LOVE THAT LASTS FOREVER: Beautiful, Dedicated to My Mother

MotherSon

I thank the Lord I still have mine here to talk to.

Love That Lasts Forever: by Rev. John George Gibson 

She told me she loved me. She said I was her darling. She said I was more to her than all the boys in the world. She said I was all her own. Then she said I was handsome, and prophesied that years would bring health and position. She did more—she kissed me. Into that kiss she put the feeling of a life-time; all the hopes of an eternity.

When sickness came she was present—ready like a ministering angel to wait or serve. Her kindly hand drawn softly across the fevered brow stole away the fever and deadened the pain. She would hold the patient’s hand in hers till he was calm enough to sleep, and then with that hand in his he would dream of a life without sickness and disappointments. After a long while he would waken to find her still there, holding his hand. “You have had a good sleep?” Yes. But how much of it was due to that waiting, sitting presence that never moved while the sleep lasted?

Years passed. I grew older, she grew older. There was no separation. I needed her, she needed me, so the life of service continued. The home was mine, the service was hers. The position was mine, the satisfaction was hers. She knew no life but the life she lived in me and for me. Every service done for me was to her full of beauty. She did not care to be seen as long as I was noticed, or heard while I was listened to. First in the morning to make all things ready, last at night to see that all things were safe.

People wondered why she was so quiet, they thought it strange she never came to the front. She gave no reasons. She knew; I knew. I was the fruit of her work, her waiting and nursing. She had preserved my life; without her the feeble spark would have gone out. She found her life in mine. Mine was younger, more expressive and up-to-date, and therefore she was content. If I spoke well it was because she had acted well. If I had climbed to a position it was because she had given me the strength to climb. If my life was public it was because hers had been so faithfully private.

Still the years passed, years that will never be described in book 01 on platform. They were our years. With them the public never had any business and never will have. Our home life was sacred. Those who tried to look through the key hole did it to their sorrow. We kept our home as our temple, and told none of its mystic rites. The sacrifices we offered were our own. The prayers we spoke and the confessions we made were our own.

As we lived and worshipped and suffered I noticed she was not what she once was. Too much watching, too much service had weakened her physical powers— she was failing. Then her love had been too strong. It had burned so brightly that the frail lamp had cracked.

Her eyes lost their brightness, and the lines appeared on her face. The summer of life was passing—the autumn with its new tints, its shadows and falling leaves, was coming.

Yes, sadness was coming and we could not prevent it. We had journeyed together so long that we never thought the parting of the ways would come; but they did come. It is always the unexpected that happens. I must go, she must remain. The parting hour came— “goodbye.”

“Why do we say it when the tears are starting?
Why must a word so sweet bring only pain?
Our love seems all-sufficient till the parting,
And then we feel so impotent and vain.”

The embrace, the soft cheek pressed against mine’ the white face looking out of the window, the waving hand,and

“The deed is done,
But now I go and go alone.”

For her the change was too great. The dear, faithful soul could not bear to live with only the memories of the past around her. One year passed, and before I could receive word the white-robed minister had laid her to rest beside other weary pilgrims. He did it kindly, not officially, for he was not chosen because of his white robe. He had been a true friend in the days of sickness. And she sleep well, though her grave is not marked. Eight years have passed and no fresh flowers have been laid upon it. History will never know her name. Charity will never raise a monument to her virtues. She never was rewarded and never will be rewarded by material things, but

“From ouf the past
Looks forth that face to cheer me.
Oh, do not ask me to forget
If memory brings her near me,”

And away in the Golden West—seven thousand miles from that grave—there are two lives that flow in one channel; two hearts that beat in one rhythm—one quiet, the other public; one unknown, the other prominent—and their sweetest memories, their closest communion, their dreams of heaven are found in that one simple word—mother.

“Nearer and nearer day by day.
The distant voice doth come;
Soft through the pearly gate it swells
And seems to call us home.”

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers: Letter “A”

oldenglishA“He That Lays Down Precepts For Governing Our Lives, And Moderating Our Passions, Obliges Humanity Not Only In The Present, But In All Future Generations.” ~ Seneca

“If You Would Be Pungent, Be Brief; For It Is With Words As With Sunbeams —The More They Are Condensed, The Deeper They Burn.” ~Southey.

The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby. ~ John Milton

BURNING WORDS OF BRILLIANT WRITERS; A Cyclopedia Of Quotations From The Literature Of All Ages designed for the use of the Senate, the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Orator. For the complete book of quotes go here.

“A”

ABILITY.

Ability involves responsibility. Power to its last particle is duty. — Alexander Maclaren.

Man is not altogether an imbecile. True, “circumstances do make the man.” But they make him only in the sense and degree that he permits them to make him. — G. D. Boardman.

What we do upon a great occasion will probably depend upon what we already are; what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline, under the grace of Christ or the absence of it. — H. P. LiDDON.

ACCOUNTABILITY.

Moral conduct includes everything in which men are active and for which they are accountable. They are active in their desires, their affections, their designs, their intentions, and in everything they say and do of choice; and for all these things they are accountable to God. — Emmons.

When illusions are over, when the distractions of sense, the vagaries of fancy, and the tumults of passion have dissolved even before the body is cold, which once they so thronged and agitated, the soul merges into intellect, intellect into conscience, conscience into the unbroken, awful solitude of its own personal accountability; and though the inhabitants of the universe were within the spirit’s ken, this personal accountability is as strictly alone and unshared, as if no being were throughout immensity but the spirit and its God. — Henry Giles.

ACTION.

The end of man is an action, and not a thought, though it were the noblest. — Thomas Carlyle.

Existence was given us for action, rather than indolent and aimless contemplation; our worth is determined by the good deeds we do, rather than by the fine emotions we feel. They greatly mistake, who suppose that God cares for no other pursuit than devotion. — E. L. Magoon.

Christian life is action: not a speculating, not a debating, but a doing. One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass; resolves and thoughts pass; opinions change. What you have done lasts — lasts in you. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for Christ, that, and only that, you are. — F. W. Robertson.

It is well to think well; it is divine to act well. — Horace Mann.

Man, being essentially active, must find in activity his joy, as well as his beauty and glory; and labor, like every thing else that is good, is its own reward. — Bishop Whipple.

Tempests may shake our dwellings and dissipate our commerce, but they scourge before them the lazy elements, which otherwise would stagnate into pestilence.

Be thy best thoughts to work divine addressed;
Do something,— do it soon — with all thy might;
An angel’s wing would droop if long at rest,
And God Himself inactive were no longer blessed.  — Carlos Wilcox.

When I read the life of such a man as Paul, how I blush to think how sickly and dwarfed Christianity is at the present time, and how many hundreds there are who never think of working for the Son of God and honoring Christ.  — D. L. Moody.

I have lived to know that the secret of happiness is never to allow your energies to stagnate. — Adam Clarke.

I have never heard anything about the resolutions of the disciples, but a great deal about the Acts of the Apostles. — Horace Mann.

The life of man is made up of action and endurance; and life is fruitful in the ratio in which it is laid out in noble action or in patient perseverance. — H. P. Liddon.

Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action to all eternity. — Lavater.

Look around you, and you will behold the universe full of active powers. Action is, so to speak, the genius of nature. By motion and exertion, the system of being is preserved in vigor. By its different parts always acting in subordination one to another, the perfection of the whole is carried on. The heavenly bodies perpetually revolve. Day and night incessantly repeat their appointed course. Continual operations are going on in the earth and in the waters. Nothing stands still. All is alive and stirring throughout the universe. In the midst of this animated and busy scene, is man alone to remain idle in his place? Belongs it to him to be the sole inactive and slothful being in the creation, when in so many various ways he might improve his own nature; might advance the glory of the God who made him; and contribute his part in the general good? — Blair.

Activity in the kingdom of God augments the power of spiritual life, and deepens the consciousness of religious realities. — William Adams.

The history of the Church of Christ from the days of the Apostles has been a history of spiritual movements. — H. P. Liddon.

It is much easier to settle a point than to act on it. — Richard Cecil.

Unselfish and noble acts are the most radiant epochs in the biography of souls. — David Thomas.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith and winged by prayer,
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee;
God’s own hand shall guide thee there. — H. F. Lyte.

I do not say the mind gets informed by action,— bodily action; but it does get earnestness and strength by it, and that nameless something that gives a man the mastership of his faculties. — Wm. Mountford.

The essential elements of giving are power and love — activity and affection — and the consciousness of the race testifies that in the high and appropriate exercise of these is a blessedness greater than any other. — Mark Hopkins.

All mental discipline and symmetrical growth are from activity of the mind under the yoke of the will or personal power. — Mark Hopkins.

Napoleon was the most effective man in modern times — some will say of all times. The secret of his character was, that while his plans were more vast, more various, and, of course, more difficult than those of other men, he had the talent at the same time, to fill them up with perfect promptness and precision, in every particular of execution. — Horace Bushnell.

Time is short, your obligations are infinite. Are your houses regulated, your children instructed, the afflicted relieved, the poor visited, the work of piety accomplished? — Massillon.

Let us remember that Elijah’s God was with him only while he was occupied in noble and effectual services. When thus engaged, he exulted in the conscious majesty of a life which had upon it the stamp and signature of Divine power. — Richard Fuller.

It is no use for one to stand in the shade and complain that the sun does not shine upon him. He must come out resolutely on the hot and dusty field where all are compelled to antagonize with stubborn difficulties, and pertinaciously strive until he conquers, if he would deserve to be crowned. — E. L. Magoon.

The fact is that in order to do any thing in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. — Sydney Smith.

What is done is done; has already blended itself with the boundless, ever living, ever working universe, and will also work there for good or evil, openly or secretly, throughout all time. — Thomas Carlyle.

Consider and act with reference to the true ends of existence. This world is but the vestibule of an immortal life. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity. — E. H. Chapin.

Our actions must clothe us with an immortality loathsome or glorious. —C. C. Colton.

Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; do thou but thine. — Milton.

ADOPTION.

Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God. — Westminster Catechism.

We need a spirit of adoption to take us out of the foundling hospital of the world, and to put us into the celestial family. — G. D. Boardman.

Faith unites us to Christ, and acquiesces in the redemption purchased by Him as the meritorious cause of our adoption. — Fisher’s Catechism.

ADVERSITY.

God kills thy comforts from no other design but to kill thy corruptions; wants are ordained to kill wantonness, poverty is appointed to kill pride, reproaches are permitted to destroy ambition. — John Flavel.

Adversity borrows its sharpest sting from impatience. — Bishop Horne.

In the day of prosperity we have many refuges to resort to; in the day of adversity, only one. — Horatius Bonar.

How full of briers is this working-day world! — Shakspeare.

For one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity. — Thomas Carlyle.

AFFLICTION.

Afflictions are but the shadow of God’s wings. — Geo. Macdonald.

Human character is never found “to enter into its glory,” except through the ordeal of affliction. Its force cannot come forth without the offer of resistance, nor can the grandeur of its free will declare itself, except in the battle of fierce temptation. — James Martineau.

Affliction is the school in which great virtues are acquired, in which great characters are formed. — Hannah More.

The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow. — W. S. Landor.

God sometimes washes the eyes of His children with tears in order that they may read aright His providence and His commandments. — T. L. Cuyler.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining,
Behind the clouds the sun is shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life some rain must fall,—
Some days must be dark and dreary.
— Longfellow.

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. — Matthew Henry.

Affliction of itself does not sanctify any body, but the reverse. I believe in sanctified afflictions, but not in sanctifying afflictions. — C. H. Spurgeon.

Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene;
Resumes them, to prepare us for the next.  —Young.

Afflictions are but as a dark entry into our Father’s house. — Thomas Brooks.

Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us by the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. —C. H. Spurgeon.

What seem to us but dim funereal tapers may be heaven’s distant lamps. — Longfellow.

Every man will have his own criterion in forming his judgment of others. I depend very much on the effect of affliction. I consider how a man comes out of the furnace; gold will lie for a month in the furnace without losing a grain. — Richard Cecil.

The Lord gets His best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction. — C. H. Spurgeon.

Night brings out stars as sorrow shows us truths. — P. J. Bailey.

If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once, and attentively, to what it teaches. — Burgh.

Grace will ever speak for itself and be fruitful in well-doing; the sanctified cross is a fruitful tree. — Rutherford.

We should be more anxious that our afflictions should benefit us than that they should be speedly removed from us. — Robert Hall.

Seek holiness rather than consolation. — John Owen.

It is the best thing for a stricken heart to be helping others. . — A. H. K.

The cup which my Saviour giveth me, can it be anything but a cup of salvation? — Alexander Maclaren.

The truly great and good, in affliction, bear a countenance more princely than they are wont; for it is the temper of the highest hearts, like the palm tree, to strive most upward when they are most burdened. — Sir Philip Sidney.

What He tells thee in the darkness,
Weary watcher for the day,
Grateful lip and heart should utter
When the shadows flee away.
— F. R. Havergal.

As sure as God ever puts His children into the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them. — C. H. Spurgeon.

The truest help we can render an afflicted man is not to take his burden from him, but to call out his best strength, that he may be able to bear the burden. — Phillips Brooks.

Oh, when we are journeying through the murky night and the dark woods of affliction and sorrow, it is something to find here and there a spray broken, or a leafy stem bent down with the tread of His foot and the brush of His hand as He passed; and to remember that the path He trod He has hallowed, and thus to find lingering fragrance and hidden strength in the remembrance of Him as “in all points tempted like as we are,” bearing grief for us, bearing grief with us, bearing grief like us. — Alexander Maclaren.

Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before.  — Richard Baxter.

However bitter the cup we have to drink, we are sure it contains nothing unnecessary or unkind; and we should take it from His hand with as much meekness as we accept of eternal life with thankfulness. — William Goodell.

In the dark and cloudy day,
When earth’s riches flee away,
And the last hope will not stay,
Saviour, comfort me.

AMBITION.

Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires. — H. W. Beecher.

Virtue is choked with foul ambition. — Shakspeare.

Ambition is a gilded misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the original of vices, the moth of holiness, the blinder of hearts, turning medicines into maladies, and remedies into diseases. — Thomas Brooks.

Ambition is but avarice on stilts. – W. S. Landor.

AMUSEMENT.

Amusements are to religion like breezes of air to the flame; gentle ones will fan it, but strong ones will put it out. — David Thomas.

Any pleasure which takes and keeps the heart from God is sinful, and unless forsaken, will be fatal to the soul. — Richard Fuller.

People should be guarded against temptation to unlawful pleasures by furnishing them the means of innocent ones. In every community there must be pleasures, relaxations, and means of agreeable excitement; and if innocent are not furnished, resort will be had to criminal. Man was made to enjoy as well as labor; and the state of society should be adapted to this principle of human nature. — W. E. Channing.

Recreation is not the highest kind of enjoyment; but in its time and place it is quite as proper as prayer. — S. Irenjeus Prime

Whatever we do to please ourselves, and only for the sake of the pleasure, not for an ultimate object, is “play,” the “pleasing thing,” not the useful thing. The first of all English games is making money. That is an all-absorbing game; and we knock each other down oftener in playing at that than at football, or any other rougher sport; and it is absolutely without purpose; no one who engages heartily in that game ever knows why. Ask a great money-maker what he wants to do with his money — he never knows. He doesn’t make it to do any thing with it. He gets it only that he may get it. “What will you make of what you have got’ ” you ask, “Well, I’ll get more,” he says. Just as at cricket you get more runs. There is no use in the runs; but to get more of them than other people is the game. And there is no use in the money; but to have more of it than other people is the game. —C. H. Spurgeon.

ANGER.

An unsanctified temper is a fruitful source of error, and a mighty impediment to truth. — E. L. Magoon.

He submits himself to be seen through a microscope, who suffers himself to be caught in a fit of passion. — Lavater.

Our passions are like convulsion fits, which make us stronger for the time, but leave us weaker forever after. — Dean Swift.

If anger proceeds from a great cause, it turns to fury; if from a small cause, it is peevishness; and so is always either terrible or ridiculous. — Jeremy Taylor.

The proud man hath no God; the envious man hath no neighbor; the angry man hath not himself. — Bishop Hall.

There was a man here last night — you needn’t be afraid that I shall mention his name — who said that his will was given up to God, and who got mad because the omnibus was full, and he had to walk a mile to his lodgings. — D. L. Moody.

When I had twice or thrice made a resolute resistance to anger, the like befell me that did the Thebans; who, having once foiled the Lacedemonians, never after lost so much as one battle which they fought against them. — Plutarch.

The sun should not set upon our anger, neither should he rise upon our confidence. — C. C. COLTON.

APOSTASY.

The kiss of the apostate was the most bitter earthly ingredient in the agonies which Christ endured. — E. L. Magoon.

Still in the garden shadows art Thou pleading,
Staining the night dews with Thine agony;
But one is there Thy woe and prayer unheeding,
And to their guileless prey Thy murderers leading,
Lord, is it I?  — George Huntingdon.

O God, the Father, of heaven, have mercy upon us miserable sinners.

ASPIRATION.

“Lord, is it I?” Thou knowest my temptations,
My spirit willing, though my flesh is weak;
My earnest striving, and my often failing;
Sinning, repenting, still Thy grace I seek.

O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee; my soul thirsteth for Thee; my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. — Psalms.

There is not a heart but has its moments of longing,— yearning for something better, nobler, holier than it knows now. — H. W. Beecher.

Aspiration, worthy ambition, desires for higher good for good ends — all these indicate a soul that recognizes the beckoning hand of the good Father who would call us homeward towards Himself — all these are the ground and justification for a Christian discontent; but a murmuring, questioning, fault-finding spirit has direct and sympathetic alliance with nothing but the infernal. — J. G. Holland.

In truth, there is no religion, no worship in our prosperity and ease. So far as we are happy, we are in a state of satisfied desire; so far as we are religious, we are in a state of aspiration and unsatisfied desire. — James Martineau.

Father! forgive the heart that clings
Thus trembling to the things of time,
And bid my soul, on angel’s wings
Ascend into a purer clime.
— Jane Roscoe.

ASSURANCE.

Assurance of hope is more than life. It is health, strength, power, vigor, activity, energy, manliness, beauty. — J. C. Ryle.

True assurance makes a man more humble and self-denied but presumptuous confidence puffs up with spiritual pride and self-conceit; the one excites to the practice of every commanded duty, but the other encourages sloth and indolence. — Fisher’s Catechism.

You have a valuable house or farm. It is suggested that the title is not good. You employ counsel. You have the deeds examined. You search the records for mortgages, judgments and liens. You are not satisfied until you have a certificate, signed by the great seal of the State, assuring you that the title is good. Yet how many leave their title to heaven an undecided matter! Why do you not go to the records and find it? Give yourself no rest day or night until you can read your title clear to mansions in the skies.” —T. Dewitt Talmage.

The more the soul is conformed to Christ, the more confident it will be of its interest in Christ. — Thomas Brooks.

The best assurance any one can have of his interest in God, is doubtless the conformity of his soul to Him. When our heart is once turned into a conformity with the mind of God, when we feel our will conformed to His will, we shall then presently perceive a spirit of adoption within ourselves, teaching us to say, “Abba, Father.” — Cudworth.

If you would have clear and irrefragable for a perpetual joy, a glory and a defense, the unwavering confidence, “I am Thy child,” go to God’s throne, and lie down at the foot of it, and let the first thought be, ” My Father in heaven; ” and that will brighten, that will establish, that will make omnipotent in your life, the witness of the Spirit that you are the child of God. — Alexander Maclaren.

One of those poor fellows that had become a Christian was badgered by his companions; and one of them said, “How do you know that Jesus Christ has forgiven your sins?” The man turned at once and said, ” How do you know when you have got sugar in your tea?” — John B. Gough.

Every one of us may know what is the ruling purpose of his life; and he who knows that his ruling purpose is to trust and follow Christ knows that he is a Christian. — W. Gladden.

“Compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” let us with firm and cheerful trust endure all trials, discharge all duties, accept all sacrifices, fulfill the law of universal and impartial love, and adopt as our own that cause of truth, righteousness, humanity, liberty, and holiness,— which being the cause of the All-Good, cannot but triumph over all powers of evil. Let us rise into blest assurance that everywhere and forever we are enfolded, penetrated, guarded, guided, kept by the power of the Father and Friend, who can never forsake us; and that all spirits who have begun to seek, know, love, and serve the All-Perfect One on earth shall be reunited in a celestial home, and be welcomed together into the freedom of the universe, and the perpetual light of His presence.  —W. E. Channing.

There are believers who by God’s grace, have climbed the mountains of full assurance and near communion, their place is with the eagle in his eyrie, high aloft; they are like the strong mountaineer, who has trodden the virgin snow, who has breathed the fresh, free air of the Alpine regions, and therefore his sinews are braced, and his limbs are vigorous; these are they who do great exploits, being mighty men, men of renown. — C. H. Spurgeon.

If you have not the faith of assurance, practice at least the faith of adherence. That,at least, is in your power. Cleave to God exactly as if you were certain of being accepted of Him at last; and thus fulfilling His own conditions, you will be accepted of Him, whether you are assured of it beforehand or not.  — Jacques Bonneval.

ATHEISM.

The thing formed says that nothing formed it; and that which is made is, while that which made it is not! The folly is infinite. — Jeremy Taylor.

That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy. — Dean Swift.

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. — Francis Bacon.

Atheism is rather in the life than in the heart of man. — Francis Bacon.

Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother,who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion. —François-René de Chateaubriand.

Ingersoll’s atheism can never become an institution; it can never be more than a destitution. — Robert Collyer.

They that deny a God destroy man’s nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. — Francis Bacon.

No one is so much alone in the universe as a denier of God. With an orphaned heart, which has lost the greatest of fathers, he stands mourning by the immeasurable corpse of nature, no longer moved and sustained by the Spirit of the universe. — Jean Paul Richter.

Religion assures us that our afflictions shall have an end; she comforts us, she dries our tears, she promises us another life. On the contrary, in the abominable worship of atheism, human woes are the incense, death is the priest, a coffin the altar, and annihilation the Deity. — François-René de Chateaubriand.

Nothing enlarges the gulf of atheism more than the wide passage that lies between the faith and lives of men pretending to teach Christianity. — Stillingfleet.

I want you to have courage to declare yourself to be an atheist, or to serve your god with all your might and power in perfect consecration, whatever or whoever that god may be — whether it be the crocodile of the Nile or our Jehovah, “God over all blessed for evermore.” — Charles F. Deems.

Practically every man is an atheist, who lives without God in the world. — Guesses At Truth.

AVARICE.

It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God — His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism, than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem. — Richard Fuller.

Avarice is to the intellect what sensuality is to the morals. — Mrs. Jameson.

Objects close to the eye shut out much larger objects on the horizon; and splendors born only of the earth eclipse the stars. So a man sometimes covers up the entire disk of eternity with a dollar, and quenches transcendent glories with a little shining dust. — E. H. Chapin.

Poverty is want of much, but avarice of everything. — Publius Syrius.

Jesus, save me from the infatuation of avarice! I, too, will lay up a treasure, but Thou shalt have the keeping of it. — Christian Scriver.

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Jesus and Plato

ThomasJeffersonLetterCharlesThomson

“Education is chiefly in the hands of persons who, from their profession, have an interest in the reputation and dreams of Plato. They give the tone while at school, and few in their after years have occasion to revise their college opinions. But fashion and authority apart, and bringing Plato to the test of reason, take from him his sophisms, futilities and incomprehensibilities, and what remains? In truth, he is one of the race of genuine sophists, who has escaped the oblivion of his brethren, first, by the elegance of his diction, but chiefly, by the adoption and incorporation of his whimsies into the body of artificial Christianity. His foggy mind is forever presenting the semblances of objects which, half seen through a mist, can be defined neither in form nor dimensions. Yet this, which should have consigned him to early oblivion, really procured him immortality of fame and reverence. The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding, and too plain to need explanation, saw in the mysticism of Plato materials with which they might build up an artificial system, which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them; and for this obvious reason, that nonsense cannot be explained. Their purposes, however, are answered. Plato is canonized; and it is now deemed as impious to question his merits as those of an Apostle of Jesus. He is peculiarly appealed to as an advocate of the immortality of the soul; and yet I will venture to say, that were there no better arguments than his in proof of it, not a man in the world would believe it. It is fortunate for us, that Platonic Republicanism has not obtained the same favor as Platonic Christianity; or we should now have been all living, men, women and children, pell mell together, like beasts of the field or forest. Yet “Plato is a great philosopher,” said La Fontaine. But, says Fontenelle, “Do you find his ideas very clear?” “Oh no! he is of an obscurity impenetrable.” “Do you not find him full of contradictions?” “Certainly,” replied La Fontaine, “he is but a sophist.” Yet, immediately after, he exclaims again, “Oh, Plato was a great philosopher.” Socrates had reason, indeed, to complain of the misrepresentations of Plato; for in truth, his dialogues are libels on Socrates.” (To John Adams, 1814. C. VI., 354.)

See also: MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible
Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Political Party Divisions of the Nation

Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Political Party Divisions of the Nation

ThomasJeffersonQuotesPartyDivisions
Jefferson explains Nations are divided into two parties
1. Want’s all power in the hands of a government elite.
2. Trusts power only in the hands of the people.

Political Parties.—”Parties seem to have taken a very well defined form in this quarter. The old Tories, joined by our merchants who trade in British capital, paper dealers, stock-brokers and the idle rich of the great commercial towns are with the kings. All other descriptions with the French. The war (between France and England) has kindled and brought forward the two parties with an ardour which our own interests merely could never excite. The war between France and England has brought forward the Republicans and Monocrats in every State so openly that their relative numbers are perfectly visible; it appears that the latter are as nothing.” (To James Madison, 1793. F. VI., 326.)

Two parties then do exist in the United States. They embrace respectively the following description of persons:

The anti-Republicans consisted of

  1. The old refugees and Tories.
  2. The British merchants residing among us, and comprising the main body of our merchants.
  3. American merchants trading in British capital. Another great portion.
  4. Speculators and holders in the banks and public funds.
  5. Officers of the Federal Government, with some exceptions.
  6. Office hunters willing to give up principles for places. A numerous and noisy tribe.
  7. Nervous persons, whose languid fibres have more analogy with a passive than an active state of things.

The Republican party of the Union consisted of:

  1. The entire body of land-holders throughout the United States.
  2. The body of labourers not being land-holders, whether in husbanding or the arts. [i.e. The citizenry as a whole] (From notes on Professor Ebelling’s letter, 1795. F. VII., 47.)

“Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, as in England, to take a part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man, but where the principle of difference is as substantial and as strongly pronounced as between the Republicans and the Monocrats of our country, I hold it as honorable to take a firm and decided part, and as immoral to pursue a middle line as between the parties of honest men and rogues into which every country is divided.” (To William Giles, 1795. F. VII., 43.)

“When a Constitution like ours wears a mixed aspect of monarchy and Republicanism its citizens will naturally divide into two classes of sentiment, according as their tone of body or mind, their habits, connections and callings induce them to wish to strengthen either the monarchial or Republican features of the Constitution. Some will consider it as an elective monarchy, which had better be made hereditary, and therefore endeavor to lead towards that all the forms and principles of its administration. Others will view it as an energetic republic, turning in all its points on the pivot of free and frequent elections. The great body of our native citizens are unquestionably of the Republican sentiment.” (To James Sullivan, 1797. F. VII., 117.)

“But, my dear friend, if we do not learn to sacrifice small differences of opinion, we can never act together. Every man cannot have his way in all things. If his own opinion prevails at some times, he should acquiesce on seeing that of others preponderate at others. Without this mutual disposition we are disjointed individuals, but not a society. My position is painful enough between Federalists who cry out on the first touch of their monopoly, and Republicans who clamor for universal removal. A subdivision of the latter will increase the perplexity. I am proceeding with deliberation and inquiry to do what I think just to both descriptions and conciliatory to both. The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people. I do not speak of their leaders who are incurable, but of the honest and well-intentioned body of the people. I consider the pure Federalist as a Republican who would prefer a somewhat stronger executive; and the Republican as one more willing to trust the legislature as a broader representation of the people, and a safer deposit of power for many reasons. But both sects are Republican, entitled to the confidence of their fellow citizens. Not so their quondam leaders covering under the mask of Federalism hearts devoted to monarchy. The Hamiltonians, the Essex-men, the revolutionary Tories, etc. They have a right to tolerance, but neither to confidence nor power. It is very important that the pure Federalist and Republican should see in the opinion of each other but a shade of his own, which by a union of action will be lessened by one-half; that they should see and fear the monarchist as their common enemy, on whom they should keep their eyes, but keep off their hands.” (To John Dickinson, 1801. F. VIII., 76.)

“We shall now be so strong that we shall certainly split again; for freemen thinking differently and speaking and acting as they think, will form into classes of sentiment, but it must be under another name; that of Federalism is to become so scanted that no party can rise under it. As the division between Whig and Tory is founded in the nature of men, the weakly and nerveless, the rich and the corrupt, seeing more safety and accessibility in a strong executive; the healthy, firm and virtuous feeling confidence in their physical and moral resources, and willing to part with only so much power as is necessary for their good government, and therefore to retain the rest in the hands of the many, the division will substantially be into Whig and Tory, as in England, formerly.” (To Joel Barlow, 1802. F. VIII., 150.)

“I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion without imputing to them criminality. I know too well the weakness and uncertainty of human reason to wonder at its different results. Both of our political parties, at least the honest portion of them, agree conscientiously in the same object—the public good; but they differ essentially in what they deem the means of promoting that good. One side believes it best done by one composition of the governing powers; the others, by a different one. One fears most the ignorance of the people; the other, the selfishness of rulers independent of them. Which is right, time and experience will prove. We think that one side of this experiment has been long enough tried, and proved not to promote the good of the many; and that the other has not been fairly and sufficiently tried. Our opponents think the reverse. With whichever opinion the body of the nation concurs, that must prevail. My anxieties on the subject will never carry me beyond the use of fair and honorable means, of truth and reason; nor have they ever lessened the esteem for moral worth, nor alienated my affections from a single friend, who did not just withdraw himself.” (To Mrs. John Adams, 1804. F. VIII., 312.)

“Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak. The same political parties which now agitate the United States have existed through all time. Whether the power of the people or that of the tyrant (?) should prevail, were questions which kept the States of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot. And, in fact, the terms of Whig and Tory belong to natural as well as to civil history. They denote the temper and constitution of the mind of different individuals. To come to our own country and to the time when you and I became first acquainted, we will remember the violent parties which agitated the old Congress, and their bitter contents. There you and I were together, and the Jays, and the Dickinsons, and other anti-independents, were arrayed against us. They cherished the monarchy of England, and we the rights of our countrymen. When our present government was in the mew, passing from Confederation to Union, how bitter was the schism between the Feds and the Antis. Here you and I were together again. For, although for a moment separated by the Atlantic from the scene of action, I favored the opinion that nine States should confirm the Constitution, in order to secure it, and the others hold off until certain amendment, deemed favorable to freedom should be made, I rallied in the first instant to the wiser proposition of Massachusetts, that all should confirm, and then all instruct their delegates to urge those amendments. The amendments were made, and all were reconciled to the government. But as soon as it was put into motion, the line of division was again drawn. We broke into two parties, each wishing to give the government a different direction; the one to strengthen the most popular branch, the other the more permanent branches, and to extend their permanence. * * * There have been differences of opinion and party differences, from the first establishment of governments to the present day, and on the same question which now divides our own country; that these will continue through all future time; that everyone takes his side in favor of the many, or of the few, according to his constitution, and the circumstances in which he is placed; that opinions, which are equally honest on both sides, should not effect personal esteem or social intercourse; that as we judge between the Claudii and the Gracchi, the Wentworths and the Hampdens of past age, so of those among us whose names may happen to be remembered for awhile, the next generations will judge, favorably or unfavorably, according to the complexion of individual minds, and side they shall themselves have taken; that nothing new can be added by you or me to what has been said by others, and will be said in every age in support of the conflicting opinions on government; and that wisdom and duty dictate an humble resignation to the verdict of our future peers.” (To John Adams, 1813. C. VI., 143-146.)

“I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” (To Francis Hopkinson, 1789. F. V., 76.)

LEAVES FROM AN INTERPRETER’S NOTEBOOK. Rev. John Gardner, D. D. 1920

ChristianPatriotQuoteSelahVery interesting perspective I thought I would share. Very good insight into the love and mercy of God.

Leaves From An Interpreter’s Notebook; by Rev. John Gardner, D. D. published 1920

Psalm 93
In times of national calamity, when monarchs suffer eclipse and mighty empires are disintegrated, it is a great thing for some man to arise who has beheld visions of God, an Isaiah whose eyes have been opened to behold the Lord, high and lifted up, or an Ezekiel who has scanned the livid clouds and discovered at the heart of them the august and majestic presence of Him who reigneth forever and ever. Such a seer penned this psalm.

It ranks with the nineteenth psalm for majesty of conception and fervency of utterance. It enshrines the faith which made Israel invulnerable. Men might destroy their cities, blind their kings, rob their nobles of freedom, yet somehow or other the consciousness of heritage and of destiny never departed from them.

Maclaren says of the series of psalms reaching from the 93rd to the 100th: “Probably the historical fact underlying this new conviction of and triumph in the kingdom of Jehovah is the return from exile, but the tone of prophetic anticipation in these exuberant hymns of confident joy can scarcely fail of recognition. The psalmists sang of an ideal state, to which their most glorious experiences but remotely approximated. They saw not yet all things put under Him, but they were sure that He is king, and they were as sure, though with the certitude of faith fixed on His word and not with that of sight, that His universal dominion would one day be universally recognized and rejoiced in.”

Israel’s faith in the majesty of God made them see an authority presiding over every wild and lawless thing in nature. The surging sea, the thunderstorm, tempest and fire are all beneath His control. His majesty and strength are seen in the continuity of natural law, and in the fact that each year is crowned with fruitfulness. In the midst of the chance and change of the seasons there is consciousness of the fact that the universe is built on pillars that are strong. Let the waves of passion beat on the shore as furiously as they will, there is a limit to their striving, and soon they will be turned into submission.

Whatever the outward seeming might be, Israel turned to the thought of God’s house as the most comforting place in all the world. The awful majesty that subdues raging tempests reveals itself as the refuge and strength of His people, and therefore are they enjoined to approach that house with holiness.

Our Father, we thank Thee that the floods shall not overwhelm us, but that when we pass through deep waters Thou wilt be our comfort and stay. We pray that we may ever worship Thee in the beauty of holiness, that we may approach Thee with reverent awe. Keep back Thy servants from presumptuous sins, and let them not have dominion over us! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 94

There are times when belief in the divine omnipotence is the most comforting of all our views of God, when we must know that the world is held in hand by One who is mighty. There are other times when it is imperative that we should know God as the judge of all the earth, who ‘will do righteously. When the faithful ones in Israel were coming to grips with Antiochus Epiphanes they needed to stand together, yet their rulers, including the high priests, became the allies of their foes and actually undertook to punish all who were faithful It was a time when men needed the martyr spirit. And it was a time when they needed to know that the foundations of God’s throne were justice and judgment. This psalm was composed for such a period.

Do not brand a man as hard and narrow and vindictive because he beseeches God to smite and burn the lies that vex our groaning earth. Be ashamed of yourself if looking upon the injustices and wickednesses which torture myriads of human hearts, you have imagined a cosmos which take such things for granted. Sainthood is the mother of compassion. The holy Chr-st trembles with compassion for those who are as sheep having no shepherd.

The psalmist looks on the arrogant rulers of Israel who give themselves airs, and exercise tyranny over the poor and defenseless. The widow and the fatherless, the stranger within the gate cannot protect themselves. A king is supposed to be a kinsman, a strong champion of the defenseless. These over-lords are brutally callous, and strike where they ought to soothe and heal. No one could so act unless he were a believer in a little god. Thank God, there have always been men of moral courage, who, though devoid of material resources, have yet been able to champion the people s cause and to declare the word of the Lord to the rulers of Sodom. As Maclaren says: “Ahab had his Elijah, and Herod his John the Baptist. The succession has been continued through the ages.”

Does oppression yield no benefit? Is not discipline educative? God trains men in a hard school. It is only through the fiery furnace that the eyes of tyrants gain a vision of the Son of God, and it is only in that furnace that men discover the greater Man who is their Comforter and their Saviour.

Do not undervalue that discovery. The way to heaven is narrow and blood-stained, but it is blessed to have heaven within the range, of your aspiring. And do not forget that heaven implies hell. It is a blessed thing to know not merely that by the cross you gain the crown, but also that eternal wrath is kindled against all iniquity and those who devise it. We have a great champion, and can rest on Him as our vindicator. Eternal justice is the foundation on which the heavenly order is to be reared.

O God, who art just in all Thy ways, we worship Thee! We thank Thee that the cause of the weak and the fatherless is Thine, and that Thou wilt do justly to the afflicted and destitute, and wilt rescue those who are weak and needy. We beseech Thee to arise in our time and to justify the confidence of those who put their trust in Thee. Deliver those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, protect all those who call upon Thee! Help us to become like Thee in justice and in compassion! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 95

So much of what we call poetry is nothing more than musical speech. We like the sound of our own voices, and use phrases that are rhythmical, even though meaningless. This is true of many of our sacred songs. What, for example, is the meaning of the line, “With eyes majestic after death,” or “Beautiful isle of somewhere”? An oriental poet never writes like that; his phrases are full of meaning. This is best seen in the psalms. We have here a little poem of rejoicing in Jehovah as the creator and ruler of His people, and every phrase counts.

Our worship lacks spontaneity. We follow a routine, we sing by proxy, we seldom ejaculate a fervent hallelujah to Jehovah. The Hebrew puts us to shame, for his sense of God was so acute that the fleecy cloud, the murmuring breeze, the wild tempest, the foam-flecked sea, made him to rejoice and to shout aloud to God. Whenever he looked on the world as revealing

the majesty of God he was constrained to rejoicing, and when he surveyed the page of history or called to mind the Lord’s dealings with himself as with his fathers he was filled with reverent awe.

Do not be too much afraid of anthropomorphism. There is great comfort in believing in the pitying eye of God, in nestling in the everlasting arms, in trusting in the hand of the Almighty. It is blessed to know that we are the sheep of His hand. Maclaren says: “The repeated reference to the hand of Jehovah is striking. In it are held the deeps. It is a plastic hand, forming the land as a potter fashioning his clay. It is a shepherd’s hand, protecting and feeding his flock. ‘The sheep of His hand’ suggests not merely the creative but the sustaining and protecting power of God. It is hallowed forever by our Lord’s words, which may be an echo of it: ‘No man is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.'”

It is possible for us to fail in worship through our too eager exuberancy of speech. The silence of a modern congregation might be a good thing if it were devoted to attentive and reverent listening for the voice of God, but alas! It is not a silence at all. The congregation has hired people to make a noise, and it oftentimes is so loud that men and women come and go from God’s house without hearing a syllable of what the heavenly Father has been speaking to their hearts. This is the danger feared by the psalmist. It is possible for our natures to cease to react, for us to become truth-hardened. The Israelites had witnessed many wondrous deliverances and gracious interventions, and experienced marvelous guidance at the hands of God; yet they had grown insensitive, and had taken things for granted. Led by the cloud and pillar of fire they spoke of each day as common, they became ingrates, their hearts were estranged. So odious did they become that Jehovah hid Himself from them, and let them try their own ways until they found them bitter.

O Lord, forgive our presumptuous sins! Forgive us in that we have taken Thy guidance and protection for granted, and have not had regard for Thy will and Thy glory in the wondrous circumstances which Thou hast arranged for us! Perfect that which is lacking in our faith, wc beseech Thee! Help us to overcome the world, help us to conform ourselves to Thee in all things! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 96

The nation that recognizes no responsibility beyond its own security and prosperity, that has no vision beyond its own frontiers, that does not know other peoples save for what it can get out of them, that has no sense of kinship with the world and of a common destiny with the rest of humanity, fails in all that makes for greatness. In the period following the exile Israel found her soul through her sense of mission to the peoples of the world. Instead of expecting all the nations to come to her she recognizes a duty to go to them. Instead of asserting superiority she invites them to amity, and asks them to use her altar fires. In her new temple the Gentile courts were spacious.

Alas! she lost the vision and cluttered up the Gentile courts with booths and weights and measures, turning what was holy into a market place, so that the first act of the Son of man when He reached the Temple after embarking on His mission was to hurl the money-changing tables out of the way, and clear a space for the Gentiles to approach.

The new song is one of gladness in the vision of Jehovah’s authority and sway as being over all. The gods of the Gentiles are nothing, and do nothing for their worshipers, they are impotent and worthless, but Jehovah is surrounded by majesty and splendor, strength and beauty. These are ministers waiting upon Him, these are the atmosphere surrounding His throne.

It may be long before all that the psalmist dreams of will be realized, but the Golden Age will come. Others weave legends of a golden age in the long ago; the man of faith says it is coming in the first or in the third watch.

The language of this psalm is borrowed from several other psalms. It shows men of faith agreeing that Jehovah cannot be limited, and that all men have their heritage in Him. These other people share in the priesthood of believers, and are invited to bring their offering and come into His courts.

See to it that your communion table is always open to reverent and obedient penitent hearts. Do not erect barriers and gates, but let men have free access to the heart of God.

In conclusion the psalmist sees all nature sharing the blessed life. It is the thought of Isaiah and of Paul. As Maclaren says: “A poet invests nature with the hues of his own emotions, but this summons of the psalmist is more than poetry. How the transformation is to be effected is not revealed, but the consuming fires will refine, and at last man will have a dwelling place where environment will correspond to character, where the external will image the inward state, where a new force of the material will be the ally of the spiritual, and perfected manhood will walk in a new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

Our Father, we would sing and make melody unto Thee because Thou art the judge of all the earth, and guidest the world with righteousness and compassion. We thank Thee for the assurance that one day we shall see all things made new, that nature will have reached perfectness, and the sons of men will know themselves as children of God. Hasten the coming of that day, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

Psalm 97

Kent says: “This psalm is connected with Psalms 93 and 99 by the same impressive introductory formula, ‘Jehovah reigneth.’ Each of these psalms presents a vivid, majestic picture of Jehovah enthroned on high, ruling the universe with the principles of justice and righteousness. Few psalms express more nobly the spirit of worship. Nowhere in human literature is theology taught more impressively and effectively.”

On the other hand, Maclaren connects it with Psalm 96, saying it presents Jehovah as king but from a fresh point of view, representing His rule under the form of a theophany, [Theophany: Manifestation of God that is tangible to the human senses. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period] which may possibly be regarded as the fuller description of the coming of Jehovah with which Psalm 96 closes.

The first lesson to be learned is from the quotations with which the psalm abounds. This man builds on the past in the sense that he believes that what God was He is. It is a mistake to imagine that the Lord does not speak directly to men today. He always speaks to those who will listen. Because men could not hear or understand the words that Christ wanted to say has He refrained and does He mean to refrain from saying them? We must learn to say: “I will hear what God the Lord will say unto me: speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”

The word does not need to be original in order to be new. It needs to be the word for this time. We do not outgrow the Bible. We shall find our knowledge of God coming as a revelation when we reopen our Bibles and relearn their contents.

Has God withdrawn His theophany because for the time there are mists and clouds hiding it? The psalmist waits for the mists to clear, and is expectant of a partial or complete revelation whenever the clouds break. If we felt the awe of the cloud we should be comforted by the bright light in the cloud. The psalmist is conscious that righteousness is the foundation of His throne, and that glory lies within the mantle of the cloud and shall one day burst on the sight of all. Behind the mystery he is ever sure of the holiness, righteousness, consuming fire, delivering power. Whenever God breaks through the cloud all nations shall know that almightiness expresses itself in loving-kindness. Every false thing which has frightened men will be revealed in its impotence.

In the hour when Jehovah is unveiled gladness will come into hearts which for a brief period were fearful and perplexed. We shall know in that day that when we revolt from evil we are beloved of God. No more wondrous fact exists than that while we were sinners Christ died for us. Yet our personal acquaintance with that love demands that because of it we recoil from and repudiate sin. What comfort there is in the words, “Light shineth forth for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart”

Dear Lord, we thank Thee that in the day when men imagined that the Son of God had been destroyed He was asserting His authority in heaven and in earth, and sending His gospel unto all nations. We adore Thee that in the world’s darkest hour the Spirit of God caused men to see visions and dream dreams, and we pray that we may go forth to do our work as those who have beheld Thy glory and know Thee as rejoicing in righteousness. For Thy name’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 98

Some think that originally this psalm was connected with Psalm 96. It is evident that its author was acquainted with the second part of Isaiah. The psalmist announces the facts concerning God’s deliverances, and responds to them with praise. He thinks the providences of God are self-evident, and must challenge the ends of the earth to adoring wonder and praise. God acts in accordance with His nature. He creates and destroys according to eternal principles. He continues the order of nature, the course of the sun through the heavens, the distillation of moisture, the changing seasons, whether men are good or bad. He so loved the world and commended His love toward the world that while we were yet sinners He gave His only begotten Son, and the attitude of the world to Him does not alter the fact. One day the ends of the earth will recognize the fact, and joy will flood the souls of men. God’s deeds are not dependent on our recognition of them.

More precious than sacrifices and burnt offerings is intelligent, soulful praise. God will never come to His triumph until all men spontaneously respond to the challenge of His loving-kindness and His righteous acts. One day the nations of the earth will share a common emotion and sing a new song in unison. In that day the divine sovereignty will be recognized by the travailing earth, which will have found her redemption and know that her mission is complete. Righteousness and equity are the foundations of the divine government of the world, and when the nations I have learned their lesson and bent themselves beneath the judgments of their Lord, then the universe will break forth into melody, and creation will enter into its rest.

Our Father, we thank Thee that Thou knowest those who are Thine, who grieve over everything that is hostile to Thy will, who are distressed at the abominations which are in the earth. Those who bear the cross shall share the crown. Help us to be faithful, grant unto us grace to endure! May we learn to fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ on behalf of the faithful! In His name. Amen.

Psalm 99

There is no sovereignty like that of holiness. Israel rejoiced in her divine king because His character was the guarantee of His triumph. Holiness combined with infinite power and knowledge seems to make God remote. What can mortals do but stand in awe of Him? And yet, if He is holy He must be just, and His sovereignty is the pledge of righteousness as triumphant in the earth. It is a great discovery to know that the universe is built on moral principles, and that the Judge of all the earth will execute justice and righteousness.

We know the vanity of trusting in the integrity and power of earthly potentates. Emperors and presidents, they alike fall short. Their judgments are partial; they are not impelled by love. Because Jehovah is holy, men may worship Him. This is the secret of Israel’s story. The fathers of the race made discovery of the character of God, and worship became the foundation of society.

Maclaren says: “From venerable examples the psalmist draws instruction as to the nature of the worship befitting the holiness of Jehovah. He goes deeper than all sacrifices, or than silent awe. There is a commerce of desire and bestowal between the holy Jehovah and us. But these answers come on certain conditions, which are plain consequences of His holiness, namely, that His worshipers should keep His testimonies, by which He has witnessed both to His own character and to their duty.”

The psalmist has learned that the very heart of holiness is love, and that it is the character of love to forgive. Yet love and forgiveness have moral qualities. Love does not condone, forgiveness is not blind compassion. There must be suffering where there is disease, and sin is disease. Penalties are inevitable to transgression, and Israel learned by bitter experience that God visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations. Only, when Israel is forgiven, it knows that love and goodness are at the heart of suffering, and penalty becomes a means of refinement and ennoblement.

Most gracious and most holy Father, who seekest worshipers who approach Thee in spirit and in truth, we beseech Thee to search us and prove us and see if there be any wicked way in us. Where we are found lacking, show us Thy compassion! Cleanse us from iniquity, and release us from the dominion and power of sin! Help us to love Thee with all our being! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 100

There is an imperative in holiness which is felt by all men. Whether holiness displays itself as justice, purity or love it challenges the soul to reverent awe. Its authority is absolute. Worship is man’s response to the challenge of holiness. Because Jehovah is God the whole earth is commanded to pay Him homage.

Israel’s history is a witness to the character of God. All the earth can read the record. He has proved Himself a jealous God and a consuming fire, He has displayed His glory in loving-kindness and tender mercy. He has shown Himself a God of deliverances, a present help in trouble. This is the secret of Israel’s joy in worship. Her temple stands open to all the earth.

Maclarcn says: “The depths of sorrow, both of that which springs from outward calamities and of that more heart-breaking sort which wells up from dark fountains in the soul, have been sounded in many a psalm. But the Psalter would not reflect all the moods of the devout soul unless it had some strains of unmingled joy.”

Not only does Jehovah show forth His majesty in Israel’s story but also in all nature. His character is consistent. From everlasting to everlasting He is God, and His nature is definable in terms of goodness. Kindness is the key to the heart of God. We do well to sing:

“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.”

How can the beholders of loving-kindness withhold the homage of their hearts? No wonder the psalmist anticipates the day when Israel’s hosannas will be mingled with the praise of all the earth.

Our Father, we pray for grace to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. When we seek Thy face we would entreat Thee in His name; as we confront the circumstances of life and look upon the restless sea of human life we would be possessed of His spirit; when entering the garden of sorrow and facing the challenge of faith zee would learn from Him the secret of self-abnegation; when conscious of the approach of the last enemy we would be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. Help us so to live, we beseech Thee! Amen.

Psalm 101

Commentators have taken widely different views of the authorship of this psalm. Some have called it an ideal description of a Jewish king. Perowne thinks that it may have been written by David in the early part of his reign, when his heart was so true to his God, and Maclaren takes the same view. Kent, on the other hand, avers: “This psalm is an important historical document. In 1 Maccabees 14. [Maccabees also spelled Machabees, four books, none of which is in the Hebrew Bible but all of which appear in some manuscripts of the Septuagint.] 14 it is recorded of Simon, the Maccabean ruler, that “he strengthened all the distressed of his people, he was full of zeal for the law, and every lawless and wicked person he banished.’ There is every reason to believe that this psalm voices the ideals of Simon.” Whoever was the author, the psalm presents us with a mirror for rulers which has significance for all time.

First, a king should be a man of such integrity, moral courage, honor and justice that men can trust him. He is ideally a divine vicegerent, and therefore should build his life on the character of God, who is just and merciful. Every man should have a standard to which he conforms his motives and acts, and a king should take God for his pattern. This king builds his life on piety. In the next place, he recognizes his personal responsibility and the need for singleness of aim. Further, he realizes the influence of environment on judgments; a man is responsible for his friends and advisers. “Walk with wise men and thou shalt be wise, but the companion of fools shall smart for it.” Because of his responsibility this king beseeches God to dwell within him and to enable him to walk in a perfect way. No man is safe until he has made certain moral repudiations.

Second, a king should have a pure court The corruption in kings’ palaces has become a byword. The courtesan, the deceiver, the seeker for place and power, the slanderer, have wrought mischief in all countries and in all ages. This man will permit none but honorable men to occupy places of distinction. Maclaren says: “The vices against which he will implacably war are not gross crimes such as ordinarily bring down the sword of public justice. This monarch has regard to more subtle evils,—slander, superciliousness, inflated vanity. His eyes are quick to mark ‘the faithful in the land. He looks for those whose faithfulness to God guarantees their fidelity to men and their general reliableness. In that court dignity and office will go not to talent, or to crafty acts of senility, or to birth, but to moral and religious qualities.”

Third, this ruler will try to make his personal ideals the standards for civil and political life throughout the country. “Fast as evil springs under shelter of darkness, it shall be destroyed with the returning light. The allusion is, doubtless, to the oriental custom of holding courts of law in the early morning. Day by day will he exercise his work of righteous judgment, purging out all ungodliness from the Holy City.” We do well to have these verses in mind when choosing our rulers, remembering that as are the rulers so are the governed. Godly men have a great responsibility for the well-being of the state.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from Thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth, most heartily we beseech Thee with Thy favor to behold and bless all who are in authority, and so replenish them with the grace of Thy Holy Spirit that they may always incline to Thy will, and walk in Thy ways! Endue them plentcously with heavenly gifts, grant them in health and prosperity long to live, and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

Psalm 102.1-11

These are the words of a personal sufferer. It may be that they have been taken up by a community of suffering saints, for somehow each man’s experience is the key to our common humanity. Originally, however, the words were not for liturgical use, but the expression of an individual’s anguish.

The psalmist was already acquainted with the outpourings of other singers of the songs of Zion. The wise man will fortify himself with the words of God, that he may draw upon them in days of trouble. This man is not a copyist; the words of Scripture are so much a part of himself that he uses them spontaneously to express his own emotion. His condition is pitiable. His life is passing as smoke, fever is burning in him, he is like one suffering from sunstroke, he is emaciated with suffering and pain. His anguish is mental as well as physical, and drives him in upon himself. He is as solitary as a pelican, which is described as the most somber of birds; he is like an owl in a ruined fortress, or a sparrow that has lost its mate and laments on the house top for hours. His enemies say that God has made a public spectacle of him.

That which adds wormwood and gall to his cup is the thought that he suffers because God is angry with him. Sin is the root of his misery. So terrible is God that He has thrust forth His hand and taken this poor man into His grip, and hurled him aloft and away as an utterly worthless and contemptible thing. The figure is so violent that one shrinks from the thought that any man could employ it of himself, and inclines to the idea that it must have been employed to describe the experience of Israel. If, however, it leads to a new and deeper experience of God as One whose every act is inspired by love and grace, and creates a belief that judgment is redemptive, then it can be read as a gospel. And that is what we find in the words which follow, and which are a song of Zion’s deliverance.

We thank Thee, O God, for that discipline whereby Thou dost separate that

in us which is excellent, which reveals us as Thy offspring, from that which is worthless. Thou dost test us and purify us, Thou dost sift us and sanctify us. Thou canst not be satisfied if we fail of the best. Give us grace to know Thy purpose in the midst of discipline, that so we may be submissive and patient, ever believing in Thy wisdom and love! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 102.12-28

It is a great moment in a man’s life when facing his individual grief, or the calamities of the nation, he is constrained to say of God the omnipotent, “But Thou I” Perowne says: “This is the great consolatory thought by which he rises above his sorrow. He, the individual, may perish, but Zion’s hopes rest on her eternal King.”

And yet this might seem, as Calvin remarks, a far-fetched consolation. What is it to us that God changeth not, that He sitteth king forever, if meanwhile our condition is so frail and feeble that we cannot continue for a moment? His unchangeable peace and blessedness do but make our life seem the more complete mockery. But the psalmist recalls God’s promises to Zion, especially that great covenant promise: “I will dwell in the midst of you.” Resting on this, he feels sure that God’s children, however miserable their state, shall have their share in that heavenly glory wherein God dwelleth. Because God changes not His promise and covenant change not, and therefore we may ever lift our eyes to His throne in heaven, from which He will surely stretch forth His hand to us.

How can men face life unless their faith is rooted in a personal God whose name and nature they know? It seems as though each man ought not to risk life’s adventure until he has made the great discovery. Jacob’s life was vacillating until he had wrestled with his problem. To believe in a personal God is to believe in a set time for the revelation of His power and delivering mercy. He is interested in our ideals, and it is His purpose to make them actualities.

Because of what shall happen to us the whole world will learn to worship Jehovah. Maclaren says: “The psalmist’s confidence teaches us never to despair of the future of God’s church, however low its present state, but to look down the ages in calm certainty that however externals may change the succession of God’s children will never fail, nor the voice of their praise ever fall silent.”

There is more in this psalmist’s song than he himself imagines. When we turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews we find his language quoted as a fore-gleam of the coming Messiah in whom creation and redemption met and blended, in whom Jehovah’s actions were completed. Words uttered by one whose eyes had been washed by tears found their interpretation in Jesus, in whom God was manifest.

Our God, we praise Thee for the new day with which Thou hast blessed us. Once we were separate from Christ, now we are reconciled; once we had no lot in Thy kingdom, now we are enfranchised; once we were in a silent universe, now we hear and recognize Thy voice; once we had no hope, now our souls have found a sure anchorage; once we had no God, now we know Thee as our Father. Help us to live in the happiness of love! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.1-5

“This psalm is a meditation as well as a prayer of adoration. Its appreciation of Jehovah’s character and attitude toward men, its childlike, filial trust, and its faith in His universal kingdom and rule, all connect it closely with the teachings of Jesus.” It is built on those words found in Exodus 34.6: “Jehovah, tenderly compassionate and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”

There is not one sad note in the whole of this psalm. From beginning to end it pulsates with joy. The psalmist is enraptured with God. He would not merely sing of the divine faithfulness, nor bow in reverent awe before the ineffable Presence, but he would challenge every faculty, his reason, his emotions, his will, his moral nature, everything that is high and good, to ascribe adoration unto Jehovah.

Our first betrayal is in our recollectedness. We take providence for granted. We accept the benefactions of God as matters of course. The psalmist will guard his soul against the sin of ingratitude. Therefore he recounts the wondrous mercies of which he has been recipient.

There is the blessing of forgiveness. When standing in the white light of love the soul becomes conscious of its blemishes and pollutions. If we may yet call upon God and know ourselves as the objects of His regard, it is because of His pardoning love.

There is the blessing of healing, not only of a body that is diseased but of a sick soul also. Augustine says: “Even when sin is forgiven thou still carriest about with thee an infirm body. Death is not yet swallowed up in victory, this corruptible hath not yet put on incorruption, still the soul herself is shaken by passions and temptations. But thy sicknesses shall all be healed, doubt it not! They are great, thou wilt say, but the Physician is greater. God made thy body, God made thy soul. He knoweth how to re-create that which He created, He knoweth how to re-form that which He formed. Only be thou still under the hands of the Physician.”

Not only does God rescue a man from the grave, He makes his life a beatification. The glory of God is His loving-kindness and tender mercy, and with these He crowns His beloved, He grants to him the secret of perennial youth. Maclaren says: “How should a man thus dealt with grow old? The body may, but not the soul. Rather it will drop powers that can decay, and for each thus lost will gain a stronger moulting and not be stripped of its wings, though it changes their feathers.”

Our Father, we would learn to keep silence before Thee. Our lives are like the surging sea, tossed by care and need. We pray for the grace of silence, that so we may hear what Thou hast to say to us. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.6-9

What is the foundation of the psalmist’s confidence? It is the product of experience, but it is founded upon the declared character of God. Because the Lord reigneth in the exercise of righteousness, because He is declared to be the champion of the weak, because all history bears testimony to the character of His government of the race, because He has revealed His nature and His will through Moses to the children of the covenant, therefore the psalmist challenges every attribute of his being to adoration. “He is not spinning a filmy idea of a God out of his own consciousness, but he has learned all that he knows of Him from His historical self-revelation.”

Beware of those ideas which are merely the objectivisation of your best self and which vain men would label God, and of that talking to your best ideas which is foolishly misnamed prayer. Make sure that you bend your knees to God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and that He hears prayer.

The background of faith is the actuality of God’s reign in the earth, the belief that He intervenes. He is not silent, He has not created a vast machine and left it to work. He is in a world of free beings where wills may be set in defiance of His will and for the perpetuation of wickedness, and He has determined that justice shall triumph. Man’s safety and peace lie in the discovery of God’s ways of acting. Moses described the secret of a good man’s life when he offered the prayer: “If I have found grace in Thy sight, shew me now Thy way, that I may know Thee!” To that prayer there came a gracious answer: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” The psalmist builds on that word as the revelation of God, and great peace floods his soul.

If the Almighty were in eternal opposition to us, if there were no further revelation than that His face is against them that do evil, we should become fatalists rather than the children of eager anticipation. Isaiah tells us: “For not forever will I contend, and not perpetually will I be angry; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” God does not cherish a grudge against us. The champion of the oppressed, He is also full of wise understanding and tender solicitude. This is the foundation of the gospel, this is why men repent of sin; the goodness of Jehovah leads them to repentance. .

O God, we would rest in Thy love, we would surrender ourselves to Thy control. Help us to sit at Thy feet as Thy dear children, reveal unto us Thy way, grant us the spirit of self-forgetfulness in Thy service, help us to be sincere and to respond to the promptings of Thy Spirit! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.10-12

God is not a harsh and vindictive judge. He has no pleasure in punishment. The Scriptures are full of the sorrows of God; He bears our sins and carries our griefs. His punishments are for our correction, and every one of them is potential with blessing.

Psalm 36 testifies: “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds”; and Psalm 57: “Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds.” So here the psalmist exults in the fact that as high as the heavens are above the earth, so mighty is His loving-kindness upon them that fear Him. The idea is that God’s love is immeasurable. We have no instrument by which we can gauge its magnitude and strength. As Maclaren says: “Traverse heaven to the zenith, and from sunrise to sunset, to find distances distant enough to express the towering height of God’s mercy and the completeness of His removal from us of our sins.”

The fact of God’s love is demonstrated by its relationship to our sins. The Bible is the only book in the world that frankly faces the sin of man in its relation to God; it is the only book that adequately describes sin; it is the only book that believes in its forgiveness. We start with the first sin and its penalty, we end with the invitation to take the water of life freely; between we have been shown the anguish of hell, where the fire is unquenched and the worm does not die, and we are told of the greater anguish of One who bore our sins and died that we might be forgiven. The Old Testament tells us that God will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea, that He will cast them behind His back, that “as far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” The New Testament tells us how and why He has done it, how the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men. Let us adore the Lord who can abundantly pardon!

Our Father, be with us as we go forth into life! Grant that we may not become so absorbed in our work that we forget our responsibility for the development of Christlike characters! May our souls become our chief concern, and their nurture our main business! Let the love df Christ become the constraining force in all our judgments! For His sake. Amen.

Psalm 103.13, 14

The last thought which men have entertained of God is that of father. The history of religion outside of Christianity is not the record of children meeting their heavenly Father. Fear hangs like a pall over the lives of the non-Christian world. It is difficult to persuade men who are not acquainted with the story of Christ that God is like a father. Someone has said: “Men said, God was like Hercules in the invincible strength with which He crushed the evils of the world and made an end of them. Later still Plato advanced the suggestion that God was like a ‘geometer,’ a thinker and fashioner, full of ideas and ideals. In this most wonderful and most gracious lyric, the 103rd Psalm, the seer surpasses all the great historical religions and pictures God to us as a pitiful, compassionate, sin-forgiving and soul-healing father, and thus supplies the basis for the most true, most worthy, and most inspiring conception of God.”

We need to begin our thought about life with the pity of God. It is the core of religion. Eight times over in the gospels we are told of Him who was the revealer of God: “Seeing the multitude He was moved with compassion.” Providence is the record of forbearance, adaptation, pity. The incarnation is the doctrine of the Son of God’s identification with lost humanity.

“He remembereth that we are dust.” Dust is synonymous with frailty. God knows us and our frailty, and pities us. He knows our frame, and remembers the duality of our nature, our ignorance, the incidents of our career, the force of circumstance, the tyranny of habit, the fetters of ignorance.

God’s pity is on them that fear Him. Fear is different from dread, fear is not to be identified with terror. Fear is the opposite of recklessness; it means reverence, recognizing the solemn responsibility of life. Ruskin says: “Among the children of God, while there is always that fearful and bowed apprehension of His majesty and that sacred dread of all offense to Him which is called the fear of God, yet of real and essential fear there is not any, but clinging of confidence to Him as their rock, fortress and deliverer.”

Our Father, we rejoice in the constancy of Thy presence. We thank Thee that even our transgressions do not hide us from Thee. Thine eye seest us in our sin as in our righteousness, and when our hearts cry out against us Thou art greater than our hearts, and declarest to us Thy message of love, Thy willingness to pardon. Accept our adoration, we beseech Thee! In Christ’s name. Amen.

Psalm 103.15-22

A being fragile as a potter’s vase needs to be handled gently. A life like a prairie flower, which expresses itself for a moment in beauty and fragrance and then wilts and withers, is pathetic in its weakness and appeals to the great Artificer. Sometimes the thought of human life as possessed of the frailty of a flower brings comfort to a man who watches those who do iniquitous deeds. It is a comfort to know that the mighty arm of oppression will lose its force. Sometimes it is tragic, as when we see a generation of struggling, aspiring, loving, hating men and woman passing away and leaving no trace behind. In those hours a man needs to make discovery of God the unchangeable, in order that he may remain a child of hope and realize the comfort of His presence.

Again we find comfort in the loving-kindness of God toward them that fear Him. As Perowne says: “As if to remind us that there is a love within a love,—a love which they only know who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, who fear Him and walk in His ways,—as well as a love which maketh the sun to shine, and sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust. In the next verse there is the same limitation, To such as keep His covenant, and to those who not only know but do His will. The blessings of the covenant are no inalienable right. Children’s children can only inherit its blessings by cleaving to it.”

From thought of self the psalmist listens to the universe, and learns that all nature is vocal. The challenge to his soul is met by the chorus of created things, mighty warriors of the air and sky, winds and lightnings and every force that expresses itself and fulfills the will of Him who sends it forth. Everything is articulate with praise. How then shall he who is the interpreter of nature remain silent? He will add his voice to the chorus, and sing his hymn of praise with every element of being.

Our Father in heaven, we pray that the light of life may shine within us, that in the hour when the Bridegroom comcth we may be found with our lamps trimmed and burning, our loins girt, our feet shod, our souls prepared. Teach us to wait for the coming of our Lord! Amen.

Psalm 104.1-4

The psalmist starts out with the idea of nature as the ever-changing vesture of God, and in this psalm we have an interpretation of the goings forth of the Eternal, and the response of nature to His presence.

The universe is not adrift in space, it is ordered and controlled by Him who made it and who directs its way. It is not capable of continuance without His wise control and supervision. God has not made the universe a finished thing. He only rested from His labor of creation when man appeared. Since then He has been active, renewing the face of the earth, leading all creation to its goal. Of each new generation it is true He giveth life and breath and all things.

Some have conjectured that the psalmist may have been in Egypt and become acquainted with certain Egyptian songs of creation, but anyone who has compared the sacred odes of other nations with those of Israel knows that there is a sublimity and purity and moral consciousness about these latter which make them unique. “The psalm is a gallery of vivid nature-pictures, touched with wonderful grace and sureness of hand.” It has been called the Psalm of the Cosmos.

Look then upon the activity of God. He takes to Himself a vesture of light. The vesture hides Him, yet expresses Him. Calvin says: “In comparing the light to a robe he signifies that though God is invisible yet His glory is manifest. If we speak of His essential being, it is true that He dwelleth in light inaccessible; but inasmuch as He irradiates the whole world with His glory, this is a robe wherein He in some measure appears to us as visible, who in Himself had been hidden.” How sublime are the divine actions! The speeding face of the sky is like the shaping out of a tent in which one would sojourn for a moment

Listen to the voice of the wind; how aloof, how solemn, how kind! Newman says: “But how do the wind and water, earth and fire move? Now here Scripture interposes, and seems to tell us that all this wonderful harmony is the work of angels. Those events which we ascribe to chance (as the weather), or to nature (as the seasons), are duties done to that God who maketh His angels to be winds, and His minister a flame of fire. Thus whenever we look abroad we are reminded of those most gracious and holy beings, the servants of the Holiest, who deign to minister to the heirs of salvation. Every breath of air and ray of light and heat, every beautiful prospect is (as it were) the skirt of their garments, the waving of the robes of those whose faces see God in heaven.”

“Father, we thank Thee for the world about us, and above, and beneath. We bless Thee for the austere loveliness of the wintry heavens, for those fixed or wandering fires which lend their splendor to the night, for the fringe of beauty wherewith Thou borderest the morning and the evening sky, and for this daily sun sending his roseate flush of light across the white and wintry world. Amen”

Psalm 104. 5-18

The psalmist’s view of creation is that beneath the heaving mass of waters God was forming the earth in all its beauty of hill and valley, watercourse and broadspreading prairie. In the moment of unveiling He rebuked the sea, and it was gathered within its bounds. No one has expounded the theme more eloquently than John Milton:

“Ye mists and exhalations that now arise From hill or streaming lake, dusky or gray Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold, In honor to the world’s great Author rise. Whether to deck with clouds the uncolored sky, Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers, Rising or falling, still advance His praise. His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow, Breathe soft or loud. And wave your tops, ye pines, With every plant in sign of worship wave.”

The psalmist sees tokens of beneficence on every hand. Particularly does he lay emphasis on the watercourses, the rains and dews which are essentially gifts of God, and the generators of life to herb and beast and man. “The mountains are mentioned not only because on them the clouds rest, from them the streams descend, but because Palestine was a land of mountains and of valleys, ‘of the rain of heaven it drinketh water.'” The fruit of the earth combined with human industry provides a banqueting table as is described in verse 15. Jehovah is not sparing in His gifts, He bestows His blessings with a lavish hand.

Our God, who hast given to this age its solemn task, we pray that Thou wouldst enable it to make it nobler and stronger than the age that has passed. Grant that it may be guided and instructed by prophetic souls who shall establish what is right, and expose and condemn everything that is evil! Let it know the blessedness of pardoned sin, the privilege of sacrificial service! We ask it for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 104.19-35

Maclaren says: “With verse 19 the psalmist thinks of moon and sun only in relation to the alternation of day and night as affecting creatural life on earth. The moon is named first because the Hebrew day began with the evening. It is the measurer, by whose phases seasons (or, according to some, festivals) are reckoned. The sun is a punctual servant, knowing the hour to set and duly keeping it. ‘Thou appointest darkness, and it is night.’ God wills, and

His will effects material changes. He says to His servant night, ‘Come,’ and she comes.” Do not lose the poetry of life. Beware lest science blind the eyes of your heart, and the universe become to you a vast nothingness.

Very fine is the psalmist’s delineation of the business of the night. The hours in which wild beasts can issue from their lairs and pursue their hunting, are the hours in which man the worker may find rest and refreshment for the challenging moments of dawn. Man needs food, but unlike the beasts he cannot live by hunting. If he is to be a man he must live by digging and delving. The world lies around him rich in possibilities, his business is to create out of it a harvest field, a mine, a city of habitation. He creates a family, a society, a church. His manhood, all that is implied in the term humanity, is the product of work. Man finds the key to life in the words of Jesus Christ: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Man makes discovery of himself in his labor.

“Not God Himself can make man’s best Without best man to help Him. ‘Tis God gives skill, But not without man’s hands: He could not make Antonio Stradivari’s violins Without Antonio.”

Not only is there a poetry of night and of work, but also of the sea. Perowne says: “Then he remembers that there is one vast field of creative wonders of which as yet he has said nothing. The sea, too, has its life,—a life in its depths, of things small and great, a life of coral insect as well as of the whale, and also a life on its surface, where go the ships carrying the thoughts and the passions, the skill and the enterprise of human hearts.”

Happy indeed must God be in the music of the spheres, happy in beholding a world divinely fair, happy in witnessing the effort, the aspiration, the prayers of men. Happy should man be that he has such a God as creator and friend. Ashamed he ought to be in that his sin has marred the harmony of creation. No wonder that at last the human soul reaches an ecstasy, and cries for the first time, Hallelujah!

With gladsome minds we praise Thee, O God, for Thy kindness, Thy mercy and Thy faithfulness. We magnify Thee for the majesty of Thy strength, the infinitude of Thy resources. Thy bounty is on every, hand, Thy providence is over all Thy works. Help us to live before Thee in reverence, gratitude and obedient service! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 105

Verses 1-15 are to be found in 1 Chronicles 16. The principle underlying the psalm is that we know what God is like by learning what God has done. The Bible is a statement of facts. God made the heavens and the earth and man. God called Abraham, God moulded Jacob, God overruled the malicious schemes of Jacob’s sons toward their brother Joseph, and turned a young man’s misery into a gospel for the human race. God was in Egypt, and in His own time called His sons out of Egypt. The whole of Israel’s story was a revelation of God to the nations.

If we were to think more on the lessons of history our lives would be more praiseful, and we should have greater confidence in the divine providence. Our praise is so empty because we have been shallow in our thinking. If we knew God as our ally life would assume a new significance.

Someone has spoken of the names ascribed to Israel as indicating their obligations as “secretaries of God’s praise.” God’s relation to Israel was of His own volition, the covenant which He made was because of His love, and the long record of His doings demonstrated His faithfulness.

Do not entertain vague ideas; become positive in your knowledge and belief that God is in your life and is guiding it in mercy. If the divine covenant implies obligations on His part, it also involves obligations on the part of His chosen. The covenant was renewed to each generation. God holds relationship to you as definitely as to your father and mother. Calamities do not imply change on God’s part; they involve suffering, but they also develop knowledge, strength, power; they lead to new discoveries of riches of mind and heart. The psalmist knows the whole dread story of Israel’s suffering in Egypt, but he knows that it was the pathway to glory. The tender mercy of God is over all His works.

We thank Thee, O God, that we have learned to trust Thy wisdom, and know that Thy will is good, when it holds us back as when it speeds us on our way. Thou dost sail life’s sea with us, and we shall not be destroyed, but shall reach the haven of our desire! Give unto us a deeper repose of soul, we beseech Thee! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 106

This psalm deals with the same theme as the last, but from a different point of view. History vindicates God as true and righteous altogether; history is a long record of humanity’s failure to do and be according to its covenant. No man can study history without being inspired to a belief that at the heart of things there is invincible, everlasting justice. On the other hand, the historian knows the tragedies that arise from faults of temper. Kent says that in this psalm “the general theory of Israel’s history is that of the author of the book of Judges; it was a repeated cycle of rebellion, affliction at the hands of heartless foes, and divine deliverance.” It extols the goodness of Jehovah, and invokes His favor. It tells of His care over an ungrateful people during the exodus and in the wilderness and at Horeb as well as on the borders of Canaan. It continues the story at Baalpeor, Meribah, in Canaan, under the Assyrians and in exile. The soul cannot but exult in God, it cannot but be ashamed of Israel’s failure.

Israel occupies so unique a place in history because her patriots were ready to point out her failures, and she accepted the reproach and made it a litany. America suffers because she has been fed on Decatur’s words: “My country, may she always be in the right; but my country, right or wrong!” She needs to learn to accept rebuke, to humble herself before God.

This psalmist exults in God; the remembrance of the divine love brings happiness, and challenges to prayer. But the other side of things must be faced. The fathers have sinned, and their children have condoned their iniquity. The story of each generation is of faithlessness, ingratitude, obstinacy. Again and again there has been open rebellion against God, deliberate repudiation of morality, assault upon righteous leaders and holy institutions. They have bartered away their God, and got nothing but misery in exchange. When they became apostate they sank to the lowest depths. The gods they chose instead of Jehovah were bestial, and the service they rendered them was infamous. No wonder God was angry.

Yet the story does not end there. Jehovah’s love and compassion persisted, His patience and longsuffering continued through long generations. Prayer is answered, and God’s favor is restored to His penitent people again. No wonder that the psalm closes with Hallelujah!

O Love divine, infinite in tenderness and condescension, we trust Thee in the midst of our sorrows and distresses, for Thy nearness comforts us. When we go into dark shadows Thou art by our side; -when journeying through desert places Thou art as the shadow of a rock; when lonely and disconsolate the wind whispers Thy name and assures us of Thy presence. Blessed be Thy name! Teach us to rejoice in Thee! Through Christ. Amen.

Psalm 107.1-9

Kent says: “This psalm contains a strong liturgical element. The horizon is not limited to Palestine, but includes the distant lands of the dispersion. In imagination the reader beholds caravans making long journeys through the parched, trackless desert far away from inhabited cities. He shares their joy as at last they are guided to the populous, well-watered city which is the goal of their pilgrimage. He sees captives dragged into distant exile living the life of slaves, in bonds and afflicted by the lash of the taskmaster. Again the vision changes, and he shares the trials and the perils of sailors helplessly tossed by the storm. If not written in one of the lands of the dispersion this psalm is certainly from one who had traveled widely, and observed closely, and himself participated in the life that lay beyond the bounds of Palestine.”

The problem which every good man must face is this: in, times of suffering and calamity is it worth while praying to God? Is providence active? Does God will to interfere in response to the pleading of His children? The psalmist believes that God does interfere, that when trouble drives man to God He shows Himself ready and waiting to be gracious. To emphasize his belief the psalmist pictures life under a variety of figures, each graphically portraying human extremity and the divine intervention.

First, he shows us life under the figure of a caravanserai in the desert. There is nothing but a trackless waste, no oasis, no hillock from which to take your bearings, no water, no shade. Distress has laid its cruel hand upon their spirits. No knowledge of desert life and ways is of value. Their souls are submerged in despair, they are lost, they walk in a circle and ever come back on their tracks. In desperation they cry to God, and beseech Him to guide them in a straight line until they reach an inhabited place.

O God, who givest us all things richly to enjoy, we would not forget Thee in our joy at Thy gifts; we would not derive from Thee life and every good, and yet live as though there were no God. We pray that each day we may enjoy a larger revelation of Thy presence and Thy blessing. Help us to live for Thee, and to become each day more worthy to live with Thee! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 107. 10-16

The man who wrote these words knew the prophecies of Isaiah. Compare Isaiah 42.7 and 49.9: “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners’ from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house”—”That Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves.”

Israel had literally known the bondage that is the penalty of sin. The pity, the shame, the horror of it was in the soul of the prophets and psalmists. What does it mean? Is the lesson merely the fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation that shall destroy God’s adversaries? No; there is a gospel of doom.

Punishment follows transgression. Sin blinds the soul’s vision and fetters the soul’s freedom, not because God delights in seeing the wicked suffer but yearns to protect the wicked from destruction. He is behind the fetters, as the social instinct is behind law in every civilized community. So He is near when man (or nation) comes to himself, when the heart sobs out its confession and pleads for the privilege of doing something in return for which it may eat spiritual food and dwell in the Father’s house.

Yes, sin drives us into exile, sin enslaves, sin generates the feelings, appetites and outlook of slaves, sin fetters, sin lays on us the lash of a harsh taskmaster. Maclaren says: “Is not godless life ever bondage? And is not rebellion against God the sure cause of falling under a harsher dominion? And does He not listen to the cry of a soul that feels the slavery of subjection to self and sin? And is not true enlargement found in His free service? And does He not give power to break the strongest chains of habit?” Yes, it is God who makes it hard for man to sin; it is God who snaps fetters and bids the enslaved man go forth into a large, free, righteous world.

O God, we thank Thee that Thou hast made our cars to hear Thy voice, and hast brought seeing to our eyes, and understanding to our hearts; that through Thy grace our nature is at last alive, and we begin to discover the strength of manhood. Thy love is forever wooing us. Thou callest us to possess the land of promise, and there to build a temple and a home. Help us to be wholly Thine! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 107.17-22

Sin is not merely as confusing as a trackless desert in which the lost man wanders aimlessly, returning on his steps, without refreshment or shelter or hope, exposed to illusions and desperate; or the fettering of mind and soul driving us into exile, beclouding the vision; it also is like sickness that is the result of folly. This is the foolishness of sinning, that even when men begin to reap the harvest of suffering and disease they persist in their wickedness.

The penalties of wrongdoing are not merely physical, dire as the pains of transgression may be. Who does not know the sickness that follows loss of temper, the strain of nerve that is the result of avarice, the corruption that follows lust? The facts have been reported by text-books, by newspapers, by reports of doctors and magistrates. Yet these are not so awful as the sickness of soul that brings perversity, fear and all the horrors of death and judgment.

Yet these miseries drive us to God, and He answers through His word. He speaks healing words to the penitent soul, He makes known a gospel in the person of His Son, who bears our sins and carries our sorrows. Who can refrain from exulting gladness who knows that it is the Lord who healeth him?

Dear Lord, the desire of every human heart, we praise Thee for the healing of Thy presence, for the constraints of love which draw us to Thy heart. Men may not know that that which they crave is Thy presence, but Thou interpretest their tears and their sighing, and comest to them with healing in Thy wings. Help us to make Thee known! Hasten the day when Thy messengers shall have reached every clime and every people with the word of truth! For Thy name’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 107.23-31

A fourth picture of human misery finding its cure in God is found in a voyage on a storm-tossed sea. Perowne says: “It is painted as a landsman would paint it, but yet only as one who had himself been exposed to the danger could paint the storm, —the waves running mountains high on which the tiny craft seemed a plaything, the helplessness of human skill, the gladness of the calm, the sure refuge in the haven.” He goes on to quote Addison in the Spectator, who preferred this description of a ship in a storm before any other he had ever met with, and for the same reason for which “Longinus recommends one in Homer, because the poet has not amused himself with little fancies upon the occasion, as authors of an inferior genius whom he mentions had done, but because he has gathered together those circumstances which are the most apt to terrify the imagination, and which really happened in the raging of a tempest. How much more comfortable as well as rational is this system of the psalmist than the pagan scheme in Virgil and other poets, where one deity is represented as raising a storm, and another as laying it! Were we only to consider the sublime in this piece of poetry, what can be nobler than the idea it gives us of the Supreme Being thus raising a tumult among the elements and recovering them out of their confusion, thus troubling and becalming nature?”

There are souls who embark upon the perilous sea of life intent only on their business and their pleasure, who regard the awful majesty of God, yet without reverence. The tempests take them by surprise. Passion and desire sweep through them. The consequences of their wilfulness come back upon them in the furies. At first they brace themselves to the task of mastering circumstances, but ultimately their knowledge, skill, and cunning, their powers of endurance fail, and they fall back beaten and desperate. Then it is that they recognize their need of God, and in response to the cry of anguish He hushes the tempest into a zephyr, and leads them back to safety and to the challenge of the sanctuary.

True repentance leads a man into fellowship with God’s people. He who knows the blessedness of rescue from the furies feels the constraint of confession. He must tell what God has done for his soul.

Our Master, we thank Thee that our lives are known to Thee from their first dawning to their close. Our sufferings and griefs are understood by Thee, for Thou hast traversed our way. When we are tempted it is not beyond the intensity of testing which Thou didst bear. We rejoice in Thy presence, and in the sympathy and love Thou dost manifest to us. Help us to overcome, we beseech Thee! Amen.

Psalm 107. 33-43

Perowne says: “The character of the psalm changes at this point. We have no longer distinct pictures as before; the beautiful double refrain is dropped, the language is harsher and more abrupt. Instead of fresh examples of deliverance from peril and thanksgiving for God’s mercies we have now instances of God’s providential government of the world exhibited in two series of contrasts. The first of these is contained in verses 33-38, and expresses a double change,—the fruitful, well-watered land smitten, like the rich plain of Sodom, with desolation and changed into a salt marsh; and anon the wilderness crowned with cities, like Tadmor, and made fertile to produce corn and wine. The second is contained in verses 39-41, and expresses somewhat obscurely the changes in the fortunes of man (as the last series did those of countries), viz., how the poor and the humble are raised, and the rich and the proud overthrown.”

Many a man through sin finds his life turned into bitterness, the fertility in which he rejoiced becoming nothing more than a salt marsh. Sin is delusive. It promises adventure and achievement, it gives bitterness and barrenness. Sin is a withering blight on life. On the other hand, many a life that seemed ruined and dead, nothing but a salt marsh, has been made verdant, beautiful, life-giving, the habitation of all manner of beautiful and mighty thoughts and achievements. The miracle of the twice-born is the most romantic story the world has ever heard.

Sometimes wickedness asserts itself as tyranny. It attacks the innocent, and seizes the fair smiling land in which honest hearted men have built their homes, and to which they have devoted their strength. Yet God has a way of putting tyrants to confusion, and driving them forth into the desert where they have no wisdom with which to extricate themselves. Never imagine a war as ended where wanton invasion has not been put to shame. God’s actions startle wickedness into silence, while making good men exclaim: “It is the Lord’s doings, and marvelous in our eyes.”

Let us close with a prayer of Isaac Ogden Rankin.

O Thou who hast brought hope into our mortal life by the assurance of our Lord’s rising again as the first fruits of His brethren, help us to be more worthy of our immortality! Give us courage for all experiences, and suffer us not to be so tamely subject to the vexations of these passing days! Spirit of God, by whom we live, keep us ever in a joy above complainings! Let us not murmur when the way is hard, but rather with all gratitude remember that it is the way and Thou our guide! Help us to draw from deeper wells, that we may taste refreshment of the living water! Make all our days Thy care, and be Thou in all our confidence an inward peace! Richly hast Thou endowed us; give us grateful and expectant hearts to find Thee everywhere! O Thou, our rest, let no disturbing or unrestful word find outlet through the door of our lips, but make us always bringers of good cheer, to the glory of Christ! Amen.

Psalm 108

Some man of God wishing to express himself toward God drew upon the treasures of song, and put together Psalms 57, 7-11 and 60, 5-12. His people had met with a great victory, and he desired to sing a hymn of thanksgiving.

When he would challenge his glory to sing and play unto God he refers to his soul, to all his rational powers. God waits to be praised by the human reason. Not until a man has surrendered his intellectual powers in adoration of the majesty and goodness of God has he made the full surrender which will guarantee to him the blessedness of communion. This man would testify to the nation that Jehovah is a glorious God, whose loving-kindness and truth reach through the universe. This idea recurs in Scripture: “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”

Matthew Henry thinks that this psalm teaches us how to pray as well as to praise. He emphasizes: (1) we must be public-spirited in prayer, and bear upon our hearts, at the throne of grace, the concerns of the church of God; (2) we must in prayer act faith upon the power and promise of God; what He has promised He will perform, for it is the word both of His truth and of His power; (3) we must in prayer take the comfort of what God has secured to us and settled upon us, though we are not yet put in the possession of it; (4) we must take encouragement from the beginning of mercy, to pray and hope for the perfecting of it; (5) we must not be discouraged in prayer, nor beaten off from our hold of God, though providence has in some instances frowned upon us; (6) we must seek help from God, renouncing all confidence in the creature; (7) we must depend entirely upon the favor and grace of God, both for strength and success in our work and warfare.

Our Lord and God, help us to praise Thee for the love Thou hast bestowed, and the pardoning grace Thou hast imparted. Thou didst seek us when we were far astray, Thou didst rescue us from the paths of death. When we were hopeless Thou didst change life into a song of triumph. Grant that our devotion to Thee may show our gratitude for all Thy benefits toward us! Amen.

Psalm 109

This is one of the imprecatory psalms. It is burdened with impassioned pleadings for vengeance. The psalmist cannot restrain his satisfaction at the various horrors which are to come upon his enemies. Driver says: “The psalmist here cries to God for help; he complains that certain malignant foes—we cannot say definitely who they are,—have, without any provocation on his part, brought against him false and malicious charges: ‘They have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my good will.’ Then he singles out, as it seems, the ringleader, and utters upon him a series of anathemas, imprecating upon him and his family misfortunes and trouble in every department of life. ‘Set Thou a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand.’ Let him, i.e., when arraigned in a court of justice have no chance of acquittal, let him have not only an august judge but a malicious accuser to bring about his ruin. When sentence is given upon him let him be condemned, and let his prayer be turned into sin, i.e., may his prayer to God for mercy have the very opposite effect, and draw down upon him the divine wrath!”

We will, not pursue the analysis of the psalm. The language is terrible. How did it-get into the Bible? We find similar language in Jeremiah. We find passages that make us recoil even in Isaiah. What have we to say?

First, these men had a keen sense of the conflict between good and evil. Israel was the champion of God, the nations of the earth were leagued against her. She was jealous for God. She could see nothing but chaos and ruin if God’s cause failed. God could not triumph in this terrible war unless His enemies were defeated. An enemy is not defeated without bloodshed and all the other horrors of the battlefield. The psalmist had not our knowledge, but as far as he knew the case was desperate, and he was fighting a hard and critical battle. This does not excuse, but it explains the temper of the times. Do we realize the crisis? Are we aware that good and evil are in a death grip? Do we feel the issue that is at stake? Is our supineness [indifference] nobler than vehement hate of wickedness?

Second, we must remember that men of a given age are to be judged by the standards of their age and not of another. The men of the Bible were of like passions with ourselves, and said and did many things which we revolt from and repudiate. They must be judged in the light of their times and civilization.

Third, these feelings are not Christian. They would have been intolerable to one who fully knew the spirit of Jesus. Yet they have recurred again and again among the followers of Jesus. The fact is, we are all liable to sin. It is true today: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” We ought to be charitable; we often are far from it. We need to cry: “From envy, hatred and malice and all uncharitableness, good Lord deliver us!”

Our Father, grant that we may never be false to those glories which Thou hast placed in our hearts and souls! May our lives be blameless, may every faculty be active and at work, may we ever be learning from our Master how to behave so as to please Thee! For His sake. Amen.

Psalm 110

Perowne says: “This psalm claims emphatically to be the fruit and record of a divine revelation. The words of the poet, though shaped in the poet’s heart, come to him from the very sanctuary of the Most High. It is an oracle, an utterance of Jehovah, which he has heard and which he is to declare to others. It is an oracle which concerns a king who reigns in Zion; it is addressed to one to whom the poet does homage, calling him Lord; it assures him of the high favor of Jehovah, who lifts him to a share in His own regal dignity, giving him the victory over all his enemies.”

We have then an oracle, a whispered utterance, a revelation heard in the quietness of a man’s soul. How august was the office of a prophet, a man who heard God and uttered what had been whispered in quietness. The message is to a king who is going forth on a holy crusade, who shall bring his foes to the ground. Zion is to be the center of a mighty empire, all enemies shall be submissive and passive beneath his sway. It was a wonderful day when the king led his brave warriors into the battlefield; those soldiers were young and fresh and full of vigor, they had all the freshness of the dew. This king is also a priest, and his campaign is a holy crusade.

What does it mean?

Driver says: “In the Israelite monarchy was foreshadowed the sovereignty to be exercised in the future by David’s Son. Elevated, extended, and spiritualized, the aims and objects of the monarchy of David are the aims and objects of the kingdom of Christ. Like other prophecies, the prophecy of this psalm starts from the present and looks out into the future. We see an earthly monarch engaged in a struggle of flesh and blood and fighting bloody battles with his enemies. We see again traits which pass beyond the literal reality, and lend themselves to an ideal picture. It is in virtue of such traits as these that the psalm is Messianic, prefiguring One in whom they are truly realized.”

O God, the heavens and the earth are filled with the glory of Thy presence! Thy smile gives beauty to the flower. We praise Thee in the midst of Thy creation. Especially do we adore Thee as we realize Thy grace in the removal of the stain and defilement of our sin. We pray that our lives may be spent in Thy service, and that our fidelity may prove our love. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Psalm 111

This is an alphabetical psalm, following the order of the Hebrew alphabet and consisting of twenty-two lines. It celebrates the acts, the glory and righteousness of Jehovah in the assembly of the upright.

The assembly is a more intimate circle than the congregation. They are concerned with God. True worship begins with God. So often we come to God’s house thinking of ourselves, our needs, our work; we are not prepared to meet with Him. “The psalmist begins by declaring that with his whole heart he will give thanks to God: and because to keep his thankfulness and his ascription of praise would be to rob God of half His honor, therefore will he give utterance to his feelings, and give utterance to them in the fitting place, in the congregation of the upright.” Let us not forget that confession of our allegiance to God is essential.

Men are apathetic and forgetful of God. They do not trace His glory, do not recall His graciousness and tender compassion. He has never failed them. History is a witness to providence. Experience is a Bible, telling of a love that is persistent and a forbearance that is infinite. A good man will take pains to instruct others in the fidelity of God to His covenant and the reality of His guidance. He sends redemption to His people in that He rescues them from foes and from those weaknesses of character which restrain them from seeking the land of promise. We need to know and to remember the statutes of the Most High, and that He demands from His children conformity to those ways which He has laid down for their guidance.

Teach us Thy way, O Lord, and help us to walk in it! Grant unto us a reverent knowledge of Thy will; help us to obey every law which Thou hast written in our bodies and souls, and in the lives of men, and all that is enshrined in human history; help us to grow wiser and better! May our religion show itself in our industry, in our doing what should be done, and bearing what must be borne! Help us to live and work for the coming of Thy kingdom! For Christ’s sake. Amen.

Source: Record of Christian Work, Volume 39; By Alexander McConnell, William Revell Moody, Arthur Percy Fitt

LANGUAGE, OR SYMBOLISM OF FLOWERS

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Language, or Symbolism of Flowers; According to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, in speaking of flower language,

“There is no color, no flower, no weed, no fruit, herb, pebble, or feather that has not a verse belonging to it, and you may quarrel, reproach, or send letters of passion, friendship, or civility, or even of news, without even inking your fingers.”

Language of flowers

The following is the language of common things:

Aconite—Misanthropy.
Allspice—Compassion.
Almond—Hope.
Aloe—Grief.
Alyssum—Worth beyond beauty.
Araranth—Immortality, unfading love.
Amaranth (cockscomb)—Foppery, affectation.
American Cowslip—Divine beauty.
American Elm—Patriotism.
American Linden—Matrimony.
Anemone—Sickness, expectation, forsaken.
Apple—Temptation.
Apple Blossom—Preference.
Apple, thorn—Deceitful charms.
Apricot—Doubt.
Arbor Vitae—Unchanging friendship, live for me.
Ash Tree—Grandeur.
Aspen Tree—Lamentation, fear.
Asphodel—My regrets follow you to the grave.
Aster, China—Variety, afterthought.
Azalea—Temperance.
Bachelor’s Buttons—Celibacy.
Balm—Sympathy.
Balm of Gilead—Cure, relief.
Balsam—Touch me not, impatience.
Basil—Hatred.
Bay leaf—I change but in death.
Bay Tree—Glory.
Beech Tree—Prosperity.
Begonia—Deformity.
Belladonna—Silence, hush.
Bell Flower—Constancy, gratitude.
Birch—Meekness.
Bittersweet—Truth.
Black Poplar—Courage.
Blackthorn—Difficulty.
Bluebell—Sorrowful regret.
Box—Stoicism.
Bramble—Lowliness, envy, remorse.
Bridal Rose—Happy love.
Broon—Humility, neatness.
Bulrush—Indiscretion, docility.
Burdock—Importunity.
Burr—You weary me.
Buttercup.—Ingratitude, childishness.
Cabbage—Profit.
Cactus—Warmth.
Calceolaria.—All I have is yours.
Calea—Magnificent beauty.
Camellia, red.—Unpretending excellence.
Camellia, white—Perfected loveliness.
Chamomile—Energy in adversity.
Candytuft—Indifference.
Cardinal Flower—Destruction.
Carnation, deep red—Alas! my poor heart.
Carnation, striped—Refusal.
Carnation, yellow—Disdain.
Cedar—Strength.
Cherry-tree, black —Deception.
Cherry-tree, white—Good education.
Chestnut-tree—Do me justice.
Chicory—Frugality.
Chickweed—Rendezvous.
China Aster—Variety.
China or Indian Pink—Aversion.
Chinese Primrose—Lasting love.
Chrysanthemum, Chinese—Cheerfulness under adversity.
Chrysanthemum, red—I love.
Chrysanthemum, white—Truth.
Chrysanthemum, yellow— Slighted love.
Clematis—Poverty.
Clover, red—Industry.
Clover, white—Think of me.
Clover, four-leaved—Be mine.
Columbine—Folly.
Convolvulus—Bonds.
Corn—Riches.
Cowslip—Pensiveness, winning grace.
Crab, blossom—Ill nature.
Cranberry—Cure for heartache.
Cress—Stability, power.
Crocus—Abuse not, youthful gladness.
Currant—Thy frown will kill me.
Cypress—Death, mourning.
Daffodil—Regard.
Dahlia—Instability.
Daisy—Innocence.
Dandelion—Rustic oracle.
Dead Leaves—Sadness.
Dock—Patience.
Dried Flax—Utility.
Elder—Zealousness.
Elm—Dignity
Endive—Frugality.
Fennel—Strength.
Fern—Fascination, magic, sincerity.
Fig—Argument.
Filbert—Reconciliation.
Fir—Time.
Flax—Domestic industry, fate.
Flytrap—Deceit.
Forget-me-not—True love.
Foxglove—Insincerity.
Foxtail Grass—Sporting.
French Marigold—Jealousy.
Fuchsia—Taste.
Geranium, dark—Melancholy.
Geranium, Ivy—Bridal favor.
Geranium, Rose— Preference.
Geranium, scarlet—Comforting.
Geranium, silver 1eaved—Recall.
Gillyflower—Bonds of affection.
Gladiolus—Ready armed.
Goldenrod—Precaution.
Gooseberry—Anticipation.
Grape, wild—Charity.
Grape, cultivated—Futility, jollity.
Grass—Submission, utility.
Hemp—Fate.
Henbane—Imperfection.
Holly—Foresighted.
Hollyhock.—Ambition, fecundity.
Honeysuckle—Devoted affection.
Hop—Injustice.
Horse-chestnut—Luxury.
Hyacinth—Sport, game, play.
Hydrangea—A boaster.
Hyssop—Cleanliness.
Iceland Moss—Health.
Ice Plant—Your looks freeze me.
Indian Pink, double—Always lovely.
Iris—Message.
Ivy—Friendship, fidelity, marriage.I
Jasmine—Amiability.
Jonquil—I desire a return of affection.
Juniper—Succor, protection.
Lady’s Slipper—Capricious beauty, win me and wear me.
Larch—Audacity, boldness.
Larkspur—Lightness, levity.
Laurel—Glory, perseverance, ambition.
Lavender—Distrust.
Lemon—Zest.
Lemon Blossoms—Fidelity in love.
Lettuce—Cold-heartedness.
Lichen—Dejection, solitude.
Lilac, purple—First emotions of love.
Lilac, white—Youthful innocence.
Lily, white—Purity, sweetness.
Lily, yellow—Falsehood, gaiety.
Lily of the Valley—Unconscious sweetness, happiness.
Live Oak—Liberty.
Lobelia—Malevolence.
Locust—Elegance, affection beyond the grave.
Lotus Flower.——Estranged love.
Lotus Leaf—Recantation.
Love in a Mist—Perplexity.
Love Lies Bleeding—Hopeless.
Lucerne—Life.
Lupine—Voraciousness.
Madder—Calumny.
Magnolia—Love of nature.
Mallow—Mildness, beneficence.
Mandrake—Horror.
Maple—Reserve.
Marigold—Grief, jealousy.
Marigold and Cypress—Despair.
Marjoram.-—Blushes.
Mignonette.—Your qualities surpass your charms.
Mint—Virtue.
Mistletoe—I surmount difficulties.
Morning Glory.——Affectation.
Moss—Maternal love.
Mountain Ash—Prudence.
Mulberry, black—I shall not survive you.
Mulberry, white—Wisdom.
Mushroom—Suspicion, I can’t trust you.
Musk Plant—Weakness.
Mustard Seed—Indifference.
Mustard Flower.—Strength.
Myrrh.—Gladness.
Myrtle—Love.
Narcissus.—Egotism.
Nasturtium.—-Patriotism.
Nettle.—Spitefulness, slander.
Night Blooming Cereus.—Transient beauty.
Nightshade.—Falsehood.
Oak Leaves—Bravery.
Oak Tree—Hospitality.
Oats—The witching soul of music.
Oleander.—Beware.
Olive.—Peace.
Orange Blossoms—Your purity equals your loveliness.
Orange Flowers.—Chastity, bridal.
Orange Tree—Generosity.
Orchis—A belle.
Osier.—Frankness.
Palm.—Victory.
Pansy—Thoughts.
Parsley—Festivity.
Passion Flower—Religious superstition, when the flower is reversed, or faith if erect.
Pea, Sweet—Departure.
Peach—Unequaled qualities and charms.
Peach Blossom—I am your captive.
Pear—Affection.
Pear Tree—Comfort.
Pennyroyal—Flee away.
Peony—Shame, bashfulness.
Peppermint—Warmth of feeling.
Periwinkle, blue—Early friendship.
Periwinkle, white—Pleasures of memory.
Persimmon—Bury me amid nature’s beauties.
Petunia—Your presence soothes me.
Phlox—Unanimity.
Pine—Pity.
Pineapple—You are perfect.
Pine, pitch—Philosophy.
Pine, spruce—Hope in adversity.
Pink—Boldness.
Pink, red, double—Pure and ardent love.
Pink, single—Pure love.
Pink, variegated—Refusal.
Pink, white—Talent.
Plum—Fidelity.
Pomegranate—Foolishness.
Pomegranate Flower—Mature elegance.
Poplar, black—Courage.
Poplar, white—Time.
Poppy, red—Consolation.
Poppy, scarlet—Extravagance.
Poppy, white—Sleep, my love.
Potato—Benevolence.
Prickly Pear—Satire.
Primrose—Early youth and sadness.
Privet—Prohibition.
Purple Clover—Provident.
Quince—Temptation.
Ranunculus—You are radiant with charms.
Raspberry—Remorse.
Reed—Complaisance, music.
Reed, split—Indiscretion.
Rhododendron—Danger, beware.
Rhubarb—Advice.
Rocket—Rivalry.
Rose—Love.
Rose, full bloom placed over two buds—Secrecy.
Rosebud—Pure and lovely.
Rue—Disdain.
Rush—Docility.
Rye Grass—Changeable disposition.
Saffron—Beware of excess.
Sage—Domestic virtue.
Salvia—Wisdom, energy.
Saxifrage, mossy—Affection.
Sensitive Plant—Sensibility.
Shamrock—Lightheartedness.
Snapdragon—Presumption, No.
Snowball—Bounce.
Snowdrop—Hope.
Sorrel—Affection, joy, ill-timed visit.
Spearmint—Warmth of affection.
Spiderwort—Esteem, not love.
Star of Bethlehem—Purity.
Starwort—Afterthought.
Stephanotis—Go east with me.
Stock—Lasting beauty.
Straw—Union.
Strawberry Blossoms—Foresight.
Sumac—Splendor.
Sunflower, dwarf—Adoration.
Sunflower, tall—Haughtiness.
Sweet Basil—Cure for heartache.
Sweet-brier—Simplicity, decrease of love.
Sweet Pea—Delicate pleasures.
Sweet William—Gallantry.
Sycamore—Curiosity.
Syringa—Memory.
Tansy—Crime.
Thistle—Austerity.
Thistle, Scotch—Retaliation.
Thorn-apple—Deceitful charms.
Thyme—Activity, courage.
Trefoil—Revenge.
Truffle—Surprise.
Tuberose—Dangerous pleasures.
Tulip, red—Declaration of love.
Tulip, variegated—Beautiful eyes.
Tulip, yellow—Hopeless love.
Turnip—Charity.
Valerian—An accommodating disposition.
Venus Fly Trap—Deceit.
Verbena, pink—Family union.
Verbena, white—Pray for me.
Veronica—Fidelity.
Vervain—Enchantment.
Vine—Intoxication.
Violet, blue—Faithfulness.
Violet, yellow—Rural happiness.
Violet, white—Sanctity.
Virginia Creeper—I cling to thee.
Wallflower—Fidelity in adversity.
Walnut—Intellect, stratagem.
Water Lily—Purity of heart.
Watermelon—Bulkiness.
Wax Plant—Susceptibility.
Wheat Stalk—Riches.
White Mullein—Good nature.
White Oak—Independence.
White Rose (dried)—Death before dishonor.
Whortleberry—Treason.
Willow—Love forsaken.
Willow, Weeping—Mourning.
Wistaria—Welcome for stranger.
Witch Hazel—A spell.
Woodbine—Fraternal love.
Wood-sorrel—Joy, maternal tenderness.
Wormwood—Absence.
Xanthium—Rudeness, pertinacity.
Yew—Sorrow.
Zinnia—Thoughts of absent friends.

Another Inspirational Story From My Life When I Was Fourteen

Matthew5I must tell you all of a vacation my parents took my brother and I on when I was fourteen. It was meant to be a vacation to Jamaica for two weeks during Christmas break. You know fun in the sun, sailing, scuba diving, riding horses on the beach, etc., etc., Then, not long before we went, our parents informed us we were going to Haiti for a week first, and would only be in Jamaica a week. They informed us, the plans changed because some of our churches were having a fellowship meeting with the brothers and sisters in Haiti, and we would be attending. Now, being teenagers we weren’t too happy with the prospect of attending a church meeting, when we could be enjoying snorkeling, scuba, sailing, etc., so we complained and generally let our unhappiness be known, though we knew it would do us no good.

The time came and we flew out and went to Haiti, we had no idea what Haiti would be like, when we were flying in you could see the old wrecks, various iron objects and other obstacles in the surf, so we knew we most likely would not get to have fun in the ocean or go romping around on the beach. We landed and were driven to our hotel, it was called the El Presidente Hotel in Port-au-Prince. It was a grand structure, had walls 12+ inches thick made from some kind of white stucco like material. My brother and I walked through the foyer and out onto the balconies, there were three very large balconies that ran the length of the hotel and they were terraced out over the jungle in three step downs from each terrace to the next. On the third and last terrace when we got to the edge it was about a 50+ foot drop down to the floor of the jungle.

The wall around the edge of the terrace, like all the exterior hotel walls, were made from the white stucco, they were 12 plus inches thick and had pieces of broken glass bottles embedded in the top of the walls. This was kind of amazing to us, we had never seen anything like these walls with glass bottles that would cut you if you tried to climb on them. Now being the curious teenagers that we were, we found a way to get down through the terraces, by a set of steps that led us down to the jungle floor. We therefore descended these steps to see what we could find, when we reached the floor of the jungle, we couldn’t really see too much, other than the high wall to our left and a cleared area of the jungle that ran around the hotel. We then went walking around the wall to our left, till we got to where we could look around the corner.

There, we were astounded to see this middle aged native gentleman seated on a five gallon bucket, in front of him he had a pretty large rock, he was in the process of breaking up coral into powder (we assumed having been around construction our whole lives) to patch or build, more on these white stucco walls. The thing that so astounded us, he was doing this with only rocks, he was using the large rock in front of him to put smaller pieces of coral on, while pounding them to powder with the medium sized rock coral he had in his hands. This was amazing to us, this was obviously how they had made all the walls in the great and majestic hotel out of coral, not just that, but they didn’t use any mechanical equipment to do so. This was just one of the surprises we had waiting for us on our journey of discovery.

Not long after we had arrived we got to be friends with, or introduced to some of the native children that lived at the edge of the jungle just outside of, and below the hotel. They lived with other members of their family, I think there were about three or four adults, if my memory is correct. Where they lived was a little tin shack, couldn’t have been more than a twenty by twenty foot square, haphazardly; or so it seemed to us, thrown together with a few boards, nails, and covered with tin sheeting. They didn’t have any of the modern conveniences we were used to in America, they took showers outside in a little shower stall without a roof, also with tin on three sides. We would get up early and we were amazed to see what seemed like ten to fifteen children emerge from the small shack in the morning, we didn’t know how they found room to sleep.

One of the children we got to know really well, was named David, he would climb up in the tops of the tall palms around the edge of the terraces, they came up, to just about the height of the lowest terrace. At this point in the story, I will tell you in case you do not know, Haiti at the time was the second poorest nation in the world. David would climb up in these palms and clown around trying to get the tourists to throw him money, he was quite a character and my family got to know him quite well. If I remember correctly we even brought him into the hotel with us one time, because my parents wanted to give him something, might have been some clothes, can’t remember for sure. The thing about David, besides being an exceedingly sweet child, the whole time we were there the only clothes he wore, was a pair of short pants. The thing about the short pants was, they had no rear-end, the only thing left in the seat of his trousers were the seam and stitching holding it together, his buttocks were completely exposed. I remember my parents wanted to adopt him, he was amazingly creative and intelligent, he couldn’t have been more than ten years old.

The other children were not as brave as David I guess, for they didn’t attempt to climb up in the tops of the palms as David did, they would simply try to get us to throw them money down at the floor of the jungle around the outside terrace. My brother and I frequently obliged them throwing down the coins we had in our pockets, we both worked for our father in his HVAC business, so we had money of our own. In tossing change down to the others, there were probably about ten of them, I noticed the youngest and smallest one never got any of the change, and having been the youngest growing up among older boys, I had a soft spot in my heart for the youngest. I therefore attracted his attention to stay where he was, since he was some distance from the others, got them distracted with a few small coins and threw him down a quarter. He immediately scooped it up and took off through the jungle, the others realizing what I had done, took off after him. I hope still to this day he was able to keep it away from them, we left a day or two later, so I never knew for sure. I know he was fast. so I rest in the hope he did. I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything that would have made the others even meaner to him, than I had already witnessed.

During the camp meeting services we teenagers and children were not allowed to go into the church, I say church, it wasn’t like the churches you think of here in America. This was simply a large pavilion made with pillars to hold up the structure of the tin roof, and had no outside walls, so even though we were outside, it wasn’t much different than being inside, we could hear and see everything that was happening. We just weren’t able to sit on the pews under the roof and simply stood around the perimeter of the building. There wasn’t a lot of room left on the pews either, one of the other things that truly impressed us, the people were so hungry for the truth and the gospel, they doubled the amount of people you’d have seen in the pews in America, even when the pews were full here. What they did was, one person would sit back in the pew, the next would sit towards the front edge, the next sitting like the first, all the way back in the pew, so that they were staggered along the pew so more of them could sit, it was heart touching, their rapt attention of what was being said.

One of the other amazing things to my brother and I, as we were exploring around outside the pavilion while service was taking place. They had an outside toilet, which wasn’t nothing to my brother and I, since we had an outside toilet, i.e. outhouse, in the home we grew up in, when we first moved there. The houses bottom floor being built in 1896 and the top floor being built in 1906, there was no indoor plumbing until our father installed it after we moved in. I still remember what it was like when we first saw it, no one had lived there in years, it was truly like a haunted house you see in the movies, cobwebs everywhere, big snakes in cabinet drawers, etc. To get back to Haiti though, this outhouse they had was somewhat like you’d see in America in that there was a ladies bathroom and a men’s bathroom. They even had running water, so the quests could flush the toilets, however that is where the similarities ended, what really impressed us was how they obtained this running water. The running water was fed by gravity, there being two fifty five gallon barrels on the roof, one for the ladies, one for the men’s and there was a native gentleman on the roof that would take these five gallon buckets delivered to them by the native women, who carried the buckets to them on their heads. All this so the guests could have comfort, that they themselves did not enjoy.

The people were truly touching, their care and kindness, I will always remember fondly with a tender heart. One of the things that happened I had forgotten and was reminded of, a number of years ago when my parents were telling some friends about it. During the camp meeting, on one of the first nights. This native woman was selling penny candy, (or at least then it was penny candy) for people to buy in order to assuage their thirst, hunger and to protect others from your bad breath while services were going on. I remembered her well because when I first approached her about buying some of her candy, she tried to charge me a quarter each, for a penny piece of candy, not being too much of a young fool, I told her to forget it and she quickly went down to a penny on her price. I bought a bunch of candy from her, knowing me, probably a couple dollars worth.

Known among those who knew me best, I was an extremely generous soul when growing up, so I being me, I started giving candy to those native children around me during the church service, more came, I went and bought more candy, and continued to give it out to the children around me, it wasn’t long until there were what seemed like hundreds of children around wanting candy, so many that one of the ministers stood up to the pulpit and asked over the microphone “whoever is giving the native children candy, would you please stop”. I did, and the native children slowly went back to their neighborhoods.

One of the young men I met then, was about my age and we became fast friends, although I cannot remember his name now. He took it upon himself to be my “protector” and “guide”. Protector to make sure other natives didn’t take advantage of me like the candy lady had tried to do, and guide, to take me to wherever I wished to go, including into the native neighborhoods around where the church services were being held. I went with him and met many of the people, you couldn’t have asked for more genuinely sweet, good people. They lived in little comfort, the sewer consisted of a ditch that ran along the side of the thoroughfare, whether it was a road, path, or trail. Their garbage was heaped into a central pile that was continuously smoldering in the center of each neighborhood. It was really eye opening for a fourteen year old from America, it left quite an impression on me.

This young man I had met, spent the whole week with me, taking me to places most tourists never saw, he went to the markets with me and helped me with the bartering for the various souvenirs, I wanted to bring home. He was truly a good friend in the short time I knew him, one of the last things I did before I left was to give him a ten dollar bill for all the care and trouble he took for me, showing me around and helping me. I fully expect that ten dollars, if it didn’t set him up in some kind of small business, it lasted him for at least a year. Judging from what I knew of him the short time I was there, I expect he used it to further his life and made much more money from it.

One of the other things we did, some of the older church boys took some of us younger ones to what they said was a voodoo ceremony, now we were pretty skeptical, but I will say, there was this big chicken sitting on a stump not far from me, no visible ties holding it in place and all it did was move its eyes the whole time we were there, didn’t even move its head. I won’t go into detail on the other things that took place, it was pretty wild though I must say.

One of the other things I’ll tell you about it, as I mentioned the women carrying these five gallon buckets of water on their heads. My guide informed me, by the time a girl there grew to adulthood, they could carry 100 pounds on their heads. This fresh water they carried, there was one place in Port-au-Prince I saw where they could get it from, according to what I was told, the only place, was in downtown in the central square by where they had the market. The market isn’t like some market you see in America, this market was a vast complex of outdoor stalls that took up a large portion of downtown Port-au-Prince. The native women would come from miles around just to get five gallon buckets of fresh water to take back home to their families. They not only carried water in them though, they carried, sand, gravel, and numerous other things in them. The buckets weren’t the only things they carried on their heads either, they carried all of there large cumbersome loads on their heads. They would take a cloth, roll it up in a roll like a bandana, make a small circle with it to fit the crown of their heads, and would sit the buckets on these, thus creating a stable base for whatever they were carrying.

I could go on and on about my time in Haiti, I remember it so well, because of the impression it left on my young heart and mind. While I remember some things about Jamaica, I rarely go into detail about it, because it didn’t leave near the impression upon me that Haiti did, the main thing I remember fondly about Jamaica was my first time scuba diving, and the native lady who wanted to trade clothes with me on the beach because she liked my t-shirt with the smiling sun on it and the words “smile and the whole world smiles with you”. My mom bought me that t-shirt because I was always smiling when I was a youngster. Almost broke up one of my brothers school plays one time because my smiling in the audience caused my brother and the others on stage to laugh so much. Every young person in America should go to at least one country like Haiti while they are growing up, just to give them a perspective of how truly blessed they are to have been born here.

Mom and Dad, if I never told you. Thank you for changing our plans that year, you have no idea how I am touched by and hold onto the memory of the wonderful experiences I had, and the time we spent there. I love you both dearly, my life has been greatly blessed because you are my parents!

That’s enough for now, if I think of something else good to add, or think of another story. I’ll give you more when I do, things in my life spark these memories, I never know when I will be reminded of something that I have to share. Until then I will keep adding my history pieces that could be contemporary pieces in dealing with today’s problems, and other inspirational, patriotic and educational stories from history.

For another inspirational story from my life, please enjoy Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover: In memory of a great man I once knew

God bless and Jesus be with and keep you all, always!

FAITH’S FINAL AUTHORITY by Henry W. Frost; published 1920

TheGoodShepherdAlphaOmegaIt’s amazing to me how the Lord works, I can’t tell you how many times this sort of thing has happened to me. I found the following article because I went to look for a quote by Benjamin Harrison to make sure it was real, and to read it in its complete context. The book and only book brought up in the search contained the following article as titled above, and I as I began to read it, because that is what I do, it struck me once again that I had found something from history that could very well have been written for this day and time. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord leads me unawares to things like this, it is simply astounding to me how often this kind of thing happens. The Lord is always performing small miracles if we only open ourselves up to them, he’s also still doing big miracles if you have faith growing as a mustard seed.

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

BEGIN: FAITH’S FINAL AUTHORITY by Henry W. Frost; published 1920, in Record of Christian Work, Volume 39 By Alexander McConnell, William Revell Moody, Arthur Percy Fitt

It is commonly acknowledged that these are days of intense and immense unsettlement. The foundation of things is being shaken and almost destroyed, and the cry is going up, “What can the righteous do?” The time has come when men’s hearts are failing them for fear, not knowing what the future will bring forth. What yesterday was certain, to-day is doubted and tomorrow will be disbelieved. The question is, What will remain? and, If there is certainty, where may it be found?

Moreover, this unsettlement and consequent disquiet exist amongst all classes of persons and in all the various relationships of life. Secular and religious periodicals indicate that the human mind is in a state of actual ferment, and this in respect to nearly every subject under the sun. Is monarchy or democracy the ideal government? Granting that democracy is the ideal, is it to be limited or unlimited? Is the proposed League of Nations from heaven and a gift from God, or is it from the pit and the work of Satan? Is the world getting better or worse? Is man immortal or only mortal? Is communion with the dead possible, and, if it is, is it lawful? Is Christ’s coming premillennial, postmillennial or nonmillennial? What part is the Christian to play in politics? Is he to abandon himself to them in the hope of saving the world, or is he to stand off from them as from a hopeless and contaminating task, giving himself to prayer and evangelization? What fellowship is a Christian to have with those who are not Christians, or with those who are, but are not true to Christ and His Word? What social pleasures are allowable? How is the Sabbath to be kept? What principles are to govern parents in the bringing up of their children? What is prayer? is it objective or simply subjective? What is the Word? is it inspired in whole, in part or not at all?  What is salvation? Is it to be obtained through service, suffering or sacrifice? And, if by sacrifice, by whose, one’s own or Christ’s? And who is Christ? Is He just Man or is He also God? If He is only Man, what can He do for men, or, if He is also God, what does He require of men?

And so the questions come in like a flood, from paper and magazine, from pew and pulpit, from quibbling minds and also from broken hearts. Some of us had thought that most of these matters had been settled long ago and that the issue of things had resolved itself simply into this: belief or unbelief. But we suddenly find that everything is once more in the melting pot; that serious-minded men and women are questioning realities: and that even Christians are demanding new solutions of old-time problems. We perceive, therefore, that every teacher of men is called upon to exercise infinite patience and to be ready to build again from the bottom upward; and, moreover, probably the teacher has problems of his own, which many years and much prayerful thinking have failed to solve. It is a time of mental and spiritual disorder in every sphere of life and in every part of the world.

And what makes the situation worse to many is that there seems to be no final court of appeal, especially in spiritual affairs, where cases may be argued and where just and final decisions may be obtained. There is a feeling that such a court should and must exist somewhere; but the question is, Where is it? So men conclude that herein is presented the greatest problem of all They declare that there are many voices in the world, each differing from the other, and no one knows which one is most Divine. Confusion is thus turned into what may only be described by Milton’s phrase:

“With ruin upon ruin, rout upon rout, Confusion worse confounded.”

And we have the spectacle thus of men stumbling forward in the dark, with their arms outstretched. They need a guiding hand, but they fail to find it. What, then, shall they do?

In this crisis, some say that we should turn to the pope. But if so, which one? Accepting Peter, for the moment, as the first pope, are we to test all the others by him, and if we are, what will be left of the others? But if we are not, which of the later-day popes are we to reckon as having spoken ex cathedra? This last is most perplexing, for there have been many popes, each one with a different dictum; twice over at the same time there have been two popes, each opposing the other; again and again a later-day pope has contradicted a former-day one, so that the benediction of the one has become the malediction of the other; and even the doctrine of papal infallibility, which one must accept if one turns to the Roman curia, was condemned as heresy by the popes themselves up to the time of Pius the Ninth, and by a large number of the cardinals even then; and to this day the theologians at Rome are not agreed as to what papal infallibility means. Tested by the necessary laws of harmony and unanimity we shall riot find final authority with the popes.

But others say that we should turn to the Church. If so, which Church? Shall it be the Roman, Greek, Armenian, Syrian, Nestorian, or Coptic? For, mark it, it will have to be a choice between these since they do not agree with one another even in things fundamental. Or, if we shall turn away from the historic churches to the reformed, where fundamental agreement is found, which Protestant Church shall it be? Shall it be the Church of England, Church of Scotland, Episcopal, Reformed Episcopal, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, Methodist or the Salvation Army? For, mark it, again, while these agree in essentials, they vastly disagree in nonessentials, which with the conscientious man are often tremendously vital. Or shall we make another effort and turn to the apostolic, simple and devoted people, the Plymouth Brethren? But to which party among these shall we go; the close, open or loose; the Darbyites, Newtonites, Cecilites, Ravenites, or Grantites? for we must differentiate even here. Alas I it is manifest that we shall not find union and unanimity even in the Church, historic or reformed; and this is certain, that we shall never get the harmonious note of authority from Scriptural and spiritual discord.

But still others say that we should seek to hear the authoritative word outside of organized ecclesiasticism, in that great consensus of opinion expressed by individuals through the ages and brought into full expression in these last days of grace. But can we place this consensus? Do any two men interpret and formulate it alike? Is it possible from book or sermon to define and express it? Even where it may be partly vocalized, is it clear, comprehensive and final? For instance, was the consensus voice in apostolic days the same as it was in mediaeval? and was it then what it is now, since men have been to war and slain the great dragon? And, in passing, what was the great dragon? Was it Kaiserism or sin in the human heart? And, if it was sin, was this slain and is it dead? If, then, sin is not dead, who knows what the consensus has to say about it, in national, social and personal life?

Moreover, what is this consensus which is so much talked about? is it a person or thing? Is it living or dead? Is it truth or shibboleth? Is it Divine or human? If it proves at last to be just human, then evidently we are back where we were at, the beginning, and in this case we are in the grip of the greatest religious mastodon of the ages, the genus homo, that is, our fallible selves. And, clearly, no one can hope that final spiritual authority will come out of a condition such as this. In short, if we may not go farther than we have gone, we shall find no final authority anywhere, and hence, we shall remain of all men the most miserable.

It is a relief now to turn away from such uncertainties, which are but vagaries, to a nearer, surer and more soul-satisfying consideration. There is a Book [the Holy Bible] which claims to be divinely authoritative, and we may affirm that there are facts about it which substantiate this claim, among which are the following:

iowenjo001p1

First, it is an old Book, all of it old and some of it very old, and no neglect, nor hatred, nor persecution, has ever been able to destroy it; which suggests that God fashioned it and has preserved it.

Second, the Book has proved to be a regenerating, transforming and comforting influence, through thousands of years, with millions of persons and in behalf of individuals of diverse characteristics and needs; which indicates that it has had within itself a power beyond the human.

Third, the Book touches upon history, art, poetry and science, formulates theology and expands experimental religion, and these diverse elements have been presented by men of different times, countries, races, social position, political environment and national and personal aspiration, and all this without a false or conflicting statement within it, and with a perfect harmonization and development of truth: which implies the presence and power of the miraculous.

Fourth, the Book is prophetic in the major portion of it. and its foretellings have often anticipated thousands of years, multitudes of people and a multiplicity of events, including the largest possible national movements and also the smallest possible personal details, and its utterances have never yet failed nor been once discredited: which manifests elements of foreview and predetermination which are nothing less than Divine.

And. finally, it is beyond doubting that whatever measure of infallibility there has been amongst men has come from the Book, and that all past and present confusion has developed, not from it, but only from man’s failure to understand and interpret it aright; which proves beyond controversy that the Book is a light shining in a dark place, a voice which has a divinely certain sound, a sacred dictum, an ultimate dogma, the ex cathedra [with authority] utterance of the living God. Here, then, faith may rest, for here is final authority.

Here, however, the heart falters. For each of us rightly asks: Who am I that I should think myself to be better than other men? And what chance of success in interpreting the Bible may I hope for when men at large have so widely disagreed concerning it? This indeed is searching and solemnizing; it is even discouraging and disheartening, particularly since the very Book whose authority we recognize tells us plainly that to the end we shall see in part and, therefore, prophesy in part.

It is to be remembered, however, that this is not all of the truth and that what remains is most encouraging and enheartening. For these things are also facts. The Master promised that the Spirit through the Book should guide us into truth. We know that whatever of truth has been discovered has been found by searching the Book. It is evident that thousands of persons have been made both wise and godly by meditating on the things contained in the Book. It is true, even if we may not know everything in the Book, that we may know much of it and that this will ever be for our own and others’ profit. And, finally, it is manifest that the apprehension of truth is not so much in proportion to one’s knowledge of the Book as it is to one’s obedience to it. In view of prevailing Scriptural misinterpretation and spiritual confusion, it behooves us to walk through life with humble and contrite hearts. We must keep in mind that others besides ourselves have the fullness of the Spirit, and, instead of ourselves, may have the right interpretation of the revelation. And we are never to forget that finality of knowledge and teaching will never be found with us. since we, too, are only men. At the same time, there is every reason to be assured that it is our sacred privilege to come to the Bible as God’s infallible Word; to regard it is the Divine mandate in respect to human life and conduct; to study it as the one revelation which will illuminate the soul and transform the life; and to hold it as the decisive word in all controversy. By doing these things, in spite of all personal infirmity and even in these confused and confusing times, we shall increasingly discover that God’s truth is ever fixed and final and also that he who does the will of God will certainly know of the doctrine.

But to get the benefit of the Book, we need to deal practically with it When one is sick and goes to a medicine chest for a remedy, he does not take the first medicine which chances to come to hand, nor does he take all of the medicines which the cupboard may contain; he selects his remedy according to his need and for the time being shuts himself up to it. The Bible is a sacred medicine chest,’ and it holds in behalf of those spiritually sick, remedies for every disease.

God expects us, however, to show spiritual discernment, not to speak of common sense, in dealing with it. If we wish to know about earth, we do not want to study about heaven; and if we desire to know about heaven, we do not want to study about earth. Again, if we want to understand about spiritual experiences, we ought not to turn to prophecy; and if we want to understand prophecy, we ought not to study about spiritual experiences. We are called upon, first of all, to discover our spiritual need, and then to deal with that portion of the Word which has to do with this. If one is impure, let him consider the purity of Christ and His ability to displace fleshly sin. If one has a temper, let him consider the gentleness of Christ and His power to give love and patience. If one is uncertain about fundamental truth, let him study what the Word has to say about inspiration, the Deity of Christ, the Atonement, the Resurrection and other like subjects. If one is not interested in foreign missions, let him dwell upon the great commission of Christ, the acts of the Holy Spirit variously recorded and the missionary life of Paul. If one is doubtful about eschatology, let Him take up faithfully and fearlessly the teachings which concern future things and found his convictions on the revelation of the Bible rather than upon the comments of lesser books. In other words, we need to deal sanely with the Book in order that the Book may deal sanely with us. To do this is to become, in the best sense, a Bible Christian. And the man who is this is not shaken by every wind which blows and every wave which beats, but stands unmoved and unmovable through every storm. Mr. Moody made one text, “He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever,” the guide of his life; and he became like his text. But he only got to know God’s will by close and prolonged study of God’s Word and this from the standpoint of his personal need.

A last word needs to be spoken. We must be careful not to divorce knowledge and action. It is terribly possible for us to know much and yet to put little into practice. One may approve of clothing and yet go unclothed. One may admire food and yet remain hungry. One may glory in the sun and yet walk in the dark. One may agree with truth and yet abide in falsehood. One may swear by the Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible, and yet not know, or else forsake, its plainest precepts. Faith only overcomes the world by turning theory into practice, by first knowing and then doing. The heretics of life are not only those who depart from revealed truth, but also those who search it, understand it, praise it—and then neglect or disobey it. At every turn of life, in every crisis of life, for every purpose of life, we need to come to the Word as to God’s final utterance and faith’s full resting place. But having done this, we need, above all else, to set our hearts to keep that which is written therein. There was once on earth a Man Who was God’s great Dogmatist, [Jesus Christ] and He said: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures”; and, be it remembered, this Holy One added: “If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them.”

In “The Monastery,” the White Lady speaks to Glendinning these quaint but most true words:

“Within that awful volume lies
The mystery of mysteries!
Happiest they of human race,
To whom God has granted grace
To read, to fear, to hope, to pray,
To lift the latch and force the way;
And better had they ne’er been born
Who read to doubt or read to scorn!”

Christian Condescension: Reminds Me of the Teachings of My Youth

I believe a visible church to be a congregation of those who make a credible profession of their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, joined by the bond of the covenant #quote Roger Sherman, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution

“I believe a visible church to be a congregation of those who make a credible profession of their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, joined by the bond of the covenant” ~ Roger Sherman, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution

True Story from my life: Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover: In memory of a great man I once knew
 

 “Truth, indeed, came once into the world with her Divine Master, and was a perfect shape, most glorious to look upon; but when he ascended, and his apostles after him were laid asleep then strait arose a wicked race of Deceivers, who, as that story goes of that wicked Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear imitating the careful search which Isis made for the mangled body of Osiris, went up and down, gathering up every limb still as they could find them. We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall do till her Master’s second coming. He shall bring together every joint and member, and shall mould them into an immortal feature of loveliness and perfection.” ~ John Milton in his Areopagitica 1644

NOTE: Condescension in this instance is not speaking of a patronizing, rude tone or behavior; it means voluntary assumption of equality with a person regarded as inferior. In other words, showing charity and humility to those who you think are or are in fact inferior to you, just as Jesus washed the feet of those who were inferior to him.

Originally Titled “Christian Condescension” in The Friend, A Religious and Literary Journal from “The Free Thinker” section dated July 25, 1829 [Friends refers to the original Quakers]

The importance of maintaining brotherly love, and that respect which is due to the sentiments of each other, is impressively inculcated in the subsequent remarks of Stephen Crisp, which contain a beautiful description of a religious society, properly organized under the government and direction of the Head of the church [Jesus Christ]. We have always professed, that the sensible guidance of the holy Spirit was essential to the performance of every act, characterized by the solemn title of religious duty. The Great Shepherd putteth forth his own sheep, and goeth before them. They know his voice, and they follow him, and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. How safe to be thus led by him: and to experience this state of safety, we must not only know, but faithfully obey his voice. Can there be any jar or confusion amongst a people thus disciplined and thus obedient? Every one would keep his rank in righteousness, and being subject to him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, nothing would be lacking to the complete performance of his divine will. Heavenly harmony and unity would naturally subsist amongst these followers of the Prince of Peace. Ephraim would not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim. The strong would cheerfully bear the burdens of the weak, and the younger and inexperienced would treat with due deference the judgment of their elders in the truth. Humility and condescension would be learned in this school, and while we were engaged in doing the Lord’s work, we should be promoting our own advancement in the way of salvation. We cannot but hope, however discouraging the signs of the times may often appear, that the Lord is at work in the hearts of many, to prepare them, like the stones of the temple, to be built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer acceptable sacrifices to him through Jesus Christ. May we all give ourselves up to his divine government, and he will not fail to perfect the work to the praise and glory of his grace, and to the comfort and enlargement of his church. Signed M.

“And all you, dear friends, upon whom the Lord hath laid a care for his honour, and for the prosperity of the truth, and gathered you into the good order of the gospel, to meet together to manage the affairs thereof; take heed that ye have a single eye to the Lord; to do the Lord’s business in the leadings of his spirit, which is but one, and brings all that are given up to be governed by it, to be of one mind and heart, at least, in the general purpose and service of those meetings. Although, through the diversity of exercises, and the several degrees of growth among the brethren, every one may not see or understand alike in every matter, at the first propounding of it; yet this makes no breach of the unity, nor hinders the brotherly kindness, but puts you often upon an exercise and an inward travailing, to feel the pure, peaceable wisdom that is from above, to open among you, and every one’s ear is open to it, in whomsoever it speaks; and thereby a sense of life is given in the meeting, to which all that are of a simple and tender mind, join and agree. But if any among you be contrary minded in the management of some outward affair, relating to the truth, this doth not presently break the unity that ye have in Christ, nor should weaken the brotherly love, so long as he keeps waiting for an understanding from God, to be gathered into the same sense with you, and walks with you according to the law of charity. Such an one ought to be borne with and cherished, and the supplications of your souls will go up to God for him, that God may reveal it to him, if it be his will, that so no difference may be in understanding, so far as is necessary for the good of the church, no more than there is in matters of faith and obedience to God. For, my friends, it is not absolute necessity that every member of the church should have the same measure of understanding in all things; for then where were the duty of the strong bearing with the weak? then where were the brother of low degree? where would be any submitting to them that are set over others in the Lord? which all tend to the preserving unity in the church, notwithstanding the different measures and different growths of the members thereof. For as the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets, so are the spirits of all that are kept in a true subjection to the spirit of life in themselves, kept in the same subjection to the sense of life given by the same spirit in the church; and by this means we come to know the one Master, even Christ, and have no room for other masters, in the matter of our obedience to God. And while every one keeps in this true subjection’, the sweet concord is known, and the oil is not only upon Aaron’s head, but it reacheth the skirts of his garment also; and things are kept sweet and savoury, and ye love one another, from the greatest to the least in sincerity, and as the apostle saith without dissimulation. And this love excludes all whisperings of evil things, all backbiting, grudgings and murmurings, and keeps Friends’ minds clear one toward another, waiting for every opportunity to do each other good and to preserve each other’s reputation, and their hearts are comforted at the sight of one another. And in all their affairs, both relating to the church and to the world, they will be watchful over their own spirits, and “keep in the Lord’s power, over that nature and ground in themselves, that would be apt to take an offence, or construe any word or action, to a worse sense than the simplicity thereof, or the intention of the other concerned will allow of.”

 “And whereas it may often fall out, that among a great many, some may have a different apprehension of a matter from the rest of their brethren, especially in outward or temporal things, there ought to .-be a Christian liberty, maintained for such to express their sense, with freedom of mind, or else they will go away burdened; whereas if they speak their minds freely, and a friendly and Christian conference be admitted thereupon, they may be eased, and oftentimes the different apprehension of such a one comes to be wholly removed, and his understanding opened to see as the rest see; for the danger in society doth not lie so much in this, that some few may have a differing apprehension in some things from the general sense, as it doth in this; namely, when such that so differ, do suffer themselves to be led out of the bond of charity, and labour to impose their private sense upon the rest of their brethren, and to be offended and angry if it be not received; this is the seed of sedition and strife that hath grown up in too many to their own hurt.

“And therefore, my dear friends, beware of it, and seek not to drive a matter on in fierceness or in anger, nor to take offence into your minds at any time, because what seems to be clear to you is not presently received; but let all things in the church be propounded with an awful reverence of Him that is the head and life of it, who hath said, ‘where two or three are met in my name, I will be in the midst of them;’ and so he is, and may befelt by all who keep in his spirit.”

NOTE (~CJD): Those who question my religion, I am neither catholic, nor protestant, nor charismatic, Mormon, LDS, Mennonites, Quakers, etc. The group of churches I grew up in you probably, have never heard of. I was raised in a non-denominational group of churches originally called “School of the prophets” by outsiders (not to be confused with the LDS church) The “School of the Prophets” was a designation given by outside ministers who came visiting at the old campground from whence the movement began, if my memory serves me well.. Sometime in the early 1900’s they began to be known simply as “the Body of Christ”.

For those that say forget religion but give me Jesus; Paul said in Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

“If men are so wicked with religion,” said Benjamin Franklin to one who was about publishing an argument against the providence of God, “what would they be without it?” The advice Franklin gave in this instance was characteristic of the man. “He that spits against the wind, spits in his own face.”

I was raised to be skeptical of organized religion, I cannot say I was raised to be against it, for the reason exact reason Paul says here, “notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” for that is the only way a lot of people learn about Jesus. Therefore I will not say I’m against it, nor would I say I hate it. I hate what some have done in Jesus’ name, but you have that even outside of organized religion, besides that there are good people in all religions which is why the Bible says in another passage there are God’s people in all “Come out of her my people”

Revelations 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

Jesus has people in organized religion, while I condemn the things some do in organized religion, I do not condemn it all as bad. I grew up in, and was taught among people who are into the Pure Religion of Jesus Christ just as;

James said in chapter 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Therefore I will not condemn religion for there are God’s people in all and (paraphrased here) if you offend the least of these, it is better you had a millstone around your neck and cast into the sea.

Hence I am careful, lest I cause a stumbling block to those who might be saved having been taught by those whom (2 Timothy 3:)5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I am also careful not to condemn any one group, for Hebrews 13: says 1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

From studying history, I would say they [the Body of Christ] are most likely the descendents of Quakers from way back, I know many in my family at the founding of the United States and before, were Quakers, I’m sure they must have some connection to those once known as “the Jerks” because of the manifestation of the Spirit of God (Holy Ghost) in their services.

This ministry was built on what we refer to as the “threshing floor” [which refers to ministers having discussions and sometimes arguments on the Truth in the Word, separating the Truth from the interpretation of man or wheat from the chaff] and is solely dedicated to the truth in the Word and the True Gospel of Christ, they have never sought fame, notoriety, nor fortune. They have simply tried to live simple Christian lives and do only those things which are pleasing to God and our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

The ministers are not voted for, nor chosen by anyone other than Jesus, no one signs anything to join, if Jesus adds you, there you are. They are most closely associated with Pentecostal, or at least identified as such by those who do not know them. The churches do not have a program other than following the Spirit of God, many times you will hear them say “watch the spirit and where it leads”. Anyone can speak at any time, sing songs, whatever the spirit of God (Holy Ghost) leads any one to do.

It is orderly however, because the people themselves are orderly, that is unless there is an out pouring of the Holy Ghost, then things can get a little exciting. It’s all good and the people are among the best I have ever known in my life.

We are more into restoring the church like it was in the Early Reign church, and living life without sin, like Jesus taught people to do in the first place. And yes, we believe that you can overcome sin, in this life and grow into the perfect knowledge and image of Christ.

For those who do not agree with my views and those I post quotes of, about Christianity, or who think I have never known anything else. I have investigated it, and I came to my conclusions with reason and the help of the Lord: All the quotes, etc., I share, are things that I agree with because I have seen them in my own life.

Like many in my generation, in my teens I turned from the Lord even though I grew up with, and around the most Christ-like people I have ever known in my life, and as a child, I do not believe, I could have had a greater love for the Lord. However, I had no real understanding of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, for all the hours I had set listening to ministers, I never really understood, because one, I was just loving Jesus and two, I was completely naive, what proverbs refers to in one instance “a simple one”

I strayed and due to various things in my life, questioned even the very existence of Jesus, it was by his grace and mercy that I finally began to understand, after he removed the scales from my eyes and heart.

I won’t go into how he did this, but let me say, I was the mule that he had to use the 2×4 between the eyes on to get my attention. After using that 2×4 however, he let me see, and showed me the Greatest Love I have ever felt, or known in my life, and since that time (age mid-late 20’s) I have lived for the sole purpose of loving and serving him, and giving others the understanding and wisdom he has allowed me to see, through looking back at my life.

See, I have a great memory and can go through my life, step by step in detail, and see the numerous and various ways he tried to reach out to me, when I failed miserably to see his hand in my life, which is why I have an affinity for the song “He was there all the time”.

Let me say for all the bad I did, he in his grace and mercy, I believe and hope, has made something he can use to help others along life’s way. If not helpful to others, it is because of my failures and not his.

TRAINING AND EDUCATING CHILDREN By John Locke Published 1751

JohnLockeQuotesCuriousityTRAINING AND EDUCATING CHILDREN; Excerpt from The Works of John Locke by John Locke; Fifth Edition published 1751

[NOTE: I would encourage every parent to get out of doors with their children while they are growing, get away from the city, out in the mountains, woods, the seaside, the lake, river, prairie. Get them out among the other creatures, God’s creation; the Handmaiden of the Lord (i.e. Nature) Let their curiosity and yours never die, for there are always hidden treasures that God only reveals to eyes of those who are diligent in their search.]

Begin excerpt:

115. Children should be trained to be courageous. Keep children from frights of all kinds when they are young. . . . By gentle degrees accustom them to things they are too much afraid of. . . . Inuring children gently to suffer some degrees of pain without shrinking is a way to gain firmness to their minds.]

116. Cruelty.—One thing I have frequently observed in children, that when they have got possession of any poor creature, they are apt to use it ill; they often torment and treat very roughly young birds, butterflies, and such other poor animals which fall into their hands, and that with a seeming kind of pleasure. This, I think, should be watched in them; and if they incline to any such cruelty, they should be taught the contrary usage; for the custom of tormenting and killing of beasts will, by degrees, harden their minds even towards men; and they who delight in the suffering and destruction of inferior creatures, will not be apt to be very compassionate or benign to those of their own kind. Our practice takes notice of this, in the exclusion of butchers from juries of life and death. Children should from the beginning be bred up in an abhorrence of killing or tormenting any living creature, and be taught not to spoil or destroy anything, unless it be for the preservation or advantage of some other that is nobler. And truly, if the preservation of all mankind, as much as in him lies, were every one’s persuasion, as indeed it is every one’s duty, and the true principle to regulate our religion, politics, and morality by, the world would be much quieter and better natured than it is. But to return to our present business; I cannot but commend both the kindness and prudence of a mother I knew, who was want always to indulge her daughters, when any of them desired dogs, squirrels, birds, or any such things, as young girls use[i.e., are accustomed] to be delighted with: but then, when they had them, they must be sure to keep them well, and look diligently after them, that they wanted nothing, or were not ill used; for, if they were negligent in their care of them, it was counted a great fault, which often forfeited their possession; or at least they failed not to be rebuked for it, whereby they were early taught diligence and good-nature. And, indeed, I think people should be accustomed from their cradles to be tender to all sensible creatures, and to spoil or waste nothing at all. This delight they take in doing of mischief, whereby I mean spoiling of anything to no urpose, but more especially the pleasure they take to put any thing in pain that is capable of it, I cannot persuade myself to be any other than a foreign and introduced disposition, a habit borrowed from custom and conversation. People teach children to strike, and laugh when they hurt, or see harm come to others; and they have the examples of most about them to confirm them in it. All the entertainments of talk and history is of nothing almost but fighting and killing; and the honour and renown that is bestowed on conquerors (who for the most part are but the great butchers of mankind), farther mislead growing youths, who by this means come to think slaughter the laudable business of mankind, and the most heroic of virtues. This custom plants unnatural appetites and reconciles us to that which it has laid in the way to honour. Thus, by fashion and opinion, that comes to be a pleasure, which in itself neither is, nor can be any. This ought carefully to be watched, and early remedied, so as to settle and cherish the contrary and more natural temper of benignity and compassion in the room of it; but still by the same gentle methods, which are to be applied to the other two faults before mentioned. But pray remember that the mischiefs or harms that come by play, inadvertency, or ignorance, and were not known to be harms, or designed for mischief’s sake, though they may perhaps be sometimes of considerable damage, yet are not at all, or but very gently, to be taken notice of. For this, I think, I cannot too often inculcate, that whatever miscarriage a child is guilty of, and whatever be the consequence of it, the thing to be regarded in taking notice of it, is only what root it springs from, and what habit it is like to establish; and to that the correction ought to be directed, and the child not to suffer any punishment for any harm which may have come by his play or inadvertency. The faults to be amended lie in the mind; and if they are such as either age will cure, or no ill habits will follow from, the present action, whatever displeasing circumstances it may have, is to be passed by without any animadversion.

[117. Children must treat [others] with civility. Children should not be suffered to lose the consideration of human nature in the shufflings of outward conditions.]

118. Curiosity.—Curiosity in children is but an appetite after knowledge, and therefore ought to be encouraged in them, not only as a good sign, but as the great instrument nature has provided to remove that ignorance they were born with, and which, without this busy inquisitiveness, will make them dull and useless creatures. The ways to encourage it, and keep it active and vigorous, are, I suppose, these following:

1. Not to check or discountenance any inquiries he shall make, nor suffer them to be laughed at; but to answer all his questions, and explain the matters he desires to know, so as to make them as much intelligible to him as suits the capacity of his age and knowledge. But confound not his understanding with explications or notions that are above it, or with the variety or number of things that are not to his present purpose. Mark what ’tis his mind aims at in the question, and not what words he expresses it in: and, when you have informed and satisfied him in that, you shall see how his thoughts will proceed on to other things, and how by fit answers to his inquiries he may be led on farther than perhaps you could imagine. For knowledge to the understanding is acceptable as light to the eyes: [“For knowledge is grateful to the understanding as light to the eyes “—in later editions.] and children are pleased and delighted with it exceedingly, especially if they see that their inquiries are regarded, and that their desire of knowing is encouraged and commended. And I doubt not, but one great reason why many children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports, and trifle away all their time in trifling, is, because they have found their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected. But had they been treated with more kindness and respect, and their questions answered, as they should, to their satisfaction, I doubt not but they would have taken more pleasure in learning, and improving their knowledge, wherein there would be still newness and variety, which is what they are delighted with, than in returning over and over to the same play and playthings.

119. 2. To this serious answering their questions, and informing their understandings in what they desire, as if it were a matter that needed it, should be added some peculiar ways of commendation. Let others, whom they esteem, be told before their faces of the knowledge they have in such and such things; and since we are all, even from our cradles, vain and proud creatures, let their vanity be flattered with things that will do them good,1 and let their pride set them on work on something which may turn to their advantage. Upon this ground you shall find, that there cannot be a greater spur to the attaining what you would have the eldest learn and know himself, than to set him upon teaching it his younger brothers and sisters.

120. 3. As children’s inquiries are not to be slighted, so also great care is to be taken that they never receive deceitful and eluding answers. They easily perceive when they are slighted or deceived, and quickly learn the trick of neglect, dissimulation and falsehood, which they observe others to make use of. We are not to entrench upon truth in any conversation, but least of all with children; since, if we play false with them, we not only deceive their expectation, and hinder their knowledge, but corrupt their innocence, and teach them the worst of vices. They are travellers newly arrived in a strange country, of which they know nothing: we should therefore make conscience not to mislead them. And though their questions seem sometimes not very material, yet they should be seriously answered: for however they may appear to us (to whom they are long since known) inquiries not worth the making, they are of moment to those who are wholly ignorant. Children are strangers to all we are acquainted with; and all the things they meet with, are at first unknown to them, as they once were to us: and happy are they who meet with civil people, that will comply with their ignorance, and help them to get out of it. If you or I now should be set down in Japan, with all our prudence and knowledge about us, a conceit whereof makes us perhaps so apt to slight the thoughts and inquiries of children; should we, I say, be set down in Japan, we should, no doubt (if we would inform ourselves of what is there to be known), ask a thousand questions, which, to a supercilious or inconsiderate Japaner[Japanese], would seem very idle and impertinent; and yet to us would be natural; and we should be glad to find a man so kind and humane as to answer them and instruct our ignorance. When any new thing comes in their way, children usually ask the common question of a stranger, What is it? whereby they ordinarily mean nothing but the name; and therefore to tell them how it is called, is usually the proper answer to that demand. The next question usually is, What is it for? And to this it should be answered truly and directly: the use of the thing should be told, and the way explained, how it serves to such a purpose, as far as their capacities can comprehend it; and so of any other circumstances they shall ask about it; not turning them going till you have given them all the satisfaction they are capable of, and so leading them by your answers into farther questions. And perhaps, to a grown man, such conversation will not be altogether so idle and insignificant as we are apt to imagine. The native and untaught suggestions of inquisitive children do often offer things that may set a considering man’s thoughts on work. And I think there is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child, than the discourses of men, who talk in a road. Usually asked at a later stage in the child’s development, according to the notions they have borrowed, and the prejudices of their education.

End Excerpt

Never Judge a Book by it’s Cover: In memory of a great man I once knew

homeless manNever Judge A Book By It’s Cover, in memory of a great man I once knew.

I have to write this in memory of a man I once knew in southern California. As I sat reading my Bible this morning, the Lord brought him back to my mind. This man, I met outside of a restaurant where my family, dad, mom, brother, and some others used to go after church. I used to go outside at times while I was waiting for the others to finish eating. I would run into various people while hanging out, waiting for the others.

One night, I met this man and started talking to him, he could quote me any scripture. It did not matter how hard I made it for him. I could give him a book, chapter and verse out of the Bible and he’d quote it to me verbatim. Even when I would make it hard for him and quote scripture myself, he could tell me exactly where it was in the Bible. I’d do things to try to trip him up, and he never failed to get it exactly right. I could quote him scriptures from various points in the Bible and he’d pick up on it. I used to marvel at how well he knew the Bible.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, 
ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be 
measured to you. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy 
brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine 
own eye? Matthew 7:!-3

The thing that really touched me, and caused me to remember him today is, you see, he was dirty, disheveled, talked to himself, and was homeless. The moral of the story, never judge a book by its cover, you may miss out on things that you marvel at your whole life, and the memory of, touches your heart as only the Lord can.

My uncle admonished me one time about how my brother and I always had friends that were low class or without class, if I had been as he admonished me to be, I would have missed out on knowing this man, who I now remember so fondly. I guess I got my love of the underdog from his sister, my mother. Moral: never avoid someone you may think beneath you, for to God, they may be above you, and you are just too blind to see, because of your high mindedness, thinking of yourself more than you are.

See, I never minded giving money to wino’s, or those who were homeless, even if I knew they would just go buy booze or whatever, as I told those who admonished me about it. Booze, etc., that is all that some of those people had, if any of them were taking advantage of me, I knew the Lord would honor my gift, whether he honored the ones who simply took advantage of me or not. Even if I felt the Lord wouldn’t honor, I would have done the same. It wasn’t up to me to judge, it was up to me, to do what the Lord laid it on my heart to do.

Another story from the same place:

Now that I have told you about him, I’ll tell you of another, I also met this younger man one night who came up to me pushing a bicycle with a flat tire, he asked me if I had five dollars so he could get it fixed. I think I gave him ten, funny thing is, I was back at the same restaurant a couple of nights later. I went outside as I normally did, and this same young man came up to me, again pushing the bike with the flat tire. He tried to give me the same story again, I laughed at him, for I was incredulous he didn’t remember me and I told him I had just given him the money to fix it a couple nights before, and I wouldn’t be fooled again. Moral of this story: Don’t be a sucker either

Benjamin Franklin on Faith and Good Works and His Religious Creed

benjaminfranklinSELECTIONS FROM FRANKLIN’S MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS.
[The Works of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Jared Sparks. 1840]
TO GEORGE WHITEFIELD, ON FAITH AND GOOD WORKS.

NOTE: As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. Benjamin Franklin’s idea of “paying it forward”.

Letter to George Whitefield:

FOR my own part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon myself as conferring favors, but as paying debts. In my travels, and since my settlement, I have received much kindness from men, to whom I shall never have any opportunity of making the least direct return; and numberless mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our services. Those kindnesses from men, I can therefore only return on their fellow men, and I can only show my gratitude for these mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other children and my brethren. For I do not think that thanks and compliments, though repeated weekly, can discharge our real obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator. You will see in this my notion of good works, that I am far from expecting to merit heaven by them. By heaven we understand a state of happiness, infinite in degree, and eternal in duration. I can do nothing to deserve such rewards. He that, for giving a draft of water to a thirsty person, should expect to be paid with a good plantation, would be modest in his demands, compared with those who think they deserve heaven for the little good they do on earth. Even the mixed, imperfect pleasures we enjoy in this world, are rather from God’s goodness than our merit; how much more such happiness of heaven! For my part I have not the vanity to think I deserve it, the folly to expect it, nor the ambition to desire it; but content myself in submitting to the will and disposal of that God who made me, who has hitherto preserved and blessed me, and in whose fatherly goodness I may well confide, that he will never make me miserable, and that even the afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to my benefit

The faith you mention has certainly its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavor to lessen it in any man. But I wish it were more productive of good works, than I have generally seen it; I mean real good works; works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday-keeping, sermon-reading or hearing; performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produced any fruit.

Your great master thought much less of these outward appearances and professions, than many of his modern disciples. He preferred the doers of the word, to the mere hearers; the son that seemingly refused to obey his father, and yet performed his commands, to him that professed his readiness, but neglected the work; the heretical but charitable Samaritan, to the uncharitable though orthodox priest and sanctified Levite; and those who gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, raiment to the naked, entertainment to the stranger, and relief to the sick, though they never heard of his name, he declares shall in the last day be accepted; when those who cry Lord,! Lord! who value themselves upon their faith, though great enough to perform miracles, but have neglected good works, shall be rejected. He professed, that he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; which implied his modest opinion, that there were some in his time so good, that they need not hear even him for improvement; but now-a-days we have scarce a little parson, that does not think it the duty of every man within his reach to sit under his petty ministrations; and that whoever omits them offends God.

I wish to such more humility, and to you health and happiness, being your friend and servant,

B. Franklin; Philadelphia, 6 June, 1758.

TO EZRA STILES, WITH A STATEMENT OF HIS RELIGIOUS CREED.

YOU desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.

I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without the smallest conceit of meriting such goodness. ….

B. Franklin;  Philadelphia, 9 March, 1790.

LETTER TO MESSRS. THE ABBES CHALUT AND ARNAUD

Philadelphia, April 17, 1787.

Dear Friends, Your reflections on our situation, compared with that of many nations of Europe, are very sensible and just. Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

Our public affairs go on as well as can reasonably be expected, after so great an overturning. We have had some disorders in different parts of the country, but we arrange them as they arise, and are daily mending and improving; so that I have no doubt but all will come right in time. Yours,

B. Franklin.

 From ” The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin” (1818), Vol. I, p. 220. The letter is a reply to one from the Abbes, dated ” Paris 9 Decembre 1786.”

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word darkness on the walls of his cell” by C. S. Lewis

Main source: A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. By Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson

Burden Story Looking Back, by Florence (Burden) Harmon 1919-2013

Grandma, Grandpa, Gary (youngest son), Cindy and Christy (grand-daughters)

Grandma, Grandpa, Gary (youngest son), Cindy and Christy (grand-daughters)

In loving memory of my dear sweet grandmother Florence L. (Burden) Harmon who passed away from us yesterday (14 Nov 2013) to go away to meet the Lord Jesus; who she spent her whole life serving, and preparing for this day. A true Christian “Peace Maker” if I have ever known one. She lived her whole life preparing for the day she would be called away by the Lord Jesus. God bless her, and keep her, as she now joins grandpa, her parents, siblings, and extended family with the Lord she so loved, somewhere beyond the sunset.

Founding Father and Educator Benjamin Rush in a letter written to John Adams concerning a visit to his family homestead. This is an excerpt containing what Rush said about his visit to the family cemetery, while there. I know the feeling behind his sentiment from doing genealogy, our family history thinking of the things my ancestors faced and overcame, and visiting the graves of my ancestors. It gives you a feeling of inferiority and awe for their stamina, strength, vision and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.

(Excerpt)

In walking over the grave-yard, I met with a head-stone, with the following inscription:

“In memory of James Rush, who departed this life March 16th, 1727, aged forty-eight years.

“I’ve tried the strength of death, at length.

And here lie under ground,
But I shall rise, above the skies,
When the last trump shall sound.”

This James Rush was my grandfather. My son, the physician, was named after him. I have often heard him spoken of as a strong-minded man, and uncommonly ingenious in his business, which was that of gunsmith. The farm still bears marks of his boring machine. My father inherited both his trade and his farm. While standing near his grave, and recollecting how much of my kindred dust surrounded it, my thoughts became confused, and it was some time before I could arrange them. Had any or all of my ancestors appeared before me, in their homespun or working dresses, (for they were all farmers or mechanics), they would probably have looked at one another, and said, ‘What means that gentleman by thus intruding upon us?’

“Dear and venerable friends! be not offended at me. I inherit your blood, and I bear the name of most of you. I come here to claim affinity with you, and to do homage to your Christian and moral virtues. It is true, my dress indicates that I move in a different sphere from that in which you have passed through life; but I have acquired and received nothing from the world which I prize so highly as the religious principles which I inherited from you, and I possess nothing that I value so much as the Innocence and purity of your characters.” Benjamin Rush; Philadelphia, July 13th 1812

(End Excerpt)

Burden Story Looking Back, by Florence (Burden) Harmon, assisted by Shirley Harmon. Contributors of information, Andrew William “Butch” Burden, my [Florence] father: His cousin, Agnes Deemer Neiss, His Nephew, Otis Burden.

My grandparents, Daniel Webster Burden and Susan Christine (Deemer) Burden, homesteaded a one-hundred sixty acre farm in the Land Run of 1891, one mile north and one-quarter east from Avery, Okla., of which the SW 40 is still in the family, owned by my sister, Mrs. Paul (Naomi Ruth) Bell of Cushing. The remaining one hundred twenty acres is owned by Herman Kluck. (edit, now back in the family) In the same land run, my great grandparents, Andrew William Deemer and his wife, Elizabeth (Metz) Deemer, homesteaded a farm at the ages of 61 and 59 respectively, in the Soonerville area, which now belongs to John and JoAnn Cargill. Andrew W. Deemer was Holland “Dutch” from Rochester, Pennsylvania, where his family was in their glass making business. Elizabeth (Metz) Deemer came from Germany as a child of (9) years. In 1864, the Deemer family moved to Johnson County Missouri, where they resided until participating in the Land Run. They had three sons; Henry, Wesley, and Jacob: six daughters, Susan Christine. Sarah, Mary, Caroline, Elizabeth and Margaret. Great-grandfather Deemer was a farmer and a professional carpenter. In 1902, they moved to Kansas, where Mrs. Deemer died shortly after, and Mr Deemer returned to Oklahoma, to live in Yale with a granddaughter, Nora Burden, until his death in 1918. Nora Burden was a dressmaker, milliner, nurse and restauranteur in Yale for many years. Great-grandfather Deemer was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic on the North side during the Civil War. Agnes Deemer Neiss, who contributed to the article, now resides in the Colonial Plaza Nursing Center of Cushing, Okla. She was the daughter of Jacob Metz Deemer, who married Dorsa Wheeler of the Cushing area, the daughter of Phillip and Sarah Emma Wheeler. Mrs. Neiss has a brother, Dennis Deemer, who now resides with a son in Phoenix, Ariz. [Burden’s originated in Scotland, Harmon’s England]

Daniel W. Burden had three brothers; John Burden of Yale, who married Susan’s sister, Margaret. Their children were Nora, Alice, Bill and a daughter who died in childbirth. The other brothers were; Charlie Burden and Freeman ‘Burden, of which not too much is known by us, and one sister, called Lude. William Burden had a brother, Eldredge, who moved to Indiana, he became a judge. Daniel’s father, William Burden, married a German woman named, Jane Utz. William Burden raised hogs in Missouri and while feeding and watching them eat, was shot by snipers during the Civil War. John, his son, then took his Dad’s Uniform and went to fight in his place.

Daniel and Susan Burden had six sons. Alfred, father of Otis Burden, Benjamin, Andrew William (Butch), Ralph, an unnamed infant who died at birth, and Raymond, one daughter, Florence. Alfred Burden as a young man, hauled lumber with a team of oxen, from Davenport, Okla. to Cushing for resale. The family resided , on the Burden Homestead until 1904, when Uncle Alfred and Grandfather Burden bought a 640 acre ranch, approximately three miles from Depew, Okla. They rented out the homestead and moved to the ranch with all the family, except Alfred who had married Mary Rice of the Avery Community and as newlyweds, moved to Colorado and lived for awhile.

Grandfather Burden bought and raised cattle on the ranch,  My father, A.W.Burden, recalls seeing a zebra graze near the cattle for two days. He never knew where it came from or where it went. He also saw a bald eagle eating a rabbit among the timber on the ranch. He walked near the eagle, scaring it, and it flew very high and disappeared. They resided at the ranch until statehood in 1907, then sold out, and moved back to the Homestead near Avery.

Grandfather, Daniel Burden, hauled freight, to and from Guthrie, for early Cushing stores, namely Carpenters and Carvers. When buying groceries and supplies for their family, they took a two day trip to Guthrie, once each month. They bought their staples in large containers, parched and ground their own coffee. My father said, “That was real coffee.” Grandfather Burden later worked for Jacob Puckett. He also served as one of the early day Sheriffs. Their first dwelling on the Homestead, was a tent, then they built a sod house, using the tent to cover it. Later, they built a log house. While living in the log house, young Benjamin kept having the stomach ache, and told his Mother, “Ma, wes go back home, dis ole log house gives me de belwy ache.” Billy Hockemyer built the first frame house. The present house was Grandpa’s and Grandma’s last home. Grandpa Burden died in 1924, at the age of 66 years. Grandma died in 1940, at the age of 81 years. She was blind with cataracts for twelve years before her death. She was a very independent person. After going blind, she used a cane to go through the house by herself. They also had a rope from the back door to the outdoor toilet, that enabled her to go and come without help. Some of the things I remember most about Grandma, before she went totally blind, she used to make delicious biscuits (double dough type), when we grandchildren would stay the night with her; also she would tell us stories at night, often time, old ghost tales, some of which she said were supposed to be true. She used to sit in her rocker and rock slowly and sing old hymns, “What a Friend”, “Only Trust Him” and others. Uncle Alfred was a very enterprising young man, always on the lookout for opportunity, when the railroad came through and Mound city was founded, later called Avery, he ran the Livery barn and operated the first taxi service. His father-in-law, Frank Rice, was the first postmaster of Mound city. Mr. Rice and G. A. Robertson were two of the earliest businessmen to settle in Mound City, moving from Baker Village because of the railroad. After living in Avery for a time, Mr. Rice moved to a farm, one half mile north of Avery, in 1910, adding a two story portion to the existing house. (Edit: This is the house I grew up in, first story was built in 1896), Uncle Alfred’s son Otis and wife, Olive, live just north of the Summit Ridge Shopping center in Cushing. Alfred and Mary Burden had four sons, Olan, deceased; Otis of Cushing; George, of California; and Francis, who died in infancy; also one daughter, Rose Mary, who died at birth. Alfred Burden died in 1967 at the age of 85 years. Mary (Rice) Burden, died in 1972, at the age of 90 years. They were residing in Cushing at the time of their death,

Mamie Florence Burden, married Tom Cunningham of Yale, where he was a Barber. He was killed very early in their marriage and there were no children. Aunt Florence lived in Yale for several years before moving to Sapulpa, where she died in 1964, at the age of 78 years. A special treat in the summertime was when my Cousin Thelma and I got to visit her and Aunt Nora in Yale.

Benjamin Burden, married Vivian Larkins; a niece of Maude Rider, an early resident of Avery. Uncle Ben passed away in 1967, at the age of 73 years, while living in Sapulpa. They had one son, by adoption, Thomas. He and family live in Sapulpa. Aunt Vivian still lives in Sapulpa.

Ralph Burden, married Lena Smith, daughter of Henry Smith, a farmer of the Cushing area. Uncle Ralph served in WWI. Their children; Thelma, deceased; Raymond, of Jenks, Okla.; Dorothy, of Sapulpa; Henry, deceased; and Donna Sue, also of Sapulpa. Aunt Lena passed away in 1951, at the age of 52 years. Uncle Ralph died in 1967, at the age of 73 years. They lived in Sapulpa at the time of their deaths.

Raymond Burden married Jewel Gentry. Uncle Ray died in 1974, at the age of 76 years. Jewel is also deceased, they lived in Sapulpa at time of death. They had two children; Raymond, of Lindsey, and Idora Sue, of Sapulpa. Of all Daniel’s and Susan’s children, only my father, A. W. Burden is living.

Grandpa Andrew "Butch" Burden

Grandpa Andrew “Butch” Burden

When my father and some of his brothers were still single, they were at a dance in Avery. They were preparing to leave and my father (Andrew “Butch” Burden) went back inside for one brother, and a man (edit: mans name has been xx’ed out I cannot read it) being drunk, jumped him and cut his left side open, piercing his lower left lung. After recovering, while still single he worked on several ranches; the Butcher Ranch near Bartlesville, and the Fowler Brothers Ranch near Ralston, Okla. to name a couple. My Dad was quite a cowboy; riding broncs, breaking horses and riding in rodeos. He was working for his brother, Alfred near Shamrock, Okla. when he met my mother, Nellie Leona Ricks, daughter of John Henry and Lula Lamar (Crawford) Ricks, whom he later married at the Creek County Courthouse, in Sapulpa, Okla. on February 12, 1919. [Ricks originated in England, Crawford Scotland] My father was born May 3, 1891 in Holden, Mo. and my Mother [Nellie Leona (Ricks) Burden] was born March 26, 1903 in Powhatan County, Arkansas. She died October 24, 1976, at the age 73 years. After their marriage, they moved one mile west of Shamrock, where my brother and I were born. In 1922, they moved into a tent on my Grandparent’s Homestead. I was born in December, 1919 and my brother, Elvin Andrew was born in October, 1921. He married a Cushing girl Georgia Lou Campbell. They have three children; Ronald, of Davenport, Okla., where he works for an Uncle, Mr. Forbes, in the bank; Richard and Marilyn, both of the Tulsa area. Elvin and Georgia Lou live in Tulsa, where he has worked at W. C. Norris Co., for almost 30 years. Later, my parents moved to the SW 40, where they lived when my brother Merle Edward was born, February, 1924. He was killed on the Railroad track, which ran through the property, In November, 1925, while trying to follow my father, who was in the wagon, taking a load of cotton to Avery. Later, my sister Irma Elva, was born, August, 1927, and she later died of diphtheria, January, 1929. Later, my parents moved several while farming for others. While living on the McMurray farm, north of Stroud, my sister, Naomi Ruth, was born in January, 1936. She married Paul D. Bell, son of Roland R. and Mamie Bell, who operated the New Method Cleaners in Cushing for several years. Earl Edward Bell, who worked for Roland Bell, at the cleaners, was residing in Tulsa, as a manager of the Picadilly Cafeteria a few years ago. He was kidnapped and murdered, following a robbery, by a former employee. Paul D. Bell now works at the VoTech School in Drumright as an instructor of Key Punch and Data Processing. Naomi Ruth and Paul have ‘ one son, Paul Eugene, who lives on his Mother’s part of the Burden farm, with his wife, Terri (Johnson) Bell and two children, Brena, a girl, and their five month old baby boy, Paul Edward Bell. Paul Eugene works at the Cushing Fire Dept. John Henry Ricks parents were Samuel W. Ricks and Priscilla Payne.

Grandma Nellie (Ricks) Burden and Grandpa Butch Burden

Grandma Nellie (Ricks) Burden and Grandpa Butch Burden

My parents, A. W. and Nellie Burden, later moved into Stroud and lived there during the Depression Years. My father worked for Bob Terry, in the Blacksmith Shop. We later returned to the SW40 portion of the Burden Homestead, which later became my Father’s inheritance. During this time, they improved and added onto the house. My Mother loved to do carpenter work, in fact, she once told a neighbor, that she would rather do that, than eat when she was hungry, She was always finding more ways to improve their homes. They lived in Tulsa for several years, where they completely remodeled the home they bought . They also helped several of their grandchildren, with improvements on their homes. While living in Tulsa, they celebrated their golden Wedding Anniversary with an open house, for their old friends and neighbors, in their previous home on the Burden Homestead. This carpentry trait has passed on down the family to me and also my daughters.
At the age of 19 years, I married Vernon E. Harmon, on June 3, 1939, son of Alonzo L. (Peanuts) Harmon and Anna Eliza (Flessa) Harmon. We lived in the Cushing area for a few years, during which our first two children, Bobby Dale. and Shirley Ann were born. We later moved to Avery, to the Tom Coleman property, which we bought, and where our third child, Elberta Kay was born. We then moved to Grand Junction, Colo, and my parents also moved there. We lived there for two years, then returned to Avery, where our two older children attended Avery School for their first year. During this year of 1945, on the day Franklin D. Roosevelt died, a tornado struck Avery, blowing out all the west windows and ruining the roof of my parents home. We later moved to the Tulsa area and then into Tulsa where we lived for several years. When Vernon retired, we returned to Avery to make our home. Vernon did carpentry work for several years before becoming Maintenance Man of Tulsa’s Northland Shopping Center for thirteen years. Anna Eliza Flessa, daughter of Henry Edward Flessa and Christine Anna Ellis. Alonzo (Peanuts) parents were John Thomas Harmon and Lucetta Jane Yost. John Thomas was the son of Absalom Harmon who married the daughter of Captain George Donner, Elizabeth, who according to family history became pregnant just before the ill fated trip west, when the family took the turn at Hastings Cutoff, Absalom and Elizabeth stayed behind due to the complications of her pregnancy. It is not clear whether they returned immediately to Illinois or whether they stayed somewhere around the Fort Bridger area until after the birth of the baby, John Thomas Harmon.

Our son, Bob, married Judy Spires of Tulsa. They have one daughter, Robin, and live in Avery. Bob is employed with Wright’s Electric in Cushing, and Judy works at Dell Telephone. Our daughter, Kay married James Rogers, of Oologah, Okla. They have three children, Cindy, Christy, and Michael. They are making their home in Jennings, Okla. They operate a concrete finishing business in the Tulsa area. Our daughter Shirley married Robert J. R. Davis, they have two sons, Richard and Robert, they have a Heating and Air Conditioning business in the Tulsa area.

My Father A. W. “Butch” Burden (1891-1979) wrote a song about Avery’s early years and declining years.

We’ll sing a song of Avery,
She used to be a town.
But old Depression hit her,
And Avery’s falling down.

East side, West side,
All around the town,
It’s plain to see,
Old Avery’s falling down.

There’s Billy in the restaurant,
Allen in the store,
Business has been sagging much,
Since 1924.

Mary was the postmiss,
While Shorty tends the store,
And Emmett’s on the corner now,
No profits anymore.

Johnny was the banker,
But found it would not pay,
Bought a barn and filled it,
Full of barley, oats, and hay.

Harry runs the station,
Altho’ there’s few cars stop,
And when they do, Old Harry boy,
is Johnny-on-the-spot.

Happy Jack, the farmer,
A man of some renown,
Says, “When they all get moved,
He’s going to farm the town.”

Friends, now do you think it fair?
I do, altho’ not quite,
Except he leaves a little patch,
For our friend, Ernie Wright.

There won’t be any Avery,
There won’t be any lights,
And where will Cecil Ditto go,
To pass away the nights.

Goodbye, goodbye, old Avery,
You’re sinking, that is true,
We’ll get Hiram Long, to sing a song,
And we will bury you.

The people written about in this song were all deceased by 1979

My Father wishes to say, “He is now in a bigger business than ever before, that of trying to serve His Lord.” by Florence L. (Burden) Harmon

Update Nov 18th: One of the many Gospel songs my grandmother wrote.

I have so much, to thank you for, Dear Jesus.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.
You gave me eyes that I might see,
A chance to someday reign with Thee.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.

I have so much, to thank you for, Dear Jesus.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.
You gave me eyes that I might see,
A chance to someday be like Thee.
I have so much to thank you for, Precious Lord.
by Florence Lorene (Burden) Harmon

As a side note: One of the wonderful ways of the Lord. In all my years of growing up in Church, this was one of my very favorite songs. I never knew it was one of the songs written by my grandmother until her funeral today. She was always so humble and unassuming, always concerned with everyone’s welfare and hoping for the best. The one thing she wanted in life was for her children and grandchildren to serve and be saved by the grace of the Lord she loved and served so truly.

I remember when I started writing poetry a number of years ago, she was very pleased that her and her fathers gift for words was passed onto another generation in her grandchildren. She made a great many contributions to the church and God’s people. One of the many things in our lives where the Lord shows His workings. The minister (Rev. Ray Leniger) of the church I grew up in, my mother and her siblings grew up with Bro. Leniger and his siblings, as well as my brother and I growing up with Bro. Leniger’s children, all of us never knowing we were actually cousins until I did Bro. Leniger’s family tree a few years after he passed away. When I found out a few years ago that we were all cousins, Grandmother related to me how she had cared for Brother Leniger’s mother when she was sick with tuberculosis.  As evidenced by the words spoken and the speakers at her funeral today, she touched a great number of lives with her own. A great many other lives with the words and songs she contributed to the Body, never seeking credit or fame for herself.

Now that I look back, the Lord must have been in the last long talk we had a few weeks ago. It was about events taking place in my life, the Lord, thanking Him for His grace and goodness on our lives. How good He is, how much we love Him, and my personal desire to please Him. That’s the main thing she wished for her family was for them to have a love for the Lord and a wish to serve Him. I thank Him now for that talk we had, I will always remember it, I cannot think of anything better we could have talked about in our last long conversation. She and her prayers will be missed, may the Lord raise up another to continue on where she ended.

Thank you Lord, she will be missed. I think they wrote the Burden story in the 1970’s for the Perkins newspaper. Thank you Lord for the time we had together, looking for the day we’ll all be together again.

I asked my grandmother the last names of the people mentioned in the Song of Avery, their last names are as follows:

Hiram Long, Cecil Ditto, Ernie Wright,

the ones without last names are as follows,

Happy Jack,(I don’t know how it is spelled, it sounds like Mc-Que-in) the farmer.

Old Harry runs the station, (Crown)

Emmett’s on the corner now (Coleman),

Shorty tends the store, (Coleman, she wasn’t sure on this)

Mary was the postmiss, (Coleman, she wasn’t sure on this)

Allen in the store, (G. A. Robertson) (note: one of his brothers was Governor)

Billy in the restaurant, (Parker)

Johnny was the banker, (Murphy)

THE GENESIS OF FATHERS by Evans D Caesar

GrandfatherFatherSon

Happy Father’s Day

THE GENESIS OF FATHERS
Over 6,00 years ago,
God seated majestically on His throne,
Became thoughtful,
T’ was a feeling of inadequacy,
‘I must have an heir to who can enjoy his own domain,
(Of course with my privileges at his disposal,
His continuous praise will be my delight)’,
God thought of man becoming the
Focus of their attention from heaven,
Like the first child of a young couple,
‘What’s my glory without man’, he wondered,
Then a casual walk he took,
Throughout the universe he had created,
Then at planet earth he made up his mind,
To transform the shapeless and void dark earth,
Into a place of life and light,
Then at last God spoke,
‘Let there be light’,
His man will be a product of light,
God paused, and named at work done,
The first day.

First days followed
God’s preparation for man continued,
Each day speaking the WORD to create,
The earth, He made,
The sun for day, season and yearly count,
The seas, rivers, sky and earth he filled,
With creatures, fishes birds and beasts,
Every creation capable of reproducing itself,
All for the comfort of man and to dominate,
Then came the 6th and most glamorous day,
The reason for all the works and expedition,
The day for God to reproduce Himself onto the earth,

And God spokes, this time to His son and spirit as well,
‘Let us make man in our image,
To commune with us daily’,
For this venture in particular,
They employed the use of their hands
Thus on the 6th day man came into being,
The 1st father entered the world to rule,
He named everything that was made,
‘Noun’ thus becoming synonymous to man,
Indeed all was very good
And on the seventh He rested.

O the depth of the riches both the wisdom and knowledge of
How unsearchable are His judgments and His
Manifestations beyond discovery
We give all the glory to our Almighty Father in Heaven,
He has made man heroes and we are proud to be His.
FOR crowned man with glory and honor,
As we celebrate all fathers today,
We dedicate today,
To the father of all fathers, Jehovah is His name.
Today thus also becomes ‘Happy our Heavenly father’s day!!!

CONGRATUTLATIONS, ALL FATHERS CONGRATULATIONS, FATHERS SON AND HOLY GHOST
Evans D- Caesar

Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle & Randy Thomas

father-and-daughter

Butterfly Kisses
There’s two things I know for sure.
She was sent here from heaven,
and she’s daddy’s little girl.
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night,
she talks to Jesus, and I close my eyes.
And I thank God for all of the joy in
my life, But most of all, for…

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair.
“Walk beside the pony daddy,
it’s my first ride.”
“I know the cake looks funny,
daddy, but I sure tried.”
Oh, with all that I’ve done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve a hug every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.

Sweet sixteen today,
She’s looking like her momma
a little more everyday.
One part woman, the other part girl.
To perfume and makeup,
form ribbons and curls.
Trying her wings out
in a great big world. But I remember…

Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair.
“You know how much I love you daddy,
But if you don’t mind,
I’m only going to kiss you on
the cheek this time.”
With all that I’ve done wrong
I must have done something right.
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.

All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by
Precious butterfly
Spread your wings and fly

She’ll change her name today.
She’ll make a promise,
and I’ll give her away.
Standing in the bride room
just staring at her,
she asked me what I’m thinking,
and I said “I’m not sure,
I just feel like I’m losing my baby girl.”
Then she leaned over….and gave me….

Butterfly kisses, with her mama there
Sticking little flowers all up in her hair
“Walk me down the aisle, daddy,
it’s just about time.”
“Does my wedding gown look pretty, daddy?”
“Daddy, don’t cry.”
With all that I’ve done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses
I couldn’t ask God for more, man, this is what love is
I know I’ve gotta let her go, but I’ll always remember
Every hug in the morning, and butterfly kisses…
Bob Carlisle & Randy Thomas

love-quotes-father-and-daughter

Daddy’s Girl
When you were young, pony-tailed,
face full of playful freckles,
were you a daddy’s girl?
I was. I still am.
Did you look to him for your security,
for love and attention,
for the understanding, and the patience you lacked
as a child?
My daddy was the center of my small world,
the focus of my affections,
the star that lit my life, shining bright.
Shining still in my heart.
The years have led me here,
weathered with maturity and responsibilities,
and I see more clearly now.
The hardships, burdens of love,
and all the small sacrifices he made for me,
for our family.
He created stability, a place to call home.
All the photographs I browse through
of a child long forgotten, scarcely remembered
smiling, so happy and so loved.
The mere thought of becoming that role model
is enough to send me cowering, afraid…
looking for guidance.
Turning to my father and my more for support,
advice, wise counsel, and for approval.
Grown up, I see differently now…
A new perspective of a man I have always known.
My heart is full, my emotions overpowering
just in the certainty of that bond.
He’s been there for me through all the conflicts
helping me over the rough, ragged stones of growing up.
My respect for him is unending,
faith is unbound, and love is unquestioning.
Even in the midst of all my imperfections, he is lenient,
ignoring the pitfalls, the downfalls, the shortcomings,
he just accepted me as I was, as I am.
The sheer purity of it leaves me awe-struck
and it lifts me up, it holds my head a little higher,
it keeps me in balance,
harmonizing with the world around me
beautifully, like an inspired masterpiece from the soul
of an honest man.
I am honored to know him, to love him, to be of him.
He’s my hero, and I am his daughter, his little girl.

My Dad’s Hands by David Kettler

Fathers-Day

My Dad’s Hands
Bedtime came, we were settling down,
I was holding one of my lads.
As I grasped him so tight, I saw a strange sight:
My hands. . .they looked like my dad’s!
I remember them well, those old gnarled hooks,
there was always a cracked nail or two.
And thanks to a hammer that strayed from its mark,
his thumb was a beautiful blue!
They were rough, I remember, incredibly tough,
as strong as a carpenter’s vice.
But holding a scared little boy at night,
they seemed to me awfully nice!
The sight of those hands – how impressive it was
in the eyes of his little boy.
Other dads’ hands were cleaner, it seemed
(the effects of their office employ).
I gave little thought in my formative years
of the reason for Dad’s raspy mitts:
The love in the toil, the dirt and the oil,
rusty plumbing that gave those hands fits!
Thinking back, misty-eyed, and thinking ahead,
when one day my time is done.
The torch of love in my own wrinkled hands
will pass on to the hands of my son.
I don’t mind the bruises, the scars here and there
or the hammer that just seemed to slip.
I want most of all when my son takes my hand,
to feel that love lies in the grip.
David Kettler

Fathers Can Be Solitary Mountains
Fathers can be solitary mountains,
All their love rock-like, steep, and strong.
Though warm and caring, somehow they belong
Halfway home to mothers’ bubbling fountains.
Each of us needs love that knows no quarter,
Reminding us of bonds that cross a border,
Strengthening our sense of right and wrong.
Author Unknown

Grandfathers Are Fathers Who Are Grand
Grandfathers are fathers who are grand,
Restoring the sense that our most precious things
Are those that do not change much over time.
No love of childhood is more sublime,
Demanding little, giving on demand,
Far more inclined than most to grant the wings
Allowing us to reach enchanted lands.
Though grandfathers must serve as second fathers,
Helping out with young and restless hearts,
Each has all the patience wisdom brings,
Remembering our passions more than others,
Soothing us with old and well-honed arts.
Author Unknown

My Dad
When I was just a tiny kid,
Do you remember when,
The time you kissed my bruises,
Or cleaned by soiled chin?

You scrambled for the balls I hit,
(Short-winded more than not,)
Yet, every time we’d play a game,
You praised the “outs” I caught.

It seems like only yesterday,
You wiped away my tears,
And late at night I called your name,
To chase away my fears.

Though time has changed your handsome grip,
Your hair is snowy white,
You gait’s a little slower now,
Thick glasses help your sight.

Oh, do I thirst for years gone by,
To be that growing lad,
Re-living all of the memories,
Of growing with my dad.
Author Unknown

Father’s Day by Mary Frances Bogle

fathers-day-16

Father’s Day
Over the years
As we grow old,
We remember our father
So brave and bold.

In the garden,
Leaning on the plow,
He would listen to me;
I see him now.

He would give advice
And understand;
He was always there
To lend a hand.

God made fathers
Strong and firm,
For he knew our lives
Would have great concerns.

So he gave us fathers
To teach us to pray,
And guide our lives,
And show us the way.

So on his day
Let’s take the time
To say “Thanks, dad.
I’m glad you’re mine.”
Mary Frances Bogle

What Makes a Dad
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it … Dad
Author Unknown

A MOTHER’S PICTURE By Edmund Clarence Stedman

YoungMother

A MOTHER’S PICTURE By Edmund Clarence Stedman

She seemed an angel to our infant eyes!
Once, when the glorifying moon revealed
Her who at evening by our pillow kneeled —
Soft-voiced and golden-haired, from holy skies
Flown to her loves on wings of Paradise —
We looked to see the pinions half-concealed.
The Tuscan vines and olives will not yield
Her back to me, who loved her in this wise,
And since have little known her, but have grown
To see another mother, tenderly,
Watch over sleeping darlings of her own;
Perchance the years have changed her: yet alone
This picture lingers: still she seems to me
The fair, young Angel of my infancy.

BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE By George Bancroft Griffith

If you have a gray-haired mother
In the old home far away,
Sit you down and write the letter
You put off from day to day.
Don’t wait until her weary steps
Reach Heaven’s pearly gate,
But show her that you think of her,
Before it is too late.

If you have a tender message,
Or a loving word to say,
Don’t wait till you forget it,
But whisper it to-day.
Who knows what bitter memories
May haunt you if you wait?
So make your loved one happy
Before it is too late.

The tender word unspoken,
The letters never sent,
The long forgotten messages,
The wealth of love unspent;
For these some hearts are breaking,
For these some loved ones wait;
Show them that you care for them
Before it is too late.

MOTHER AND CHILD By William Gilmore Simms

mother-and-child

MOTHER AND CHILD By William Gilmore Simms

The wind blew wide the casement, and within —
It was the loveliest picture! — a sweet child
Lay in its mother’s arms, and drew its life,
In pauses, from the fountain,— the white round
Part shaded by loose tresses, soft and dark,
Concealing, but still showing, the fair realm
Of so much rapture, as green shadowing trees
With beauty shroud the brooklet. The red lips
Were parted, and the cheek upon the breast
Lay close, and, like the young leaf of the flower,
Wore the same color, rich and warm and fresh:
And such alone are beautiful. Its eye,
A full blue gem, most exquisitely set,
Looked archly on its world,— the little imp,
As if it knew even then that such a wreath
Were not for all; and with its playful hands
It drew aside the robe that hid its realm,
And peeped and laughed aloud, and so it laid
Its head upon the shrine of such pure joys,
And, laughing, slept. And while it slept, the tears
Of the sweet mother fell upon its cheek,—
Tears such as fall from April skies, and bring
The sunlight after. They were tears of joy;
And the true heart of that young mother then
Grew lighter, and she sang unconsciously
The silliest ballad-song that ever yet
Subdued the nursery’s voices, and brought sleep
To fold her sabbath wings above its couch.

MOTHER By Kathleen Norms, 1911

As years ago we carried to your knees
The tales and treasures of eventful days,
Knowing no deed too humble for your praise,
Nor any gift too trivial to please,
So still we bring, with older smiles and tears,
What gifts we may, to claim the old, dear right;
Your faith, beyond the silence and the night,
Your love still close and watching through the years.

OLD MOTHERS By Charles S. Ross

I love old mothers — mothers with white hair,
And kindly eyes, and lips grown softly sweet,
With murmured blessings over sleeping babes.

There is a something in their quiet grace
That speaks the calm of Sabbath afternoons;
A knowledge in their deep, unfaltering eyes,
That far outreaches all philosophy.

Time with caressing touch, about them weaves
The silver-threaded fairy-shawl of age,
While all the echoes of forgotten songs
Seemed joined to lend a sweetness to their speech.

Old mothers! — as they pass with slow-timed step,
Their trembling hands cling gently to youth’s strength.
Sweet mothers! as they pass, one sees again,
Old garden walks, old roses, and old loves.

See also: THE MOTHER’S PRAYER