Friday, November 22, 2013

Guizot and Wickedness


Just when you were beginning to think, "This LSP makes me incapable of serious thought!" up comes an excerpt from Guizot's Democracy in France, 1849, thanks to DC (bear in mind Guizot's Calvinist roots): 

"Let any man dive into his own heart and observe himself with attention. If he have the power to look, and the will to see, he will behold, with a sort of terror, the incessant war waged by the good and evil dispositions within him — reason and caprice, duty and passion; in short, to call them all by their comprehensive names, good and evil. We contemplate with anxiety the outward troubles and vicissitudes of human life; but what should we feel if we could behold the inward vicissitudes, the troubles of the human soul — if we could see how many dangers, snares, enemies, combats, victories, and defeats can be crowded into a day — an hour? I do not say this to discourage man, nor to humble or under-value his free will. He is called upon to conquer in the battle of life, and the honour of the conquest belongs to his free will. But victory is impossible, and defeat certain, if he has not a just conception and a profound feeling of his dangers, his weaknesses, and his need of assistance. To believe that the free will of man tends to good, betrays an immeasurable ignorance of his nature. It is the error of pride; an error which tends to destroy both moral and political order; which enfeebles the government of communities no less than the government of the inward man."

I think I'd want to temper the above with Aquinas' observation that the natural will tends towards the good, which has become warped and flawed through sin, as opposed to totally corrupted. Guizot, with his Calvinist upbringing, may have taken the latter view.

Still, the bad errors of Calvinism aside, we deny the fallen inclination of humanity to evil at our peril and, to quote an English friend, the fact that "wickedness organizes for wickedness." Fortunately for us, grace perfects nature.

Just a thought,



Third News said...

A digital copy

LSP said...

thanks for that.