Gordon Brown sells the nation’s soul to Satan
Courtesy of Rory Bremner via Play Political, this video encapsulates everything that a religio-political blog might take ten thousand words to expound. The selling of one’s soul to Satan has been an enduring theme in literature, theatre and film, but perhaps nothing has surpassed the dramatic genius and poetic splendour of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.
Versions of the legend emerged during the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era, and were concerned with the acquisition of supernatural powers in return for a pact with the Devil. One of the most widespread had its origins during the reign of the Emperor Justinian, and concerned a bishop’s steward by the name of Theophilus who renounced Christ and the Virgin Mary after being unfairly dismissed from his post, and in defiance of his bishop-master declared Satan as his lord. This, to Cranmer, seems something of an over-reaction. Fearful of the consequences, Theophilus prayed and fasted for forty days, and made confession of his sin. Mary heard this plea, and Theophilus died in a state of grace.
It was not until the 16th century - with its preoccupation and obsession with magic, witchcraft, sorcery and alchemy - that the legend attained cult status. An anonymous Protestant theologian published a work in Frankfurt-on-Main which became known as the German Faust book. The title page contains a warning for all politicians who pursue a ‘world of profit and delight, / Of power, of honour, of omnipotence’:
History of Dr John Faust, the celebrated conjuror and master of black magic: How he sold himself to the Devil with effect from an appointed time: What in the meanwhile were the strange adventures he witnessed, himself initiated, and conducted, until at last he received his well-deserved reward. Mostly collected and printed from his own writings which he left behind him, as a terrifying instance and horrible example, and as a friendly warning to the arrogant, insolent-minded, and godless men.
The play is politically perceptive and spiritually edifying for it shows the awful consequences of man’s deliberate commitment to evil with a view to gratifying his lust, ambition and pride:
Hell hath no limits, nor circumscribed
In one self place, but where we are is hell,
And where hell is, there must we ever be;
And, to be short, when all the world dissolves
And every creature shall be purify’d,
All places shall be hell that is not heaven.
Politicians above all would do well not to reflect on such warnings and curb their flippant arrogance. Power corrupts subtly, and manifests itself in the wilful, headstrong and blind tendencies of those who attain authority. To play politics with morality is sin; to abjure God is damnation.
As Gordon Brown has already sold the nation’s soul to the EU, all further treaties with the Devil are subject to EU scrutiny. But they would not particularly mind UK plc slipping down the credit league and being humbled and humiliated on the world stage. Incredible as it may seem, McDonalds is now deemed more credit-worthy than the UK, which is no longer ranked alongside the USA, France or Germany, but has been relegated to join Italy and Greece in the global financial league.
This Labour Government is now not only devoid of vision; it is bankrupt, morally and financially. National humiliation may be the judgement of God; the price one has to pay for unrighteous government.
Cranmer exhorts all his readers and communicants to submit to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you (Js 4:7).