Wednesday, January 30, 2013

  I suppose if I were to assess my life: what is done and left undone, I would attribute the accomplished more to the following quote than any other practical thing I can think of.

Tender handed stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains,
Grasp it like a man of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains. Aaron Hill. 

Stinging nettles if brushed against, will sting like a bee; I know by experience.
But if you grasp it firmly it will not; that I don't know by experience, but the principle remains. 

I think the quote is summed up by another this way ---

 “Only engage, and then the mind grows heated;
Begin, and then the work will be completed.”  

Photo by Clayton Bruster 

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Let us beware lest what we call faith be but the mere assent of a mind which has cared and thought so little about the objects of it's so-called faith, that it has never seen the difficulties they involve. Some such believers are the worst antagonists of true faith." George MacDonald.

  I like this thought; it made me think about the times I have defended a particular doctrine or article of faith, not based on my study, but on either my Christian culture or tradition or words spoken in a sermon, and I believe it because I'm convinced of other truths I have studied and found proof experientially. When we teach difficult doctrines, we owe the hearer at least an extensive study and experience before we challenge their faith.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


  Continuing on in Jeremy Taylor’s book on Holy Dying, he gives some history of how different cultural things were done to remind the rich rulers that life is short; pretty interesting.

  "He that would die well must always look for death, every day knocking at the gates of the grave; and then the gates of the grave shall never prevail upon him to do him mischief. 

This was the advice of all the wise and good men of the world, who especially in the days and periods of their joy and festival egressions would choose to throw some ashes into their chalices, being a somber remembrance of their fatal period.
  Such was the black shirt of Saladine; and the tomb-stone that was presented to the Emperor of Constantinople on his Coronation day; also the Bishop of Rome’s two reeds with flax and a wax-taper. The Egyptian Skeleton served up at feasts; and at Trimalcion’s banquet in which was brought in the image of a dead man’s bones of silver, with spondyles (a mollusk bristling with quills) exactly turning to every guest, and saying to every one, that You and you must die.

  These in fantastic semblances declare a severe counsel and useful meditation; and it is not easy for a man to be gay in his imagination, or to be drunk with joy or wine, pride or revenge, who considers sadly that he must ere long dwell in a house of darkness and dishonor, and his body must be the inheritance of worms, and his Soul must be what he pleases, even as a man makes it here by living good or bad."  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vicious habits

  Jeremy Taylor has never been known as one who pulls his punches. In the following he describes the action of many young men as they leave childhood. When it is laid out in so many descriptions it seems like an overstatement; but sadly it is not so far from my youthful experience and many I have talked with and observe in our culture. It isn’t pretty.

  “And now that the child has reached what we call his “years of discretion”; the young man is passed his teachers, and arrived at the bondage of a caitive (captive) spirit; he is run from discipline, and is let loose to passion; the man by this time hath wit enough to choose vice, to act his lust, to court his mistress, to talk confidently and ignorantly and perpetually, to despise his betters, to deny nothing to his appetite, to do things that when he is indeed a man he must ever be ashamed of: for this is all the discretion that most men shew in the first stage of their manhood; they can discern good from evil; and they prove their skill by leaving all that is good, and wallowing in the evils of folly and an unbridled appetite. And by this time the young man hath contracted vicious habits, and is a beast in manners, and therefore it will not be fitting to reckon the beginning of his life. He is a fool in his understanding, and that is a sad death; and he is dead in trespasses and sins, and that is a sadder: so that he hath no life but a natural, the life of a beast or a tree; in all other capacities he is dead; he neither hath the intellectual nor the spiritual life, neither the life of a man nor of a Christian; and this sad truth last too long. For middle age seizes upon most men while they still retain the minds of boys and vicious youth, doing actions from principles of great folly, and a mighty ignorance, admiring things useless and hurtful, and filling up all the dimensions of their abodes with the businesses of empty affairs, being at leisure to attend no virtue; They cannot pray, because they are busy, and because they are passionate: They cannot communicate, because they have quarrels and intrigues of perplexed causes, complicated hostilities, and things of the world; and therefore they cannot attend to the things of God: little considering, that they must find a time to die in: when death comes they must find leisure for that…… for still his Soul is childish, and trifling like an untaught boy.”

Taken from “Holy Dying,” a book on preparing for a good and spiritual death. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

  The following paraphrase of Mark 5 by Nell Sunukjian. (I found her writing on a blog called The Good Book Blog) is so insightful. I love how she interprets the tenderness of our Savior.

  Jesus quietly, tactfully, respectfully, took the mother and father with Peter, James and John into the dead girl’s room. Taking her gently by the hand, He called to her, “Little girl, get up now.”
And she did.
Jesus said to the parents, “Don’t exploit this healing. Give her some food to revive her. She’s been without nourishment and she’s hungry. And, keep this quiet. Let her grow into her approaching womanhood in privacy. Don’t take her out and show her off as a girl who was dead, but now she’s alive. No, let her finish her childhood. Don’t take advantage of this miracle—think of her needs. What is best for her? She needs nurture and she needs protection.”