulfils it; so that we preserve our innocence both outwardly when we do not kill, and in heart when we are not angry.

The same is also pointed out with adultery.

The lesser righteousness, therefore, is not to commit adultery by carnal connection; but the greater righteousness of the kingdom of God is not to commit adultery in the heart. Now, the man who does not commit adultery in the heart, much more easily guards against committing adultery in actual fact.

Regarding lust, Augustine even picked up on a distinction here about the intentional looking upon a person in lust.

It is well worthy of consideration that He did not say, Whosoever lusts after a woman, but, Whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, i.e. turns toward her with this aim and this intent, that he may lust after her; which, in fact, is not merely to be tickled by fleshly delight, but fully to consent to lust; so that the forbidden appetite is not restrained, but satisfied if opportunity should be given.

He here mentions how 3 things go together to make a sin.

For there are three things which go to complete sin: the suggestion of, the taking pleasure in, and the consenting to.

We should cry out in our hearts to God in our sin to be delivered.

And therefore let every one who feels carnal pleasure rebelling against right inclination in his own case through the habit of sinning, by whose unsubdued violence he is dragged into captivity, recall to mind as much as he can what kind of peace he has lost by sinning, and let him cry out, O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ. For in this way, when he cries out that he is wretched, in the act of bewailing he implores the help of a comforter.

Regarding Moses allowing a certificate for divorce, Augustine thought that it would be something which would cause the man to reconsider the divorce by making him go through a process.

For He who gave the commandment that a writing of divorcement should be given, did not give the commandment that a wife should be put away; but whosoever shall put away, says He, let him give her a writing of divorcement, in order that the thought of such a writing might moderate the rash anger of him who was getting rid of his wife. And, therefore, He who sought to interpose a delay in putting away, indicated as far as He could to hard-hearted men that He did not wish separation.

Regarding loving our enemies, Augustine again would say that we should love them so that salvation can come to them.

So also he loves his enemy, not in as far as he is an enemy, but in as far as he is a man; so that he wishes the same prosperity to come to him as to himself, viz. that he may reach the kingdom of heaven rectified and renewed.

Regarding 1 Corinthians 7, he here shows that he would hope that the unbelieving spouse would be kept in the marriage so that they could become believers. He even discusses the holiness of the children.

He gave opportunity to the apostle for advising that whoever wished should not put away an unbelieving wife, in order that, perchance, in this way she might become a believer. For, says he, the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother. I suppose it had already occurred that some wives were embracing the faith by means of their believing husbands, and husbands by means of their believing wives; and although not mentioning names, he yet urged his case by examples, in order to strengthen his counsel. Then he goes on to say, Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. For now the children were Christians, who were sanctified at the instance of one of the parents, or with the consent of both; which would not take place unless the marriage were broken up by one of the parties becoming a believer, and unless the unbelief of the spouse were borne with so far as to give an opportunity of believing.

We are beyond the Old Testament precepts and have move on to those of Christ – which are more internal.

And an example is found in the Old Testament history; but now there are greater precepts which the human race has reached after having passed that stage; and those matters are to be investigated for the purpose of distinguishing the ages of the dispensation of that divine providence which assists the human race in the most orderly way; but not for the purpose of making use of the rules of living.

Although we own our heads on our shoulders, we can’t even make a hair white or black. It’s not ours, therefore, and we should not swear by it.

Now, what could any one suppose to belong more to himself than his own head? But how is it ours, when we have not the power of making one hair white or black? Hence, whoever should wish to swear even by his own head, is bound by his oath to God, who in an ineffable way keeps all things in His power, and is everywhere present.

He would say that under the Law there was restraint in punishments to not go beyond the injury. But now, we should be peace-seekers not wishing for vengeance at all.

Such a spirit was in great measure restrained by the law, where it was written, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; by which expressions a certain measure is intended, so that the vengeance should not exceed the injury. And this is the beginning of peace: but perfect peace is to have no wish at all for such vengeance.

The mind brings forth wickedness.

For all wickedness arises from infirmity of mind: because nothing is more harmless than the man who is perfect in virtue.

A man shows his calmness when he restrains his responses – as Jesus did here.

And here he showed with what calmness he had spoken that which he seemed to have spoken in anger, because he answered so quickly and so mildly, which cannot be done by those who are indignant and thrown into confusion.

We have heard it said that sometimes the answer to a prayer is either Yes, No, or Wait. Augustine argues that God will give to those who ask of Him, but not necessarily the thing they ask for. Sometimes it will be something better when we have stopped becoming selfish in our requests.

Thus you will give to every one that asks you, although you will not always give what he asks; and you will sometimes give something better, when you have set him right who was making unjust requests.

This is an interesting observation on the “repentance” of Judas – or, rather, his despair and troubled conscience. He wasn’t repentant but his sin caused him to have shame and despair and rather than running to the one who could forgive him, he took his own life.

It is this difference in their sins which separates Judas the betrayer from Peter the denier: not that a penitent is not to be pardoned, for we must not come into collision with that declaration of our Lord, where He enjoins that a brother is to be pardoned, when he asks his brother to pardon him; but that the ruin connected with that sin is so great, that he cannot endure the humiliation of asking for it, even if he should be compelled by a bad conscience both to acknowledge and divulge his sin. For when Judas had said, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood, yet it was easier for him in despair to run and hang himself, than in humility to ask for pardon. And therefore it is of much consequence to know what sort of repentance God pardons.

Here Augustine speaks of an interpretation of the sin against the Holy Spirit – that being to act through malice and envy against a brother in Christ or against Christ himself.

And this is perhaps the sin against the Holy Ghost, i.e. through malice and envy to act in opposition to brotherly love after receiving the grace of the Holy Ghost—a sin which our Lord says is not forgiven either in this world or in the world to come. And hence it may be asked whether the Jews sinned against the Holy Ghost, when they said that our Lord was casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils: whether we are to understand this as said against our Lord Himself, because He says of Himself in another passage, If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household! or whether, inasmuch as they had spoken from great envy, being ungrateful for so manifest benefits, although they were not yet Christians, they are, from the very greatness of their envy, to be supposed to have sinned against the Holy Ghost? This latter is certainly not to be gathered from our Lord’s words. For although He has said in the same passage,

Christ is, naturally, the Son of God with no sin. The sinless perfection of Jesus is the basis for our justification and adoption whereby we are made sons.

For one is a Son by nature, who knows nothing at all of sin; but we, by receiving power, are made sons, in as far as we perform those things which are commanded us by Him.

Here’s how Augustine will typically conclude his longer “books” in larger works. Thankfully he wants us to take a breather.

But now I think it will be more convenient, that at this point the reader, fatigued with so long a volume, should breathe a little, and recruit himself for considering what remains in another book.

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The Federalist Papers, No. 17 – The Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

alexander_hamilton_portrait_by_ezra_ames-croppedThe Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

For the Independent Journal

Wednesday, December 5, 1787

By: Alexander Hamilton

 
In some respects, I can see that his first sentence below still rings true. However, this is where government gets to the nitty-gritty. Take, for example, todays Federal Department of Education. I would say that this is a case of States getting too much of what they asked for. As I would see it, the States thought that they needed to have a Federal Department formed to oversee everything (noble, certainly). However, look at the behemoth that we now have. And, further, it has turned on the States in that now the Federal Department encroaches on the States by mandating that they all adhere to the Common Core Standards or the States may lose much of their Federal funding. Be careful what you wish for!

It will always be far more easy for the State governments to encroach upon the national authorities than for the national government to encroach upon the State authorities. The proof of this proposition turns upon the greater degree of influence which the State governments if they administer their affairs with uprightness and prudence, will generally possess over the people; a circumstance which at the same time teaches us that there is an inherent and intrinsic weakness in all federal constitutions; and that too much pains cannot be taken in their organization, to give them all the force which is compatible with the principles of liberty.

This is a great statement for the importance of focusing on the local community and government. It should be what we care about more than that of the Federal branches.

It is a known fact in human nature, that its affections are commonly weak in proportion to the distance or diffusiveness of the object. Upon the same principle that a man is more attached to his family than to his neighborhood, to his neighborhood than to the community at large, the people of each State would be apt to feel a stronger bias towards their local governments than towards the government of the Union; unless the force of that principle should be destroyed by a much better administration of the latter.

One of the greatest powers of the State governments, according to Hamilton, is that they can administer justice to lawbreakers.

There is one transcendant advantage belonging to the province of the State governments, which alone suffices to place the matter in a clear and satisfactory light,—I mean the ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice. This, of all others, is the most powerful, most universal, and most attractive source of popular obedience and attachment.

The future papers will review some issues with confederate governments.

A concise review of the events that have attended confederate governments will further illustrate this important doctrine; an inattention to which has been the great source of our political mistakes, and has given our jealousy a direction to the wrong side. This review shall form the subject of some ensuing papers.

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The Federalist Papers, No. 16 – The Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

alexander_hamilton_portrait_by_ezra_ames-croppedThe Same Subject Continued (The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union)

From the New York Packet

Tuesday, December 4, 1787

By: Alexander Hamilton

 

Hamilton here points out that when members of the Union, or States, get out of line that the only ultimate remedy to bring them back is force – or civil war.

This exceptionable principle may, as truly as emphatically, be styled the parent of anarchy: It has been seen that delinquencies in the members of the Union are its natural and necessary offspring; and that whenever they happen, the only constitutional remedy is force, and the immediate effect of the use of it, civil war.

At times, the Federalists would seem to be against a standing army. But here, Hamilton states that if an army didn’t exist that it couldn’t be there for protection. But at the same time we can see that if enough segments of that army from various states banded together that the greater of the armies would prevail in a civil war.

If there should not be a large army constantly at the disposal of the national government it would either not be able to employ force at all, or, when this could be done, it would amount to a war between parts of the Confederacy concerning the infractions of a league, in which the strongest combination would be most likely to prevail, whether it consisted of those who supported or of those who resisted the general authority.

At the onset of war, we see that moderation is thrown out the door. War becomes a winning-at-any-cost endeavor. Pride or resentment would drive and carry the states. Hamilton believed that the first time a civil war happened that it would end in the dissolution of the Union. This, as history would show, did not end up being the outcome when the American Civil War did happen less than 80 years after this Paper.

When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation. The suggestions of wounded pride, the instigations of irritated resentment, would be apt to carry the States against which the arms of the Union were exerted, to any extremes necessary to avenge the affront or to avoid the disgrace of submission. The first war of this kind would probably terminate in a dissolution of the Union.

Back to an army, Hamilton states that the larger states would always be an advantage as the Union would have a hard time maintaining an army large enough to keep those states in check or, more specifically, to force their citizens into doing anything.

The resources of the Union would not be equal to the maintenance of an army considerable enough to confine the larger States within the limits of their duty; nor would the means ever be furnished of forming such an army in the first instance. Whoever considers the populousness and strength of several of these States singly at the present juncture, and looks forward to what they will become, even at the distance of half a century, will at once dismiss as idle and visionary any scheme which aims at regulating their movements by laws to operate upon them in their collective capacities, and to be executed by a coercion applicable to them in the same capacities. A project of this kind is little less romantic than the monster-taming spirit which is attributed to the fabulous heroes and demi-gods of antiquity.

Here Hamilton argues for a multi-branch government. The citizens represented in the legislative branch and a judiciary to uphold “the majesty of the national authority”.

The result of these observations to an intelligent mind must be clearly this, that if it be possible at any rate to construct a federal government capable of regulating the common concerns and preserving the general tranquillity, it must be founded, as to the objects committed to its care, upon the reverse of the principle contended for by the opponents of the proposed Constitution. It must carry its agency to the persons of the citizens. It must stand in need of no intermediate legislations; but must itself be empowered to employ the arm of the ordinary magistrate to execute its own resolutions. The majesty of the national authority must be manifested through the medium of the courts of justice. The government of the Union, like that of each State, must be able to address itself immediately to the hopes and fears of individuals; and to attract to its support those passions which have the strongest influence upon the human heart. It must, in short, possess all the means, and have aright to resort to all the methods, of executing the powers with which it is intrusted, that are possessed and exercised by the government of the particular States.

As with seditious people in the individual states, the national government will have to deal with such opposition.

If opposition to the national government should arise from the disorderly conduct of refractory or seditious individuals, it could be overcome by the same means which are daily employed against the same evil under the State governments. The magistracy, being equally the ministers of the law of the land, from whatever source it might emanate, would doubtless be as ready to guard the national as the local regulations from the inroads of private licentiousness.

Just because a faction could occur is not a reason to object to the Federalism here discussed. This could happen with any form of government, but it would seem that the Anti-Federalists were attempting to point out it being a problem for Federalism.

When they happen, they commonly amount to revolutions and dismemberments of empire. No form of government can always either avoid or control them. It is in vain to hope to guard against events too mighty for human foresight or precaution, and it would be idle to object to a government because it could not perform impossibilities.

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Jerome (386) on Paul’s Jerusalem Offering

Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was eager to do. – Galatians 2:10

The holy poor, care of whom was specially committed to Paul and Barnabas by the apostles, are those believers in Judea who brought the price of their possessions to the feet of the apostles to be given to the needy, or because they were incurring hatred and punishment from their kin, family and parents as deserters of the law and believers in a crucified man. How much labor the holy apostle expended in ministering to these his letters bear witness, as he wrote to Corinth, the Thessalonians and all the churches of the Gentiles that they should prepare this offering to be taken to Jerusalem through himself or others. For this reason he now says confidently “which very thing I have been careful to do.”

– Jerome (386), Commentary on Galatians

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On The Sermon on the Mount (394) – 1

Augustine_of_HippoThanks for reading this latest installment from my current project of reading (and blogging) through Augustine’s works.

This book is one of Augustine’s longer early works at around 240 pages. This book is simply his exposition of The Sermon on the Mount. It is divided into two books, so I will have multiple blog posts with quotes from each respective book.

 

 

This is the basic summary of the Sermon on the Mount – “a perfect standard of the Christian life”. This first post is on the section of The Beatitudes.

I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life: and this we do not rashly venture to promise, but gather it from the very words of the Lord Himself. For the sermon itself is brought to a close in such a way, that it is clear there are in it all the precepts which go to mould the life.

As Augustine often finds the proverbial needle in a haystack with imagery, he even posits that the “Mount” of the Sermon on the Mount points to the greater Christian precepts over and above those which were given to the Jews. Though I don’t believe I have ever heard anyone ask what the mountain means…

If it is asked what the mountain means, it may well be understood as meaning the greater precepts of righteousness; for there were lesser ones which were given to the Jews.

Here he begins his discussion of the Beatitudes.

For it signifies a certain firmness and stability of the perpetual inheritance, where the soul, by means of a good disposition, rests, as it were, in its own place, just as the body rests on the earth, and is nourished from it with its own food, as the body from the earth. This is the very rest and life of the saints. Then, the meek are those who yield to acts of wickedness, and do not resist evil, but overcome evil with good.

Here we see “miserable” as pointing to those who mourn.

He says that they are blessed who relieve the miserable, for it is paid back to them in such a way that they are freed from misery.

Blessed are the peacemakers. Augustine says that “the prince of this world” (i.e. Satan) is cast out from a kingdom of peace. This peace, though, is one of inward establishment. Those who would be true peacemakers would, in turn, be those who are persecuted for their righteousness.

And this is the peace which is given on earth to men of goodwill; this the life of the fully developed and perfect wise man. From a kingdom of this sort brought to a condition of thorough peace and order, the prince of this world is cast out, who rules where there is perversity and disorder. When this peace has been inwardly established and confirmed, whatever persecutions he who has been cast out shall stir up from without, he only increases the glory which is according to God; being unable to shake anything in that edifice, but by the failure of his machinations making it to be known with how great strength it has been built from within outwardly. Hence there follows: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Here is a place where Augustine ties together several themes. The blessed who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are the 8th in the list of the blessed. This gets tied to the circumcision on the 8th Day as well as Christ’s resurrection on the 8th Day (i.e. the First Day being the day after the 7th Day). Then Augustine speaks of 8 festival days to celebrate a man’s regeneration. I’m not 100% certain what he means by this – it may be referring to Easter somehow? Then, of course is Pentecost which is 7 Days x 7 Weeks plus an 8th Day to give 50 – which is when the Holy Spirit was sent forth abundantly. This is a quite fascinating passage.

Blessed, therefore, are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This eighth sentence, which goes back to the starting-point, and makes manifest the perfect man, is perhaps set forth in its meaning both by the circumcision on the eighth day in the Old Testament, and by the resurrection of the Lord after the Sabbath, the day which is certainly the eighth, and at the same time the first day; and by the celebration of the eight festival days which we celebrate in the case of the regeneration of the new man; and by the very number of Pentecost. For to the number seven, seven times multiplied, by which we make forty-nine, as it were an eighth is added, so that fifty may be made up, and we, as it were, return to the starting-point: on which day the Holy Spirit was sent, by whom we are led into the kingdom of heaven, and receive the inheritance, and are comforted; and are fed, and obtain mercy, and are purified, and are made peacemakers; and being thus perfect, we bear all troubles brought upon us from without for the sake of truth and righteousness.

Augustine is clear here that those who are fearful of persecution are the ones who will miss the blessedness. This concludes the section on The Beatitudes.

It is not therefore he who suffers persecution, but he who is rendered savourless by the fear of persecution, that is trodden under foot of men. For it is only one who is undermost that can be trodden under foot; but he is not undermost, who, however many things he may suffer in his body on the earth, yet has his heart fixed in heaven.

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