Piety Practical Notes Quotations

Inconsistency and Hypocrisy

There is much in Coventry Patmore that is superficial or wrong or even abominable, but from time to time there is a good remark as well. Here is one such, from the “Magna Moralia” section XXXII in The Rod, the Root, and the Flower:

The world is not scandalised by anything so much as by the inconsistencies of believers, which it attributes to hypocrisy. But a great deal of ‘inconsistency’ and shortcoming is consistent with an entire absence of hypocrisy. The world having to do only with objects of the senses, discerns and believes a thing fully or not at all, and acts accordingly; and expects that Christians should do the same. But God and the truths of faith are ‘infinitely visible and infinitely credible’; and discernment and belief vary infinitely in degree, from the obscure longing which cries, ‘O God, if Thou be a God, save my Soul, if I have a Soul’, to that of the Saint who sees God, as it were, face to face; and as faith thus varies, so varies the life which comes of it.

4 replies on “Inconsistency and Hypocrisy”

This is what I was trying to say that I think George Orwell doesn’t take into consideration; and which, since he wants to speak to the point rather frequently, he ought to be have been familiar with as one of the most basic doctrines of experiential Christianity and of making our way to God through this present world — which is why I think he is less fair than he generally is in other ways to Christians, and shows his angst against God.

(I mean that I think he is less fair to Christians than he generally is in other ways :-)

Well, you would expect that, if not from the Patmore quote itself, certainly from Luther’s emphasis that the world must and always does hate the church; but you have to be careful too, because it’s quite likely that John Middleton Murry, the Communists, the Tories, the Catholics, etc., all thought Orwell was rather less fair to their party than to others

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