Friday, July 8, 2011

softening of the nature...

My reading in Plutarch this morning included this:

"Verily, among all the benefits which men derive from the favour of the Muses, none other is so great as that softening of the nature which is produced by culture and discipline, the nature being induced by culture to take on moderation and cast off excess"

Which put me in mind of the description of a certain kind of Unitarianism (Boston Unitarianism) as described by O. B. Frothingham in his book "Boston Unitarianism 1820-1850"

"But it should be added, that the faith we are concerned with laid stress on the old virtues of private character—purity, moderation, kindness, hospitality, generosity, peacefulness, hopefulness, humility, truth —rather than on the philosophical foundations of belief, or the changes necessary to perfect society. Its whole purpose was to create good men, trusting to their influence for the regeneration of mankind, avoiding whatever, by causing disturbance, might alienate, discourage, or divert men from self-examination and self-discipline. It was certain that the multitude cared nothing for philosophical speculation, and it was equally certain that any discussion of social themes would arouse disaffection. The field of Christian character -was wide, and its elements were well understood and cordially respected."


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