Cowleys Talk on Doctrine (The Forgotten Classics)
Prophets and Patriarchs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Classic Reprint)
All of them knew that they had the laws which Moses gave them on Sinai — given by God, and not by man. He — Jehovah himself — was their lawgiver. There was no question as to whether or not these laws were proper; there was no question as to whether or not those laws were popular; they were divine, and that was sufficient. Balaam looked down and he saw more than that. He also knew that God gave His promise to Abraham that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. How could he pronounce a curse upon such a people?
How was it possible, where God has stamped His seal of approval upon it, where God has been the director and the very soul of that movement, that he should utter a curse? Nay, he could not do it. This was not only the case, my brethren, with the ancient people of Israel; but as we follow along in history we find afterwards, in the fullness of time; after four thousand years of waiting; after the human race was trembling in the balance; after great philosophers were confused and perplexed; after Israel were singing, through their prophets, many a song of the coming Messiah; after all the nations were anxiously waiting for somebody to come who would clear away the mists which rested upon the human race, who would explain how men could be delivered from sin and from iniquity — after four thousand years God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world.
When He sent His son upon earth it was not merely as a High Priest; it was not merely as a model lecturer — it was more than that: Christ came upon the earth with a revelation from the bosom of His Father to deliver to the whole human race. And then and there He established a Church upon the earth. There was a complete, full organization, equipped so that they might go out into the world and proclaim the glad tidings of the Messiah who had come. In that Church you find the same thing. From time to time there was a hired, wicked man who was led on to curse the Church.
Many an enemy surrounded the Church of God. But she came out victorious. Because the Church of God, in the early ages, was a Church that was united; it was a Church that was sanctified; it was a Church ready to spread the Gospel all over the world; and such a Church certainly could not be conquered. Now, my brethren, let me tell you that when we speak of unity in the Church, we do not mean by that something which is fabricated. You cannot fabricate unity in a church. There was one lawgiver; there was one High Priest; there was one leader — Moses.
They knew what God demanded of them; they knew their duties; they knew where to go for counsel; they knew where to ask for advice; they knew that where there was a sick man the sick man went to the High Priest to be cleansed. There was a bond of union, because God Himself had created it. They were sanctified; not sanctified merely in language, not by a fabrication, but they were sanctified because the law of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, if followed out, if lived out, could make of them holy men and women.
They were a people that could withstand all attacks from without. Because they had the power of God in their midst.
That is — that was — the Church of God. That was the Church which Jesus Christ established upon the earth. Let me be frank with you, my brethren.
It would do not good if I were not. I feel, as I stand here to address you, that I stand in a holy place. You might misunderstand me, and think that I am a Mormon. I were a hypocrite if I were to say that. Of course, according to my own belief, there is one church that makes that claim. Here is the Mormon Church. Here is another tabernacle. Here also an Israel has spread and pitched its tents. And to my mind, your Church and the Roman church are the only two churches in the world today that make any real claim to Christianity.
The reason why I have been attracted by your Church, and most likely why the head of your Church  has honored me with the distinction and privilege to speak to you, is because your Church will at all times arrest the mind and the heart of a man whose heart burns with zeal for truth and who has got brain to think.
I must know upon what they rest their claims and pretensions. I do not say I am convinced of it. I say I am open for conviction. There is no truth upon earth which a man should not accept when proven; and there is no man upon earth who is too great to accept the truth, no matter whence it emanates. Now, this Israel here in Utah — this new Israel, and this new Zion, there were many a man, many a Balaam, standing here to curse.
Many indeed went out to curse, to scandalize, to criticize, with malicious motives. Far be it from me to utter a single word, either here in your presence or after I have left, which even you yourselves could object to from your own standpoint. Now, here is the point.
A church that makes claim to unity, a church that makes claim to sanctity, a church that makes claim to possess the authority from Christ, may be a true church. Which one is it? You say it is your Church; I say it is mine. But this is not a place for debate. This is a place where I mean to show you that over and over again the Church of God was to be cursed, but was blessed.
But her strength, her power was that she was one, that she had authority, that she had all the sacraments in her own possession. Even in the time of Israel, nobody could ever point the finger and say there was a heresy; nobody could say there was a false leader, a false prophet. If there was one, Israel knew it by the direction of God.
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If there was false living, Israel knew it by the direction of God. That, to my judgment and in my opinion, is a true Church of Christ. It is very marvelous indeed when a man goes out and mingles with the various Christian sects. I have noticed a good many things which have impressed me very much. While lecturing on Thursday night to your students at one of your academies, in a little place called Ogden, I called their attention to a certain expression I heard; it is this: Language indicates something; it represents a certain institution.
Why, no other modern church can use that language. A man may leave the First Presbyterian church to join the Fourth Presbyterian church; he may leave the Fourth Presbyterian to join the First Baptist church; he may leave the First Baptist church to join the Lutheran church; but he is not an apostate, he may merely be a man who has crossed from one street into another. He can never be an apostate. What should he apostatize from? Now it makes no difference who the Balaam will be that will come to curse, be assured as long as you pitch your tents by the direction of God, as long as you have got the Lawgiver, God, as long as you claim to have authority, as long as you claim to have the Priesthood, as long as you claim to have the sacraments, you may find a thousand enemies surrounding you and they will all have to pronounce a benediction upon you.
I took my overcoat and went out into the street, and passed by a little bit of an office. There was a light in the office and it seemed to be as if it was a perpetual light burning in the temple of Vesta. That, my brethren, is your only strength in the world. In my crossing the ocean about sixteen times I have met with many an accident, remember many a time of shipwreck, and I recall one instance when we had to turn around the ship and go back thirty-six hours.
And so is the Church of God upon the earth. She is still upon the great ocean, shaken by every billow — by enemies, by misunderstandings. When I look around today in Protestant Christendom, I am almost tempted to say that the man who stands at the helm is a drunken, staggering sailor, with an unsteady hand, and he cannot make any response when this question comes to him.
I have in mind a very beautiful thing which is appropriate for your people, in the Talmud of Babylon.
It pictures where a young woman in the bloom of life sits at her table, and it seems as if all her occupation is nothing else but reading some letters. The woman loves a man dearly, as dear as her life, who has left and gone into a far country. She heard nothing from him month in and month out, year in and year out, and he returned. Upon his return he found his beloved one still waiting for him. She received him; she was loyal as ever, true as ever, steadfast as ever.
I have left you down on this earth, in the wilderness, in tribulation, often in agony, often in starvation, surrounded by enemies; how was it that you remained loyal, true, and steadfast to me? And so, my brethren, with the Church of God. Permit me to say that you as a people, in your Church, when you are surrounded by enemies, when sometimes the hand of civil war is laid upon your head heavily, when sometimes you are misunderstood, when sometimes you suffer, then take the love letters of Him who has thus far guided your forefathers, who has thus far kept you, and be assured that a God who can thus speak, a God who can thus talk to His people, that God will remain true.
Let me say to you one word, in conclusion. You have heard the 24th chapter of Numbers read to you. Are you an author? Help us improve our Author Pages by updating your bibliography and submitting a new or current image and biography. Learn more at Author Central. Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg. Available to ship in days. Cowley's Talks on Doctrine Dec 08, Available for download now. Usually ships within 1 to 2 months. They possessed no creative talent; and their headless gyrations helped them to avoid the realization of this sad truth about themselves.
When the European currencies were finally stabilized and these literary Valutaschweine as the Germans bitterly named those who fattened on the unfavorable rate of exchange regretfully returned to America, they transplanted their cliques and brawls and gin-parties. Their American period was perhaps even uglier and tawdrier than their European stay. Europe hal been for them a Roman Holiday; in America they made a habitual routine out of their petty vices. By they had pretty well exhausted their febrile ingenuity and were threshing about for new literary mannerisms.
The depression came close on the heels of this search for new styles to conquer, and further accentuated the bankruptcy of their old literary schools. In the post-war years, they had caroused, unseeing and uncomprehending, among starving multitudes in the European capitals. Now, however, hunger and insecurity were striking themselves or their friends.
Their psychological compulsion to find refuge and emotional security in a world which had collapsed around their ears was intensified a hundred-fold. But their new orientation, like the old, was hectic and unreflective, and equally exhibitionistic.
Some became Babbitarian Humanists or Southern Agrarians. Cowley was among those who proceeded to avow Communism. They did not know what it was but they had a notion that on the political scene it corresponded to what surrealisme represented on the literary scene. It broke with everything. It simplified things and made possible dramatic gestures which cost very little.
Yet it was much more exciting. A close friend of Cowley, Kenneth Burke, has explicitly formulated this rhetorical and religious approach to Communism in many recent articles. The Cowleys were genuinely surprised when the Communist Party, with little following among workers and at that time none among the stylized intellectuals, greeted them with enthusiasm and, instead of giving them a political education and teaching them a little mental discipline, used them as window- dressing for phony united fronts. Communism came to the Cowleys with the suddenness of religious conversion; and like all new converts to a gospel, their zealotry was in inverse proportion to their knowledge.
This was amusingly evident in their reactions to Lovestoneites, Socialists, and those who were defending Trotsky against the malicious slanders of the Stalinists.
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The Cowleys did not know what it was all about, but they were irritated whenever serious differences arose. If only, they groaned smugly, these eternal quibbles would let up! They read little of Marxist literature and understood less. Some leaders of the Communist Party had at the outset entertained the fear that these intellectuals would try to function as intellectuals.
They were soon reassured; it became clear that their whole past had failed to prepare the Cowleys for such a function: Moreover, to their ignorance and unwillingness to learn, was added the fact that Cowley and people like him feared nothing more than being thrust into the outer dark ness by those who were the official guardians of salvation by faith in Stalin and his works.
Nor was it only fear; there was also affinity. The irrationalism and bombast of Stalinism struck a responsive chord in the Cowleys, and they nestled comfortably and uncomprehendingly in the bosom of the Stalinist Church. If this seems exaggerated, one has only to turn to one of Mr. Publicly , of course, the Stalinists were shouting that the revolution was on the order of the day, that Hitler would not last the next month, that already the masses were girding to smash him, etc.
The real line was for private distribution only. Cowley showed how little he understood by blunderingly giving away the real line New Republic , April 12, The American proletariat is weak, said Cowley. The classic Marxist answer is that a powerfully organized and determined proletariat will draw to itself all those elements of the middle classes which have similar economic interests with the proletariat and which functionally and culturally stand to gain under socialism.
The struggle to win the middle classes begins with the organization of the proletariat. Not so for Stalinism and Cowley: If painting Russia as a paradise is the way to stop Fascism and make the revolution, any criticism of the Stalinist bureaucracy becomes a crime. The distinction between hostile bourgeois criticism and revolutionary Marxist criticism of Stalinism is a distinction which the Cowleys are incapable of making.
Any statement of doubt or criticism, they greet with bitter resentment. Unable to defend what they believe, they turn upon dissenting views with fierce impatience. They have lived too long without serious thought about social and political problems; they want only the luxurious emotional security they have won by their new allegiance; the labor of thinking is too high a price to pay for the truth. Note what happened when the line of the Communist Party changed and all the earlier dogmas except the infallibility of Stalin were thrown into the discard.
Without s opping so much as to draw a breath, or change their tone, or give any reasons, the Cowleys continued their chorus of amens to the pronouncements of Browder and Hathaway. This background has accentuated his personal characteristics as a literary critic. The qualities he has displayed in fulfilling his post as literary editor mark a violent break with the previous literary tradition of the New Republic. Compare him with his predecessors.
Francis Hackett was noteworthy because of his disciplined imagination and genial warmth, Philip Littell had a certain dry acerbity and intellectual incisiveness which one could enjoy without accepting his judgments, Edmund Wilson was always distinguished for the lucidity and sympathetic plausibility with which he rendered the visions of the great artists of our day. Malcolm Cowley, however, is completely incapable of handling ideas.
He cannot analyze them, cannot play with them, cannot place them in a significant context. Consequently, he is compelled to confront ideas with attitudes usually irrelevant to the subject matter of his criticism, and asserted with rhetorical force rather than with precision.