All Times Are Bad Times II

A while back I posted some thoughts on how all times are bad times, and seem in fact the worst since the creation of the world. Today I stumbled across a text of Bl. John Henry Newman’s (from one of his Anglican works) that puts it much better than I ever could:

But in truth the whole course of Christianity from the first, when we come to examine it, is but one series of troubles and disorders. Every century is like every other, and to those who live in it seems worse than all times before it. The Church is ever ailing, and lingers on in weakness, “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in her body.” Religion seems ever expiring, schisms dominant, the light of Truth dim, its adherents scattered. The cause of Christ is ever in its last agony, as though it were but a question of time whether it fails finally this day or another. The Saints are ever all but failing from the earth, and Christ all but coming; and thus the Day of Judgment is literally ever at hand; and it is our duty ever to be looking out for it, not disappointed that we have so often said, “now is the moment,” and that at the last, contrary to our expectation, Truth has somewhat rallied. Such is God’s will, gathering in His elect, first one and then another, by little and little, in the intervals of sunshine between storm and storm, or snatching them from the surge of evil, even when the waters rage most furiously. Well may prophets cry out, “How long will it be, O Lord, to the end of these wonders?” how long will this mystery proceed? how long will this perishing world be sustained by the feeble lights which struggle for existence in its unhealthy atmosphere? God alone knows the day and the hour when that will at length be, which He is ever threatening; meanwhile, thus much of comfort do we gain from what has been hitherto,—not to despond, not to be dismayed, not to be anxious, at the troubles which encompass us. They have ever been; they ever shall be; they are our portion. “The floods are risen, the floods have lift up their voice, the floods lift up their waves. The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly; but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier.” (Lectures on the Prophetical Office of the Church, Lecture 14).

4 thoughts on “All Times Are Bad Times II

  1. Don’t most academic types think this is the best of times?

    Or at the least, they certainly give that impression by their continuous explaining how all those who came before us were gravely in error on matters that at the time were taken to be perfectly moral and sometimes even efficacious.

    I don’t mean only the progressives who could not be more pleased with the receding from the light of the past, but what are we to make of the wholesale rejection of limbo? Or of the necessity of baptism because all miscarried babies are now saints in heaven.

    Not to mention, capital punishment and servitude as was commonly practiced in all its various forms.

    Take marriage as example, the new views on marriage, while making it the most uncommon of all the sacraments if the marriage tribunals are to be believed, are considered enlightened in comparison to the past understandings. Or at least enlightened by academic types, because those on the receiving end have a very different take.

    For those in the pews suffering broken homes because of those enlightened views on marriage it may look darker, but the academic types certainly give the impression of their thinking this is the best of times.

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    • True. That is a peculiar temptation of academic types. One that has always puzzled me. It seems so natural to have nostalgia for a time that never was. Hegel is the extreme example of this, thinking that the dialectical self-actualization of the Spirit had come to completion in his own time. How could anyone think that? Marx has always seemed more plausible than Hegel to me because he at least puts the end of history some time in the future, and complains bitterly about the present.

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  2. Pingback: Newman: All times are bad times | Agellius's Blog

  3. Pingback: On Contemporary Critiques of Ultramontinism; With a Comparison of Recent Supreme Pontiffs to Liverpool FC Managers | Sancrucensis

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