John Davenant on Christian mercy and Stoicism

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... Hence we conclude,

1. The apathy (απαθεια) of the Stoics must be exploded by a Christian; as not agreeing either with our natural condition or our supernatural regeneration. Prosper, De vit. contempl. 30, 31, well remarks, We are not in fault for having affections, but for making a bad use of them.

2. Bowels of mercy are found in every regenerate person: he is therefore moved at the very first view of another’s misery.

3. They who, ere they can be excited to mercy, must have much solicitation, bewailing, and clamour from the afflicted, can lay claim to little or nothing of the spiritual man: they who are not moved by these, have nothing human in them. ...

For more, see John Davenant on Christian mercy and Stoicism.

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Davenant's commentary on Colossians is a jewel. There is much about stoicism that is appealing. This accounts for its staying power in western civilization. But here, Davenant puts his finger on how it is radically out of step with biblical piety.
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