Monday, August 31, 2020

If thou knewest the gift of God

“If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:10

We cannot know the nature, though we may know the necessity, of the gift of God, till we experience its power as revealed and shed abroad in our soul. Then we know some measure of the gift of God when we feel eternal life flowing through our spiritual veins. How do I know I live naturally? Is not my participation of natural life known to me by an internal consciousness that I possess it? I know I live, because I feel that I live. And so, if we have spiritual life, there will be, at times and seasons, an internal consciousness that we have it; we shall feel the spiritual heart beat, and the spiritual lungs breathe, and the spiritual eyes see, and the spiritual ears hear: in a word, we shall be internally conscious of those emotions and sensations which are peculiar to the life of God in the soul. Spiritual life will be seen in its own light, felt in its own power, and shine forth in its own testimony.

The little that we do know (and it is indeed for the most part but a little) makes us long for more of it. If ever we have received “the gift of God” into our conscience; if ever we have felt the mysterious operation of divine life in our hearts; if ever we have known the sweet emotions and peculiar sensations by which it manifests itself, it has killed us to all other religions; and as a measure of divine life has flowed into the heart out of the fulness of the Son of God, we want no other religion but that which stands in the power of God; by that alone we can live, and by that alone we feel that we can die.
J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A child of Jehovah, a subject of grace

My Father’s Will. 11s. (Can be sung to Bellevue/Firm Foundation; also Redemption by Ingalls)

1. A child of Jehovah, a subject of grace,
I’m of the seed royal—a dignified race,
An heir of salvation, redeemed with blood,
I’ll own my relation, my Father is God!

2. He loved me of old, and he loveth me still
Before the creation he gave me by will
A portion worth more than the Indies of gold,
Which cannot be wasted, nor mortgaged, nor sold.

3. He gave me a Surety, a covenant Head,
To live in my name, and to die in my stead,
He gave me a righteousness wholly divine,
And viewed all the merits of Jesus as mine.

4. He gave me a Preceptor infallibly wise,
And treasures of grace to be sent in supplies;
Yea, all that I ask for my Father has given
To help me on earth, and to crown me in heaven.

5. He gave me a will to accept what he gave,
Though I was averse to his purpose to save;
He wrote in his will my repentance and faith,
And all my enjoyments for life and for death.

6. My trials and sorrows, my comforts and cares,
The spirit of prayer and the answer of prayers.
The steps that I tread, and the station I fill,
My Father determined and wrote in his will.

7. My cross and my crown are both willed by my God,
He swore to His will, and then sealed it with blood;
’Tis proved by the Spirit, the witness within,
’Tis mine to inherit, I’ll glory begin.

From The Baptist Hymn Book: comprising a Large and Choice Collection of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, adapted to the Faith and Order of the Old School, or Primitive Baptists, by Gilbert Beebe (2nd stereotype edition, 1859), No. 1296, page 765

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Why Republicans Talk about Abortion, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Peaceful Protest

Reporters and politicians no longer understand “peaceful protests” – if they even care to. Standing amidst scenes of brutality and burning they will speak of “mostly peaceful protests.” The tradition and right of peaceful protest is inscribed in our Constitution, the First Amendment. According to it, our government cannot prohibit or abridge “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

“A peaceful protest, also known as nonviolent resistance or nonviolent action, is the act of expressing disapproval through a statement or action without the use of violence.”

This freedom is among the first, along with freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press. It must be practiced, promoted, and protected. However, it must also be appreciated and understood. “Peaceful” protest is non-violent. That is not too hard to understand. Burning cars and buildings is not peaceful protest. Dragging people out of cars is not peaceful protest. Threatening, beating, or shooting people is not peaceful protest. Vandalizing property, looting, or stealing is not peaceful protest. These are not even “mostly peaceful protests.” Yes, sometimes while these things are happening another group of people might be peacefully protesting. Nevertheless, when hoodlums take over sections of cities and set themselves up in some kind of authority, speaking of “mostly peaceful protests” quickly loses its meaning.

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were instrumental in developing and distilling the practice of peaceful protest in modern times. This practice works through gaining sympathy among the broader ranks of society. Peaceful protesters believe in their cause. They are willing to expose themselves to physical danger. They do not harass or harm those against whom they were protesting. This highlights the justness of their cause. Resorting to violence and mob action means some will recoil in horror from their cause, while others are incited to fight even harder against. There is genius – and I believe biblical foundation – in the method of peaceful protest as opposed to mob action.  

Joel B. Pollak writes, “As a society, we have lost touch with what the idea of ‘peaceful protest’ is. This is a very dangerous deficiency, because it means our political future could become more and more violent and unstable...”

The right to protest is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

5 Ways Orwell’s ‘1984’ Describes, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Not so

On Sunday, August 23, “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts conducted a joint interview with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris. I have noticed an interesting but incorrect report of the dust-up of Biden’s “you ain’t black” comment.

During an interview on The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne tha God (an American radio presenter, television personality, and author, who is black), the host asked Joe Biden to come back on the program, adding, “It’s a long way to November. We’ve got more questions.” Biden replied, “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” To which Charlamagne tha God replied, “It has nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact that I want something for my community.”

Now enter Robin Roberts, to lob soft pitches to Biden and running mate Harris about the statement. (The interview transcript can be found HERE.) First, she throws out the actual phrase to Harris.

ROBERTS: So when you have a running mate who makes a comment like, “you ain’t Black,” and leads some people to say, “he just doesn’t get it.” Have you been able to speak truth to him about that?[i]

Harris deflects the question, bragging on Biden.

HARRIS: And Joe speaks the words and actually knows how to say the words “Black Lives Matter.”

Of course, “Black Lives Matter” is an organization rather than just a statement of concern for the lives of black people. Further, Senator Harris brought up Joe Biden’s “personal reaction” to Charlottesville. That is interesting in light of Biden’s acceptance speech at the DNC, in which he lied about what Donald Trump said about Charlottesville – that Trump said “neo-Nazis and Klansmen and white supremacists” were “very fine people.” This lie has been exposed for a couple of years now, yet Biden repeated it in his speech. (I guess truth does not matter in political. In fact, I’m pretty sure of it!) Trump did say there were “very fine people on both sides” of the Confederate monument debate, but that there also were some very bad people on both sides. He clearly condemned the neo-Nazis and white supremacists: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”[ii]

Now we come to the point where both liberal and conservative media have headlined that Joe Biden admitted that he should not have made the “you ain’t Black” remark – each side for their own reasons I suppose. Biden made a reference to The Breakfast Club interview, and said he should not have said “that.” However, he revised what “that” was, and the pro-Democratic anti-Trump interviewer never called him on it. Just slid on to something else to beef up Biden’s Black Lives Matter creds.

BIDEN: You know, when I was asked a question about, you know, why should someone vote for you or they were talking about Trump, and I said, he said, “Well, we like Trump.” I said, Well, and I shouldn't have said it. And I said, “Well, OK. Who are you? How could you vote—how can a Black man vote for him?” I shouldn’t have said that.

Say it ain’t so, Joe. I guess you’ve been run through the Black Lives Matter washing machine and all you’ve said and done are cleansed and forgiven. But you didn’t actually apologize to Charlamagne tha God, and you didn’t apologize directly for saying to this black man and blacks in general “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” People are who they are based on who they are, not on whether or not they vote for you, Mr. former Vice-President.

[i] The transcript attributes the question to Biden, but it is clearly Roberts who asks it.
[ii] Transcript is HERE

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

In other words, a to z

  • angustation, noun. The condition of being narrowed, constricted, limited, or confined; the action of narrowing, constricting, or compressing something; an instance of this.
  • billet-doux, noun. A love letter.
  • calligram, noun. A word or piece of text in which the form and layout of the letters creates a pictorial or ornamental design, esp. one related to the meaning of the words themselves.
  • cruciverbalist, noun. A designer or aficionado of crossword puzzles.
  • coorie, verb, intransitive. To crouch, stoop, or keep low, esp. for protection. (usually with down, in.)
  • delicatesse, noun. The quality of being delicate (in various senses); an instance of this. Also: that which is delicate; a delicate thing, a delicacy.
  • delicatessen, noun. A store selling foods already prepared or requiring little preparation for serving, as cooked meats, cheese, salads, and the like; a small shop that sells high-quality foods, such as types of cheese and cold cooked meat, often from other countries (informal deli).
  • hortatory, adjective. Urging to some course of conduct or action; exhorting; encouraging.
  • juberous, adjective. Uncertain and reluctant; dubious; undecided.
  • limn, verb (used with object). To portray in words; describe.
  • quixotic, adjective. Foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially, marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action. (From Don Quixote, the hero of the novel El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.)
  • rodomontade, noun. Vainglorious boasting or bragging; pretentious, blustering talk.
  • situationship, noun (slang). A relationship that is undefined or has no title – often a confusing mix between a platonic friendship and a romantic relationship.
  • soirée musicale, noun. A gathering or party at which musical entertainment is the main feature. Also: a programme of classical or operatic music, usually of relatively short, popular pieces, presented in the evening, frequently to a paying audience.
  • yaw, verb (used without object). To deviate temporarily from a straight course, as a ship.
  • yever, adjective. Greedy; gluttonous; covetous. Also: desirous, yearning.
  • zhuzh, verb. To make (something) more lively and interesting, stylish, or appealing, as by a small change or addition (usually followed by up).

Monday, August 24, 2020

Billings on Composition

“Musical composition is a sort of something, which is much better felt  than described (at least by me) for if I was to attempt it, I should not  know where to begin or where to leave off…although I am not  confined to rules prescribed by others, yet I come near as I possibly  can to a set of rules which I have carved out for myself; but when fancy  gets upon the wing, she seems to despise all form, and scorns to be  confined or limited by any formal prescriptions whatsoever; for the  first part [tenor] is nothing more than a flight of fancy, the other  parts are forced to comply and conform to that, by partaking of the same  air, or, at least, as much of it as they can get: But by reason of this  restraint, the last parts are seldom so good as the first; for the  second part [bass] is subservient to the first, the third part [treble]  must conform to the first and second, and the fourth part [counter or  alto] must conform to the other three; therefor the grand difficulty in  composition, is to preserve the air through each part separately, and  yet cause them to harmonize with each other at the same time.”
William Billings, Continental Harmony, p. 32

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Keeping us out of Richmond

President Abraham Lincoln once asked General Winfield Scott this question: “Why is it that you were once able to take Mexico City in three months with five thousand men, and we have been unable to take Richmond with one hundred thousand men?”

“I will tell you,” said General Scott. “The men who took us into Mexico City are the same men who are keeping us out of Richmond.” -- Confederate Veteran Magazine, September 1913, page 471.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Post office pookie

The Post Office has been placed in the middle of a tug of war of the November general election. Here are a couple of Forbes articles that clear up a few discrepancies in what we keep hearing.

Newton quote, I am afraid there are Calvinists

“I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility that they are willing in words to debase the creature and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of...Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature, and the riches of free grace.”
John Newton

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Look, ye saints

1. Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious:
See “the man of sorrows” now;
From the fight returned victorious,
Ev’ry knee to him shall bow.
Crown him! Crown him!
Crowns become the Victor’s brow.

2. Crown the Saviour, angels, crown him;
Rich the trophies Jesus brings;
In the seat of pow’r enthrone him,
While the vault of heaven rings.
Crown him! Crown him!
Crown the Saviour “King of kings.”

3. Sinners in derision crowned him,
Mocking thus the Saviour’s claim;
Saints and angels crowd around him,
Own his title, praise his name.
Crown him! Crown him!
Spread abroad the Victor's fame!

4. Hark! those bursts of acclamation!
Hark! those loud triumphant chords!
Jesus takes the highest station;
O what joy the sight affords!
Crown him! Crown him!
“King of kings and Lord of lords.”

This hymn was written by Thomas Kelly and published in his Hymns on Various Passages of Scripture, Dublin, 3rd edition, 1809. Some of the tunes to which Kelly’s hymn is set include Bryn Calfaria by William Owen (1852), Coronae by William H. Monk (1871) Cwm Rhondda by John Hughes (1907), and Regent Square by Henry T. Smart (1867).

Friday, August 14, 2020

Enjoy Your Prayer Life, and other review links

The posting of reviews does not constitute endorsement of the products or reviews that are linked.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The cowboy and the atheist

An old cowboy, who had just started to read his book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.

“Okay,” he said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The atheist, visibly surprised by the old cowboy’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”

To which the cowboy replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know crap?”

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Elder M. W. Miracle

Meredith Woodson Miracle was a Primitive Baptist preacher, and an active participant in Sacred Harp singing in Texas. Meredith W. Miracle was born in 1857 in Kentucky, the son of John Dixon Miracle and Mary Ann Phillips. The 1860 census records Meredith living in Booneville, Owsley County, Kentucky in the home of his father and mother (his mother died circa 1865).

He married first Martha A. Hughes in Logan County, Arkansas, December 24, 1878. Miracle received a State of Arkansas Teacher’s License, October 21, 1879 to teach in Logan County, which was good for two years. The 1880 census shows he, his wife, and young daughter living at Clark, Logan County, Arkansas. He was a school teacher. In 1883 his wife Martha died, possibly in or after childbirth. Miracle’s memorial to her (see below) describes two girls who died before she did. M. W. Miracle married Mary Evans in 1888.

Through newspapers and censuses we can trace some of the movement of the Miracle family. He was a teacher, businessman, and newspaper editor. When he was licensed and ordained as a Primitive Baptist minister is not clear.

  • 1857 born in Kentucky (Booneville, Owsley, County, according to his death certificate)
  • 1889 living in Boston, Madison County, Arkansas[i]
  • 1895 living in Huntsville, Madison County, Arkansas and “engaged in the business of selling organs.”[ii]
  • 1900 living in War Eagle Township, Huntsville, Madison County, Arkansas, Census and a farmer[iii]
  • 1905-1906 living in Springdale, Washington/Benton counties Arkansas; sold a fire-escape patent[iv]
  • 1907 living in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas[v]
  • 1908 living in Ardmore, Carter County, Oklahoma, and had a patent on steam washing machine[vi]
  • 1910 Dallas, Dallas County, Texas as manager of a supporter factory[vii]
  • 1912 Dallas, Dallas County, Texas[viii]
  • 1917 died in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas
As a businessman, M. W. Miracle supported his family through various endeavors – from farming, inventions, selling organs, and managing a factory (which may be what brought him to Dallas). He received a patent on an Automatic Computing Device in 1912.

Elder M. W. Miracle began publishing The Sacred Harp Monitor in December 1912, under the auspices of the State Sacred Harp Association of Texas.[ix] Around 1915 Elder Miracle moved on to edit “The Good Old Songs Department” in C. H. Cayce’s periodical The Primitive Baptist. In a 1938 newspaper article, James R. Stotts says that he and Miracle purchased the Huntsville Republican newspaper from M. W. Peach. He does not indicate what year.[x]

In addition to writing in The Sacred Harp Monitor and The Primitive Baptist., Elder Miracle wrote at least on book – The Gospel In Shadows, published posthumously in 1919.[xi] It is my understanding that he served as pastor of the Primitive Baptist Church in Oak Cliff, Dallas County, Texas, and doubtless several others.

Zack C. Hull, the publisher, advertised it this way in Zion's Landmark, June 15, 1919, p. 351:
Written by Elder M. W. Miracle, deceased. This is a book that should be in the hands of all lovers of truth. It is very inspiring and instructive. The book is bound in cloth and contains thirty-four chapters. The price of the book is $2 postage paid. If you are not satisfied with the contents and do not feel that it is worth a great deal more than the price, we will refund your money. Send for the book now.
Elder Miracle’s death certificate appears to say he died of stomach cancer, noting his age as 60 years, 5 months, and 2 days. Any other information on Meredith Woodson Miracle will be appreciated.


My beloved companion, Martha A. Miracle, departed this life the 31st day of October, 1883, aged twenty-two years and twenty-two days. She was the mother of three little girls; the younger two having passed on before. The oldest one, (a beautiful and lovely child of six years.) is still spared to comfort me with its sweet prattle. She never made any outward profession of religion, but all who witnessed her resignation to the will of her Redeemer in her illness, and for some time before, have strong evidence that she was an humble child of Jesus. At the time we consigned her last dear babe to the solemn tomb, she knelt at its side and poured out her soul in prayer to God to prepare her to meet her babies in heaven. In about two weeks she was severely taken with typho-malarial fever and only survived thirty-one days, during a greater part of which time she was conversing with her departed infants and shouting praises to the God of her salvation. One evening, about a week before she feel asleep, she looked up to me, with a supernatural expression, and requested me to listen to the beautiful music, and after suffering and rejoicing thirty-one days, she sweetly, as in a dreamy slumber, fell asleep in Jesus. She was a firm believer in the doctrine of salvation by grace. It is a great consolation to me to think that the second death hath no power over her. I feel that the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, therefore I ask the prayers of God's people in my sad bereavement.

I remain a sinner in hope, M. W. MIRACLE.

Melson, Ark., Oct. 4th, 1885.

[i] St. Paul Republican (Saint Paul, Arkansas), Friday 17 May 1889, Page 1
[ii] The Mountain Air (Saint Paul, Arkansas) Saturday 11 May 1895, Page 3; Daily Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas) Tuesday 06 Nov 1894, Page 5
[iii] 1900 Madison County, Arkansas Federal Census
[iv] Arkansas Democrat (Little Rock, Arkansas) Thursday 30 Mar 1905, Page 4
[v] Fort Smith Times (Fort Smith, Arkansas) Sunday 03 Feb 1907, Page 6
[vi] Berwyn Light (Berwyn, Oklahoma) Thursday 03 Sep 1908, Page 1
[vii] 1910 Dallas County, Texas Federal Census; All Purpose Supporter and Shoulder Brace Manufacturing Company
[viii] Elder M. W. Miracle, of Dallas, was preaching at the confederate hall in Fort Worth, on Sunday May 12, 1912; Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) Sunday 12 May 1912, Page 9
[ix] It is not clear how long the Monitor was published, but a surviving October 1913 issue indicates it was still in print at that time. The rise of The Sacred Harp Courier in 1914 probably succeeded the Monitor.
[x] “James R. Stotts Writes Story of His Old Home and Friends,” The Madison County Record (Huntsville, Arkansas) Thursday, 18 Aug 1938, Page 1
[xi] Atlanta, GA: Zack C. Hull, 1919. Elder Miracle’s “Preface” is dated January 31, 1916.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Another Medical Expert, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Monday, August 10, 2020

I pledge allegiance

I pledge allegiance to my God, Creator of heaven and earth; and to his word, which he has given, inspired, true, and pure; one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Sunday, August 09, 2020

An Evening Hymn

“An Evening Hymn,” by Thomas Ken (1637-1711). Ken’s evening hymn was paired with Thomas Tallis’ tune in The Harmonious Companion (London: W. Pearson, 1732). The “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow” doxology first appeared separately from Ken’s other hymns, but has since frequently be paired with various texts. It was printed with the Old Hundred tune in The Federal Harmony, Part 2 (Boston: John Norman, 1790).

1. All praise to thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light.
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath thine own almighty wings.

2. Forgive me, Lord, for thy dear Son,
The ill that I this day have done.
That with the world, myself, and thee,
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.

3. O! may my soul on thee repose,
And with sweet sleep mine eyelids close.
Refresh my strength, for thy own sake,
To serve my God when I awake.

4. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

The past is a foreign country, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify when possible.)

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” -- Leslie Poles Hartley

“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” -- Oliver Cromwell

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” -- Mark Twain

“Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.” -- Unknown

“My life is a mystery which I do not attempt to really understand, as though I were led by the hand in a night where I see nothing, but can fully depend on the love and protection of Him who guides me.” -- Thomas Merton

“Some say our problem is that Christianity is not taught in school. Perhaps our greater problem is that Christianity is not taught in church.” -- Heard

“Christ, not Caesar, is head of the church.” -- John MacArthur (and probably numerous others)

“When God lets you hit rock bottom, he shows you he is the rock at the bottom.” -- Unknown

“Never dumb down your faith to fit your doubts.” -- Steve Brown

“Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.” -- Courtney Parella