The Protestant Reformation looms large in neo-reactionary thought. This is because it saw the birth of the Spirit of Jacobinism, and because Neo-reaction is, on my understanding, reaction against this Spirit. Unlike the Paleo-reactionaries of long ago, today’s Neo-reactionaries are, however, embarrassed by the absence of legitimate authorities to defend. The Spirit of Jacobinism has now carried all before it, and one cannot really stand up for Throne and Altar after Lenin has taken the Crown and Danton has taken the Crozier.
This is why neo-reactionary thinkers spend so much time poking through the ashes, trying to understand what happened; and it is why our project is, at bottom, an exercise in historical demonology.
Well, as a contribution to this historical demonology, I give you here a suggestive scrap that I salvaged from the ashes. It is the story of something that happened on the banks of the River Thames, one winter evening in 1648. I found it in Clement Walker’s Anarchia Anglicana [Anarchy in England], a book published one year later. In it we witness the Nativity of Jacobinism, which is as much as to say the foundation of the “Kingdom of the Saints” in which we today reside.
(I have added the title and modernized some punctuation and spelling.)
Putting Out the Lights
“About the beginning of Lent last, Master Faucet, Minister of Walton upon the Thames, in Surrey, preached in his parish church after dinner. When he came down out of his pulpit, it was twilight, and into the church came six soldiers, one of them with a lantern in his hand and a candle burning in it. In the other hand he had four candles, not lighted.
He with the lantern called to the parishioners to stay a little, for he had a message to them from God, and offered to go up into the pulpit. But the parishioners would not let him. Then he would have delivered his errand in the church, but there they would not hear him. So, he went forth into the churchyard, the people following him, where he related to them that he had a vision, and received a command from God to deliver his will unto them—which he was to deliver, and they to receive, upon pain of damnation.
It consisted of 5 Lights:
- That the Sabbath was abolished as unnecessary, Jewish, and merely ceremonial. ‘And here (quoth he) I should put out my first Light, but the wind is so high I cannot light it.’
- Tithes are abolished as Jewish and ceremonial, a great burden to the Saints of God, and a discouragement of industry and tillage. ‘And here I should put out my second Light,’ etc., as aforesaid, which was the burden of his song.
- Ministers are abolished as antichristian, and of no longer use now Christ himself descends into the hearts of his saints, and his Spirt enlightens them with revelations, and inspirations. ‘And here I should have put out my third Light,’ etc.
- Magistrates are abolished as useless, ‘now that Christ himself is in purity of Spirit come amongst us, and hath erected the Kingdom of the Saints upon earth. Besides, they are tyrants and oppressors of the Liberty of the Saints, and tie them to laws and ordinances, mere human inventions. And here I should have put,’ etc.
- Then putting his hand into his pocket, and pulling out a little Bible, he shewed it open to the people, saying, ‘Here is a book you have in great veneration, consisting of two parts, the Old and New Testament. I must tell you, it is abolished. It contains beggarly rudiments, milk for babes. But now Christ is in glory amongst us, and imparts a fuller measure of his Spirit to his Saints then this can afford, and therefore I am commanded to burn it before your faces.’ So, taking the candle out of his lantern, he set fire of the leaves. And then putting out the Candle, cried, ‘and here my fifth Light is extinguished’.”
Something descended into the hearts these “Saints,” and thereupon gave them “revelations and inspirations.” What that something was is a question for historical demonology.