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Thread: Westcott and Hort occultism - seance and "communion of saints"

  1. Default Westcott and Hort occultism - seance and "communion of saints"


    Hort seance attendance - Westcott communion of the saints spiritualism.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pure...5977207827502/

    Generally I do not write too much about the occultism of Westcott and Hort. The fundamental problem is their ultra-corrupt recension, and the absurd theories plied by Hort, and how easily textual "scholars" were duped by his irrational, turgid writing. (P. C. Sense has some good quotes about his writing.) The ridiculous 1881 theoretical writing of Hort, which Burgon astutely tore apart and yet he even missed a number of points, came after Hort's earlier mesmeristic control over the decrepit Revision committee.
    .
    Much has been written on the occultism of the times and how it buffeted Westcott and Hort. Not always fully accurately on either side. And I usually emphasize two specific elements (see the title) that have generally not been properly discussed. The seance helps to disprove the "college dalliance" and "only scientific research" hand-waves of the earlier occultisms. The communion of the saints that was so much a part of Westcott was simply spiritualism, attempting to commune with the deceased. Not through a medium, but through personal meditation.

    On CARM this has come up, you can read a couple of my posts here:

    communion of saints - Westcott and Hort and spiritualism
    Steven Avery - 3/21/2016
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php…

    the 1864 seance with Augustus and Sophia De Morgan - 3/21-2016
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php…

    .

  2. Default Westcott occultism

    Here is the CARM material, tweaked

    communion of saints - Westcott and Hort and spiritualism
    Steven Avery CARM Post #45
    http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthrea...=1#post7746483


    Anyone can simply read Westcott. His writing on this communion of saints is unclean, so I suggest Holy Spirit armour.

    Ephesians 6:10-15
    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
    Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
    against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
    against spiritual wickedness in high places.
    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,
    that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
    and having done all, to stand.
    Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth,
    and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
    And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;


    ... Fighting Fundamental Forum in 2011 in a thread you began called

    "B. F. Westcott the orthodox, Trinitarian Christian".
    http://www.fundamentalforums.com/bible-versions/97749-b-f-westcott-orthodox-trinitarian-christian-8.html

    Westcott's descriptions of the Communion of Saints is quite strange and quite different than e.g. the section in Corinthians that includes:

    1 Corinthians 12:12
    For as the body is one, and hath many members,
    and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body:
    so also is Christ.


    This was a major discussion in Anglican circles from 1851 on because of the Bampton lectures by Henry Bristow Wilson. The sections that Westcott has on this are quite spiritually off, as has been pointed out in some articles. Here is one example not often referenced:

    The historic faith: short lectures on the Apostles' creed (1883)
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    http://books.google.com/books?id=K_o2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA258
    Meditation on the saintliness of saintly men must be supplemented by meditation on angels, as the representatives of the unseen world, if we are to feel the full extent of the Communion of Saints.


    And you can see that Westcott definitely did not consider this to be a very early part of the Apostle's Creed.

    The historic faith: short lectures on the Apostles' creed
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    http://books.google.com/books?id=K_o2AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA123
    The Holy Catholic Church is not only a great fact: it is also a great power: it carries with it an influence not limited by time or space. We are not heirs only of the past: the past lives for us in its spiritual energy. So our Western forefathers added, as late perhaps as the eighth century, a fresh clause to the Creed in order to give clear expression to this characteristic thought, and taught us to declare our belief in the Communion of Saints"


    The history of when the phrase was added to the Apostle's Creed is in The Apostle's Creed (1906) by Arthur Ewbank Burn. More significant than the lateness question is he strange spin given to the phrase. And this appears, so far, to be uniquely Westcott, and there is more than the one quote above. And this concept of communion with the saints deceased dovetails with the spiritualism connections of, e.g. the Hort and Westcott Sixth Form boys having the seance with Augustus and Sophia De Morgan.

    If there was an apostolic and early church writer sense of the phrase, it would be in the scriptural sense, as in the Corinthians verse and section referenced above and:

    1 John 1:1-4
    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard,
    which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon,
    and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
    (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it,
    and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life,
    which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; )
    That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,
    that ye also may have fellowship with us:
    and truly our fellowship is with the Father,
    and with his Son Jesus Christ.
    And these things write we unto you,
    that your joy may be full.
    Since that time I've run into far more material about this spiritualistic approach of Westcott to communing with saints.

    The drift into occultism under that guise actually began as early as 1851, when Hort wrote to Westcott, objecting about the published Bampton Lecture given by Henry Bristow Wilson (1803-1888) on:

    Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Volume 1 (1896)
    Fenton John Anthony Hort

    https://books.google.com/books?id=Rxc3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA210

    "the Communion of Saints, and the object is to show that there is no communion between the living and the dead".
    This desire for communing with the dead, for spiritualism, to supplant true Biblical Christianity is in the very same letter that, in his ignorance, buffeted by the demonic realm, Hort rails against "vile" Textus Receptus:

    Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Volume 1
    By Fenton John Anthony Hort
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Rxc3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA210

    "I had no idea till the last few weeks of the importance of texts, having read so little Greek Testament, and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus."
    Westcott in his writings, even decades later, is using the communion of saints for such meditation-based spiritiualistic communion between the living and the dead.

  3. Default CARM - more background on communion of saints

    CARM Post #53

    > . . . you are aware that the phrase "communion of the saints" comes from the Apostles' Creed, right?

    Earlier I left out pointing out that it was not in the original Apostle's Creed, but was added centuries later, probably in the fifth century in Gaul. (Harnack says it can be shown that the phrase "communio sanctorum" was in the Apostolicum of the South Gallican churches in the second half of the fifth century. History of Dogma, 1898, p. 244) (Even Westcott knew this was a late addition, see above "So our Western forefathers added, as late perhaps as the eighth century".)

    Later it became more universal in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions that accepted:

    "veneration and invocation to the saints who, in turn, intercede for the saints on Earth."
    -
    Sit on Our Hands, or Stand on Our Feet?, p. 213, Roger Philip Abbott, 2013.
    There is no evidence of the phrase even being used in the Ante-Nicene period, not even by ultra-problematic writers like Origen.

    Abbott shows the contrast between the pagan view (my phrase) and that of Calvin in the Institutes 4.1.3 and 3.20.24

    In his section on the “communion of the saints,” Calvin makes no mention at all of relations with the heavenly. church. In fact he believed, "when the Lord withdrew them from our company, he left us no contact with them [Eccl. 9:5-6), and as far as we can conjecture, not even left them any with us. Even if we argue that there is a Spiritual union between those in heaven and upon Earth, yet, "but if any man contend that... it is impossible for them to cease to keep the same love toward us, who has disclosed that they have ears long enough to reach our voices, or that they have eyes so keen as to watch over our needs?'
    ========================================

    CARM Post #54

    Harnack says it can be shown that the phrase "communio sanctorum" was in the Apostolicum of the South Gallican churches in the second half of the fifth century. History of Dogma, 1898, p. 244. He also discusses how the "questionable acquisition" of the "communio sanctorum" into the Apostolicum developed. He shows how the term was used by Augustine and Faustus of Rhegium.

    Harnack writes more on this in his book on the Apostle's Creed, p. 78-80:

    The Apostle's Creed (1901)
    Adolph Harnack
    https://archive.org/stream/apostlecr...ge/78/mode/2up
    Section also in CCEL and:
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...DX196w&cad=rja

    More detail on this history is given in The Lutheran Quarterly, 1894, Article II, The Communion of Saints, by Prof. J. W. Richard.

    ==================

    Before looking at the spiritualistic perversion of "communion of the saints" by Westcott, it is helpful to understand how the phrase "communio sanctorum" came late into the Apostle's Creed. And why Bible believing Evangelicals will strongly reject the connection made of it with doctrines like praying to saints that are part of the RCC and Orthodox tradition.

    And Bible believers will reject as well the weird Westcott meditation usage, where he is feeling the presence of the deceased and the dead are even said to have "dominion" (which is even worse as an occult perversion than the RCC and Orthodox error.) As e.g. in this from the writings of Brooke Foss Westcott:

    The Historic Faith: Short Lectures on the Apostles' Creed
    (1904)
    Brooke Foss Westcott
    https://books.google.com/books?id=3IRMAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA104

    "We are learning, by the help of many teachers, the extent and the authority of the dominion which the dead exercise over us, and which we ourselves are shaping for our descendants. We feel, as perhaps it was impossible to feel before, how at every moment influences from the past enter our souls, and how we in turn scatter abroad that which will be fruitful in the distant future. It is becoming clear to us that we are literally parts of others and they of us." (Westcott, originally 1880)
    Meditation on the saintliness of saintly men must be supplemented by meditation on angels, as the representatives of the unseen world, if we are to feel the full extent of the Communion of Saints.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=3IRMAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA108
    As I warned, this stuff from Westcott is simply unclean. Even the article in 1880 in The Month and Catholic Review strongly objected to giving dominion to the deceased.

    ====

    Returning to the "craze" of spiritualistic occultism that infected the circles of Westcott and Hort, once again I will point out that it is precisely when Hort is desiring "communion between the living and the dead"
    that Hort wrote ignorantly, ranting against the Received Text as "villainous". Hort acknowledged that he knew basically nothing about the Bible text at the time .. however he was open to occult forces that do see the historic Bible as vile and villainous.

    ========================================

    CARM #55

    The spiritualistic type of obsession of Westcott, revolving around communion of the saints, had nothing to do with Biblical and evangelical Christian doctrine, faith and belief.

    You can also see this come out in Life and Letters, Vol 1. , 1903 p. 312-313, by his son Arthur Westcott:

    Life and letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D., D.C.L.: sometime bishop of Durham, Volume 1

    Arthur Westcott
    https://books.google.com/books?id=iCI3AAAAMAAJ&pg=PA312


    The Communion of Saints ... The subject, too, is one so very dear to himself. He had an extraordinary power of realising this Communion. It was his delight to be alone at night in the great Cathedral, for there he could meditate and pray in full sympathy with all that was good and great in the past. I have been with him there on a moonlight evening when the vast building was haunted with strange lights and shades, and the ticking of the great clock sounded like some giant's footsteps in the deep silence. Then he had always abundant company. Once a daughter in later years met him returning from one of his customary meditations in the solitary darkness of the chapel at Auckland Castle, and she said to him, " I expect you do not feel alone ?" " Oh no," he said, " it is full" ; and as he spoke his face shone with one of his beautiful smiles.

  4. Default

    Note:

    The seance was a recent discovery, so it is not included in most of the writing. (I'll plan a separate post or thread here.)

    Previously, possibly the most complete "communion of the saints" discussion of Westcott was in Phil Stringer:
    http://www.deanburgonsociety.org/Preservation/westcott.htm

    Westcott's son refers to his father's life long faith in spiritualism (Archbishop Benson's son referred to Benson in the same way). Communion with spirits became quite fashionable in the late 1800's in British society. Even Queen Victoria, who normally led a responsible Christian life, dabbled in spiritualism. However, it was considered unseemly for Church of England clergymen, and Westcott had to keep his ideas quiet. According to Westcott's son, Arthur, Dr. Westcott practiced the Communion of the Saints. This was a belief that you can fellowship with the spirits of those who died recently.

    Bible translator J. B. Phillips also believed in the Communion of Saints. He believed that the spirit of C.S. Lewis visited him after his death. According to Arthur Westcott, Bishop Westcott also had such experiences with spirits. His son writes, "The Communion of Saints seems particularly associated with Peterborough. He had an extraordinary power of realizing this Communion. It was his delight to be alone at night in the great Cathedral, for there he could meditate and pray in full sympathy with all that was good and great in the past. . . There he always had abundant company." Westcott's daughter met him returning from one of his customary meditations in the solitary darkness of the chapel at Auckland castle. She said to him, " I expect you do not feel alone?" "Oh, no," he said, "It is full."

    Either Dr. Westcott's children lied about him or Dr. Westcott was used to meeting with spirits. Bible believers recognize these spirits as demons.
    However, he does not really have the basic quotes, or history, as above. And I had to fix his "Wescott", which mars such an article.

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