Archive for June 8, 2013

John’s Testimony of Christ   1 comment

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Above:  River Jordan, Between 1934 and 1939

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mpc2004005190/PP/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-matpc-03260

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Jno. 1, 6-8

John’s testimony important then and now.  His qualifications were ample & his virtues true.

1.  He bore testimony to the dignity of Jesus.  “He is become before me.”  “Is above all.”  “I am not worthy to unloose his sandal’s thongs.”

2.  He spake of Christ’s preexistence–“He was before me.”  Hence St. John says He was the Creator in the beginning.  From all eternity He is Christ.

3.  John announces His spiritual fullness and power.  “He baptizeth with the Holy Spirit, having received that baptism in its fullness.  Of his fullness have we received and grace upon grace.”

4.  He declares the efficacy of His mediatorial sacrifice.  “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”  “He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”

5.  He testifies to the unique personality of Christ, his eternal Sonship.   “This is the Son of God.”  “I heard the voice out of heaven:  This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.”

What a view of the Christ is here, given us!  Let us trust and obey Him.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Conservative and Liberal Christianity   1 comment

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

Last January I attended a lesbian wedding; the ceremony was at a church building.  It was a lovely rite and the couple is wonderful.  My great-grandfather would have kvetched endlessly.  He would also object to the fact that the officiating priest was female.  He would probably have called all of us deluded apostates.

My great-grandfather used the word “professor” to mean “one who professes,” not one who teaches at a college or university.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 8, 2013 COMMON ERA

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Matt. 5, 13-16

I.

1.  History demonstrates the downward tendency of character, e.g., the antediluvians, the Israelites under Moses, and their kings.  All earthly movements and civilizations manifest this weakness.

2.  In such a world the church is the one great conservative, restraining power.  It brings a gospel antagonizing all sin and quickening the conscience, offering grace to all.  Christianity has been this force.

3.  If only salt would keep its saltness.  This calls for the most diligent, personal effort.  But delusions and apostasies have come, e.g., the times of Luther & Wesley.  Losing its savour it is useless, harmful.

Yet its restraining power is prevented sometimes by professors & parents who come between it and their children, etc.

II.

1.  But the church must also quicken the dead & almost dead by giving the gospel light to all–aggressive Christianity.

2.  To do this no one should obscure or hide his light by a bushel–timidity, fear, wrong deeds.

It shines best in good works, not mere words.

3.  The desired end of it all is that men may be induced to glorify God.  This should regulate all the life and be uppermost in one’s desire.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Childhood of Jesus   3 comments

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Above:  The Infancy of Jesus, Circa 1849

Created by Currier & Ives

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZC2-2648

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

1.  Jesus, of course, grew up in a Jewish home.  Is this not obvious?

2.  “The Jews” were not monolithic.  My great-grandfather wrote and spoke of them as if they were.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 8, 2013 COMMON ERA

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Luke 2, 52

Jesus was human as well as divine:  we deal now with the human.

1.  Increased in wisdom & stature.

(a)  Reared in a Christian home.  Mary favored above other women.  Good mothers before her would incite her to do her best, as did the marvelous things said of Him.

(b)  Taught by the father from six.  As great honor to teach the law as to have received it from God.

(c)  Doubtless taught in the synagogue school in Nazareth.  Rich & poor attended without paying tuition.  Later one was not allowed to live where there was no school.  Spoke in three languages & confounded the Jews with his knowledge of scripture.

2.  Religious influences.

Circumcised on the 8th day, dedicated to God at one month of age, presented in the temple at twelve, synagogue services at Nazareth saw the people going to the feasts.  Mary must have told him the remarkable things of his infancy.  Was free from sin from birth.  Thus his body & soul grew normally, and he increased in favor with God & man.

3.  What helped develop Him will help develop a child today.  Home and church and education needed.  Hereby boys grow in stature & wisdom together.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Christian Home   1 comment

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Above:  Family Record, Circa 1889

Created by J.M. Vickroy & Co.

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/89715164/)

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-02961

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

I have several points of disagreement with my grandfather stemming from this post:

1.  He disapproved of all uses of alcohol.  I take it regularly in a Eucharistic context and have an occasional drink.

2.  He opposed playing cards.  Somehow I see no evil in playing Solitaire.

3.  I wonder if my 1972 paperback reprint of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (1900) would have met my great-grandfather’s strict standards.   I suspect that it would not.  The back cover copy reads:

Theodore Dreiser’s first and perhaps greatest novel, Sister Carrie, appeared in 1900, met with outraged disapproval and was immediately withdrawn as too shocking and sordid for polite readers.  But it is precisely in Dreiser’s compassionate revelation of the depths of ordinary men and women, their frailty and humanity, that his stormy, controversial genius remains supreme.

I read the book in high school as part of the curriculum.  I also read John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men there.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 8, 2013 COMMON ERA

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Gen. 18, 19

1.  The home, or family, is our institution of God for holy ends.  He protects and blesses it in all ages and climes.

2.  It is to be a retreat to rest and gather strength of spirit & body for life’s battles.  Its blighting or invigorating influence is felt to life’s close.  The boy away from home never gets entirely away from the memories of home.

3.  Its power is felt by those who visit there.  Many learn their first lessons in righteousness or sin in another’s home.  Its atmosphere a blessing or a curse.

4.  The devil, recognizing its strategic importance, does his utmost to despoil it, and destroy its power for good.  Let parents expect his attacks and set themselves to defend their home.

(1)  Keep out bad literature.  It will corrupt the imagination and the morals.

(2)  Avoid the social wine-glass.  Here the devil catches many and assures their utter ruin.

(3)  Keep away the card-devil.  Such is a demon from the pit.  Thus gamblers are grown.

5.  The need of every home is Christ.  His presence is always a great blessing.

Take Him into your home to abide there.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Contemplation   2 comments

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Above:  Elijah in the Wilderness (1818), by Washington Allston (1779-1843)

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And lo, the LORD passed by.  There was a great a mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind–an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake–fire; but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire–a soft murmuring sound.

–1 Kings 19:11b-12, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

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Prayer, many people told me

when I was young,

is “talking to God.”

—–

That is a part of the meaning,

I am sure,

but what about the rest–

listening for

God to speak, whereby one is blest?

—–

More and more,

as I age,

I seek primarily to be aware

actively of the presence of God

and to revel in it

and to listen for any sage

advice which might be in store.

—–

So the list of things I ask for

grows shorter and my words

become fewer.  Mostly these days

I desire to be,

to listen,

and to hear–

to be to my core

serene in God, not in a haze

or in a daze of activity

masquerading as true piety.

—–

For me there is no cadence,

no, “Lord, we just…..”

There is mainly silence,

and that without a fuss.

So I prefer not to pray in public,

except from a Prayer Book,

for I am reticent and introverted;

I hope that none ever mistook

me for one impious.

But, if any did, so be it,

for to them I do not answer

and regarding what they think of me

I do not care one lick.

—–

No, I answer for my spiritual state

to God, who understands me

better than I know myself.

Divine mercies and knowledge being great,

the love of eternity

embraces and understands my true self;

to it I leave my fate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 8, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CLARA LUPER, WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

THE FEAST OF ROLAND ALLEN, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

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http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/contemplation/

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Posted June 8, 2013 by neatnik2009 in Kenneth Randolph Taylor 2013

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Early Morning Stillness   Leave a comment

As I write in a composition book

early in the morning,

thinking with a pen in one hand,

I revel in the stillness and silence of my home.

—–

The stillness and the silence

–precious commodities indeed–

nurture contemplation of matters

historical, theological, and spiritual.

On such a milieu I feed.

—–

The silence and the stillness

I need

to function as I ought,

to do what I should do,

to be the man I am here to be.

—–

So to excessive, continuous noise

I say, “Shoo!”

From it I flee

when I can and must do,

for one cannot listen to the silence

when one cannot hear it

and one cannot perceive silent wisdom

when the ears ears are filled with nonsense.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 8, 2013 COMMON ERA

The Blight of Ignorance   1 comment

Hosea 4. 6

1.  Ignorance is a blight.  By it many a bright mind is held in the bondage of death.  It is a cruel slave-driver.

(a)  By it many a life is robbed of much happiness, kept in outlook and prejudiced in mind.

(b)  By it the world is robbed of much wealth of the lives of ignorant men.  An educated laborer is worth more than he would be if uncultured.

2.  Education is the handmaid of progress. Civilization creates wants and supplies them.

3.  To know mere facts is not to be really educated; for one’s mind & heart to be so trained as that he is in full possession of intellect, affections and will, is education.  Character is the test of usefulness, the end of it.

4.  God’s complaint by the prophet is that there is no knowledge of Himself in the land (v. 1).  Here still is a serious lack.  He is forgotten or neglected sometimes.  The church insists such shall not be done.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Dead, Yet Alive   2 comments

Gal. 2, 20

1.  Nothing can pas to a higher realm except it is lifted by the power of the higher realm

(1)  Inanimate passes to the vegetable

(2)  and the vegetable to the animal by this in order to the higher life.

“Inanimate matter cannot become living except under the influence of matter already living.”–Lord Kelvin

2.  Paul felt this higher life–Christian–laying hold upon him.  “I died–was crucified with Christ” (Gal. 5, 24).  Self–the old sinful, self-willed self is crucified.  He was in the way and had to die.  Death to sin must occur (Gal. 5, 17).

3.  “I live, yet not I.”  I still have a conscious being, but am actuated by new principles, ideals, and impulses–it is Christ in me.  I died, but I rose again (Col. 3, 1).  Christ is reincarnated in me.  He dominates my whole being.  “All things are become new” in Him.

4.  This life I now live by faith in Him.  My will, my freedom of choice is not gone but I gladly choose Him and will to do His will.  “I die daily”–by faith I stay dead.

5.  His love supports my faith.  He “gave Himself up for me.”  This makes my confidence in Him strong.  Can I fear to trust One who loved me so much as to die for me?

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Branded Servant   1 comment

Gal. 6, 17

1.  The devil would keep men from the night if he could.  Failing in this he tries to switch them off unto a side issue.  Paul had this trial.

2.  He was sure he was right.  The Spirit aided his understanding.  How much it means to know one is right.

3.  He had fixed it in his heart to do the right.  I will debate it no more.  “My heart is fixed.”  “A double-minded man is unstable.”  I received not my gospel from man, but God; why should I think of changing it?

4.  “For I bear branded in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”  My experiences have branded me a slave in his service.  Shall I deny & renounce it all now?

5.  What are the marks of a Christian?

(1)  Repentant spirit.  “My sin is ever before me.”–Paul.

(2)  Devotion to the right.  Love of God and of one another.  An interest in all good & in the salvation of all men.  “If ye love me ye will keep my commandments.”

(3)  Humility–willingness to suffer for Him.  Paul suffered as a good soldier.  By all these he was branded His, all His, and His only.  Here I abide forever.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Valley of Dry Bones   1 comment

Ezek. 37, 1-10

Israel’s condition here seen in a vision [which] fittingly represents the sinner’s spiritual condition and his only hope.

1.  “Dry bones”–Men spiritually dead, devoid of spiritual life.  The figure is not too strong.  Men are helpless save as “gracious ability,” the quickening of the Spirit, is bestowed.  They are powerless to move–“very dry.”

2.  No earthly power can quicken them.  All effort devoid of the Spirit’s power fails utterly.  Man has no ability to change his or his brother’s nature.  Any movement quickens men only as God’s blessings attend it.

3.  “Can these bones live?”  Is there hope for those under the dominion of sin?  Yes, by divine power quickening the soul.  God is the hope of the world.  Souls have been saved and he who changes not can do so still.

4.  Let the church look with desperate faith unto God.  “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”  He can call back t life the dead.  We face the valley of dry bones; let us call mighty unto God for the Spirit’s help.

God waits to be gracious.  Let us look and receive his salvation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT