…are powerless without repentance and renewed obedience.
Rushdoony, expanding on I Peter 3:1-8, spelled out why humanism was a stillborn corpse, even as it is aborning in the Enlightenment:
The humanistic reordering of life is very vividly described in a recently published book, a very superb biography of Louis the 14th by Doctor John D. Wolf. And in the course of his analysis of Louis the 14th, he calls attention to the destruction of Versailles, one of the greatest buildings ever put up by man; a building that not only influenced the construction of every other palace that was subsequently built, but also government centers. In fact, Versailles had a profound influence on Washington D.C. right down to the construction of the Pentagon, and Dr. Wolf traces this influence.
Then he says, by way of summing up the meaning of Versailles, and I quote: “We cannot leave Versailles without reiterating that it had a purpose beyond being the residence for the king and his government. This great palace was a keystone of a new cult of royalty. In the preceding eras, the great constructions were usually to the glory of God, even Philip the 2nd when he built his great palace, made it a monastery with a chapel as the center of interest. At Versailles, the bedroom of the king is the center, identifying the king as the highest power on earth, while the chapel was to one side.” We might add that the chapel was built last.
“The imposing grandeur of the chateau was evidence of the wealth of the kingdom, and its construction without walls or moats was proof of the power of the kings government. Versailles was a challenge, a defiance flung out at all Europe; as impressive a display of the wealth, power, and authority of the French king as were his armies and his warships. Europe did not miss this. The century after the construction of Versailles, chateaus at Vienna, at (?), at Dresden, at (Unik?), and at Saint Petersburg, and the very plans for the city of Washington D.C. reflect the influence of the grandeur of Versailles.”
Versailles was significant, says Dr. Wolf, because now in the very construction of buildings humanism came into full force. Man was central. And this was carried out into every aspect of Louis the 14th’s regime. It was humanistic to the core.
Now ironically Louis the 14th himself was, in many respects a devout man. And in his later days, after what really was the first world war of Europe, and his regime was financially in very sad plight and he was increasingly unpopular, it was a time of long sadness for Louis the 14th whose reign was one of the longest in European history. And in his later years he spent much time in grief and in long prayers, and in the belief that God was judging him for his crimes. But his prayers were useless, because the essential humanism of his regime continued. The bedroom, rather than the chapel was a fitting symbol; life now had a new architecture, the architecture of humanism. This new architecture for life had been first established by the renaissance, but it had given way to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and now the Enlightenment was again the order of the day.
Earlier in the Renaissance (Vocachio?) had stated the new premise of this new structure, this new architecture of life, when he wrote and I quote: “We have nothing in this world but what we enjoy.”
This new architecture of life that humanism gave became even more basic to the modern age with Hegel and Darwin. It took on a firmer, a harder shape, with an ostensible foundation in science in the doctrine of evolution. The new doctrine of man and society and of the state was what we analyzed last week as conversion downward, to use Kenneth Berks phrase. A conversion downward of every aspect of life.
Saint Peter did not, as we saw, condemn clothing or gold and silver or lovely hair dress. They have their place, and so to do church, state, school and all things else have their place. So too, do our feelings have their place. But we can never say that ‘How I feel about something is more important than my duty under God.’ To do so is to be guilty of humanism. The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever, to magnify God in every area of life. God’s law along suffices as the structure and architecture of life. Apart from that our prayers are hindered.
Louis the 14th is a tragic figure. Few monarchs of more intellectual power. Few monarchs who achieved more in their lifetime; and yet, his latter years spent in tears and in prayer. But it altered nothing. His prayers were hindered. Because the basic structure of his life remained to the last even as the architecture of Versailles, humanistic. The architecture of our life must come from the steel of Gods law word.R. J Rushdoony, Seventh Commandment: The Architecture of Life
“God’s law along suffices as the structure and architecture of life.”
Everything outside of the Law of God – and the purification of our hearts with the Holy Spirit, and our enlivenment due to the remission of our sins by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – is just shifting sand.
Even the Law itself, without Christ, only points to our just execution.
We need Christ to live, and obedience to His word, if we do not want our prayers to be hindered.