Sunday, September 27, 2009

Christian Passion

William Gouge, Of Domesticall Duties:

60. Of the error of Stoics in condemning all passion.

The dotage of Stoics who would have all natural affection rooted out of man, is contrary to this pattern, and unworthy to find any entertainment among Christians: for what do they aim at, but to root that out of man, which God hath planted in him, and to take away the means which God hath used for the better preservation of man? That wise man whom they frame to themselves is worse than a brute beast: he is a very stock and block. Not only the best and wisest men that ever were in the world, but also Christ himself had those passions and affections in him, which they account unbeseeming a wise man. Their dotage hath long since been hissed out of the schools of philosophers, should it then find place in Christ's Church?

61. Of well using natural affection.

Let us labour to cherish this natural affection in us, and to turn it to the best things, even to such as are not only apparently, but indeed good: and among good things to such as are most excellent, and the most necessary: such as concern our souls, and eternal life. For this end we must pray to have our understandings enlightened [that we may discern things that differ, and approve that which is excellent (Phil 1:10)] and to have our wills and affections sanctified, that we embrace, pursue, and delight in that which we know to be the best. Thus shall our natural affection be turned into a spiritual affection.

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