Friday, December 13, 2002

"Mr. Thornwell is apparently disposed to maintain that this fifth method[private revelation from God] is the one actually adopted, but this he is not at liberty to do. The method is private, not public, and cannot be appealed to in a public debate. In a public debate, the appeal must always be to a public authority, that is, to an authority common to both parties. If the authority to which the appeal is to be made is private, there can be no public debate; if private, interior, immediate, as must be the teachings of the spirit, there can be no argument. Argument in such a case would be superfluous and even criminal. When, therefore, a man resorts, on a given question, to argument, and to public argument, he necessarily assumes that the authority which is to determine the question is public, and denies it to be private. Mr. Thornwell in his essay made his appeal to argument, and wrote his essay to prove that the question he raised is to be settled, not by the private spirit, but by public facts, arguments, and authority. He therefore cannot fall back on the private spirit. Having elected public authority, he must abide by it. If he cannot now fall back on the private spirit, he cannot allege it as a supposable method; and if he cannot so allege it, he cannot accuse Dr. Lynch’s argument of sinning by an imperfect enumeration of particulars, because it omits it."

-Oresetes Brownson

No comments: