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Archive for June, 2007

In August of 1631 Bruce was very elderly and weak in body. At breakfast one morning having eaten his normal portion of eggs, he asked his daughter, Martha, for more. As she went to prepare it, he called her, “Hold, daughter, hold; my Master calleth me.” He then asked that the house Bible, the Geneva Version, be brought. Unable himself to read it, he said, “Cast me up the 8th of Romans,” and he began to recite much of the second half of the chapter until he came to the last two verses: “For I am persuaded that 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, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “Set my finger on these words,” he asked. “God be with you my children. I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus this night. I die believing these words.”

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Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.

– Calvin’s Institutes, Book I, Chapter I, opening sentence.

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Idolatry

The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him.

– A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)

Whenever we take what God has done and put it in the place of himself, we become idolators.

– Oswald Chambers (1874-1917

O senseless man who cannot make a worm, and yet makes gods by dozens.

– Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist. “An Apology of Raimond Sebond,” bk. 2, ch. 12

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Holy Spirit

Every time we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it.

J. B. Phillips

The Holy Spirit destroys my personal private life and turns it into a thoroughfare for God.

– Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

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Holiness

The essence of true holiness is conformity to the nature and will of God.

Samuel Lucas (1818-1868)

The holier a man is, the less he is understood by men of the world.

Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

The holiest person is … one who is most conscious of what sin is.

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

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I’ve had a perfectly beautiful summer, Marilla, and now I’m rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, as Mr. Allan said last Sunday. Doesn’t Mr. Allan preach magnificent sermons? Mrs. Lynde says he is improving every day and the first thing we know some city church will gobble him up and then we’ll be left and have to turn to and break in another green preacher. But I don’t see the use of meeting trouble halfway, do you, Marilla? I think it would be better just to enjoy Mr. Allan while we have him. If I were a man I think I’d be a minister. They can have such an influence for good, if their theology is sound; and it must be thrilling to preach splendid sermons and stir your hearers’ hearts. Why can’t women be ministers, Marilla?

Old Mr. Bentley, the minister whom Anne had found lacking in imagination, had been pastor of Avonlea for eighteen years. He was a widower when he came, and a widower he remained, despite the fact that gossip regularly married him to this, that, or the other one, every year of his sojourn. In the preceding February he had resigned his charge and departed amid the regrets of his people, most of whom had the affection born of long intercourse for their good old minister in spite of his shortcomings as an orator.

Since then the Avonlea church had enjoyed a variety of religious dissipation in listening to the many and various candidates and “supplies” who came Sunday after Sunday to preach on trial. These stood or fell by the judgment of the fathers and mothers in Israel; but a certain small, red-haired girl who sat meekly in the corner of the old Cuthbert pew also had her opinions about them and discussed the same in full with Matthew, Marilla always declining from principle to criticize ministers in any shape or form.

“I don’t think Mr. Smith would have done, Matthew” was Anne’s final summing up. “Mrs. Lynde says his delivery was so poor, but I think his worst fault was just like Mr. Bentley’s–he had no imagination. And Mr. Terry had too much; he let it run away with him just as I did mine in the matter of the Haunted Wood. Besides, Mrs. Lynde says his theology wasn’t sound. Mr. Gresham was a very good man and a very religious man, but he told too many funny stories and made the people laugh in church; he was undignified, and you must have some dignity about a minister, mustn’t you, Matthew? I thought Mr. Marshall was decidedly attractive; but Mrs. Lynde says he isn’t married, or even engaged, because she made special inquiries about him, and she says it would never do to have a young unmarried minister in Avonlea, because he might marry in the congregation and that would make trouble. Mrs. Lynde is a very farseeing woman, isn’t she, Matthew? I’m very glad they’ve called Mr. Allan. I liked him because his sermon was interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was in the habit of it. Mrs. Lynde says he isn’t perfect, but she says she supposes we couldn’t expect a perfect minister for seven hundred and fifty dollars a year, and anyhow his theology is sound because she questioned him thoroughly on all the points of doctrine. And she knows his wife’s people and they are most respectable and the women are all good housekeepers. Mrs. Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister’s family.”

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“I sat just as still as I could and the text was Revelations, third chapter, second and third verses. It was a very long text. If I was a minister I’d pick the short, snappy ones. The sermon was awfully long, too. I suppose the minister had to match it to the text. I didn’t think he was a bit interesting. The trouble with him seems to be that he hasn’t enough imagination. I didn’t listen to him very much. I just let my thoughts run and I thought of the most surprising things.”

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Anne of Green Gables I

Ok, I know this is not quite the same quality as the other quotes but it is amusing. Anne on ministers and their wives.

“I really think I’d like to be a minister’s wife when I grow up, Marilla. A minister mightn’t mind my red hair because he wouldn’t be thinking of such worldly things. But then of course one would have to be naturally good and I’ll never be that, so I suppose there’s no use in thinking about it.

It’s always wrong to do anything you can’t tell the minister’s wife. It’s as good as an extra conscience to have a minister’s wife for your friend.”

Hmm … maybe I should remember this given I’m a friend of a minister’s wife !

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I’m particularly challenged by what he has to say about “triffle conversation”.

As long as men have eyes as well as ears, they will think they see your meaning as well as hear it; and they are apter to believe their sight than their hearing, as being the more perfect sense of the two. All that a minister doth, is a kind of preaching; and if you live a covetous or a careless life, you preach these sins to your people by your practice. If you drink, or game, or trifle away your time in vain discourse, they take it as if you said to them, ‘Neighbours, this is the life you should all live; on this course you may venture without any danger.’ If you are ungodly, and teach not your families the fear of God, nor contradict the sins of the company you are in, nor turn the stream of their vain talking, nor deal with them plainly about their salvation, they will take it as if you preached to them that such things are needless, and that they may boldly do so as well as you.

Nay, you do worse than all this, for you teach them to think evil of others that are better than yourselves. How many a faithful minister, and private Christian, is hated and reproached for the sake of such as you! What say the people to them [the good ministers]? ‘You [the good minister] are so precise, and tell us so much of sin, and duty, and make such a stir about these matters, while such or such a minister, that is as great a scholar as you, and as good a preacher, will be merry and jest with us, and let us alone, and never trouble himself or us with such discourse. You can never be quiet, but make more ado than needs; and love to frighten men with talk of damnation, when sober, learned, peaceable divines are quiet, and live with us like other men.’ Such are the thoughts and talk of people, which your negligence doth occasion.

They will give you leave to preach against their sins, and to talk as much as you will for godliness in the pulpit, if you will but let them alone afterwards, and be friendly and merry with them when you have done, and talk as they do, and live as they, and be indifferent with them in your conversation.

For they take the pulpit to be but a stage; a place where preachers must show themselves, and play their parts; where you have liberty for an hour to say what you list; and what you say they regard not, if you show them not, by saying it personally to their faces, that you were in good earnest, and did indeed mean them, Is that man then likely to do much good, or fit to be a minister of Christ, that will speak for him an hour on the Sabbath, and, by his life, will preach against him all the week besides, yea, and give his public words the lie?

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