In the Fullness of Time

Perhaps the best way to understand and appreciate Joseph Pappin's unique achievement is to consider this fine book in the light of previous scholarship that attempts to ascertain the religious and moral sources and foundations of Edmund Burke's political philosophy. John Morley, the chief Victorian authority on Burke and the source of all subsequent empiricist, utilitarian, and positivist interpretations of his politics, on one occasion candidly admitted that his strictly secular and rationalist approach to Burke's Politics could not explain the complex religious or metaphysical origins or dimensions of Burke's thought:

In Burke's character . . . [and] at the bottom of all his thoughts about communities and governments there lay a certain mysticism. . . . To him there actually was an element of mystery in the cohesion of men in societies, in political obedience, in the sanctity of contract; in all that fabric of law and charter and obligation, whether written or unwritten, which is the sheltering bulwark between civilization and barbarism. When reason and history had contributed all that they could to the explanation, it seemed to him as if the vital force, the secret of organization, the binding framework, must still come from the impenetrable regions beyond reasoning and beyond history.

Reference to the abstract term "mysticism" was as close as Morley ever came...

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