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Meditation 240
Burke on Scripture

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In a debate in the British House of Commons on the Acts of Uniformity, Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) said:

The Scripture is no one summary of doctrines regularly digested, in which a man could not mistake his way. It is a most venerable, but most multifarious, collection of the records of the divine economy; a collection of infinite variety, - of cosmogony, theology, history, prophecy, psalmody, morality, apologue, allogory, legislation, ethics, carried through different books, by different authors, at different ages, for different ends and purposes. It is necessary to sort out what is intended for example, what only as narrative, - what is to be understood literally, what figuratively, - where one precept is to be controlled and modified by another, - what is used directly, and what only as an argument ad hominem, - what is temporary, and what of perpetual obligation, what appropriated to one state and one set of men, and what to the general duty of all Christians. If we do not get some security for this, we not only permit, but we actually pay for, all the dangerous fanaticism which can be produced to corrupt our people...

Burke was prescient. Unfortunately, fundamentalists seem incapable of interpreting Scripture in the intelligent way Burke recommended, and we are faced with the dangerous religious fanaticism he warned us about.