Joshua 24:19

by Mar 17, 2014Books, Mission, Piety, Theology

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 4.26.48 PM

In 1809, when he was thirty-seven, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge paused to recall a youthful dream, a plan he had hatched fifteen years earlier to immigrate to America and start there a new society governed by his own homemade intellectual system, which he called Pantisocracy. He wrote:

What I dared not expect from constitutions of Government and whole Nations, I hoped from Religion and a small Company of chosen Individuals, and formed a plan, as harmless as it was extravagant, of trying the experiment of human Perfectibility on the banks of the Susquehannah; where our little society, in its second generation, was to have combined the innocence of the patriarchal Age with the knowledge and genuine refinements of European culture; and where I had dreamt of beholding, in the sober evening of my life, the Cottages of Independence in the undivided Dale of Industry.

Why should innocence be left only to the savage? Why shouldn’t disenchanted Europeans get into the act? It was merely a matter, thought young Coleridge, of organizing society properly. “The leading idea of Pantisocracy,” he wrote in a letter of 1794, “is to make men necessarily virtuous by removing all Motives to Evil—all possible Temptations…. It is each individual’s duty to be just, because it is in his Interest. To perceive this and assent to it as an abstract proposition—is easy—but it requires the most wakeful attentions of the most reflective minds at all moments to bring it into practice.” Though Coleridge’s mind was most certainly reflective and his attentions utterly wakeful, it does not appear to have occurred to him to ask whether what it in our Interest is therefore in our Power.

—Jacobs, Alan (2009-10-13). Original Sin. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Read More 

Review: Think Again by Stanley Fish

Think Again: Contrarian Reflections on Life, Culture, Politics, Religion, Law, and Education by Stanley FishMy rating: 5 of 5 stars I have read multiple Stanley Fish books; I read quite a number of these columns when they were originally published in the New York...

Review: Why I Preach from the Received Text

Review: Why I Preach from the Received Text

Why I Preach from the Received Text is an anthology of personal testimonies more than it is a collection of careful arguments. It is not intended to be academic, and I see nothing necessarily wrong with that. But it does make countless properly academic claims, and...

A Little Help for Your Charitableness from Kevin DeYoung

A Little Help for Your Charitableness from Kevin DeYoung

There are few figures on the national evangelical scene that I like and trust more than Kevin DeYoung. I think he nails the balance between, on the one hand, graciousness and fairness and charity and, on the other (can anything be on the other hand from...

Review: The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

Review: The Power Broker, by Robert Caro

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro My rating: 5 of 5 stars Robert Caro is fascinated by power. He has given his life to exploring how it is gained and kept. And in Robert Moses, the subject of this epic book, power looks like the...

Leave a comment.