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Christian quoter

English Christian male who is not backward in coming forward with opinions.

Last Build Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:33:01 +0000


July 28: Thomas Watson

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 11:33:00 +0000

by archivistThree Hundred Years of Application . . . and CountingWritten by Rev. David T. MyersThis author still possesses all three volumes in his personal library. Bought while a Sophomore in college in 1960, the publishing date of their reprint, Thomas Watson's one-hundred and seventy six sermons on the Westminster Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly are timeless in their assistance to every child of God who desires to know theology and have it applied to his or her spiritual life. I can testify to that, having underlined and proclaimed many truths from their pages for the edification of all Christians during my forty years in the pastorate.The remarkable truth about their author is that we do not know either the time of his birth or the death of it either. They are missing from the history of the church, and known only by God. However, we do know that he was buried on this day in history, July 28, 1686, and so we write this brief biography on his life. Much of the latter is taken from a brief memoir written by none else than Charles Spurgeon.Thomas Watson attended and graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge with a B.A. Degree in 1639 and a Master's degree in 1642. It was said that he was a laborious student, prompting Spurgeon to quip “the conscientious student is the most likely man to become a successful pastor.” Watson went on to be just such a preacher at a Church of England parish and church called St. Stephen's, Walbrook in London, England. But let there be no doubt here. Watson was a Presbyterian through and through. And to his congregation, many came, or as Spurgeon put it, the church was filled constantly with worshipers.Among his sermons during those sixteen years was, as mentioned above, a thorough proclamation of the principle themes of the Westminster Confession of Faith. This author has in his years of ministry in catechetical studies among the covenant children of the church, adult studies in the Sunday School and Bible studies, and yes, even sermons from the sacred desk, used Watson's thorough grasp of biblical texts, clear expositions of Bible doctrine, and practical applications. It might be 300 years old, but biblical truths such as these do not ever pass away in teaching and application.There is found in two of his three books on the title page this phrase “Ejected by the Act of Uniformity.” We have mentioned before about that terrible act which threw out the Puritan members of the Clergy in the Church of England, countless of whom were Presbyterian clergy. Yet in the next 20 years until his death and burial in 1686, Watson continued on in the proclamation of the Word of God wherever people would come to hear him. Due to a weakening in his health, he was praying in his closet when he departed from this earth.Words to Live By:I read on the web recently something which disheartened me. Among the characteristics of a church pulpit committee was that they were looking for a minister who had a well known name! The apostle Paul to the Corinthians would write in 1 Corinthians 2:4, 5, “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” The fault is ours, is it not, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we pay too much attention to the outward and external characteristics of those who minister to us the Word of God, and not enough attention to the plain and simple proclamation of the Word of God as empowered by the Spirit of God? If we want the spiritual power of the days of yesterday, we must set our hearts on men who are filled with the Spirit of God, who preach the whole counsel of God.[...]


Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:53:00 +0000

I have over 2000 Facebook friends may of whom I have not met face to face. AFAIK three have unfriended me and I have unfriended one.

The first unfriend me was a pastor in Las Vegas who did not like my views on gambling.  I am unrepentant but not surprised.

The second was a German doctor practicing in Scotland. IIRC he did not like my observations on WW2 and bomber command. I think it a disgrace that these brave young men received no campaign medal. Post unfriending he objected to my view that EU nationals resident in Scotland should have a vote in the independence referendum. I remain unrepentant and generally friendly to Germany and Germans.

The last one still surprises me. A Scottish journalist whose fine book I have reviewed on Amazon and the son of a famous father. He seemed to have taken the hump over me recounting with approval a political speech by the late I R K Paisley. IMO the most surprising reason to defriend.

Of course there may be others who quietly slipped away unbeknown and not lamented.

So finally the one I defriended. I will debate with those from whom I differ. I even have friends among the fans of Corbyn. But this was an American teetotaller who became uncivil and abusive when I pointed out that alcohol is a gift from God to be received with thanksgiving. It may lead to drunkenness but that is a sin. Alcohol is not sin. Money is not evil. Love of money is evil. Drunkenness is sin. I have rebuked others for incivility and sometimes deleted their posts if obscene or unthinkingly profane.

Still 2581 friends left. BTW no known LGBT or Muslim friends have unfriended me AFAIK. And I do have some active ones. PC objectors will be vicarious.

July 27: Donald Cargill [1619-1681]

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 06:49:00 +0000

by archivistThe Lone Star of the Covenantby Rev. David T. Myers

Challenged by his land owner father to become a minister, Donald Cargill resisted the suggestion at the first. His inclination was not the gospel ministry. Finally, with what his father had put into his hand and heart, young Cargill at last set aside a day to prayerfully consider whether God was calling him to this ministry. It was said that a text from Ezekiel came into his mind, “Son of man, eat this roll, and go speak to the house of Israel.” Then when Presbytery chose the same text from Ezekiel during his trials, there was no doubt of his divine calling to the ministry.His first charge was that of the Barony Church in Glasgow, Scotland, which charge would take his time and talents from 1655 until 1662. The church was divided in Covenanting groups and non-Covenanting groups of people. No one can abide long in such a divided congregation without receiving the wrath of one group or the praise of another. All this changed however in 1661, upon the restoration of Charles, when Donald Cargill delivered a sermon before a great crowd. He said in part, “the king will be the woefullest sight that ever the poor Church of Scotland saw. Woe! Woe! Woe! unto him, his name shall stink while the world’s stands, for treachery, tyranny and lechery.” Obviously, this was not a statement which would bring good relations between the Crown and his place as pastor in Scotland! And indeed, before a week went by, government soldiers were out looking for him, and he had gone into hiding.His ministry from that point on until his capture by the Crown was that of witnessing before small groups of men and women. From 1668 on, he became a traveling evangelist for the Gospel, escaping death and destruction by many a close call. To be sure, he showed bravery and courage in many a situation. In other cases, he was weakened and oppressed by lack of assurance.On one occasion, a great crowd was present to hear the word of grace from his lips. But in addition to that Word came words which amounted to a curse upon his persecutors. He said, “I, being a minister of Jesus Christ, and having authority and power from Him, do, in His name, and by His Spirit excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver to Satan, Charles the Second . . . The Duke of York, the Duke of Monmouth, the Duke of Lauderdale, the Duke of Rothes, General Dalziel, and Sir George MacKenzie. And as the causes are just so being done by a minister of the gospel, and in such a way as the present persecutions would admit of, the sentence is just. And there are no kings or ministers on earth who, without repentance of these persons can reverse these sentences. God, who is their author, is more engaged to the ratifying of them: and all that acknowledge the Scriptures ought to acknowledge them.” There is no doubt that such words were inflammatory and some even questioned and criticized such talk. Yet all those he mentioned here in his curse did die in strange ways. As Calvinists, we see no place for coincidence in the realm of persons, places, and events on this earth.Finally caught by the authorities, he would be martyred on July 27, 1681. His last words were “farewell, all relations and friends in Christ; farewell, acquaintances and earthly enjoyments; farewell, reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproach, and sufferings. Welcome, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”Words to Live By:Standing in the crowd of mourners was James Renwick, a future minister of the Covenanters and the last in Scotland to die by hanging for the cause of Christ. God is so gracious as to continue His witness in the land. Consider times when mere man thought that some event was the end of the matter. But God . . . But God . . . But God! To Him goes our prayers and praise for the truth that “He does according to His will in the hosts of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; an[...]

Monarchy in quotations

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 03:25:00 +0000

As long as the human heart is strong and the human reason weak, royalty will be strong because it appeals to diffuse feeling, and Republics weak because they appeal to the understanding.- Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution (1867)Britain is fortunate indeed in having a breed of distinguished people ...whom people come from all over the world to see. It would be an act of cruelty to impose that function of royalty on any normal family of citizens, but seeing that there is a family which is born to it as the fruit of a long historical evolution it would be an act of great political folly to establish a Presidency...I have such a strong sense of the political usefulness of British royalty to substantial and competent progressive forces in the society. - Brendan Clifford, "The Monarchy & Progress", in "Labour & Trade Union Review" Magazine, December 1987.[Magna Carta provided] “a system of checks and balances which would accord the monarchy its necessary strength, but would prevent its perversion by a tyrant or a fool.”-Winston Churchill, Magna Carta and Man’s Quest for Freedom, JWThe metaphor of the king as the shepherd of his people goes back to ancient Egypt. Perhaps the use of this particular convention is due to the fact that, being stupid, affectionate, gregarious and easily stampeded, the societies formed by sheep are most like human ones.Northrop Frye, Canadian literary critic, 1957. Quoted in 100 good reasons to be a Republican, "New Statesman", August 2000.If instead of insisting on rights everyone does his duty, there will immediately be the rule of order established among mankind. There is no such thing as the divine right of kings to rule and the humble duty of the ryots to pay respectful obedience.-Mohandas Gandhi, "Rights or Duties?", Harijan Magazine, 6 July 1947. Quoted in Mahatma Gandhi: The Essential Writings, edited by Judith M. Brown. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008. (p.91)Of the various forms of government that have prevailed in the world, a hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule.-Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, (1776-1788).A monarch's neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright.-Robert A. Heinlein in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)Humans should not worship other humans at all, but if they must do so it is better that the worshipped ones do not occupy any positions of political power.-Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto CounterblastsWe know well that the Primitive Church in her greatest purity were but voluntary congregations of believers, submitting themselves to the Apostles, and after to other Pastors, to whom they did minister of their Temporals, as God did move them. So as Ecclesiasticus, cap. 17, says, God appointed a Ruler over every people, when he divided nations of the whole Earth. And therefore if a people will refuse all government, it were against the law of God; and yet if a popular State will receive a Monarchy it stands well with the Law of God.-Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, C.J., Bruton v. Morris (1614), Lord Hobart's Rep. 149; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100.The state of Monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth; for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods.-James I of England, speech to Parliament at Whitehall (21 March 1609), from Political Works of James I.The insuperable objection to monarchy is that the king or queen is elevated, and respect is accorded, for no reason other than birth . . . No one who believes either in the claims of merit or in the pursuit of equality can defend the system.-Mervyn Jones, 1977. Quoted in 100 good reasons to be a Republican, "[...]

Good books going free

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:51:00 +0000

I have a number of Banner hardback puritan sets in good condition. Any or all are free to good homes  if the recipient collects from me in West London.
Brooks 6 vols
Flavel 6
Owen 15 for vol 3 missing
Sibbes 3
Trail 2

July 26: Alexander McWhorter

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 06:00:00 +0000

I post this proving I am more of a Presbyterian than a British patriot. BTW the references should be to the British army not davidtmyersA Presbyterian Patriot Pastorby David T. MyersOne of the Presbyterian pastors who was a decided patriot was the Rev. Alexander McWhorter. Born of Scotch-Irish parents on July 26, 1734, his father was a linen merchant and later a farmer. He was also with his wife, a decided Presbyterian. They had emigrated first to Northern Ireland (Ulster) and then to the American Colonies.After the death of his father, Alexander at age fourteen moved with his mother to North Carolina to join three brothers there. They attended a Presbyterian church where Alexander was exposed to revival services which left him anxious, it was said. However, he joined the Presbyterian church. Later he would return to New Jersey after the death of his mother. He entered the College of New Jersey and graduated in 1757. Called to the ministry, he studied theology under William Tennent of Log College fame, and licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick. After a trip to the New England area, he was called to be the teaching elder at the Presbyterian Church of Newark, New Jersey, where the bulk of his pastoral ministry was to take place. It was during this long pastorate that God's Spirit led him to have an active role on the battlefield for the independence of the colonies from England in the Revolutionary War.When General George Washington traveled through Newark on his way to take command of American forces, Pastor McWhorter met him on the way. It would not however be the last time. They were to have many more occasions during this trying time in the history of this new nation. In fact, on one occasion, General Washington asked the Presbyterian pastor to interview two spies which the American troops had captured. The future president asked the Presbyterian clergyman to deal with them spiritually while at the same time to ascertain from them the size and strength of the British forces!Forced to flee from Newark by British forces who ransacked his parsonage, McWhorter joined the American army as an unofficial chaplain. He was present on Christmas eve when the American army defeated the hired Hession mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey. After that victory, Pastor McWhorter became the chaplain of Brig. General Henry Knox Continental Artillery Brigade. It was said that every Lord's Day when Pastor McWhorter was in the pulpit, General George Washington sat under the preaching of our Presbyterian Patriot Pastor! He would serve as an Army chaplain until 1778 when a lightening bolt struck his wife back in Trenton. He hurried home from his Army calling to care for her.Other than a brief span to pastor a Presbyterian church in Charlotte, North Carolina and be the president of a academy there, the British forces had marked him as an agitator. When they invaded that area of North Carolina, he was forced to flee for his life and lost all his ministerial books in the process. He returned to Newark, New Jersey where he served as a pastor in earlier years until his death in 1807.Words to Live By: It takes an extraordinary man to have an effective ministry in two spheres of ministry. Certainly one's congregation has to have a wider view of mission than simply the local one as well. Not many teaching elders have the spiritual gifts to be able to minister effectively in two places of ministry. Our featured figure on this day had those special gifts of ministry. And yet for such a one to be effective, they must have the spiritual help of gifted lay people. How can you help your local pastor in fulfilling more than one calling of ministry in your area? Think prayerfully about it, talk with your pastor of your willingness to use your gifts, and get busy in the work of the Lord.[...]


Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:19:00 +0000

  Dear marriage supporter,Britain’s national interests are being put at risk by senior politicians and civil servants in order to push a same-sex marriage agenda, no matter the cost.This month alone, we have seen:Theresa May putting the constitution at risk: the Prime Minister voiced support for the introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, interfering with the constitutional settlement which devolves the issue to the Assembly. In a separate article, she told the Church of England to “reflect” on allowing same-sex marriage, despite considerable opposition within the CofE to redefining marriage.Justine Greening putting children in England at risk: the Education Secretary clearly linked new legislation making Relationships Education compulsory for children as young as five to “push[ing] on with all of the [LGBT] agenda” in an interview with The Times. In a separate piece today Ms Greening alleges that churches are not “part of a modern country” if they do not perform same-sex marriages.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) putting our diplomacy at risk: the FCO recently announced that over the last year 202 same-sex marriage ceremonies have been performed in British embassies and high commissions worldwide in countries which still adhere to traditional marriage. By flouting the wishes of the people and governments of 12 countries including Australia, China, Cyprus, Japan, Mozambique and Vietnam, the FCO puts our bilateral relationships in peril at just the time when our diplomats are pursuing post-Brexit trade deals.Acting against convention, prudence and the national interest, those in power have allowed same-sex marriage to deflect them from their proper pursuit of public service.Coalition for Marriage[...]

A hard Brexit

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:19:00 +0000

As someone opposed to the European project since before traitor Heath took us in (in more ways than one) I am under no illusions as to how hard it will be to Brexit.

The reasons are external and internal. Extreme  pressure will be brought to bear by EU states so that we do not Brexit. The reason is simple. Not malice but economics. UK and Germany are the two net contributors to the EU. They cannot afford to lose us.

The internal opposition comes from the vocal remoaners, the fifth column from among the 48% who did not want out.  They are exemplified by Vince Cable the new leader off the Lib                                                                                 (non) Dems. If at first you don't get the result you want, try try again. He wants another referendum following best EU practice. They did it over a past Irish referendum. The result was not what Brussels wanted so another vote was held and produced the desired result. Of course you do not need to be a Brussels fan to do this. Red Ken when  London mayor wanted to put a tram down the Uxbridge Road in Ealing. We the locals said it was a ridiculous idea and would cause chaotic displacement of traffic. Not liking that,  Livingstone called for another 'consultation'. He got his desired vote but it cost Labour control of Ealing council at the next election and the tram was off the rails.

So Brexit faces the twin challenges of economics and pseudo-democracy. 'Put not your trust in princes, especially not europhicic ones'

July 22: Richard Cameron [1647-1680]

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:38:00 +0000

by archivistMan knows not his time. So too for Richard Cameron, that noble Scottish minister, who died at Ayrsmoss on this day July 22, 1680.The Lion of the Covenantby Rev. David T. MyersTo our readers who have been ordained into a church office, or who have had the privilege of attending the ordination of someone else who has been set apart to the biblical office in a local church, I dare say none of us have ever had the following experience happen to us. But in the Presbyterian history of ages past, it did happen to one young man, who was at that time living in Holland. After the laying on of the hands, setting him apart for the office of minister, all but one of the Dutch ministers took their hands off of his head. That sole minister who kept his hands on Richard Cameron’s head, uttered a prophetic sentence, saying, “here is the head of a faithful minister and servant of Jesus Christ, who shall lose the same for his Master’s interest, and it shall be set up before sun and moon in the public view of the world.”Our focus today in Presbyterian history is Richard Cameron. Born in 1647 in Scotland to a Christian merchant by the name of Alan Cameron, Richard was the oldest of four children. After his university exercises at St. Andrews, he still was not a Christian. Attending a service held by one of the field preachers, he heard the blessed gospel and regeneration occurred in his heart and mind. One year later, he was licensed to preach the Word with strong evidence of his calling beginning to manifest itself in his gifts. Jock Purves in his book Fair Sunshine, said that his sermons “were full of the warm welcoming love of the Lord Jesus Christ for poor helpless sinners.” (p. 44) But in addition to the proclamation of the blessed gospel, there were also strong denunciations of the persecuting government authorities which made such field preaching necessary. Despite the danger to both himself and his gathered congregation, Cameron continued to faithfully, fearlessly proclaim the Word of God.Just a month before his demise at the hands of the authorities, Richard Cameron had set the issue plain before the whole nation by the posting of the Sanquhar Declaration on June 22, 1680. Now a month after that bold challenge to the government of the kingdom, the latter’s military forces caught up with Richard Cameron and his followers at Ayrsmoss on July 22, 1680.The battle was preceded by Cameron three times praying “spare the green, and take the ripe.” Looking to his younger brother Michael, who was with him on that occasion, Richard said “Come Michael, let us fight it out to the last; for this is the day that I have longed for, to die fighting against our Lord’s avowed enemies; and this is the day that we shall get the crown.” And he did, along with many others. The monument to their sacrifice is pictured at right.Oh yes, Richard Cameron’s head and hands were cut off by the British dragoons, to be taken to the city of Edinburgh. But before they were placed on stakes in front of the prison, they were taken to his father Alan who was in prison. He kissed them, saying, “I know them, I know them. They are my son’s, my own dear son. It is the Lord. Good is the will of the Lord, Who cannot wrong me nor mine, but has made goodness and mercy to follow us all our days.”Words to Live By:When all your mercies, O my God, my rising soul surveys,transported with the view, I’m lost in wonder, love, and praise.Unnumbered comforts to my soul your tender care bestowed,before my infant heart conceived from whom those comforts flowed.When worn with sickness, oft have you with health renewed my face;and when in sins and sorrows sunk, revived my soul with grace.Ten thousand thousand precious gifts my daily thanks employ;nor is the least a cheerful heart that tastes those gifts[...]

“Dedication’s what you need if you want to be Covenant breaker”

Sat, 22 Jul 2017 07:12:00 +0000

by ealinglevyI like David Robertson, he's a Mr Valiant for Truth and I absolutely love his work amongst Atheists. He's also a controversialist which I particularly enjoy. There are times though when I slightly despair of some of his material.The latest piece that has got on my goat is his piece on why he does Baby Dedications at St Peter's, Dundee. It's been lauded by the FIEC as a piece of generosity by a paedo Baptist, my fear would be that David is selling the farm from us.It would seem to me that David is conceding to the supposed demands of the religious market-place (give the customer what he wants). David and his preaching teams are very able men and I rejoice in the growth that St Pete's has known in Dundee, because of the quality of the ministry I am sure that many believers of all sorts of ecclesiastical persuasions are coming to the church. This is a wonderful thing, however they are coming to a confessional Presbyterian Church. There is no mention of baby dedications in the confession, the public directory of worship makes no mention of such things.From a Biblical perspective the Reformed position is that there are two sacraments commanded of believers, the Lord's Supper and Baptism. Baptism is to be administered to Believers and their children. It is a sign and seal of God's promises to us. In fact the Confession of Faith that both David and I subscribe to states that is a great sin to neglect this Ordinance (WCF28:5). The argument that is often made by Baptists is that they can't see Infant Baptism commanded in the Bible, the simple response surely must be where do we see Baby Dedications commanded?  I would want to argue John Murray's view that Infant baptism is not merely an option for Christian parents but a divine ordinance 'Put the sign of the spiritual covenant on the physical seed'.Infant Baptism according to the Reformed perspective is about what God has done and the promises of God - 'I will be your God and you will be my people'. Baptism is not about my profession and what I am doing.. Baby Dedications put the emphasis in the opposite place, our 'human dedicating'. If we see Baptism as the covenant sign of entrance to the church, I'm not sure what sign Baby Dedication is a sign of, apart from wanting Baptists to feel welcome in the church.The issue with doing both is you are saying the bible can mean either, surely the next time you are preaching on the subject you have undermined peoples confidence that the bible is clear is about your own confession of faith. If you take the approach this is one interpretation and feel free to disagree. To be consistent on this will mean on Spiritual gifts, complementarian/ egalitarian,   ... the issue here is not having folks in the church membership who have different views (this is good) but rather having those different views being exercised in corporate worship. Why not, logically, allow speaking in tongues or a woman preaching even if your own Confession of faith doesn't mandate it? Realistically in the next 5 years our churches will have people who apply to membership who would claim faith in Christ but have a different view on the bible's teaching on homosexuality and yet expect to be welcomed in. The role of a full confession of faith which we hold to and teach will be even more vital in the decades to come.Our church membership is open all baptised believers in Jesus Christ, we have Baptists in our congregation of which I'm glad. I joke that I want Baptists to feel welcome but not comfortable! We are a Presbyterian Church as St Peter's  is and those who come to our congregation surely need to understand that. We can give thanks for their children, we view them as Covenant Children even though they do not have the sign but we long to see their parents coming to a Reformed understanding o[...]

Cremation Is Not Of Christian Origin

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:25:00 +0000

By William Childs Robinson[excerpted from The Southern Presbyterian Journal 11.10 (9 July 1952): 6-7.]This is not written to upset loved ones who may have inadvertently acted unwisely in this matter, nor to disturb soldiers who have seen the bodies of buddies destroyed in the horrors of war. Nor is it intended to put limits on the power of God. Certainly, the martyrs who were burned for the faith, are to be resurrected. But it is written to urge our people to conform to the faith and the practice of the Christian Church. An analogy to our position here may be found in that of baptism. God can save a believer without baptism as he saved the penitent thief; but that does not mean a believer is free to neglect or to substitute something else for the sacrament of God.The forms, provided for burial in The Book of Church Order and in The Book of Common Worship, state that the graves of the saints are sanctified by Christ’s rest in the tomb. This thought is a fair summary of the teaching of the New Testament. Each of the Gospels tells of the burial of Jesus and that constitutes the background of Peter’s words in Acts 2:23-32. Some deny that Paul refers to the tomb of Christ, but a careful reading of the Greek in I Cor. 15:3-4, Romans 6:4 shows that the Apostle does have before him the entombment of the Saviour. Moreover, his thought is that we are entombed with Him. Christ is the head of the elect, our substitute and representative. What occurred to Him is to be, at least in part, parallelled by what occurs to us. Christ and His people belong together in death, entombment, and resurrection. While the Apostles’ Creed never speaks of the immortality of the soul it twice mentions the resurrection. And in the earliest commentary on the Creed, Rufinus insists that our resurrection will be after the manner of Christ’s Whose Resurrection opened the gates of life. The Gospels and Acts represent Jesus as eating and drinking with the disciples after His Resurrection. Luke records His command to them to handle Him; Matthew tells how the women took hold of His feet; John gives Jesus’ word to Mary .20:17) which many of the best scholars are now translating “Release Me,” “Cease clinging to Me.” First John says that our hands handled the Word of Life, apparently refer-ring to Christ’s appearances as recorded in the Fourth Gospel. In speaking of the Spiritual body. Paul means not a ghost, but a real body controlled by the Spirit—even as “a natural body” is in the Greek a psychical or psychologically controlled body.In the second century, the Church held to this faith in the resurrection of the body against every effort of Gnosticism and Platonism to decode the faith into a mere survival of the soul. Ignatius records how Jesus came to those who were with Peter saying, “Lay hold, handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal phantom.” Irenaeus insisted that God created earth as well as heaven, that the Word took a human body as well as a human reasonable soul, that Christ suffered in the flesh and rose in the body, and that there shall be a new earth as well as a new heaven.Accordingly, the early Church followed the Jewish custom of burying the dead and rejected the pagan practice of cremation. The Bible gives no encouragement to cremation. The bodies of Saul and of his sons were outwardly burned to purify them from the defilement caused by days of hanging yet their bones were not destroyed but buried and re-interred later—I Sam. 31:11-13; I Chron. 10: 11-12; II Sam. 21:12-14. When the plague became so severe as to make burning necessary, the people were forbidden to make mention of the Name of the Lord, Amos 6:10.The Roman persecutors tried to ridicule the Christian faith in the resurrection by burning the m[...]

Thomas Gray - a survey of graduates from English Universities

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 03:01:00 +0000

Reading Peter Hitchens, 'The Abolition of Britain from Churchill to Diana', I noted among the cultural changes he laments is the failure to teach the classics of our literature. I started asking graduates what did Thomas Gray mean to them The usual answer is one of ignorance even when I added the clue of 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard'. Four Cambridge graduates in their 20s or 30s, degrees in linguistics, theology, philosophy and engineering had no familiarity with Gray. The same was true of an Exeter graduate, 30s, geography and a Canterbury graduate, 40s in physiotherapy. So far my only positive response was from a Durham graduate in history , 40s age group. Hitchens is right. The poet who gave us, 'Far from the madding crowd' and 'the paths of glory lead but to the grave' is an unknown country to the cream of our graduates so far surveyed.


Sat, 15 Jul 2017 04:36:00 +0000

“Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” Romans 8:38-39Words: Ho­ra­ti­us Bo­nar, 1861. This hymn was sung at the fun­er­al of Amer­i­can pre­si­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan.Music: Brook­field, Thom­as B. South­gate, 1855 (MI­DI, score). Al­ter­nate tune:Fertile Plains, from George F. Handel (MI­DI, score)O love of God, how strong and true!Eternal, and yet ever new;Uncomprehended and unbought,Beyond all knowledge and all thought.O love of God, how deep and great!Far deeper than man’s deepest hate;Self fed, self kindled, like the light,Changeless, eternal, infinite.O heavenly love, how precious still,In days of weariness and ill,In nights of pain and helplessness,To heal, to comfort, and to bless!O wide embracing, wondrous love!We read thee in the sky above,We read thee in the earth below,In seas that swell, and streams that flow.We read thee best in Him who cameTo bear for us the cross of shame;Sent by the Father from on high,Our life to live, our death to die.We read thy power to bless and save,E’en in the darkness of the grave;Still more in resurrection light,We read the fullness of thy might.O love of God, our shield and stayThrough all the perils of our way!Eternal love, in thee we restForever safe, forever blest.  08/07/2007 12:56:28[...]

Some Ealing History written in 1795

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 08:38:00 +0000

This is from Daniel Lysons, 'Ealing', in The Environs of London: Volume 2, County of Middlesex (London, 1795), pp. 223-240. British History Online Owen (who I am told lived in what is now Warwick Road -GW).Dr. John Owen, the most voluminous and the most temperate writer among the dissenters of the last century, was for many years an inhabitant of Ealing, where he died August 24, 1683. He was elected member of parliament for the University of Oxford, though a divine ; was made dean of Christ-church by the independents ; and in 1652 was vice-chancellor of the university. "While he did undergo that office, (says Wood,) instead of being a grave example, he scorned all formality; undervalued his office by going in querpo like a young scholar, with powdered hair, snake-bone bandstrings, (or bandstrings with very large tassels,) lawn band, a large set of ribbands pointed at his knees, and Spanish-leather boots with large lawn tops, and his hat mostly cocked .”-Parish church.The old church at Ealing having fallen down on the 27th of March 1729, an act of parliament passed for rebuilding it, and a brief was obtained for that purpose; but it was near ten years before the new church was completed (fn. 37). It is a brick building, and forms an oblong square, of which the chancel occupies a certain portion ; at the west end is a square tower with a turret.Vicars.Robert Cooper, who had been collated to the vicarage of Ealing in 1638, was ejected by the puritans, and his place supplied by Daniel Carwarthen (fn. 50). Thomas Gilbert was presented in 1654, by Francis Allein, Esq. (fn. 51) who, I suppose, was then in possession of the manor. It happened, that upon the restoration, this Gilbert was the first person who was deprived of his benefice; on which account he desired that it might be inscribed upon his tomb, that he was the proto-martyr to the cause of non-conformity (fn. 52)  (emigrated to New Englan - GW). Cooper was reinstated in the vicarage of Ealing, which he enjoyed but a few months, being succeeded in the month of January 1660-1 by the learned William Beveridge, (afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph,) who continued there thirteen years (fn. 53).Meeting-houses.The Presbyterian diffenters have a chapel near Old Brentford, which was built in 1783. In an adjoining cemetery is the tomb of the Rev. Matthew Bradshaw, their late minister, who died in 1792. The average number of burials in this ground is not quite two in a year. The Anabaptists also have a meeting-house at Old Brentford, and there is a third for the people called Methodists.Plague years.In 1603 there were 136 burials, 29 of which were in the month of September. In 1665 there were 286, of which 244 were between the last of June and the first of January ensuing. Several of the persons who died of the plague were buried in the fields, particularly about Old Brentford.Manor of Pits-hanger.GurnellsSir Arthur Atye, who died in 1605, was seised of a manor, or manor-farm, in the parish of Ealing, called Pits-hanger, containing 140 acres (fn. 25). In 1690 this manor was the property of Margaret Edwards, widow (fn. 26), from whom it descended to Thomas Edwards, Esq. the ingenious author of the Canons of Criticism, who it is probable was her grandson. Mr. Edwards spent some of the early part of his life at Pits-hanger, but afterwards removed to an estate which he had purchased in Buckinghamshire (fn. 27). After his death, which happened in 1757, Pits-hanger was sold by his nephews, Joseph Paice, and Nathaniel Mason Esq. to King Gould, Esq. whose son, now Sir Charles Morgan, Bart. aliened it to Thomas Gurnell, Esq. Mrs. Peyton, relict of Jonathan Gurnell, Esq. a[...]

George Gillespie [1613-1648]

Wed, 12 Jul 2017 05:28:00 +0000

by archivistOur post today comes from a work concerning the Westminster Assembly, written by Dr. William S. Barker, and titled The Men and the Parties.George Gillespie (Jan. 21, 1613 -  Dec. 16, 1648)Like several others, the Scottish Commissioner George Gillespie also died toward the end of the Assembly's main work, in December of 1648, being only 35.  Although the youngest of the Westminster divines, he was one of the most influential in the debates concerning church government, arguing strenuously for Presbyterianism by divine right and for the church's right to exercise discipline.Educated at the University of St. Andrew's, Gillespie subscribed the National Covenant in 1638 as minister of Wemyss in the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.  That same year, only 25 years of age, he preached at the General Assembly in Glasgow.  He became a minister in Edinburgh in 1642.  In 1643 he was appointed one of the four Scottish ministers, along with Alexander Henderson, Samuel Rutherford, and Robert Baillie, to attend the Westminster Assembly as a result of the Solemn League and Covenant.Legends have tended to develop around Gillespie's role at the Assembly, and while there is evidence to refute their accuracy, they nevertheless testify to the godly character of the Assembly and of Gillespie's contributions.  Although Gillespie had departed for Scotland when the Shorter Catechism was under discussion, one story has the Assembly stymied in its producing an answer to the question, "What is God?"  Supposedly Gillespie was called upon to pray, and he began, "O God, thou who art a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in thy being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth...."Another story makes vivid Gillespie's role in the debate with the Erastians over the power of excommunication.  The great classical scholar of the age, the learned John Selden, Member of Parliament as well as of the Assembly, gave an impressive speech, with display of rabbinical lore, "to demonstrate that Matthew 18:15-17, the passage under dispute, contained no warrant for ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but concerned the ordinary practice of the Jews in their common civil courts."  J. D. Douglas describes the situation:Even the most erudite and able of the divines present were in no hurry to encounter such a formidable opponent.  Samuel Rutherford, the story goes, turned to Gillespie and said:  "Rise, George, rise up, man, and defend the right of the Lord Jesus Christ to govern by His own laws, the Church which He hath purchased with His own blood."  With every appearance of reluctance Gillespie rose, gave first a summary of the previous speech, stripping it of all its cumbrous learning and reducing it to simple language.  Then steadily, point by point, he completely refuted it, proving that the passage in question could not be interpreted or explained away to mean a mere reference to a civil court, and that the Jews both possessed and exercised the right of spiritual censures.  The effect of Gillespie's speech was so great as not only to convince the Assembly, but also to astonish and confound Selden himself, to whom Gillespie was a veritable enfant terrible.  The Erastian leader is reported to have exclaimed in bitter mortification:  "That young man, by this single speech, has swept away the learning and the labour of ten years of my life."[i]What we do know is that Gillespie was a main respondent to Selden's speech, but it was on the next day and there were others who responded as well.  What perhaps  gives us a most accurate indication of Gillespie's ability and character is the[...]

July 10: Birth of John Calvin (1509)

Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:23:00 +0000

by davidtmyersThe Virtual Founder of AmericaThe German historian, Leopold von Ranke, was the one who declared that John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.Today, July 10, marks the birth of this Swiss Reformer, John Calvin, in the year 1509.  And yes, the usual focus of this blog is on American Presbyterians.  But Calvin’s influence pervades all of our history and our culture, so it is entirely appropriate that we should look at the man and his message.Do we have any idea of how many Calvinists there were in our country up to the time of the American Revolution in 1776?  Loraine Boettner states that out of the three million citizens of the colonies at this pivotal time in our history, 900,000 were Scots-Irish Presbyterians, 600,600 were Puritan English, 400,000 were German or Dutch Reformed, and there were a lot of French Huguenots, who were Calvinists. Two-thirds of our citizens had been trained in the school of Calvin.Calvin was the first Reformer to demand a complete separation between the church and the state. Note carefully what I  have just said.  It wasn’t a separation between God and the state, which is the commonly held interpretation today, but between the church and state. No one denomination was going to be the favored church of the government, as it was the case back in England. There would be freedom of religion. And that unique idea could be laid at the feet of John Calvin.Next, our republic was to be looked upon as a representative republic.  In fact, if you look at the Presbyterian form of government, with its representative elders in the  congregation, we can see how the founding fathers of our Republic simply took a leaf out of the Presbyterian form of government.Let’s enter next what has been called the Protestant work-ethic. Calvin held to the idea that every person’s calling can be characterized as a Christian calling, enabling them to serve God in every area of life. That has certainly helped our people work hard in their respective jobs, knowing that they are serving God in those jobs as well as that one who has been called to the pulpit to serve God.Further, the Geneva Bible came to these shores by the pilgrim forefathers. This was the version whose footnotes were decidedly Calvinist.For all these reasons, we honor John Calvin today.Words to Live By: Today Calvinism is almost a dirty word. We need to reclaim its force in people’s lives and equally in our national life, if we desire to return to the greatness of our land. If you, reader, are largely ignorant of this Reformer and his place of influence in the early days of our people, make sure that you are not neglecting the Westminster Confession of Faith and catechism readings, which are a part of Calvin’s legacy. And delve into his Institutes of the Christian Religion, which will more than repay you in bringing Biblical theology into your faith and life.[...]

Irina Ratushinskaya's obituary from The Times today. .

Sat, 08 Jul 2017 17:23:00 +0000

ISoviet-era poet, dissident and gulag survivor.She had been beaten, given virtually no medical treatment for her worsening blood pressure, heart problems and kidney disease, and endured rotten cabbage and bitter cold in a labour camp 300 miles east of Moscow. “Hair starts falling out, your skin gets loose,” recalled Irina Ratushinskaya. “There are days and weeks when you can’t stand up because of hunger. I was quite close to death.”Yet she and her fellow prisoners still challenged the camp authorities with what she called her “holy disobedience” — sticking to an idea of lawfulness and human decency when the authorities seemed full of lies and spite. With her spirit undaunted, she was put into solitary confinement for several months — a final attempt to intimidate a poet whose work had circulated in samizdat (clandestine literary) circles and who had been sentenced in 1983 to seven years’ hard labour for, among other things, “producing materials that damaged communist ideas”.Ratushinskaya would not be silenced. “They can’t confiscate your brain,” she once commented. Denied writing materials, she would inscribe a new poem on to a bar of soap using a matchstick. “When I finished,” she said, “I would memorise it, wash my hands and send it down the drain.” Her writing and resilience reflected a profound Christian belief. “My faith . . . taught me how to avoid my psychological life being permanently damaged by hatred and bitterness,” she said.Her indomitable spirit was sustained too by solidarity with fellow prisoners. “We would sing together, and celebrate, perhaps just with a slice of bread and a cup of warm water” — a celebration, she believed, “of the enormous capacity of the human spirit to be happy in spite of any circumstance”. Or she could draw poetical comfort in a mystical moment seeing light playing on a frost-covered window: “Only a blue radiance on a tiny pane of glass/ A cast pattern — none more beautiful could be dreamt!”Denied writing materials she inscribed her poems on to soap with a matchRatushinskaya wrote as many as 300 poems while imprisoned. Where she was able to record them on something more durable than soap they were smuggled out to her family and friends. They spread much farther. Enterprising publishers such as Bloodaxe Books in Britain began to publish her work — a collection appearing in the mid-1980s was entitled No, I’m Not Afraid. An international campaign involving Amnesty International and PEN International made her name widely known. Margaret Thatcher took a personal interest in her plight after being alerted by the expert on Soviet persecution of religion Michael Bourdeaux.In 1986 the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, embarrassed by this publicity and sensing perhaps that this formidable voice could no longer be suppressed if his promises of openness were to mean anything at all, authorised Ratushinskaya’s release just before he met President Reagan at the Reykjavik summit. She subsequently emigrated to the West, living mainly in Britain, where she could bear further witness to her life of faith and to what she and many others endured under Soviet rule.However, in the 1990s, once that rule was over, she was drawn to return to Russia, to the culture and people that had shaped and nourished her despite all the distortions and restrictions a cruel dictatorship had imposed.Irina Ratushinskaya had been born in 1954 in Odessa. Her father was an engineer, her mother a teacher, but life in early postwar Soviet society was far from affluent. The family apartment had a shared kitchen and no indoor toilet. [...]

1559 July 7: When Reformation Preaching Prevailed in Edinburgh

Fri, 07 Jul 2017 06:29:00 +0000

by archivistThou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah—Psalm 37:4, KJVIt wasn’t the case that John Knox had not been a pastor before this date. After all, he has served as a pastor in a couple of congregations in his Anglican days. Further, during his time of exile, he had been a undershepherd in Germany and Geneva. But now, having returned to his beloved Scotland, John Knox was called to St. Giles, the mother church of Presbyterianism, the High Kirk of Edinburgh on this day, July 7, 1559. He was to serve the people of God there, except for a brief stint in St. Andrews, Scotland, for the next twelve years, until his death in 1572.St. Giles was a historic church in many ways. It went back to the Middle Ages. In more recent times, the National Covenant was signed there in 1638. There is a framed copy of it in one of the rooms.  Even the Solemn League and Covenant was drawn up in 1643 when the General Assembly met there at the church. Oh yes, this was also the church in which one Jenny Geddes threw  her stool at an Anglican leader when he tried to lead the worship from the new Anglican Prayer Book, which action in turn led to a riot. Supposedly, there is a stool present within the church there to remember that celebrated incident. Then in 1904, a statue of John Knox himself was presented by Scots people from all over the world for the church.Knox was a busy pastor during these years at St. Giles. He preached twice on Sunday. Another day of the week had him preaching three times. He met with the Session of Elders weekly for discipline purposes. Still others of the congregation met with him for what is described as “exercises in the Scriptures.” The regional and national  meetings of the church were not neglected by the Reformer. And of course, he was invited to preach the Word all over the kingdom during those years. In fact, so busy was he that the Town Council in 1562 brought in another pastor by the name of John Craig to assist Knox in the ministrations of the ministry.As far as books were concerned, in 1652, the First Book of Discipline was written there by Pastor Knox. Five years later, his Reformation in Scotland was completed while a pastor there.And most of all, his celebrated conversation with Mary, Queen of Scots, all took place during these twelve years.  He wanted to lead her to Jesus as Lord and Savior. She wanted to get rid of him out of the kingdom!He was to take one sabbatical for his own safety to St. Andrews for a while. Someone tried to kill him as he sat in his study at his table.  The bullet missed him. So he went to this other pulpit for a time. After several months, the Session re-called him as their pastor. He went back, but with little strength for the work of the pastor.John Knox went to be with the Lord in 1572, the details of which this author will write on that date in Presbyterian History.Words to Live By:It has been said that John Knox was the Scotsman to whom the whole world owes a debt.  Certainly, we Christian Presbyterians need to celebrate what the Holy Spirit did through him in Scotland and our land, considering that 2014 is the 500th anniversary of his birth. Is your church planning any sort of celebration of his life and ministry? It is not too late to plan one for your people’s appreciation of this Reformer, not to elevate the man, but to praise the Lord who so powerfully worked through him.[...]

A German view of Islam

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 14:44:00 +0000

'In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but thesilence of our friends ' . Martin Luther KingThe author of this email is Dr Emanuel Tanya , a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist. A man, whose family was German aristocracyprior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates.When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gavecan guide our attitude toward fanaticism.'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed thereturn of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was oneof those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, themajority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it,they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world hadcome.' My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration campand the Allies destroyed my factories.'We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' thatIslam is a religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims justwant to live in peace.'Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirelyirrelevant. It is meaningless fluff meant to make us feel better, andmeant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across theglobe in the name of Islam.'The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. Itis the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50shooting wars worldwide.'It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribalgroups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entirecontinent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead,murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque aftermosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hangingof rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach theiryoung to kill and to become suicide bombers.'The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silentmajority , ' is cowed and extraneous.'Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live inpeace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder ofabout 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.'China 's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communistsmanaged to kill a staggering 70 million people.'The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not awarmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way acrossSouth East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematicmurder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel,and bayonet.And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery? Could it notbe said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving?'History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt. Yet for all ourpowers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated ofpoints: peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by theirsilence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our Enemy if they don't speakup. Like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find thatthe fanatics own them and the end of their world will have begun.'Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs,Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and manyothers have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up untilit was too late.'Now Islamic prayers have been introduced in Toronto and other publicschools in Ontario, and, yes, in Ottawa, too, while the Lord's Prayerwas removed (due to being so offensive? The Islamic way may be peacefulfor the time being in our country until the fanatics mov[...]

Another what if. If the triple obsteric tragedy had not happened.

Thu, 06 Jul 2017 05:01:00 +0000

Visiting Croft Castle in Herefordshire I found out how we might never have had a Victorian age, no Queen Victoria if the triple obsteric tragedy had not happened.

Sir Richard Croft, 6th Baronet (9 January 1762 – 13 February 1818[2]) was an English physician to the British Royal Family and was the obstetrician to Princess Charlotte who became famous due to his role in "the triple obstetrical tragedy" of 1817.   When Princess Charlotte conceived in February 1817, she was Princess of Wales, sole direct heir to George IV her father. Croft was chosen to attend her. Following medical dogma, Croft restricted her diet and bled her during the pregnancy. Her membranes broke 42 weeks after her last period on 3 November 1817. Her bedroom at Claremont was chosen as the labour and delivery room. The first stage of labour lasted 26 hours. At the beginning of the second stage of labour, Croft sent for Dr. John Sims, who arrived 7 hours later. The second stage of labour lasted 24 hours. He had correctly diagnosed a transverse lie of the baby during labour; however, forceps were not used as they had fallen into disfavour in the British medical community. A caesarean section at that time would have resulted in the princess's death. Eventually, Princess Charlotte delivered a stillborn 9-pound male. Five hours later she died, presumably from concealed inner bleeding.
Although the princess's husband and father sent messages to thank Croft for his care and attention, Croft was distraught over the outcome. The king ordered a necropsy, with the result that Sir Everard Home, 1st Baronet and Sir David Dundas, 1st Baronetreported that everything had been done for the best.[4] However, the death of the Princess continued to weigh heavily on Croft, and on 13 February 1818, at age 56, Croft killed himself with a gun.[ Near his body a copy of Shakespeare’s Love's Labour's Lost was found open with the passage (Act V, Scene II): "Fair Sir, God save you! Where is the Princess?"
Charlotte's pregnancy is known in medical history as “the triple obstetrical tragedy”
If it had not happened we would have had a Queen Charlotte and after her a king. But not William IV who came to the throne after the death of his brother George IV and whose niece was Queen Victoria. What if indeed!

July 5: What Was the “Third Indulgence”?

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 22:15:00 +0000

by davidtmyersToday we will borrow a few paragraph from Men of the Covenant by Alexander Smellie in order to relate the story of the Third Indulgence of King James II of England.  Indulgences 1 and 2 were on February 12 and March 31 of 1687.  This Third Indulgence took place in London on June 28th, 1687 and then reissued on this day July 5, 1687.  Smellie writes:“King James touched nothing which he did not mismanage and spoil. His policy was a curious mixture of tyranny and toleration.  A Romanist himself, he was resolved to grant new liberties to his Catholic subjects. But he dared not single them out alone for the enjoyment of favour; the country, he realized, was too fervently Protestant to permit such a preference.  Of necessity he embraced other excluded folk in the largesse he distributed. In Scotland, the year 1687 saw no less that three Indulgences issued under the royal seal.  These suspended ‘all penal and sanguinary laws made against any for nonconformity to the religion established by law,’ and gave sanction to His Majesty’s ‘loving subjects to meet and serve God after their own way and manner, be it in private homes, chapels, or places purposely hired or built for that use.’ Only against the Coventicler did the lightnings continue to flash forth; the Acts which Parliament had decreed for the suppression of the gatherings in the open fields were left in full force; for impenitent Cameronians it seem that there could be no whisper of mercy and no outgate into freedom.  Yet here were large measures of relief which might carry in them the promise of a hopefuller era. If the followers of Renwick denounced them, there were Presbyterian ministers, in prison or banishment  or hiding,  who welcomed James’s Indulgences, and returned to their homes under the shelter of their provisos. But even they, profiting although they did by the altered current of affairs, had no confidence in the man who brought it about.” (p. 411)W. M. Hetherington, author of the History of the Church of Scotland to the Period of the Disruption in 1843, picks up the account of this Third Indulgence. He writes on pg. 286 – 287:  “Few were deceived by these hypocritical pretences (of the king). All true Protestants . . . perceived clearly enough, that direct favor of the Papists was intended; and it was not unfairly surmised that, by the universal toleration, the king hoped to throw the various denominations of Protestants into such a state of rivalry and collision, that they would weaken each other, and prepare for the establishment of Popery upon their ruins. There is little reason  to doubt that such as his majesty’s aim and expectation; but both the immediate and the ultimate consequences were very different from what he intended and hoped. . . . In Scotland, almost all the Presbyterian ministers in the kingdom availed themselves of the opportunity which it gave them of resuming public worship, and collecting again the scattered congregations. Many, both ministers and people, returned to their long-lost homes, and engaged with renewed fervor in the reconstruction of the Presbyterian Church by the revival of its unforgotten forms of government and discipline, the reunion of its scattered but still living members, and the resuscitation of its imperishable principles.”Words to Live By: Let us always remember that “the king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He [...]

Books read in July 2017

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 21:17:00 +0000

1. Stokesay Castle (English Heritage Guidebooks) by Henry SummersonExcellent guide to a beautiful historic place. My one criticism is the dearth of detail on the adjacent church but it is not part of the English Heritage property. Though I am not in the habit purchasing the guide books, this property is so memorable the guide is a fitting souvenier.2. Camino Island by John GrishamI have read all Grisham's fiction except some of the youth market ones and this one is different from his previous work in several ways. First it is not a gripping page turner except near the end. It is not really a legal thriller in the court room drama sense. One reason I am a Grisham fan is that his Christian faith seemed to influence him in giving a less than explicit narration of sexual activity which did not loom large in the books. This has changed and not only  the portrayal of sex but its morality. But far more thought provoking are the moral questions raised by the ending. I do not want to write a spoiler but will say I am disturbed if society is now concerned more with material possessions and gain than in the punishment of criminality. For me this book does not end happily.3. Universally Challenged: Quiz Contestants Say the Funniest Things by Wendy RobySometimes one watches a quiz and marvels at the folly of ignorance of the competitors. I could better on thinks. This is a book of stupid answers. Some are laugh out loud funny. Most are sill. Sometimes one wonders as to the correct answer. It is a curate's egg of a book. Not a patch on '1066 and all that.'4. International Presbyterian Church - Book of Church Order 5th edition 2017If I did not give five stars to this book from our own church there would be something wrong with it or me. It is the handbook giving beliefs, procedures, structures of the IPC, the denomination founded by Francis Schaeffer in 1954. As such it is indispensable to office bearers but also informative fombers and for those enquiring about the church. There have been some alterations to the previous edition of 21015.. Exactly what they are requires some careful reading to discern them.5. The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana by Peter Hitchens Published nine years ago so I would love to see a revised edition. Hitchens is a favourite, a man close to my generation and Christian heart. We can remember a different and in many ways a better more loved Britain. He starts by contrasting what someone present to observe Churchill's funeral as I was by the Aldwych in 1964, what they would have seen around our isle and how much had changed by the time of Diana's death. Even more had changed by the time I was outside St Paul's to see Thatchers cortege pass and the change has since then hasty downhill at pace. He surveys next how history is taught differently, English too. The church has lost her gospel. Hell is abolished. Television is all pervasive and influential. Marriage is devalued, the state becomes all powerful. Pornography and obscenity have been promoted, purity, chastity and fidelity dismissed. The contraceptive pill has altered sexual morality. Homosexuality has gone from peversion to promotion. The one topic he wisely does not include in the change is race and immigration for the change id about culture not ethnicity. Hitchens is a pessimist. He has cause to be. Fortunately we did not adopt a foreign currency, the euro and Brexit does give a little hope.[...]

The what ifs of history.

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 03:44:00 +0000

Yesterday we visited St Laurence's Ludlow and saw the place where the heart of Arthur, Prince of Wales was buried in 1502. What if the teenage Arthur had not succumbed to a fatal fever? There would have been no Henry VIII and what then of Reformation. It certainly would not have happened in the strange way it did and English history would have been less colourful without this curate's egg of a king.

This lead me to think what other great what ifs of history came to mind. WW2 has several. What if Hiller had not ordered his forces to stop pushing the BEF into the sea at Dunkirk? What if the sea had not been calm? What is the Luftwaffe had not left off bomming airfields and blitzed London? What if Hitler had not attacked Russia or the Japanese stayed away from Pearl harbour? What if Hiller had been assassinated? What if the atomic bombs had not been dropped? The list goes on and on.

What are your great historical what ifs?

On this day Sir Thomas More went on trial in England charged with treason 1 Jul 1535

Sat, 01 Jul 2017 04:19:00 +0000

The devil...the prowde spirit..cannot endure to be mocked. Thomas More

The King's good servant, but God's First.- Thomas More's last words on the scaffold where he was about to be executed for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy: In November 1534 Parliament confirmed that Henry VIII is "Supreme Governorof the Church of England," giving the king the right to reform the church and to judge heresies. So More died a martyr for the papacy.

The Grenfell Tower catastrophe

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 17:02:00 +0000

The following appear to be matters of public record:1. The block of flats was run not by the Council but by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO). This body is made up of 8 TENANTS, 4 councillors and 3 independent members.2 Labour hold the seat that the block is situated in.3 Labour run the London Council who manage the under-funded London Fire Service4 Emma Coad the sitting Labour MP for that ward also sat on the KCTMO.5 The advice to stay put which Sadiq Khan has been so vocal about was given by the London Fire Service.6 The decision to change contractors during the refurb was made by KCTMO.7 The decision not to spend an additional £138k on fitting sprinklers was again KCTMO.8 The decision to create Arms Length Management Organisatins (ALMO) such as the KCTMO was made under the Right To Manage legislation passed in 2002 as part of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.9 This was put in place to give leaseholders and tenants a greater say and the ability to self manage, which in some circumstances has clearly proven to be flawed.10 Which Govt was in a charge when this law was passed? It was Labour.11 Sadiq Khan as mayor of London Produced a report to say that the fire service did not need further funding.12 Emma Coad elected Labour MP was on the board of the Tenant Management group who are being accused of not listening to tenants. Further, according to Christopher Booker (a strong advocate for Remain) in the Telegraph, when the Grenfell Tower was built, the cladding materials were glass-based and inert.  Fire could not pass through or behind the cladding.   Since then, authority for specification of construction materials has passed from individual governments to the EU.   The EU has decreed, as part of climate change initiatives, that the main purpose of cladding is to provide insulation, thus reducing the need to burn fuel.   When, three years ago, Kensington spent £10m on up-rating the Grenfell Tower it had no option but to use cladding permitted by the EU.    Unfortunately, the cladding is not fireproof.  I have not (yet) heard anybody accuse the EU of responsibility for the fire - though that is where at least part of the blame lies.[...]