How Nathaniel Hawthorne Relates to
Heresy of Decisional Regeneration
|Nathaniel Hawthorne's (1804-1864) An interesting feature of Cellestial Railroad is how personal morality is accomplished through membership in socialist causes such as womans rights, abolition and temperance, an early indication of the social effects of pre-millenial "disinterested benevolence".|
Hawthorne's great-great-great-grandfather was one of the original Puritans. His great-great-grandfather, John Hathorne, was one of the judges who oversaw the Salem witch trials, and the only judge that never publically apologized for his participation. This was likely the reason Nathaniel Hathorne changed his name to Nathaniel Hawthorne in his early twenties, shortly after graduating from college, in an effort to dissociate himself from his notorious forebear. He married a transcedentalist and was friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau and Theodore Parker.
Hawthorne is feature in christianebooks.com because of his book, Cellestial Railroad. His parody of Pilgrim,s Progress illustrates the prevailing views of the educated Christian in the America of 1843.
This bright and witty parody of Pilgrim’s Progress ILLUSTRATES THE NINETEENTH CENTURY OPTIMISM THAT GOD WAS NO LONGER ANGRY AT SIN, NO LONGER REQUIRED THE REMOVAL OF WORLDLY HABITS, AND MAN HAD DEVELOPED TO THE POINT WHERE HE NO LONGER NEEDED TO BE TAUGHT ABOUT HIMSELF BY LAW WORKS AND A STRUGGLE OF FAITH. SINCE MAN WAS NOT FALLEN (THE STORY OF ADAM AND EVE HAD BEEN PROVEN FALSE BY SCIENCE), AND TECHNOLOGY HAD PROVIDED THE MEANS OF SALVATION (PSYCHOLOGY EXPLAINS SAVING FAITH AS JUST BELIEVING GOD IS LOVE), ALL ONE NEEDED TO DO TO GET TO HEAVEN WAS BUY A TICKET ON THE CELLESTIAL RAILROAD. MACHINE SALVATION PRODUCES MACHINE MORALITY, IN WHICH ONE FULFILLS HIS QUOTA OF MORALITY BY DONATING AND WORKING FOR SOCIAL CAUSES.
SALVATION WAS AS STREAMLINED AS RAILROAD TRAVEL, AND REPENTANCE WAS NO LONGER AN OPTION, LET ALONE A REQUIREMENT.
The blue is commentary. The red is from Pilgrim's Progress. The Black if from Cellestial Railroad.
Then said Evangelist, "If this be thy condition, why standest thou still?" He answered, "Because I know not whither to go." Then he gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, "Fly from the wrath to come." Matt 3:7.
The reader of John Bunyan will be glad to know that Christian's old friend, Evangelist, who was accustomed to supply each pilgrim with a mystic roll, now presides at the ticket-office. Some malicious persons, it is true, deny the identity of this reputable character with the Evangelist of old times, and even pretend to bring competent evidence of an imposture. Without involving myself in a dispute, I shall merely observe, that, so far as my experience goes, the square pieces of pasteboard, now delivered to passengers, are more convenient and useful along the road, than the antique roll of parchment.
Instead of a lonely and ragged man, with a huge burden on his back, plodding along sorrowfully on foot, while the whole city hooted after him, here were parties of the first gentry and most respectable people in the neighborhood, setting forth toward the Celestial City as cheerfully as if the pilgrimage were merely a summer tour.
Machine Handling of burdens
Our enormous burdens, instead of being carried on our shoulders, as had been the custom of old, were all snugly deposited in the baggage car, and, as I was assured, would be delivered to their respective owners at the journey's end.
It was laughable while we glanced along, as it were, at the
tail of a thunderbolt, to observe two dusty travelers, in the old pilgrim guise, with cockle-shell
and staff, their mystic rolls of parchment in their hands, and their intolerable burdens on their backs. The preposterous obstinacy of these honest
people, in persisting to groan and stumble along the difficult pathway, rather than take advantage of modern improvements, excited great mirth among our wiser brotherhood. We greeted the two pilgrims with many pleasant gibes and a roar of laughter; whereupon they gazed at us with such woful and absurdly compassionate visages, that our merriment grew tenfold more obstreperous. Apollyon (Greek for "destroyer", a title for Satan), also, entered heartily into the fun, and contrived to flirt the smoke and flame of the engine, or of his own breath, into their faces, and envelope them in an atmosphere of scalding steam. These little practical jokes amused us mightily, and doubtless afforded the pilgrims, the gratification of considering themselves martyrs.
No Reason to get rid of burdens
we were rushing by the place where Christian's burden fell from his shoulders, at the sight of the cross. … gentlemen from the town of Shun-repentance,
(pointed out) the inestimable advantages resulting from the safety of our baggage. Myself, and all the passengers, indeed, joined with great unanimity in this view of the matter; for our burdens were rich in many things esteemed precious throughout the world; and, especially, we each of us possessed a great
variety of favorite habits, which we trusted would not be out of fashion, even in the polite circles of the Celestial City. It would have been a sad spectacle to see such an assortment of valuable articles tumbling into the sepulchre.
The abstraction of morality – No contemplation of truths needed – No feeling the reality of self and God - Machine Knowledge, Not Relationship with God
Literature is etherealized by assuming for its medium the human voice ; and knowledge, depositing all its heavier particles, …becomes exhaled into a sound, which forthwith steals into the ever-open ear of the community. These ingenious methods constitute a sort of machinery by which thought and study are done to every person's hand without his putting himself to the slightest inconvenience in the matter.
The Machine Morality of Socialism - Donating or working for social causes fufills the prerequisite quota for personal morality.
There is another species of machine for the manufacture of individual morality. This excellent result is effected by societies for all manner of virtuous purposes: with which a man has merely to connect himself, throwing, as it were, his quota of virtue into the common stock; and the president and directors will take
care that the aggregate amount be well applied.
All these, and other wonderful improvements in
ethics, religion, and literature, being made plain
to my comprehension by the ingenious Mr. Smooth-it-away, inspired me with vast admiration of Vanity Fair.
The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, "Whither must I fly?" Then said Evangelist, (pointing with his finger over a very wide field,) "Do you see yonder wicket-gate?" Matt 7:13,14. The man said, "No." Then said the other, "Do you see yonder shining light?" Ps 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19. He said, "I think I do." Then said Evangelist, "Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate; at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do."
PROGRESSIVE ILLUMINATION BEFORE REGENERATION IS THE NORMAL PROCESS OF PILGRIMS. A "STRUGGLE OF FAITH" AND "LAW WORKS" IN THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND IS WHERE PILGRIMS DISCOVERED THEIR DESPERATE NEED OF CHRIST
ALL THE PILGRIM KNOWS IS HE MUST FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME AND GET RID OF THE BURDEN OF SIN ON HIS BACK. HE SEES A TINY LIGHT IN THE DISTANCE TO GO TOWARD. SPURGEON SAID HE DISAGREED WITH BUNYAN ON JUST ONE POINT, THAT IS, HE WOULD HAVE HAD EVANGELIST DIRECT PILGRIM TO THE FOOT OF THE CROSS INSTEAD OF TO THE TINY LIGHT OF THE WICKET GATE, AND THUS AVOID THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND. THIS WAS THE MISTAKE NEW LIGHT CALVINISTS MADE AFTER THE CIVIL WAR – THEY GAVE PILGRIMS THE ANSWER BEFORE PILGRIMS ASKED THE QUESTION THAT WOULD INDICATE WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAD BEEN ILLUMINATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THEIR LOST CONDITION. KNOWING THAT WRATH IS COMING AND KNOWING THE BURDEN OF SIN IS NOT KNOWING ONE’S CONDITION AS HOPELESS WITHOUT CHRIST. THE FIRST QUESTION THE INQUIRY ROOM WORKER SHOULD ASK IS WHY DID YOU COME HERE? IF THE SEEKER SAYS, “TO BE SAVED”, THE WORKER MUST GO DEEPER TO FIND OUT IF THE SEEKER IS REPENTANT AND KNOWS HIS CONDITION AS HOPELESS WITHOUT CHRIST. UNFORTUNATELY, THE BEST SYSTEM WAS GRADUALLY REPLACED BY THE BIST SYSTEM AFTER THE CIVIL WAR BECAUSE OF THE INFLUENCE OF SCIENCE, SOCIALISM AND PSYCHOLOGY.
"This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended: it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond; for still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arise in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place: and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.
"It is not the pleasure of the King that this place should remain so bad. Isa 35:3,4. His laborers also have, by the direction of his Majesty's surveyors, been for above this sixteen hundred years employed about this patch of ground, if perhaps it might have been mended: yea, and to my knowledge," said he, "there have been swallowed up at least twenty thousand cart loads, yea, millions of wholesome instructions, that have at all seasons been brought from all places of the King's dominions, (and they that can tell, say, they are the best materials to make good ground of the place,) if so be it might have been mended; but it is the Slough of Despond still, and so will be when they have done what they can.
"True, there are, by the direction of the Lawgiver, certain good and substantial steps, placed even through the very midst of this slough; but at such time as this place doth much spew out its filth, as it doth against change of weather, these steps are hardly seen; or if they be, men, through the dizziness of their heads, step beside, and then they are bemired to purpose, notwithstanding the steps be there”
The Machine way of dealing with the Slough Of Despond - deny the necessity of Law Works and illumination of the Holy Spirit
"This,'' remarked Mr. Smooth-it-away, "is the famous Slough of Despond—a disgrace to all the neighborhood; and the greater, that it might so
easily be converted into firm ground.'' "I have understood," said I, "that efforts have been made for that purpose, from time immemorial. Bunyan mentions that above twenty thousand cart loads of wholesome instructions had been thrown in here, without effect." "Very probably !—and what effect could be anticipated from such unsubstantial stuff !" cried Mr. Smooth-it-away. "You observe this convenient bridge. We obtained a sufficient foundation for it by throwing into the Slough some editions of books of morality, volumes of French philosophy and German rationalism; tracts, sermons, and essays of modern clergymen;extracts from Plato, Confucius, and various Hindoo sages, together with a few ingenious commentaries upon texts of Scripture—all of which, by some scientific process, have been converted into a mass like granite. The whole bog might be filled up with similar matter.”