Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

"We were no sooner come to the Temple Stairs, but we were surrounded with a crowd of watermen, offering us their respective services. Sir Rodger, after having looked about him very attentively, spied one with a wooden leg, and immediately gave him orders to get his boat ready. As we were walking towards it, “you must know,” says Sir Roger, “I never make use of anybody to row me, that has not either lost a leg or arm. I would rather bate him a few strokes of his oar than not employ an honest man that has been wounded in the Queen’s service. If I was a lord or a bishop, and kept a barge, I would not put a fellow in my livery that had not a wooden leg.”

Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison addresses the need for exercise in this little piece and quotes a great poem by Dryden –

“For my own part I intend to hunt twice a week during my stay with Sir Rodger; and shall prescribe the moderate use of this exercise to all my country friends, as the best kind of physic for mending a bad constitution, and preserving a good one. I cannot do this better, than in the following lines out of Mr. Dryden: --

The first physicians by debauch were made;

Excess began, and sloth sustained the trade.

By chase our long-lived fathers earned their food;

Toil strung the nerves, and purified the blood;

But we their sons, a pamper’d race of men

Are dwindled down to threescore years and ten.

Better to hunt in fields for health unbought

Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.

The wise for cure on exercise depend:

God never made His work for man to mend.

Picture by Teuku Jody Zulkarnaen

Respect your elders

“It happened in Athens, during a public representation of some play exhibited in honor of the commonwealth, that an old gentle man came too late for a seat suitable to his age and quality. Many of the young gentlemen, who observed the difficulty and confusion he was in, made signs to him that they would accommodate him if he came where they sat. The good man bustled through the crowd accordingly; but when he came to the seats to which he was invited, the jest was to sit close and expose him, as he stood, out of countenance, to the whole audience. The frolic went round all the Athenian benches. But on those occasions there were also particular places assigned for foreigners. When the good man skulked towards the boxes appointed for the Lacedaemonians, that honest people, more virtuous than polite, rose up all to a man, and with the greatest respect received him among them. The Athenians, being suddenly touched with a sense of the Spartan virtue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, ‘The Athenians understand what is good, but the Lacedaemonians practice it.’”

This made me reflect that often we Christians think the world needs a counselor when in reality they need an example.

Joseph Addison, photo by Ian

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"I advise you not to be troubled by what you hear of other folk's experience, but keep close to the written Word, where you will meet with much to encourage you though you often feel yourself weary and heavy laden. For my own part, I like that path best which is well beaten by the footsteps of the flock, though it is not always pleasant and strewed with flowers. In our way, we find some hills, from whence we can cheerfully look about us; but we meet with deep valleys likewise, and seldom travel long upon even ground." John Newton

I like this practical piece of advice, and have found it so in my life. There have been times when I sought after a deeper more mystical relationship with God and it may be I should have sought it more instead of leaving off for more common ground; but, be that as it may, I have found the well beaten path the safest ground and God has not been hindered by my choice, I find myself atop hills and mountains even though my destination was to walk on level ground.

Photo from the Internet
"Last week we had a lion in town. I went to see him. He was wonderfully tame; as familiar with his keeper, as docile and obedient as a spaniel. Yet the man told me he had his surly fits when they dared not touch him. No looking-glass could express my face more justly than this lion did my heart. I could trace every feature, as wild and fierce by nature, yea, much more so; but grace has in some measure tamed me; I know and love my Keeper and sometimes watch His looks that I may learn His will. But, oh! I have my surly fits too; seasons when I relapse into the savage again, as though I had forgotten all."

John Newton - Photo by Carlos Barriuso Amo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I was reading a chapter in "Plain Living and High Thinking" on 'what to talk about'.
It is a practical chapter and in it I found this poem by Cowper that encourages us as are minds are busy looking to and fro, to gather the good and to share it.

" The mind, dispatched upon her busy toil,
should range where Providence has blessed the soil;
Visiting every flower with labor meet,
and gathering all her treasures, sweet by sweet,
she should imbue the tongue with what she sips,
and shed the balmy blessing on the lips,
that good diffused may more abundant grow,
and speech may praise the Power that bids it flow."

Now regarding the photo, this is a picture of my grandson Nic while he was on his first missionary journey to visit a refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border. Surely this is soil blessed by Providence and the memory of this treasure is "sweet by sweet"; and wouldn't you know the Lord would bring along this delightful helpmate for his first journey.
God attends to all the details.