- Desiderius Erasmus and The Child’s Right to Education
- Thomas More
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We know that the Spirit pours out gifts for our needs, in each community: What else should we do but be on the lookout for them, and welcome them in their first appearance? The Witness yearns for abundant life, and can give power to live it.
Desiderius Erasmus and The Child’s Right to Education
How is this power seen? It is seen when love is felt, when hindrances made up of fear or habit or wounds are weakened or taken away. The Witness leads peace-wards, it is the root of every spiritual gift and occasion to enact it. If Love is witnessed in our Friend, or in ourselves.
The experienced travelers who have walked that path and know that kind of service and its costs should come forward to share the stories of their journey in the work, offering gifts of joy, as well as warning. Growth and learning come in the forming and doing of service — this we know experimentally! If we listen to the love in the voice of the Witness, fear is taken off, and reasoning and judgment can become tools seasoned with wisdom.
Remember, remember, that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the servant of all. Friends, there is no time but this present, and our meetings and our world, in their weakness and turmoil, require generosity of spirit, not penny-pinching.
So much the more, if we wish to be a prophetic people, and a school of prophets, must we cling to love, let it season our judgement, and draw us to make real the dear fellowship of the common life of the Spirit, which the first Friends knew as Christ come again in the bodies of his friends, Immanuel who appeared, and appears, as a little, helpless thing unadorned and unlooked-for, but promising much. This realization that Christian maturity may take years or a lifetime, is not only a Quaker idea, of course.
Yet the Quaker distinction of terms emphasizes features of spiritual growth that it is unwise to neglect. Some flavors of Protestantism place a great emphasis on the conversion experience. William Dewsbury writes:. I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death. Friends paid close attention to the unfolding process of metanoia , as experienced by a seeking soul. Waiting in that which is low and little in the heart, the power enters, the seed grows, the kingdom is felt and daily more and more revealed in the power.
And this is the true door and way to the thing: take heed of climbing over it.
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It is a blessed state to know the eye of the mind, not only opening, but, opened; thereby is ability and wisdom witnessed to read in the book of life, wherein all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid; and he or she that knows this light shining, this eye opened in them, walks and stumbles not…That which shut and stopped this eye, and darkened this light within, in the beginning, was sin and transgression, whereby mankind lost the sight and enjoyment of their Creator.
And this I testify that no people upon the face of the Earth, come to witness this eye of the mind opened again, but as they come to experience that Power in themselves which crucifies sin, and saves and redeems out of transgression, and are also obedient and subject to it. Fox writes to Lady Claypool:. When thou art in the transgression of the life of God in thy own particular, the mind flies up in the air, the creature is led into the night, nature goes out of its course, an old garment goes on, and an uppermost clothing : and thy nature being led out of its course, it comes to be all on fire in the transgression, and that defaceth the glory of the first body.
Therefore be still awhile from thy own thoughts, searching, seeking, desires, and imaginations, and be stayed in the principle of God in thee. Now as the principle of God in thee hath been transgressed, come to it, that it may keep thy mind down low to the Lord God; to deny thyself, and from thy own will, that is the earthly, thou must be kept. Again, this is not a matter of an outside authority pointing, judging, advising, but rather a conjoint life, in which the life of God gradually perfuses mind, heart, soul, and body.
Rather, it is a continual re creation made possible by our dependence on the continued work of Christ in our healing. Fox and Friends said that Holiness is rarely sudden joy or power, but usually a hard, lifetime process. So take heed to Him, to believe in Him, and to mind His leading, and to follow Him; if you part not from Him, He will be your everlasting peace, and over-ruling power to subdue your sins; and by Him shall you tread down strength with ease and delight…….
What a glory is it to see peace shine in the midst of war, love in the midst of hatred, meekness in the midst of strife, righteous judgment in the midst of wickedness, innocency in the midst of violence and oppression; as a lily among thorns, so is that of God among the men of the world; and therein does His nature and beauty appear in His temple, to which all must confess, and praise Him therein.
As I wrote in my first Metanoia post, I find this Quaker understanding very much to be in harmony with the teaching of Erasmus on the Christian path and process — which to me means that they are hearing the same gospel, and following the same teacher, the same Spirit, unique among all the spirits. Of course their accents and emphases differ, but the deep resonances, and humble reporting of experience, are nourishing and encouraging, as they rouse and speak to the Witness in my own soul.
And this is not just a matter of working oneself into an etherial, Empyrean frame of mind, divorced from the work and grit of daily life in the flesh. The challenges, temptations, confusions, distractions, failures are all part of the substance and nature of our world, and ourselves. Part of the new mind that comes with metanoia is the ability to see not always easily!
I have become convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling powers nor things present, nor things to come, nor forces nor height nor depth nor any other creation will have the power to distance us from the love of God, which is in Christ. Romans In my high school days, Desiderius Erasmus ? They helped me see and feel the gospel as an experience, as a life from which and in which to live.
Though I have many lessons still to learn — Oh, so many! In Part 1, I will start from word study, then move to implications that Erasmus drew for spiritual practice. In Part 2, I will return to Quaker teachings about the progress of the soul — and in Part 3 wrap up, and explore some implications for spiritual life in the face of climate change. In the course of his study of the Greek scriptures, Erasmus proposed translations into Latin for some key words, in order to capture nuances in the Greek not reflected in the Vulgate then the authorized version.
Again, Erasmus translated Romans in a way that significantly weakens the basis for the doctrine of original sin a topic for another post , in way that moves the emphasis on the spiritual and human processes at work. Later in the same chapter verse 15 , Jesus begins to preach, announcing that the kingdom of God has come close, and people should do metanoia and have confidence in the good news.
What does this word mean? The word implied that you were acquiring, or re-acquiring, a new frame of reference — as when, for example, you were for a long time subject to some deep misconception or disturbance of mind, you had taken leave of your senses, and were now recovering. Metanoia , therefore, suggests a return from such a distracted or mistaken worldview — to return to your senses, to come to your right mind ad mentem redire, as Erasmus has it in his annotations to Mark. Thus, John and Jesus were calling for people to see the world so freshly that they could feel the truth, live in the truth, of the Kingdom whose time had ripened to fruition so we could bear fruits worthy of metanoia.
Once we come to our senses, we have much to learn, because every day and every fluctuation in our inward and outward condition may distract or baffle us. We are required, even after our shift of mind — indeed, as a consequence of it — to re-interpret the values we hold, and those of our culture, our ambitions, choices, fears, habits, worship — all.
That divine spirit has her own language and figures of speech, which you must from the first learn by diligent observation. The divine wisdom talks baby-talk to us, and like an attentive mother accommodates her speech to our infant condition. She provides milk for babes, and herbs for the sick.
But you should hasten to grow towards adulthood, and become fit for solid food. Wisdom condescends to your humble station, but you, on the other hand, should rise towards her sublimity. How can the way of the servant, the outcast and upstart who made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a lowly beast of burden not a warhorse or fine palfrey , represent any kind of response to the demands of life?
In coming to our senses as Jesus invites us to do, we have to cut loose our moorings from the conventions of the culture, perhaps of our families, of our ambitions and our fears. A first operation of Doctor Logos in its work within us is to show us the truth of our condition: As Erasmus writes in his paraphrase of Mark,. Once we begin the process of self-knowledge, then we are to lift up our hearts in prayer, at first yearning for relief from our afflictions, which now we can name and recognize, though they long plagued and corroded us inwardly.
The stutterer will be enabled to testify with power, the mourners will be comforted, the famished or deadened soul nourished and lifted up. It is a life-long task, but one which will be suited to each of us. They now should be accessible. For my money, the following excerpt, from a history of the idea of ecology, hints at one aspect of that altered point of view.
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It reminds me of some of the lessons of Sophia:. All change is not the same, nor are all changes equal. Some changes are cyclical, some are not. Some changes are linear, others are not. None of these editions was pathbreaking, but they may have brought him some income from the original publishers and certainly would enhance his reputation as a master of Latin style. Sometime in the autumn of , Erasmus left Paris for England, where he stayed through the winter and spring of Reasons for this move are purely speculative, but he may have thought that he had better connections there in his search for patrons.
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During this visit he established friendships with three learned and influential bishops, Richard Foxe of Winchester, John Fisher of Rochester, and William Warham, the archbishop of Canterbury, all of whom eventually did become helpful patrons. There was another advantage, perhaps even more essential for his future. He received from Pope Julius II a dispensation 4 January absolving him from the impediment created by his illegitimate birth to his holding an ecclesiastical benefice: in other words, he could now lawfully hold benefices that would provide the kind of ecclesiastical income that supported most university professors and scholars.
His closest personal connection during this visit was with Thomas More, now established as a young barrister, who had also been studying Greek. The two friends worked on translation of several works of the ancient satirical poet Lucian, and they jointly published these with a Paris publisher in Early in , Erasmus went to Cambridge and enrolled as a candidate for the doctorate in theology.
But Erasmus did not settle in Cambridge. Through his friendships with people at the royal court, he learned of an opportunity to fulfill his ambition of visiting in Italy. The king's Italian physician wanted a learned scholar to accompany his two sons to Italy and supervise the first year of their studies at the University of Bologna. As early as , Erasmus had discussed moving to Bologna, where the theological course was shorter, and taking his doctorate there Ep 75, CWE Erasmus and his pupils stopped for two months in Paris to allow him to supervise publication of several translations from Greek.