Thursday, September 30, 2021

Creation, Conscience, and Instruction in the Word

Human beings may know about God through the external witness of creation and through the internal witness of consciousness.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 2:15 which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Beyond this, people should be instructed by believers in the way of truth (Cf. Acts 8:31; Matthew 28:18-20). External instruction in the word is accompanied by the internal instruction of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:13).

Proverbs 22:20-21 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?  “The scholar is to be instructed not for his own profit alone, but in order that he may be able to teach others also. (Charles John Ellicott)

1 Peter 3:15  but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

In other words, beastly and feastly

  • almondine, adjective. Of, resembling, or reminiscent of the almond tree or its fruit.
  • almuten, noun (rare, Astrology). The prevailing or ruling planet in a horoscope.
  • anacoluthic, adjective. Of or related to syntactic inconsistencies of the sort known as anacoluthons.
  • anacoluthon, noun. Syntactical inconsistency or incoherence within a sentence.
  • arabesque, noun. (ballet) A posture in which the body is supported on one leg, with the other leg extended horizontally backward. (music) A passage or composition with fanciful ornamentation of the melody.
  • beastly, adjective. Of or like a beast; bestial. (Informal) Nasty; unpleasant; disagreeable.
  • durative, adjective. Denoting or relating to continuing action.
  • eleemosynary, adjective. Of, relating to, or supported by charity.
  • entertainment, noun. The act of entertaining; agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, especially a performance of some kind; hospitable provision for the needs and wants of guests.
  • excrescence, noun.  A projection or outgrowth, especially when abnormal; a disfiguring, extraneous, or unwanted mark or part; a blot.
  • feastly, adjective. (Originally) fond of feasting (obsolete). Later: of or relating to a feast; characterized by feasting; befitting a feast; festive, jolly.
  • irritainment, noun. Broadcast material which is irritating yet still entertaining; irritating entertainment.
  • pacable, adjective. Capable of being pacified or appeased; placable.
  • paddling pool, noun (UK). A shallow artificial pool for children to paddle or wade in.
  • rout, noun. A defeat attended with disorderly flight; dispersal of a defeated force in complete disorder.
  • rout, verb (used with object). To disperse in defeat and disorderly flight; to defeat decisively.
  • slurry, noun. A thin mixture of an insoluble substance, as cement, clay, or coal, with a liquid, as water or oil.

National Coffee Day

Try These Creative Coffee Shops -- National Coffee Day is September 29, 2021.

Also, there is a new coffee shop in Mt. Enterprise, Texas, 103 W. Rusk Street. May May’s, you’ll see it at the southwest corner of US 259 and US 84.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Breaking down barriers

Ephesians 2:11-13 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.


The blood of Jesus Christ breaks down the barriers that separate us from God and one another.

  • Flesh: Gentiles; Uncircumcision and Circumcision
  • Religion: strangers from the covenants of promise
  • Distance: far off; made nigh
  • Time: in time past; but now

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

Monday, September 27, 2021

8 Rules for Recording, 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.

Worldliness is...

“Modernity presents an interlocking system of values that has invaded and settled within the psyche of every person. Modernity is simply unprecedented in its power to remake human appetites, thinking processes, and values. It is, to put it in biblical terms, the worldliness of Our Time. For worldliness is that system of values and beliefs, behaviors and expectations, in any given culture that have at their center the fallen human being and that relegate to their periphery any thought about God. Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd. Modernity is worldliness, and it has concealed its values so adroitly in the abundance, the comfort, and the wizardry of our age that even those who call themselves the people of God seldom recognize them for what they are.”

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Take my life and let it be

“Take my life and let it be,” a hymn in 7s. meter, was written by Frances Ridley Havergal in 1874. See Frances Havergal Wrote “Take My Life and Let it Be” at for a story of the hymn and its writer. It often is paired with Henri Malan’s tune Hendon.

1. Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.

2. Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for thee.

3. Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from thee.

4. Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as thou shalt choose.

5. Take my will and make it thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own,
It shall be thy royal throne.

6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for thee.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Ways to handle contradicting genealogical evidence

Here are three simple ways to handle contradicting evidence:

Ask Questions. As you come across conflicting fragments of information in your research that you’re unsure how to handle, take a step back and consider the following questions:
  • When and where was the record created?
  • What information is missing or incomplete from the record?
  • How was the information recorded?
  • Who created the record?
  • How reliable is the information in the record?
By asking these questions, you’ll begin to piece bits of information together while discovering what other research still needs to be done...

And then you make a research plan, and you keep a research log so you know where you’ve been and what you’ve found.

Friday, September 24, 2021

What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?

What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?
The Genealogical Proof Standard is a process used by genealogists to demonstrate what the minimums are that genealogists must do for their work to be credible. Based off a book written by Christine Rose entitled Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, this standard lays out five essential steps for accurate research:
  1. Reasonably exhaustive research has been completed.
  2. Each statement of fact has a complete and accurate source citation.
  3. The evidence is reliable and has been skillfully correlated and interpreted.
  4. Any contradictory evidence has been resolved.
  5. The conclusion has been soundly reasoned and coherently written.
“The Genealogical Proof Standard isn’t a device per se,” says Ison, “but it’s a process that will help us to determine what we know, helps us decide what we want to learn, helps us explain our work to others, gives us confidence about the direction we’re going, is the basis for approaching difficult research problems using indirect evidence, and lastly, it helps us to feel secure and safe in our conclusions.”

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Multiplying Ancestors

Starting with my two parents, I have:
  • 4 grandparents
  • 8 great grandparents
  • 16 second great grandparents
  • 32 third great grandparents
  • 64 fourth great grandparents
  • 128 fifth great grandparents
  • 256 sixth great grandparents
  • 512 seventh great grandparents
  • 1024 eight great grandparents
  • 2048 ninth great grandparents
  • 4096 tenth great grandparents
  • 8192 eleventh great grandparents
(Copied from Find-A-Grave member Mona Hura)

Intriguingly, the multiplication will somewhere stop and funnel back to two first parents, Adam and Eve.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Americans spent more, 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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Vaccines and your conscience

Both Robert Jeffress and Pope Francis want you to get vaccinated, says Mark Wingfield in the liberal Baptist News Global. Wingfield quotes Jeffress – pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas – as saying, “There is no credible religious argument against the vaccines,” and “There is no legitimate faith-based reason for refusing to take the vaccine.” What Pope Francis says may create difficultly for Catholics with conscientious objections. Because of local church autonomy, what Robert Jeffress says should carry little weight beyond his local congregation.

Apparently, Jeffress is referring to the concerns of some about the ties to fetal cell lines derived from aborted babies. Various religious leaders have expressed concerns about this, though it seems the view of the most hi-profile leaders is that the time line is so far removed from the actual abortions (1970s-1980s) that there is no moral issue – or some express it that the good of the vaccine outweighs the evil of the abortions.

Some have expressed objections in terms that make it sound like baby parts have been taken from current abortions to use in these vaccines. That is not correct. Here are some facts.
  • Janssen Research/Johnson & Johnson used abortion-derived fetal cell lines in the development, confirmation, and production of its vaccine.
  • Moderna, Inc./National Institutes of Health and Pfizer/BioNTech performed confirmation tests using abortion-derived fetal cell lines, but did not use them in production.
  • AstraZeneca/University of Oxford used abortion-derived fetal cell lines in confirmation tests, design & development, and production.
The difference between fetal cell lines and fetal tissue. Fetal cell lines are cells that grow in a laboratory. They descend from cells taken from elective abortions in the 1970s and 1980s. Those individual cells from the 1970s and 1980s have since been grown in the lab for 30 to 40 years, creating fetal cell lines.

Consider the position of Robert Jeffress and others. If you find it compelling, make it part of your conscience. However, if you conscientiously object to the vaccine, do not feel compelled to kowtow to the views of some hi-profile religious leader (or some combination of them). Each Christian believer needs to decide whether he or she feels OK with the way these vaccines were produced. Follow your own conscience!

(Information source, the Charlotte Lozier Institute)

Monday, September 20, 2021

Mankind adores its betrayers, 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 if possible.)

“Mankind adores its betrayers, and murders its saviors.” -- Taylor Caldwell

“Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; Eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.” -- Thomas Watson

“An honest politician is either a hypocrite - or he is doomed.” -- Taylor Caldwell

“Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. Science is the highest personification of the nation because that nation will remain the first which carries the furthest the works of thought and intelligence.” --  Louis Pasteur

“A wise man distrusts his neighbor. A wiser man distrusts both his neighbor and himself. The wisest man of all distrusts his government.” -- Taylor Caldwell

“Christ is not valued at all unless He is valued above all.” -- Augustine of Hippo

“Don’t let the past steal your present.” -- Taylor Caldwell

“I was a lost church member...I was sincere – just sincerely wrong. I was not out to fool anyone. I was the one being fooled.” -- Josh Buice

“Corrupt citizens breed corrupt rulers, and it is the mob who finally decides when virtue shall die.” -- Taylor Caldwell

“Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd.” -- David F. Wells

Dr. Law and Dr. Grace

Dr. Law and Dr. Grace are the most unusual doctors the world has ever known. They are unusual because they never ask the patient for his advice or about any of the signs or symptoms of his case. They have never lost a patient or charged a fee. They speak with authority and have an incredible 100% success rate with patients, yet many people refuse to go to them for help.

The greatest message of the Bible and the theme of the whole Bible is grace. Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God, and there is an unbreakable relationship between law and grace...

I can now recommend these two great doctors. Dr. Law will show you where you are wrong, and Dr. Grace will make you right. Commit your case to Dr. Law and Dr. Grace (Romans 10:9-10).

Sunday, September 19, 2021

For the Poor

“For the Poor” was written by William Cowper (1731-1800). It was published the Olney Hymns (1779, Book 3, Hymn 57). It contains 5 stanzas of 4 lines in Common Meter. In The Primitive Baptist Hymnal: a Choice Collection of Hymns and Tunes of Early and Late Composition, Sears and Ausmus printed it under W. R. Havergal’s Evan.
1. When Hagar found the bottle spent,
And wept o’er Ishmael;
A message from the Lord was sent
To guide her to a well.
2. Should not Elijah’s cake and cruse
Convince us at this day,
A gracious God will not refuse
Provisions by the way?
3. His saints and servants shall be fed,
The promise is secure;
“Bread shall be giv’n them,” he has said,
“Their water shall be sure.”
4. Repasts far richer they shall prove
Than all earth’s dainties are;
’Tis sweet to taste a Saviour’s love,
Tho’ in the meanest fare.
5. To Jesus then your trouble bring,
Nor murmur at your lot;
While you art poor, and he is king,
You shall not be forgot.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Heroes and Pariahs

The same “front line” health care workers hailed as heroes by the media for treating COVID patients before vaccines were available, including the Plaintiffs herein, are now vilified by the same media as pariahs who must be excluded from society until they are vaccinated against their will.

From a lawsuit by health care workers against the state of New York

Friday, September 17, 2021

Because They Are Evil, 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.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

The quote “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” comes from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. In the film, when those looking for him find the Wizard, they hear a loud voice booming all around them. The voice tells them to come back another time. It is all mysterious and marvelous.

However, Toto, the main character’s little dog, discovers the “real” Wizard. He is just an average looking middle-aged man operating a bunch of controls behind a green curtain. When the Wizard of Oz realizes he has been discovered, he shouts over his loudspeaker, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A. N. Whitten and the United Association

I have previously posted a good bit about Archibald Newton Whitten, and compiled a booklet of some of his life history. But it has been a while. Recently, Jesse P. Karlsberg, Sacred Harp singer, composer & vice president of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company, found a connection of Whitten to the United Sacred Harp Musical Association – at least for 1921. That year the association met in the Auditorium-Armory in Atlanta, Georgia, September 9-11, 1921. Whitten is listed as an “Assistant” on the Executive Board of Council of the United Association. So 100 years ago (and a few days) A. N. Whitten was one of four Texans on this Council.[i]


 Minutes of the United Sacred Harp Musical Association, Atlanta, Georgia, September 9-11, 1921, page 2
(Picture furnished by Jesse P. Karlsberg)

[i] Perusal of the minutes suggested Whitten was not in attendance of the Association in Atlanta. Jesse also said that Whitten’s name does not appear in the Executive Council members in 1925, the next oldest minute that he has.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Shall suffer persecution

2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

As Christians, perhaps most especially preachers, we can sometimes suffer from a “disease” which creates its own “self-fulfilling prophecy.” One may act like an arrogant jerk, insufferable know-it-all, or total idiot – then claim to be persecuted because of being a Christian when others react negatively and coarsely. It is a glory to suffer as a Christian. There is nothing commendatory in suffering for own sinful and stupid acts and omissions.

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf (1 Peter 4:15-17).

Monday, September 13, 2021

Holy and reverend is his name

[Psalm 111] Verse 9. He sent redemption unto his people. When they were in Egypt he sent not only a deliverer, but an actual deliverance; not only a redeemer, but complete redemption. He has done the like spiritually for all his people, having first by blood purchased them out of the hand of the enemy, and then by power rescued them from the bondage of their sins. Redemption we can sing of as an accomplished act: it has been wrought for us, sent to us, and enjoyed by us, and we are in very deed the Lord’s redeemed. He hath commanded his covenant for ever. His divine decree has made the covenant of his grace a settled and eternal institution: redemption by blood proves that the covenant cannot be altered, for it ratifies and establishes it beyond all recall. This, too, is reason for the loudest praise. Redemption is a fit theme for the heartiest music, and when it is seen to be connected with gracious engagements from which the Lord’s truth cannot swerve, it becomes a subject fitted to arouse the soul to an ecstasy of gratitude. Redemption and the covenant are enough to make the tongue of the dumb sing. Holy and reverend is his name. Well may he say this. The whole name or character of God is worthy of profoundest awe, for it is perfect and complete, whole or holy. It ought not to be spoken without solemn thought, and never heard without profound homage. His name is to be trembled at, it is something terrible; even those who know him best rejoice with trembling before him. How good men can endure to be called “reverend” we know not. Being unable to discover any reason why our fellow men should reverence us, we half suspect that in other men there is not very much which can entitle them to be called reverend, very reverend, right reverend, and so on. It may seem a trifling matter, but for that very reason we would urge that the foolish custom should be allowed to fall into disuse.

Charles H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Vol. 5a, Psalm 107-119

Sunday, September 12, 2021

My Soul Thirsteth for God

“Thirsting for God” or “My Soul Thirsteth for God” was written by William Cowper (1731-1800). It was published the Olney Hymns (1779, Book 3, Hymn 61). It contains 5 stanzas of 4 lines in Long Meter. There may not be one tune that is particularly associated with this hymn. In the Hymn and Tune Book for Use in Old School or Primitive Baptist Churches, Durand and Lester printed it under Lowell Mason’s Rockingham.
1. I thirst, but not as once I did,
The vain delights of earth to share:
Thy wounds, Emmanuel, all forbid
That I should seek my pleasure there.
2. It was the sight of thy dear cross
First wean’d my soul from earthly things;
And taught me to esteem as dross
The mirth of fools and pomp of kings.
3. I want that grace that springs from thee,
That quickens all things where it flows,
And makes a wretched thorn, like me,
Bloom as the myrtle, or the rose.
4. Dear fountain of delight unknown!
No longer sink below the brim;
But overflow, and pour me down
A living, and life-giving stream!
5. For sure, of all the plants that share
The notice of thy Father’s eye,
None proves less grateful to his care,
Or yields him meaner fruit than I.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The world out there, 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 if possible.)

“The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity; it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity.” -- Leonard Ravenhill

“When you look this way and that way to see who is watching (Exodus 2:12), don’t forget to look up!”

“Knowing who you are comes down to knowing Whose you are.” -- Amy Boucher Pye

“The secret to success is not to do as everyone. Success is often measured by what others haven’t done.” -- Charles Ghigna

“The evil that men do lives after them: The good is oft interred with their bones.” -- Mark Anthony, from Shakespeare

“The same water that softens the potato, hardens the egg.” -- Proverb

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” -- G. K. Chesterton

“Every child should have an occasional pat on the back as long as it is applied low enough and hard enough.” -- Fulton J. Sheen

“Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.” -- John Stark, American Revolutionary War General

Friday, September 10, 2021

Are Christian Ministers, 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.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

The Singers and the Songs

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

In the text we have five remarkable[i] parts, namely:

1. The singers. “Speaking to themselves.” Christians, especially those who dwelt in the city of Ephesus. Christians understand how to rejoice in God; their hearts can so set the tune that God shall hear the music. Zanchius well observes that the apostle does here make the comparison between the mirth which is made “from the abundance of wine,” and that which is made “from the abundance of the Spirit.” The drunkard’s song, how toyish! But the saint’s singing, how triumphal! How confused the one! How sweet the other! How empty the one, even to the very companions of their cups and mirth! But how melodious the other, even to the Lord Himself! And he gravely takes notice that, “saints rejoice, but intemperate persons drivel in their chat.”

2. The song itself. And here the apostle runs division, diversifying songs into three species, which according to the descants of learned men, may be thus understood:

(1) And here Jerome gives us a dexterous interpretation.

(i) “Psalms,” says he, “may belong to moral things, what we ought to put in use and practice.”

(ii) “Hymns may belong to sacred things, what we ought to meditate on and to contemplate, as the power, wisdom, goodness, and majesty of God.”

(iii) “Odes, or spiritual songs, may belong to natural things, what we ought to debate, discuss; namely, the race, order, harmony, and continuance of the world, and God’s infinite wisdom manifested in it!”

(2) Some distinguish these according to the authors of them.

(i) Psalms. They are the composures of holy David.

(ii) Hymns. They are the songs of some other excellent men recorded in scripture, as Moses, Heman, Asaph, etc.

(iii) Spiritual songs. They are odes of some other holy and good men not mentioned in Scripture, as the song of Ambrose, Nepos, and others.

(3) Some aver that these several speeches mentioned in the text, answer the Hebrew distinction of psalms. Among them were:

(i) Mizmorim, which treated of various and different subjects.

(ii) Tehillim, which only mentioned the praises of the Most High.

(iii) Shirim, which were songs more artificially and musically composed, and, some divines observe, were sung with the help of a musical instrument.

But I may add: Are not all these several species mentioned to prefigure the plenty and the joy which is reserved for the saints within the veil, when they shall join in concert with the glorious angels in singing their perpetual hallelujahs to their glorious Creator?

3. The manner of singing. Our text says, “making melody” with inward joy and trepidation of soul: if the tongue make the pause, the heart must make the elevation. The apostle says to the Colossians: “We must sing with grace” (Col. 3:16) which is, as some expound it:

(1) With giving of thanks. And, indeed, thankfulness is the very Selah of this duty, that which puts an accent upon the music and sweetness of the voice; and then we sing melodiously when we warble out the praises of the Lord.

(2) With gracefulness. With a becoming and graceful dexterity. And this “brings both profit and pleasure” to the hearers as Davenant observes. Psalms are not the comedies of Venus, or the jocular celebrations of a wanton Adonis; but they are the spiritual ebullitions of a composed soul to the incomprehensible Jehovah, with real grace. God’s Spirit must breathe in this service; here we must act our joy, our confidence, our delight. Singing is the triumph of a gracious soul, the child joying in the praises of his Father. In singing of psalms, the gracious heart takes wings, and mounts up to God, to join with the celestial choir. It is grace which fits the heart for, and sweetens the heart in, this duty. And where this qualification is wanting, this service is rather a hurry than a duty; it is rather a disturbance than any obedience.

4. The master of the choir, the preceptor. That is: the “heart.” We must look to the heart in singing, that it be purged by the Spirit and that it be replete with spiritual affection. He plays the hypocrite who brings not the heart to this duty. One observes, “There is no tune without the heart.” Singing takes its proper rise from the heart; the voice is only the further progress. And, indeed, God is the Creator of the whole man; and therefore He will be praised not only with our tongues, but with our hearts. The apostle tells us, he “will sing with the spirit.” (1 Cor. 14:15) And David informs us, his heart was ready to “sing and give praise.” (Ps. 57:7,8; 108:1) Augustine admonishes us, “It is not a musical string, but a working heart, [that] is harmonious.” The virgin Mary sings her Magnificat with her heart. (Lk. 1:46-47) And Bernard tells us in a tract of his, that “when we sing psalms, let us take heed that we have the same thing in our mind that we warble forth in our tongue, and that our song and our heart do not run several ways.” If we in singing only offer the calves of our lips, it will too much resemble a carnal and a Jewish service.

5. The end of the duty. “To the Lord” So says the text; namely, to Jesus Christ, who is here principally meant. Our singing must not serve our gain, or our luxury, or our fancy; but our Christ, our Lord, and dear Redeemer. In this duty it is his praises we must mainly and chiefly celebrate. And most deservedly we magnify the true God by psalms and singing, when the heathens celebrate their false and dunghill gods, Jupiter, Neptune, and Apollo, with songs and hymns. One well observes: “Singing of psalms is part of divine worship, and of our homage and service due to the great Jehovah.” Bodius takes notice that, “God is the true and only scope of all our singing.” And truly if the Spirit of God be in us. He will be steadily aimed at by us. Thus Deborah and Barak sang their triumphal song “to the Lord.” (Judg. 5:3)

John Wells, in How We May Make Melody in our Hearts to God in Singing of Psalms, 1689

[i] Though these thoughts are remarkable, it appears here that the author means he is making remarks on five parts of the verse.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

A fixed heart, a fixed duty

Psalm 108:1. O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. 

Meditation is a fixed duty. It is not a cursory work. Man’s thoughts naturally labour with a great inconsistency; but meditation chains them, and fastens them upon some spiritual object. The soul when it meditates lays a command on itself, that the thoughts which are otherwise flitting and feathery should fix upon its object; and so this duty is very advantageous. As we know a garden which is watered with sudden showers is more uncertain in its fruit than when it is refreshed with a constant stream; so when our thoughts are sometimes on good things, and then run off; when they only take a glance of a holy object, and then flit away, there is not so much fruit brought into the soul. In meditation, then, there must be a fixing of the heart upon the object, a steeping the thoughts, as holy David: “O God, my heart is fixed.” We must view the holy object presented by meditation, as a limner who views some curious piece, and carefully heeds every shade, every line and colour; as the virgin Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. Indeed; meditation is not only the busying of the thoughts, but the centring of them; not only the employing of them, but the staking them down upon some spiritual affair. When the soul, meditating upon something divine, saith as the disciples in the transfiguration (Mt 17:4), “It is good to be here.”

John Wells, in The Practical Sabbatarian, 1668

Monday, September 06, 2021

Boats and The Boat

It is a very good thing to feel safe. However, it is much better to be safe. April 15, 1912, everyone on the “unsinkable” Titanic felt safe, and were living life as if there was no tomorrow. Tragically, for over 1500 poor souls, there would be no tomorrow. In contrast, the disciples were on a rickety wooden boat crossing the sea of Galilee when suddenly there were in a “great tempest”. Fearing they were about to die, they cried out to the Lord who was asleep in the boat. “Lord, save us: we perish”. After rebuking them for their fear and lack of faith, He immediately calmed the seas and straightforward they were safe on the other side. On one boat people felt safe but were not. On the other boat men did not feel safe but were. What made the difference? Who made the difference? If the Lord Jesus Christ is in our boat we are safe, even when the seas are turbulent. Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Pr. 29:25b. The oceans of this world are full of stately vessels filled with careless souls oblivious to the destruction that is just below the surface of their shallow religion. Their porters assure the passengers that once you pay your fare, you are guaranteed safe passage to the other side. The truly safe boats are usually small unimpressive vessels of just a few “fellows on the ship”. On these little boats the Lord is resting because He has finished His work to pay in full the fare for all on board.

Greg Elmquist

Sunday, September 05, 2021

I want a principle

Hymn (C.M.D.) by Charles Wesley (1707-1788):

1. I want a principle within
of watchful, godly fear,
a sensibility of sin,
a pain to feel it near.
I want the first approach to feel
of pride or wrong desire,
to catch the wandering of my will,
and quench the kindling fire.

2. From thee that I no more may stray,
no more thy goodness grieve,
grant me the filial awe, I pray,
the tender conscience give.
Quick as the apple of an eye,
O God, my conscience make;
awake my soul when sin is nigh,
and keep it still awake.

3. Almighty God of truth and love,
to me thy power impart;
the mountain from my soul remove,
the hardness from my heart.
O may the least omission pain
my reawakened soul,
and drive me to that blood again,
which makes the wounded whole.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

A Covid Apology to America, 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, September 01, 2021


“For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.”

Old English bisceoprice “diocese, province of a bishop,” from bishop + rice “realm, dominion, province,” from Proto-Germanic *rikja “rule” (from PIE root *reg- “move in a straight line,” with derivatives meaning “to direct in a straight line,” thus “to lead, rule”).

bisceop-ríce, biscop-ríce, es; n. [bisceop, a bishop; ríce a region]
A Bishopric, diocese, province of a bishop; episcopi provincia, diœcesis = διoίκησιs

TR Acts 1:20 γέγραπται γὰρ ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν γενηθήτω ἡ ἔπαυλις αὐτοῦ ἔρημος καὶ μὴ ἔστω ὁ κατοικῶν ἐν αὐτῇ καί τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν αὐτοῦ λάβοι ἕτερος

LXX Psalm 108:8 (KJV 109:8) γενηθήτωσαν αἱ ἡμέραι αὐτοῦ ὀλίγαι, καὶ τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν αὐτοῦ λάβοι ἕτερος

In 1828, Webster gives two meanings.
1. A diocese; the district over which the jurisdiction of bishop extends.
2. The charge of instructing and governing in spiritual concerns; office. Acts 1:20.

The word bishoprick has a semantic range that covers (at least) from “office” to “bishop/overseer of a realm.” Some complain about this word choice in the King James translation of Acts 1:20, as if it were chosen to simply support the Church of England’s use of their kind of bishops. Yet it was used in English Bibles such as Wycliffe (1382) and Tyndale (1526) before there was a “Church of England” (1531). The Pulpit Commentary says of this translation, “Bishop being the English transliteration of ἐπίσκοπος [i.e., the word used by Luke, rlv], bishopric is, of course, the literal rendering of ἐπισκοπή...”