Dave’s Quote of the Day – Natural Law Edition

“The most perfect freedom consists in obeying the dictates of right reason, and submitting to natural law. When a man goes beyond or contrary to the law of nature and reason, he becomes the slave of base passions and vile lusts; he introduces confusion and disorder into society, and brings misery and destruction upon himself. This, therefore, cannot be called a state of freedom, but a state of the vilest slavery and the most dreadful bondage.”

–Samuel West (1776)

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Categories: American Values, History, Patriots

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8 replies

  1. Christians Must Preach, Apply God’s Law, The Bible, Not “Natural Law”

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/john-lofton/christians-must-preach-apply-gods-law-the-bible-not-natural-law/303541649693426

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican
    Dir., The God And Government Project
    Active Facebook Wall
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-God-And-Government-Project/494314250654693?fref=ts
    JLof@aol.com

    • Indeed Samuel West (1730-1807) was an early American Unitarian. He stood in his time against the theology of Jonathan Edwards! But the above quote is good, for man is still bound by Natural Law, i.e. Creation! Btw, Christians are not antinomian, but also seek the obedience of the moral law of God! Note too, I am a neo-Calvinist, the Law does not save, but it must be preached! The Reformer’s preached Law & Gospel! As did St. Paul, Gal. 4: 1-6!

    • Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. (Romans 2:14–15). The intellectual historian A. J. Carlyle has commented on this passage, “There can be little doubt that St Paul’s words imply some conception analogous to the ‘natural law’ in Cicero, a law written in men’s hearts, recognized by man’s reason, a law distinct from the positive law of any State, or from what St Paul recognized as the revealed law of God. It is in this sense that St Paul’s words are taken by the Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries like St Hilary of Poitiers, St Ambrose, and St Augustine, and there seems no reason to doubt the correctness of their interpretation.”

      • I must agree with Dave! Note this issue of Natural Theology was/is seen in the debate between Barth and Brunner. I tend to go with John Calvin myself, and one of his Genevan students, Francis Turretin! See btw Stephen Grabil book: Rediscovering The Natural Law In Reformed Theological Ethics, (2006, Eerdmans).

  2. Cicero was a heathen, an unbeliever. Whereas St. Paul preached God’s Law which he said is holy, righteous and good. Heathen “law” and God’s Law are not analogous. And the passage you quote from Romans says it is “the work of the law” that is written in their hearts. It does NOT say God’s Law is written in their hearts. In any event, “nature” is fallen, flawed, imperfect and thus not normative unlike God’s Law which is perfect.

    John Lofton, Recovering Republican
    Dir., The God And Government Project
    Active Facebook Wall
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-God-And-Government-Project/494314250654693?fref=ts
    JLof@aol.com

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