Friday, June 24, 2005

A Teaspoonful of Calf's-foot Jelly

I have been reading T.Dewitt Talmage and this chapter is on recreation and the blessings and the temptations of vacations. The “watering place” he refers to is a resort where we go to relax and get away. He gives a series of warnings and his colorful style just had to be shared. I agree with his premise but have to laugh at his descriptions. Enjoy—

“ Another temptation hovering around the watering place is to the formation of hasty and lifelong alliances. The watering places are responsible for more of the domestic infelicities of this country than all other causes combined. Society is so artificial there that no sure judgment of character can be formed. Those who form companionships amid such circumstances go into a lottery where there are twenty blanks to one prize. In the severe tug of life you want more than glitter and flash. Life is not a ballroom where the music decides the step; nor can bow and prance and graceful swing of long trail make up for strong common sense. You might as well go among the gaily painted yachts of a summer regatta to find war vessels as to go among the light spray of the summer watering place to find character that can stand the test of the great struggle of human life.
Ah, in the battle of life you want a stronger weapon than a lace fan or a croquet mallet!
The load of life is so heavy that in order to draw it, you want a team stronger than one made up of a masculine grasshopper and a feminine butterfly.
If there is any man in the community who excited my contempt, and who ought to excite the contempt of ever man and woman, it is the soft-handed, soft-headed fop, who, perfumed until the air is actually sick, spends his summer in taking killing attitudes, and waving sentimental adieus, and talking infinitesimal nothings, and finding his heaven in the fit of a lavender kid-glove. Boots as tight as an inquisition; two hours of consummate skill exhibited in the tie of a flaming cravat; his conversation made up of “Ahs,” and “Ohs,” and “He-hees.” It would take five hundred of them stewed down to make a teaspoonful of calf’s-foot jelly. There is only one counterpart to such a man as that, and that is the frothy young woman at the watering places, her conversations made up of French moonshine………….”

“Finding his heaven in the fit of a lavender kid-glove; and the woman made up of French moonshine.” I love it!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"The world cannot show us a more exalted character than that of a truly religious philosopher, who delights to turn all things to the glory of God; who, in the objects of his sight, derives improvement to his mind; and in the glass of things temporal, sees the image of things spiritual."

Good and ill

"The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together; our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues." -- Shakespeare

I like that, and I have read many things on that theme. It is the plight of all thinking adults.
There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us that we would despair if we didn't have so many examples of others fouling up, it somehow takes the full spotlight off of our latest folly.
Life asks more of us than we are willing to give, but still, we want to give. We want to make a mark deeper and wider than we have as yet. I want a stronger character, deeper devotion to God and family, persevere longer, respond more lovingly, and on it goes. I can name no virtue that I have mastered. No temper I control at all times.
I like the following quote, I'll leave it at that.

" The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another;
and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he hoped to make it."
James M. Barrie.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


“To sum up all; every good man is a new creature, and Christianity is not so much a Divine institution, as a Divine frame and temper of spirit—which if we heartily pray for, and endeavor to obtain, we shall find it as hard and as uneasy to sin against God, as now we think it impossible to abstain from our most pleasing sins.
For as it is in the spermatic virtue of the heavens, which diffuses itself universally upon all sublunary bodies, and subtilely insinuating itself into most dull and inactive element, produces gold and pearls, life and motion, and brisk activities in all things that can receive the influence and heavenly blessing:-- so it is in the Holy Spirit of God, and the word of God, and the grace of God, which
St. John calls “ the seed of God;” it is a law of righteousness, and it is a law of the Spirit of life, and changes nature into grace, and dullness into zeal, and fear into love, and sinful habits into innocence, and passes on from grace to grace till we arrive at the full measures of the stature of Christ, and into the perfect liberty of the sons of God: so that we shall no more say, ‘The evil that I would not, that I do’;-- but we shall hate what God hates, and the evil that is forbidden we shall not do; not because we are strong of ourselves, but because Christ is our strength, and he is in us; and Christ’s strength shall be perfected in our weakness, and his grace shall be sufficient for us; and he will, of his own good pleasure, work in us, not only to will, but also to do, as the apostle more accurately says; “to will and to do it thoroughly” and fully, being sanctified throughout, to the glory of His holy name”……Jeremy Taylor

As I read this it so inspired me to believe in his ability to cause change. Not to be discouraged about actions and attitudes that may have prevailed for years but to trust in this “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”. His ability to “change dullness to zeal, sinful habits to innocence.”
I see so clearly the laws of nature; gravity, mystery, tides, lunar effects, metamorphosis, and yet I need to be reminded of “the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Is this law less powerful than the laws of nature? I doubt not!
Can he bring change in me like he can change a blade to a blossom? Can He cause motions and tides to rise in me? Yes He can. Will the dull places be abandoned, the weak things forsaken, the tide of holiness be stilled? No!
A thousand failings and the answer is still a resounding No! Do I doubt the laws of nature? Never considered it. Then let me not doubt the laws of the Spirit.

I did have to read this piece over a few times to get all the nectar, figuring out "spermatic virtues" and "sublunary bodies" but with Webster's help I found great hope in each line.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Gaiety abated

"In Sardis there grew an herb, called Appium Sardis, that would make a man lie laughing when he was deadly sick; such is the operation of sin."

That quote by Thomas Brooks reminded me of the following by Jeremy Taylor---

" But so have I known a bold trooper fight in the confusion of battle, and being warm with heat and rage, received from the swords of his enemy, wounds open like a grave; but he felt them not, and when by the streams of blood he found himself marked for pain, he refused to consider then what he was to feel to-morrow; but when his rage had cooled into the temper of a man, and a clammy moisture had checked the fiery emission of spirits, he wonders at his own boldness, and blames fate, and needs a mighty patience to bear his great calamity.
So is the bold and merry sinner; when he is warm with wine and lust, wounded and bleeding with the strokes of hell, he twists with the fatal arm that strikes him, and cares not; but yet it must abate his gaiety, because he remembers that when his wounds are cold and considered, he must roar or perish, repent or do worse, that is, be miserable or undone."

That is a sobering piece, not your Robert Schuller kind of exhortation. But when my flesh raises up like a bold and merry sinner, and longs to be warm with wine or lust, somehow reflection on a "Precious Moments" sculpture doesn't do it.

Old Paths

The following is in the introduction to Thomas Brook's book on satan's devices. His illustrations broaden every chapter.....

"And now, if thou pleasest, read the work, and receive this counsel from me.
First, Thou must know that every man cannot be excellent, that yet may be useful. An iron key may unlock the door of a golden treasure, yea, iron can do some things that gold cannot.

Secondly, Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating, upon holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee's touching of the flower that gathers the honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet.

Thirdly, Reader, if it be not strong upon thy heart to practise what thou readest, to what end dost thou read? To increase thy own condemnation?


Oh, it is dangerous to love to be wise above what is written, to be curious and unsober in your desire of knowledge, and to trust to your own capacities and abilities to undertake to pry into all secrets, and to be puffed up with a carnal mind. Souls that are thus a-soaring up above the bounds and limits of humility, usually fall into the very worst of errors, as experience doth daily evidence. Thomas Brooks-- Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices.

This is no prohibition against seeking the spiritual application, as you re-read it, the caution is about pride not mystery.

Acts 17:21
"All the Athenians and the foreigners who live there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas."