From the Winter, 1994 issue of Touchstone

Is <title>A Different Mind by Thomas S. Buchanan

A Different Mind

“For any ways of life, any employment of our talents, whether of our parts, our time, or money, that is not strictly according to the will of God, that is not for such ends as are suitable to his glory, are as great absurdities and failings as prayers that are not according to the will of God.”
William Law

Many of us who read Touchstone could be described as Christians who are concerned about the state of the Church. We value the historic faith and are inspired by the exhortation of the prophet Jeremiah to “stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” We are active in our churches and keep abreast of ecclesiastical events and current literature.

In the early eighteenth century, William Law described a person of similar interests in his book A Serious Call to the Devout and Holy Life. He called this person Eusebius and contrasted him with Leo, a generous, good-natured person who cares little for anything religious. As Mr. Law wrote: “Eusebius, on the other hand, has had many early impressions of religion, and buys books of devotion. He can talk of all the feasts and fasts of the Church, and knows the names of most men that have been eminent for piety. You never hear him swear, or make a loose jest; and when he talks of religion, he talks of it as a matter of the last [i.e., utmost] concern.”

Eusebius, I submit, would make a good Touchstone reader. However, he is not given accolades by Mr. Law. “Here you see,” he continues, “that one person has religion enough, according to the way of the world, to be reckoned a pious Christian, and the other is so far from all appearance of religion, that he may fairly be reckoned a Heathen; and yet if you look into their common life; if you examine their chief and ruling tempers in the greatest articles of life, or the greatest doctrines of Christianity, you will not find the least difference imaginable.”

The “greatest doctrines of Christianity” that Law refers to are not positions on women’s ordination, the infallibility of Scripture, or even abortion. They are more fundamental than that.

“Now if you consider Leo and Eusebius,” he adds, “you will find them exactly alike, seeking, using, and enjoying, all that can be got in this world in the same manner, and for the same ends. You will find that riches, prosperity, pleasures, indulgences, state equipages, and honor, are just as much the happiness of Eusebius as they are of Leo. And yet, if Christianity has not changed a man’s mind and temper with relation to these things, what can we say that it has done for him?”

Of course, William Law is not condemning Eusebius for his interests in the Church. Such things are well and good. He is rather arguing that a devout Christian should be of a different mind and have a completely different orientation than his unbelieving neighbor. Concern about the state of the Church is noble, but we are called to devote our lives to Jesus. Anything that distracts us from that is superfluous.

“Law is not condemning Eusebius for his interests in the Church. . . . He is rather arguing that a devout Christian should be of a different mind and have a completely different orientation than his unbelieving neighbor.”

Thomas S. Buchanan is a member of the Orthodox Church and lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and three children. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of content!

subscription options

Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access for only $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.

*Transactions will be processed on the secure server of The Fellowship of St. James website, the publisher of Touchstone.

from the touchstone online archives

School's Out

29.5 — Sept/Oct 2016

School's Out

Where Not to Send Young Children by S. M. Hutchens

The Light of Everyman

27.5 — Sept/Oct 2014

The Light of Everyman

Benedict XVI's Regensburg Lecture, St. John's Proemium & Intercultural Understanding by Graeme Hunter

The Spy Who Turned Witness

28.3 — May/June 2015

The Spy Who Turned Witness

Whittaker Chambers's Lonely War Against Godless Collectivism by Hunter Baker

Higher Order Marriage

29.1 — Jan/Feb 2016

Higher-Order Marriage

David J. Theroux on Progressive Myths & Christianity's Deeper Revolution

The Little Jesus Who Would

29.2 — March/April 2016

The Little Jesus Who Would

Robert Hart on Cutting Christ Down to One Size Fits Whatever We Want

The Still Small God

29.6 — Nov/Dec 2016

The Still Small God

The Mustard Seed & the Wonders of His Kingdom by Anthony Esolen

Touchstone is published by

All content The Fellowship of St. James — 2017. All rights reserved.
Returns, refunds, and privacy policy.