The concept of stewardship in the sermons of Jonathan Swift



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Jonathan Swift's sermons and several of his poems reflect a traditional viewpoint of Christian morality in which the moral individual is a faithful steward who uses the talents entrusted to him by God for the benefit of society. Swift's political sermons show his belief in a divinely-ordered, hierarchal society, a concept that was a widely accepted tradition in Western culture from the classical period to the eighteenth century. The transference of the concept of a divinely-ordered cosmos, symbolized by a Great Chain of Being, to a divinely- ordered society resulted in an ethic that maintained that the good for the individual consisted of the contented performance of his duties in the station of life chosen for him by God. The sermons reveal Swift's belief that the performance of duties that further the interests of society as a whole is obedience to the commandments of God. [...]