In this he found sympathy with the rapidly emerging Restoration Movement in the US at the time.
Publication details are provided in the notes to individual works. The latter three texts pose two difficulties. Thus, there was nothing unusual in Thomasius later collecting these disputations for publication under his own signature.
The second difficulty is that of establishing an authoritative text for English translation when there are two versions—one in Latin, the other in German—both apparently authorized by Thomasius yet differing in certain regards.
In addressing this problem we have not attempted to present a variorum edition, cross-tabulating all of the differences between the Latin and German versions. Rather, we have drawn on both versions in order to produce an English text accessible to the Edition: We are grateful to Knud Haakonssen for welcoming this work into his series and for his helpful advice along the way.
Several colleagues are to be thanked for reading various essays in draft form and offering helpful comments, including Andreas Goessner, Michael Lattke, David Saunders, and Michael Seidler.
Thomas Ahnert would like to thank the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, where he has held a research fellowship during the preparation of the text.
Frank Grunert is grateful to Holger Nath for his assistance in translating essays 1 and 5. All men by nature are in the same miserable shape.
In spite of this, every thought and desire they have had since their youth leads them to do things that make their lives unhappy, wretched, or both.
Thus, the natural end of life is cut short. Man becomes the agent of his own misfortune. General means against it2.
Few recognize this misery. Even fewer use their knowledge of this misery to seek the reasonable means of saving themselves from it. Fewest of all, however, when investigating these means, take the necessary care or muster up the strength to grasp these means.
Everywhere it is not the Creator but man himself who is thus to blame, despite the fact that God has bestowed upon him and presented him with partly natural, partly supernatural teachings, means, and powers.
This misfortune can be ascribed, among other causes, to the fact that man confuses the natural and supernatural lights, reason and divine revelation, thereby bringing disorder to all knowledge.
As a result, man regards true teachings as errors and passes off errors for truths. He attempts to assert them by force. In doing so, he misses the right path and, while intending to help, seduces others, plunging them and himself into misery.
Thus sincere lovers of truth have always recognized that the light of reason and divine revelation, as well as nature and grace, should be clearly distinguished. Recently, not only in France but also in Germany, learned men have published treatises about this, some scholarly, others polemical.
The light of reason and of divine revelation are expressed by intellect, nature, and grace, but also by the will. Often, both are generally understood in such a way that the light of reason is needed for the natural powers and grace for supernatural knowledge.
In this broad sense, we are able to grasp the difference between natural and supernatural lights most clearly in the following way: Especially, though, it requires each person to concern himself first with his own misery. The natural light thus shows man the means and ways by which he can get out of this misery using his natural powers and without any special supernatural grace, so that he can place himself in a happy state as far as temporal life is concerned.
The supernatural or immediate divine light, however, is concerned with the eternal happiness which man lost by his Fall. It shows how after this temporal life there will be a different life and a resurrection of the dead. It also shows what difference there is between the state of the eternally blissful or chosen and the state of the hapless or damned.
It shows the means determined by God for attaining eternal bliss and avoiding eternal damnation. It also teaches whence come the supernatural powers needed to apply these means, and how man must behave in regard to them.
All of this goes beyond the boundaries of the natural light, since reason by itself knows nothing about the state of innocence, nor about the Fall, nor about the immortality of souls, nor about eternal life or the eternal torments of hell, nor about Christ and his merits or the belief in Christ as the only means of grasping these merits.
Neither, by themselves, are the powers of the will capable of obtaining this eternal bliss. With regard to his reason, man thus needs a special divine revelation, while with regard to his will he needs supernatural divine assistance. At the same time, this shows the simple but clear difference between theology and philosophy or between theology and the other three faculties: Errors of the scholars who depart from this simple conception5.
Considering how simple is the difference of this double light, and how easily it can be understood by even the least educated, it is all the more astonishing that it is neglected, or even contested and challenged by the most educated. This comes about because people readily know what to say in general about these two lights and their boundaries.
When it comes to an exact investigation of this, however, then no one can give a clear explanation to those eager to learn. Much controversy then arises from ignorance of the boundaries of the two lights.
One party accuses the other of turning naturally good or evil things into supernatural, divine or diabolical effects.essays on church, state, and politics. natural law and enlightenment classics Knud Haakonssen General Editor Christian Thomasius uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Essays on the Church, State, and Politics by Christian Thomasius, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
Essays on Church, State, and Politics collects six texts of classic literature by German jurist, philosopher, reformer, and early advocate of separation of church and state, Christian Thomasius ().Price: $ Essays on Church, State, and Politics Christian Thomasius Edited, Translated,and with an Introduction by Ian Hunter, Thomas Ahnert, and Frank Grunert Thomas Ahnert, “The Prince and the Church in the Thought of Christian Thomasius,” in Natural Law .
The German-speaking states in the early modern period (–) were divided politically and religiously. They all suffered greatly in the Thirty Years War (–).
Catholic Austria and Lutheran Prussia were the major players.
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