de Maistre’s Rally Cry

The below is a stirring defense of Christianity as written by Joseph de Maistre. Now, de Maistre and I would have been opposed to one another on what Christianity is and means as de Maistre was a Roman Catholic and I am Reformed. However, putting that aside, I find this to be a masculine statement of confidence in Christ and Christianity and could only wish that the spirit we find in de Maistre’s defense was somewhere to be found in Reformed clergy here in America as we find ourselves facing the very kind of thing that steam rolled France’s Roman Catholic Christianity in 1789. I pray daily that God would raise up de Maistres of the Reformed faith here in the States and give them the eloquence, resolve, and confidence that I find in de Maistre.

I shed no tears for the defeat of Roman Catholicism in 1789 France though I shed plenty of tears over the animals and demonic horde that defeated Rome in Paris and all of France. Roman Catholicism was then and remains now thoroughly corrupt and blasphemous. However, I can still admire the courage of de Maistre in his defiance of the French Revolutionary Philosophes. His words stir my blood and make me wish I could grab my claymore, go back in time, and rally to the defense of Christ’s oriflamme.

Note de Maistre’s implicit understanding of the antithesis. Notice his optimistic eschatology. If de Maistre, who did not have the truth, could be this bold, why can we who do have the truth not be even bolder?

Finally, ask yourself if you in your wildest dreams could ever imagine a R2K minister getting even close to this kind of rallying cry.


“The present generation is witnessing one of the greatest spectacles ever beheld by human eyes: it is the fight to the death between Christianity and the philosophy of the philosophes. The lists are open, the two enemies have come to grips, and the world looks on. As in Homer, the father of gods and men is holding the balance in which these two great causes are being weighed; one of the scales will soon descend.

To the prejudiced man, and especially to the one whose heart has convinced his head, events prove nothing; he having taken one side or the other irrevocably, observation and reasoning are equally useless. But all you men of good faith who may deny or doubt what I say, perhaps the great example of Christianity, will settle your uncertainty. For eighteen centuries it has ruled a great part of the world, particularly the most enlightened portion of the globe. This religion even predates antiquity, for it is linked through its founder to another order of things, to an archetypal religion, that preceded it. The one cannot be true without the other being so; the one boasts of promising what the other boasts of having, so that this religion, by a chain that is a visible fact, goes back to the beginning of the world: It was born the days the days were born.

How remarkable that when we reflect on this institution, the most natural hypothesis, the one suggested by every probability, is that of divine origin! If this is a human creation there is no longer any way to explain its success; by excluding the miracle you require more miracles.

They say that nations have mistaken copper for gold. Very well, but has this copper been thrown into the European crucible and been subject to chemical observation for eighteen centuries? And is the result of this test in its favor? Newton believed in the Incarnation, but Plato, I think, put little stock in the miraculous birth of Baachus. Christianity has been preached by the ignorant and believed by the scholars, and in this respect it is absolutely unique.

Moreover, it has survived every test. They say persecution is a wind that nourishes and spreads the flame of fanaticism. Very well Diocletian favored Christianity; but by this supposition Constantine should have stifled it, but this is not what happened. It has withstood everything – peace, war, scaffolds, triumphs, daggers, temptations, pride, humiliation, affluence, the night of the Middle Ages, and the bright daylight of the centuries of Leo X and Louis XIV. An all powerful emperor, master of the greatest part of the known world, once used all the resources of his genius against it. He omitted nothing in his attempt to revive the ancient beliefs, cleverly associating them with the Platonic ideas then in fashion. Hiding the rage that animated him under a mask of purely external tolerance, he used against the rival cult arms that no human creation had ever resisted: he exposed it to ridicule, impoverished its priesthood to bring it into contempt, and deprived it of every assistance that man is able to give his works; defamation, intrigues, injustice, oppression, ridicule, force, and cunning were all useless. The Galilean triumphed over Julian the philosophe.

And finally, in our own time, the experiment is being repeated in still more favorable circumstances, and nothing is lacking to make it decisive. So pay close attention, all you for whom history has not been instruction enough. You say that the scepter supported the tiara. Very well! The scepter no longer counts on the world stage; it has been broken and the pieces thrown in the mud. You wondered to what extent a rich and powerful priesthood could influence acceptance of the dogmas that it preached. I do not believe that it really had the power to make people believe, but let that pass. There are no longer any priests; they have been exiled, slaughtered, and debased; they have been despoiled, and those who have escaped the guillotine, the stake, daggers, fusillades, drownings, and deportation today receive the alms that they formerly gave themselves. You feared the force of custom, the ascendancy of authority, the illusions of the imagination. None of these things are left; there are no more customs, there are no more masters, each man’s mind is his own. Philosophy, having corroded the cement that united men, there are no longer any moral bonds. The civil authority, favoring with all its strength the overthrow of the old system, gives to the enemies of Christianity all the support that it once gave to Christianity itself. Every means imaginable to the human mind is used to combat the old national religion. These efforts are applauded and rewarded, and contrary efforts are regarded as crimes. There is no loner any reason to fear visual delights, always the first to deceive; displays of pomp and vain ceremonies no longer impress men before whom everything has been mocked for seven years. The churches are closed, or open only for the feverish discussions and drunken revels of an unbridled populace. The altars are overthrown, filthy animals have been paraded through the streets in bishop’s vestments, chalices have been used in abominable orgies, and on the altars that the old faith surrounded with dazzling cherubim they have placed nude prostitutes. The philosophy of the Philosophes no longer has any complaints to make; all the human chances are in its favor; everything has been done for it and against its rival. If it wins, it will not say like Caesar, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered,’ but in the end it will have conquered; it can applaud and sit proudly on an overturned cross. But if Christianity emerges from this terrible ordeal purer and more vigorous, if the Christian Hercules, strong in his own strength, lifts up the son of the earth and crushes him in his arms, patuit Deus (God is open). Frenchmen, make way for the very Christian king, carry him yourselves to his ancient throne, raise again his oriflamme, and let his coinage, ranging again form one pole to the other carry everywhere the triumphant device


Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

2 thoughts on “de Maistre’s Rally Cry”

  1. You say: “I shed no tears for the defeat of Roman Catholicism in 1789 France though I shed plenty of tears over the animals and demonic horde that defeated Rome in Paris and all of France.” ??? I share your beliefs regarding Roman Catholicism’s doctrines, but, in this instance, “my enemies enemy is my friend.”


    My enemies enemy is only my friend if both my enemies destroy one another in their conflict.

    1. “The church would today have the opportunity to conquer all hearts, if it would want to approach the greatest problem of mankind just as cleverly as justly.” -Theodor Fritsch

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