inclined toward virtues

Is it possible for a sinful man to be “inclined” toward the virtues?  Put another way: Who said this, and about whom was he talking (i.e., who is “her”)?

The Holy Ghost Himself honors her as an instrument for His proper work when in His Holy Scriptures He asserts that through her his gifts were instilled in the prophets, namely, the inclination to all virtues, as can be seen in Elisha.

The next sentence might be too-easy-a-clue:

On the other hand, she serves to cast out Satan, the instigator of all sins, as is shown in Saul, the king of Israel.

Lots of implications in the afore-quoted, when we consider the meaning of such words and phrases as proper work, inclination, virtues, and cast out Satan.

And if you know or guess who “her” is, there are more implications still.

Plenty that could be misunderstood as well, but the words are the words, so to speak!

2 thoughts on “Virtues and Inclinations”

  1. Ah, Music! Was it Luther who wrote this? Whatever the case, your post reminds me of Boethius’ De Institutione Musica, in which he argues (with citations of Plato and others) for the inherent moral nature of music, which can be used to foster virtue or vice:

    “For the sense of hearing can apprehend sounds in such a way that it not only judges them and recognizes their differences, but it very often takes pleasure in them if they are in the form of sweet and well-ordered modes, whereas it finds displeasure if the sounds heard are unordered and incoherent. Thus it follows that, since there are four mathematical disciplines, the others are concerned with the investigation of truth, whereas music is related not only to speculation but to morality as well. For nothing is more consistent with human nature than to be soothed by sweet modes and disturbed by their opposites. And this affective quality of music is not peculiar to certain professions or ages, but it is common to all professions; and infants, youths and old people as well are so naturally attuned to the musical modes by a certain spontaneous affection that there is no age at all that is not delighted by sweet song…. From this same principle radical changes in one’s character also occur. A lascivious mind takes pleasure in the more lascivious modes or is often softened and moved upon hearing them. On the other hand, a more violent mind finds pleasure in the more exciting modes or will become excited when it hears them… Thus Plato held that we should be extremely cautious in this matter, lest some change in music of good moral character should occur. He also said that there is no greater ruin for the morals of a community than the gradual perversion of a prudent and modest music. For the minds of those hearing the perverted music immediately submit to it, little by little depart from their character, and retain no vestige of justice or honesty. This will occur if either the lascivious modes bring something immodest into the minds of the people or if the more violent modes implant something warlike and savage” (Boethius, De Institutione Musica, Book I).

  2. It was indeed Luther, from an introduction to a music textbook he was called upon to write! And that is a magnificent quotation from Boethius—another indication that this (the moral dimension of musical composition) is a matter of great concern for us.

    A friend and I were in Milan on a lecture-tour back in 2000, and we went to Pavia to view the tomb of St. Augustine, at St. Peter of the Golden Sky. We knew hardly any Italian, so when we arrived we wandered down to the crypt. In darkness and armed with a flashlight, we stumbled upon the tomb of Boethius!

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