Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

For Wales, See England*

So I had a go at the Times2crossword tonight (No 5477). Six down "English county" 12 letters. Probably ending in "shire" I thought quite rightly. The first bit, I thought, seems to have an "N" in it. Must be Lincolnshire. But no, that messes up my other clues. Then I had an idea. Yes, they wanted an English county beginning with "D" - but not Derbyshire or Durham. Denbighshire!
*Reference to an infamous entry in the late 19th century in the Encyclopaedia Britannica index.

Bach and Charles Hodge

I'm reading the Banner's biography of Charles Hodge by his son. Great quote on page 183. While in Germany in 1828 Hodge kept a diary. It confirms Bach's obscurity until rediscovered by Simon Cowell Felix Mendelssohn. In one place Hodge says
"They sang, also, one piece from an old German composer, Bach, whose works have long been neglected,but which they say are equal to almost any of the best German compositions."

Tragedy hits middle England


Some people will not really understand this tragedy but tragedy it is. At certain times of the day BBC Radio 4 (speech based thinking man's radio) play "the pips" or Greenwich time signal. Originally it was the best means of setting your time piece accurately day by day. Things have moved on since then but it now serves the purpose of providing (like the shipping forecast) a familiar and reassuring sound that says God is on his throne and all is well in the world. Apparently the machine that produces the pips is currently not working, indeed has died (cue the sound of weeping on the streets of Tunbridge Wells).
I actually saw this box once upon a time when I was given a tour of Broadcasting House. Apparently it produces a continuous sound with gaps at certain intervals. The gaps are then converted into sound and broadcast at certain times of the day.
No doubt questions will be asked in Parliament.

Betet für Deutschland

Charles Hodge Quotation

Writing to his mother as a young man Charles Hodge wrote

“I have lately, in reading Bonaparte’s Russian Campaign, and the Life of Sheridan, been very much struck with the truth of the remark how little they really enjoy the world to whom the world is every thing. Bonaparte says the happiest part of his life was when he was a poor lieutenant. And Sheridan said the happiest part of his life was the short time he spent in a cottage. There is nothing lost, therefore, even as regards the present world, by seeking first the kingdom of God; that is, by making it the primary object of pursuit, seeing that godliness has the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

Dr Andrew Gifford

I noticed this brief sketch of the life of Sr Andrew Gifford in Cramp's Baptist History the other day.

DR. ANDREW GIFFORD, whose father and grandfather had been pastors of the Pithay Church, Bristol, presided over the church in Eagle Street, London, nearly fifty years. His ministry was remarkably successful. He was a thoroughly learned man, and possessed excellent taste and judgment in regard to coins, manuscripts, and other relics of antiquity. In 1757 he was appointed Assistant Librarian to the British Museum, which situation he held till his death. The following anecdote is worthy of preservation. “Some gentlemen were inspecting the Museum under the Doctor’s guidance, amongst whom was a profane youth, who hardly uttered a sentence without taking the name of the Lord in vain. The Doctor, who had kept his eye upon him, was at length asked by him, ‘Whether they had not a very ancient manuscript of the Bible there?’ On coming to it, the Doctor asked the youth if he could read it? Being answered in the affirmative, the Doctor wished him to read a paragraph which he pointed out. It was, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.’ The irreverent youth read and blushed; the countenances of his companions seemed to acknowledge the justness of the reproof, and the polite and Christian manner in which it was administered.” [Rippon's funeral sermon]
Dr. Gifford died July 19th, 1784, in the eighty-fourth year of his age, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, at an early hour in the morning, in compliance with his own wish, “to testify his faith in the resurrection of Christ, who arose early on the first day of the week, and likewise his hope of the resurrection morning at the last day.”

Up a gum tree in Childs Hill

An honest scam?

Billion dollar baby

Being away, I nearly missed this here (merci monsieur principal).

Last night my wife and I had the immense privilege of having dinner with Geoff Thomas and his Iola. Geoff has been praised on this blog before, and more than once. He is truly one of the giants of the last hundred years. Outside of this blog and Banner of Truth circles, you may not hear his name very often but as far as I am concerned he represents everything I would want our ministerial graduates at WTS to be.

* He has faithfully pastored a modest church for nearly 46 years.
* He has placed the preaching of the gospel absolutely central in his ministry.
* he has a passionate desire to see people come to Christ.
* He has a passionate desire to see people grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord.
* He has demonstrated that a small local church can have a worldwide impact. There are many people all over the world -- some known and many unknown -- who have been blessed by his teaching, inspired to go in to the ministry, or simply led to love the gospel more through his consistent preaching of God's grace. Derek Thomas and Mark Johnston both acknowledge huge debts to him. While at college, I was helped in my faith by Ian and Christine Hodgins who both sat under his ministry in Wales as students. Many of us who never attended his church are yet his debtors under God.

In addition, Geoff is an hilarious raconteur (I spent much of the dinner last night bursting with laughter), takes himself with a pinch of salt, doesn't `do' jeans, has no earrings or other body piercings, and generally doesn't wear black, has no swagger, couldn't care less about being cool or trendy, and only tells jokes in the pulpit that actually have a serious point rather than those designed to tell the congregation that `Hey, I'm a funny guy who wants to be your friend so please like me.' In some quarters, that might lead some to wonder if he is really a minister. Believe me, he is more real than many. He also writes great emails. My favourite, which I included in the paperwork for his DD, went something like this: `Dear Carl, Just read your piece on Packer and Lloyd Jones. What a disaster! You are a complete idiot. Oh, and sorry to have missed you in Wales last week. Best wishes, Geoff'
When the Westminster Faculty and Board realised he was such an astute man, the DD was in the bag, so to speak.
This afternoon I will have the immense honour of `hooding' Geoff at the DD ceremony. Like Wayne and Garth confronted with Alice Cooper, I can only say `We are not worthy! We are not worthy!'
Geoff will be preaching at the commencement service this afternoon and then again this Sunday at Franklin Square OPC in New York, for Bill Shishko -- another real minister of the unsung hero variety. I hope to post a link to Geoff's commencement address early next week.
Meanwhile, as commencement is today, Geoff would no doubt agree that `school's out for the summer'. (Thanks to Gabe Fluhrer for that line).

Anti-St Valentines

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the gospel. Some things some of us hardly realise are causing problems. I was reminded recently of an example.
Back in February this year activists of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, a regional party in Tamil Nadu, protested against the celebration of the Valentine's Day and warned locals to refrain from all celebrations in Coimbatore. The party's activists were apparently seen demonstrating by raising slogans and tearing Valentine's Day cards. "We are protesting against the cultural exploitation because of Valentine's Day, which is being celebrated by lovers, who have engaged themselves in uncultured manner in public places in the name of Valentine's Day," Prabhu, a protestor, said. "We strongly condemn this act and today, we are stating this protest by destroying these greeting cards," he added.
It was also officially banned in Iran this year and is regulalry opposed by religious police in Saudi Arabia.

GBA 2011 09

Our very final session was led by Gary Benfold (no not me but Gary Benfold as he pointed out). He took us to John 17:24  (Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world). He had three points and used lots of helpful illustrations. The points were
1. There is such a place as heaven - where believers  are with Christ and share in his (mediatorial) glory
2. What happens in heaven? See 1 John 3:1-3. It is a place where there is no more sorrow or sin. more than that we will be clothed with the glory that is his.
3. What Christ wants is what he has or is about to earn for his people. The Godhead is united in wanting to bring his children home. When believers die that is why they are admitted to heaven - because Christ wants it and has done what is necessary.
Unbelievers need to trust and those who already believe ought to tell the Lord they are glad they have trusted in him.

So an excellent conference and assembly all told. God is good.

GBA 2011 08

On our final morning we began with Michael Harley who spoke on "the man in the middle". Michael has been a gospel minister since 1959 and so has vast experience. He very warmly spoke to us of his conversion, his entry into the ministry and the ministry itself. Coming from an older time it was a fascinating introduction to  a world pretty much unknown to most of us. Invited to church by a friend he was converted in a large church where he also felt called to the ministry. After three years in London studying classics he went to Oxford, where he encountered liberalism in college and mostly small churches Sunday by Sunday.
Having come through that still evangelical he came to Reformed convictions and then began to move into systematic expository ministry (he began midweek with Isaiah!). He then spoke of many things about the ministry including the need for kindness to men in their first pastorates, a plea not to retire unless necessary and an explanation of his preference for the title pastor. 
He began in Aldeburgh where he met his wife then (not wanting to remain in her home church now she was the pastor's wife) moved on to Kenilworth. This church was split three ways (Liberal, Arminian, Reformed). Unity There was also a growing conviction that it was necessary to leave the Baptist Union. The sorrow was that the church would not leave too.
They ended up in London, where a new pastor had just come to the Metropolitan Tabernacle who had also left the BU at that time (where the Evangelical Times was then produced). It was a time of learning to trust the Lord, not only preaching but also working as a driver.
A London pastorate followed that. Without any detail he spoke of the need to deal with issues that exist in the church and not just pray. He also spoke of how the time sometimes comes when you feel it is right to move on. He shared too the way that the move was initially very difficult for their youngest. Nevertheless this cannot be the leading factor in seeking the Lord's guidance.
So warm and interesting then with plenty of lessons. What a blessing to hear.

GBA 2011 07

Tonight Stuart Olyott spoke (again at length and with some audible interaction at several points). He spoke appropriately on The greatest place on earth.
We had (from 1 Timothy 3)

1 To make us conscious that we have a privilege and a responsibility
2 To raise the question: Is there anything stopping you having a full blooded commitment to the local church?
3 As no church is perfect to urge work to be done.

Step 1 There is such a thing as truth in the world
Step 2 We've got to have this truth in the world
Step 3 The truth has enemies
Step 4 God has set up a pillar and ground for the truth - the local church
Then (Acts 2) the fact that the church is to be
1 A body of Baptised believers
2 It is a place where the truth is taught
3 It is a place of loving fellowship
4 Where the Lord's Supper is celebrated
5 Where people pray that God will act
6 And who go out with the gospel

GBA 2011 06

At 2.30 pm this afternoon we had a short and happy business meeting where 55 messengers from 34 different churches. Then at 5 pm we had an excellent news session.
Brian Ellis showed a slide presentation on the work in the Philippines. Crawford Gribbin said a little bit about the church he belongs to in Port Laois.
David Butler from EMF spoke about the encouraging work of Andrew and Vivian Birch in Majorca. The only discouraging factor here is the lack of conversions among the indigenous people. Daniel Webber retires soon to be succeeded by martin Leech. Iorg Muller will be coming from Germany to carry on Martin's work.
Walter Johnston is a regular at the Assembly and it was encouraging and challenging to hear him talk about the prison work that he and others from the church are involved in.
Adam Laughton reminded us of his imminent move south to be involved in the London Gateway church planting project which will now begin in West Gravesend.
Martin Grubb flagged up a forthcoming conference with Jim Renihan Roots that refresh.
Finally, a London pastor spoke of the beginning of opportunities in the local mosque in East London.

GBA 2011 05

The second Wednesday morning session at the Grace Assembly was a church history session led by Crawford Gribben. He spoke of the unhappy times in Ireland at the beginning of the 18th Century and the beginning again of Particular Baptist work which had fallen into decay after initial success earlier on in connection with Cromwellian troops.
The decline appears to have been caused by worldliness, doctrinal impurity and poor organisation (association meetings were poorly attended). So by the beginning of the 18th century the Baptist work was almost extinct.
In 1796, at the invitation of Presbyterian Benjamin McDowell, Samuel Pearce of Birmingham preached in Dublin among what remained of the Baptists. Pearce was clearly excited at the prospects that he found there, despite everything. He was not unaware of the difficulties and quite realistic. it was Sandemanianism that finally did for it.
By the time Andrew Fuller arrived in Dublin in 1804 things were even worse. In contrast to Pearce's visit this one was no triumph. However, he urged the faithful to come out from the mixed situation and to form a new church. The BMS went on to publish a report from Fuller on his trip[. This was rebutted by the Irish only to be taken to task by Fuller again.
Eventually, the Baptist Irish Society was formed in 1814. One of the first men to go from England was John West in 1811. There were soon many converts and when they approached the BMS for help the society was formed. Not only were churches founded but there were also schools and itinerant Scripture readers. The work went on in both English and Irish. Entrepreunerial in ethos they saw a new church founded every year for the next 40 years. The centre of gravity drifted further and further north. Some churches arose spontaneously rather than as the result of mission efforts. Spurgeon came in 1859 but was eager to preach the gospel not promote the Baptist cause.
Despite this great progress when the famine years of the 1840s came the Baptist churches in the south were decimated by death and emigration. When the 1859 revival came the Baptists as Baptists made no progress. After partition the South was generally forgotten by those in the north and in England.
The good progress in recent years shows that if something had been done before there might well have been similar progress.
Problems remain, eg the lack of an agreed doctrinal basis. Unhappiness continues in some ways but there is reason for hope. Time and time again it has been possible to turn the battle.
Having begun with Isaiah 28 he closed with a quotation from a letter from Andrew Fuller to Benjamin Francis of July 3, 1788 (in the Angus Library)
"What I think what vast numbers are hasting the downward road; how few walk the narrow way; and, comparatively speaking, what little success attends our preaching, and what little ground Christ gets in the world, my heart fails and is discouraged. But it did my heart good last night to read Isaiah xlii, 4, “He shall not fail or be discouraged till he have set judgement in the earth!” I could not but reflect that Christ had infinitely more to discourage him that I can have to discourage me; and yet he persevered! But, methought, judgement is not yet set in the earth, except in a small degree. And what then? May I not take courage for that the promise has not yet spent its force? Christ has much more yet to do in the world; and, numerous as his enemies yet are, and few his friends, his heart does not fail him; nor shall it, till he has spread salvation throughout the earth, and leavened the whole lump."

GBA 2011 04

Last night we heard from Barry King on the Grace Baptist Partnership. His myth busting session was similar to what we find here. This morning he took us to Mary pouring out the perfume on Christ and called us to radical discipleship. He called for a disregard for sacrifice, a disregard for self and a disregard for scorn.
He suggested that what prompted Mary was her gratefulness for what Christ had done in raising Lazarus not in the hope of some future blessing. What can wehope for? was the given title. There are many unknowns for us - will people be converted, will churches be planted? However, if God never does any such things we still have more than enough to give him thanks for. We serve not because of what we hope he will do but because of what he has done.
Final note: often those with that attitude receive more.

Foundations online

Those who have not yet seen will be interested to know that the Affinity journal Foundations is now available online. See here. This edition contains the papers given at the last Affinity conference and rather inadequately reported here at the time.
I remember getting my first copies of Foundations personally from the then editor Eryl Davies. It was made up of sheets of paper bound with a plastic clip along the spine. I was a student in Aberystwyth at the time. Things move on.
Glad to commend it (except the cover which seems to me out of keeping with the name of the journal though it looks very nice! ;-)).

GBA 2011 03

This evening we had Stuart Olyott for the first of an intended two times. In his inimitable style he took us to 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and the greatest message in the world. He began by pointing out that some things are more important than others and there is nothing more important than the gospel. In the gospel we learn how God saves us from God. With wonderful illustrations he brought it home so well. Things like the family on the eighth floor of the burning building and having the passport were used with freshness and power. It is important for saving people and for helping them to be clear whether they are truly saved.
He then came to the matter of what the gospel is. He began with an anecdote about a group claimiing to be evangelical but that could not agree what the gospel was. That is not how Paul answers the question of what the gospel is. What Paul says here begins firstly with Christ. Plenty of people preach a message but we must preach a person. Christ, of course, is not a surname but a reference to the fact that he is the Anointed One - the prophet, priest and king who other prophets, priests and kings anticipated.. We don't have to guess what God is like, how to come to him. He has come.
And so he expounded the person and coming of Christ and his death - his atoning death. He went on to the burial and resurrection - not a hallucination but a reality. “The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the best attested fact in history.”  (Matthew Arnold).
The message is simple but it is easy to get inured to this message if we do not react to it. Unless God opens a person's heart there is no hope.

GBA 2011 02

The second session was a news session given over to a pastor working in Izmir, Turkey who first came to Turkey with the US military. He gave a fascinating overview of the situation in Turkey as far as the gospel is concerned. There are many difficulties arising from the shortage of Christians, of churches, of publications, etc, especially those of a Reformed and Baptist persuasion. John was very positive, however, about the Turkish people and about the opportunities for the gospel. He was frank about the difficulties too, including the anti-westernism and other difficult factors in temperament and belief, the nominalism, etc. The final call was to pray for this needy land.

GBA 2011 01

The assembly began with our host Howard sayers encouraging us to seek God's face that we may (like Bartimaeus) receive our sight. He urged us to see the world as the Saviour sees it and to respond with faithful prayer and preaching of the Word, reviving our hope and renewing it in Christ. We sang "O breath of life" to close.

Grace Assembly 2011

The Grace Assembly begins today in Swanwick includes messages from Howard Sayers, Stuart Olyott, Barry King, Michael Harley and Gary Benfold.

Obama bump


I'm feeling a little anarchic these days.

Van Gogh Vergeten 10

Wheatfield with crows, Oil on canvas, Auvers-sur-Oise, July, 1890, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Reputed to be the very last painting by Van Gogh

Anne Atkins Again

I rarely hear Radio 4's Thought for the day these days but I caught it the other morning (May 19) and it was god old Anne Atkins. Masterful.

A crime full of contradictions. Masquerading as sexual, but prompted by domination not desire. Commonly committed against women by armies, but only by those which have proved themselves victorious over men. An act of love signifying adoration, protection and self-sacrifice; inverted by violence into hatred, destruction and self-satiation.
Why is it seen to be excusing this vicious assault, if a policeman advises women how to avoid being victims? Would pragmatism undermine justice, if perpetrators were offered an incentive for sparing the survivors proof in court which some report as almost worse than the offence? And can men ever empathise with a strong woman choosing a stronger man, for a very primitive, unconscious reason: he can then protect her (and her children) against other men.
A friend shocked me deeply with his rare honesty. Rape, he said, surely isn’t very different from sex, is it? Just more so. In the years since, I’ve tried to understand his comment. And perhaps - forgive me - from a man’s point of view, considering what his body experiences, this contains some truth. At it’s most basic, it’s the same physical act.
But for a woman, for her body, “rape is always rape”: an horrific, terrifying, hideously intimate intrusive attack only short of murder or extreme torture. Couldn’t be more different from lovemaking, or being made love to if you will, which can be experienced as the most sublime recognition of her - our, my - worth and value. With my body I thee worship, he said the day he vowed to love me.
The only difference, in law, is her wish. Small wonder it can be difficult to prove.
A common objection to the Christian Gospel goes something like this.
Why couldn’t God make us good? Why don’t we all go to Heaven, whether we want to or not? Why doesn’t He just love us, regardless of our response?
Why the crucial emphasis on free will?
Over and over again, God presents Himself as lover - ours, mine, yours. How can I give you up, He asks in the book of Hosea, the prophet whose wife was as unfaithful as God’s adulterous people: my heart is charged within me; I cared for you, I loved you - just as Hosea loves his chastened wife. Husbands love your wives, St Paul writes, as Jesus loved us and gave up His life for us.
A suitor, a husband, a lover. Not an aggressor, an assailant, a rapist.
Why? Because enforced love isn’t love but violation. Whereas voluntary joyous submission even to someone much stronger, isn’t submission so much as liberation.
Take me to you, imprison me, for I, John Donne writes to God,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Bradford on Avon

I was preaching yesterday in the old Baptist chapel in Bradford on Avon. It's only just over two hours away so we were able as a family to go up and down in the day.
They are without a pastor at the moment and so I happily went and preached on the deaths of Elijah and Elisha (check here for the audio). They are lovely people and it's always good to be there. I slipped into the Sunday School (on God's jealousy) first then joined two members to pray before the morning service. There was a prayer meeting before the evening service. They were saying how in their open air work there is not much response from townsfolk but others are interested. they had a good chat with a young Muslim fellow last week.
In between services we were with Eleri's sister and family. That was great fun as ever. Good day.

Ryan Giggs

I'm in a little dispute with someone over who can draw the most hits to their blog. I did well (unintentionally) with the Pygmalion blog. I mention Ryan Giggs from time to time and I wondered (for some reason) if I might get quite a few hits if I put his name on a blog. Ryan Giggs is a Welshman who plays football for Manchester United. I'll let you know.

52

Celebrating my bithday early. Lots of nice cards and presents including this pic from Dylan.

Van Gogh Vergeten 09

Old Tower in the fields Oil on Canvas on Cardboard Nuenen: July, 1884, Private collection

Doddridge Practical Writers 4

Doddridge's final lecture on the practical writers (Lecture 4) looks at writers fo the established church.
§1(John) Tillotson There is such an easiness in his style and beautiful simplicity of expression as seems easy to be imitated, yet nothing more difficult. He had some puritanical expressions. Sometimes prophetic. His method admirably clear, beyond almost any other man. Many of his sermons contain nothing remarkable, especially his posthumous ones, yet there are some of them equal to any he published in his lifetime. His best pieces are at the beginning of his first and second volumes folio. His discourse on evil speaking is excellent. He made great use of Barrow and Wilkins, with whom compare some of his sermons. There is sometimes great tautology but in controversy no man found such lucky arguments nor represented the sentiments of his adversaries fully, artfully and advantageously for confutation.
§2(Isaac) Barrow The most laconic writer among our divines. He has an amazing number of thoughts, though not always well digested or plainly expressed. He is sometimes excellent in these respects. He attempted to introduce some new words but without success. Many useful scriptures and fine quotations from the Classics and the Fathers, in the margin. Nothing is more elaborate than his discourses, most of them having been transcribed three times over, and some of them oftener. Many of Tillotson's finest sermons were a kind of translation from him, particularly that on evil speaking. The first volume of his sermons is the best, but they all deserve reading.
§3(David) Wilkins His method is very exact but too scholastic. His style is almost as easy and pure as Tillotson's. Many excellent thoughts are thrown together in a very intelligible manner. His Sermons, Natural Religion, the Beauty of Providence, on Prayer, and on Preaching, are his only practical works, and well deserve a reading. Tillotson's Wisdom of being religious is taken in a great measure from him.
§4(William) Beveridge Much like Henry, but not his equal. He discovers great devotion, has many high flights but is sometimes weak. His Private Thoughts the most valuable of his works. Many of his sermons are very low.
§5(Thomas) Scott His style is long and verbose; many inelegant words, and some phrases shocking; yet, on the whole, he is excellent. His reasoning is strong and conclusive, though drawn out to an excessive length. He drives on with great warmth and pathos, yet almost all appears too much forced. His Christian Life is the best of his works, especially the first part. The prayers at the end are absolutely the best I have ever read. Many of his sermons are valuable, especially those in the first volume; the subjects being good, pretty full, and methodically handled.
§6(Robert) South Smart wit, keen satire, sometimes fine language but his arguments are often weak. All his works have the appearance of an ill spirit in controversy. He has many levities entirely unbecoming the pulpit and when most practical seems to write with spleen, and to aim very little at usefulness. The best sermons are in his first volume; though even in them, there is too great an affectation of wit and but little appearance of being in earnest for God amidst all his zeal against Heretics and Schismatics.
§7(John) Norris Excessively affected, pert and verbose, yet some good thoughts. His Sermons on the Beatitudes are most celebrated. He carries matters in general too high. His discourses on the love of God are in the mystic strain. His Sermon on Religious Discourse deserves to be read. He is in general too abstruse and metaphysical.
§8(Richard) Lucas His style is very peculiar, sometimes exceeding free, approaching to conversation; sometimes grand and solemn; and generally very expressive. His method is not clear but his thoughts are excellent. Many of them are taken from an attentive observation of human life. He wrote as being entirely devoted to God, and superior to the world. His most valuable works are his Practical Christianity and his Inquiry after Happiness, especially the second volume.
§9(William) Sherlock Strong arguments and awful representations: exceeding proper for conviction. His style is plain and manly. His best works are those on Death and Judgment.
§10(Walter) Spratt He is the least considerable as a practical writer. His language is always beautiful, but many of his sentiments are very weak. The Ciceronian style is too much laboured. Tully is translated for many sentences together in some of his Sermons, though not mentioned. All his Sermons are in one octavo volume and deserve a reading.
§11(Samuel) Clarke He slipped into very high reputation, chiefly by his peculiarities. His style is quite plain and void of pathos. His thoughts are well ranged, but many of them very obvious and frequently repeated. Scriptures often well explained, though sometimes he takes more pains to collect parallel scriptures than is necessary and with solemn parade explains others that have no difficulty. He takes more notice of grace and the atonement than most of his followers and admirers. Several of his Sermons are on subjects too near akin. He and Tillotson have made great use of the Fratres Poloni (ie Socinians), though they do not make any mention of them.
§12(Anthony) Horneck (originally from Germany) Exceeding pathetic, but not elegant. He is chiefly fit for devotional subjects but his words are too often greater than his thoughts. His best pieces are those on Consideration, and The Crucified Jesus. See his pieces also on the Commandments, on Prayer, Presumptuous Sins, and several Sermons.
§13(Ezekiel) Hopkins (of Derry) His motto, Aut suavitate aut vi (either by gentleness or force) well answers to his works, yet he trusts most to the latter. He awakens awfully; sometimes there is a little of the bombast; he bends the bow till it breaks; an error carefully to be guarded against.
§14(Robert) Boyle His style is very rough and obscure yet some words are highly illustrative by antitheses, he being very careful in the choice of them. He has many lively similes very proper to be quoted, especially in his Seraphic Love and Theodora and Dydimus. Sentences unreasonably long, abounding with parentheses and hard words of his own coining. He has, in short, many faults in his style, but some inimitable beauties.
§15(Henry) Scougal One of the first rank, though he wrote but little. Every page abounds with noble and proper thoughts; clothed with a decent eloquence, suited to the subject. He appears to be the best model of all his class. His Life of God in the Soul of Man and Sermons, should be often read. His early death, at the age of 28, was an unspeakable loss to the world.
§16(William) Law Very recluse. His productions have a severity seldom to be found in this age. His language is generally just and beautiful; very nervous, but sometimes unnatural. He is ready to affect points of wit, and strokes of satire; in which however he does not equal South. Many characters are admirably drawn. In this he comes nearer the Jesuits than any English writer. His Treatise on Christian Perfection is very famous. His Serious Call still better.
§ (William) Fleetwood Surnamed Silver-tongued, remarkable for easy and proper expressions. He considers several cases, which, though often occurring in human life, are seldom taken notice of in Sermons. On this account he may be consulted with advantage. In respect of true politeness he has been equalled by few. His Sermons on Relative Duties are good but his Four Funeral Sermons show the orator much more.
§18(Francis) Atterbury The glory of our English orators. In his writings we see language in its strictest purity and beauty. There is nothing dark, nothing redundant, nothing deficient, nothing misplaced. Trivial thoughts are avoided, uncommon ones introduced and set in a clear, strong light, and in a few words; some admirable similes and more graceful allusions to scriptures than any of this class. On the whole, he is a model for courtly preachers. His Four Volumes should be carefully read. His two last are the best. The chief Sermons are Acquaintance with God, Religious Retirement, Lady Cotes's Character, Propagation of the Gospel, Sufficiency of Revelation, Terrors of Conscience, Curse on the Jews, and Felix Trembling.
§19 (Hugh) Blair A man of plain good sense. A beautiful simplicity and great seriousness run through all his writings. A desire to spare all unecessary words is very apparent. His Commentary on Matthew is the best extant. He has some excellent and striking similes, which are chiefly taken from the affairs of slaves, planters, or foreign colonies. He lived in Jamaica. He suggests a multitude of excellent things which he does not prosecute at large. He appears to have been a person of the utmost candour, and has solicitously avoided all unkind and contemptuous reflections on his brethren. He guards his hearers against all undue confidence in their immediate relation to, and strict attendance on the established worship, beyond almost any other divine in the Church of England. He has an excellent way of bringing down criticisms to common capacities; and has discovered a vast knowledge of scripture in the suitable application of them.
§20(Thomas) Secker is so remarkable an instance of the laconic style, that the few Sermons he has published deserve an attentive reading, especially that on the Oxford act, which is the wisest I ever read, considered in the view of a Philosophical Essay.
§21Archbishop (Robert) Leighton One of the most eminently devout and pious writers his age has produced. His Sermons indeed are not accurately digested and sometimes contain only hints not fully opened; which is the more excusable, as none of them were intended for the press by the author. His works ought to be reckoned among the greatest treasures of the English tongue. They continually overflow with love to God and breathe a heart entirely transformed by the gospel, above the views of every thing but pleasing God. There is a vast deal of spirit, and charming imagination; multitudes of the most beautiful figures; and scriptures applied with happiest allusions. Metaphors, especially those in the text, are sometimes pursued into allegory; yet very natural. Upon the whole, they are such as none but a very ingenious, learned, religious man could write; and yet, even by such an one, must have been written with great care; not the effect of any laborious efforts for particular discourses, through a habit of speaking and writing; but the guarded overflowings of a copious fountain. This attainment, however, must have been the consequence of a most resolute application both of the head and heart. Few uninspired writers have a greater tendency to mend the world. The disappointment which the learned and polite complained of, when these posthumous works were published, is chiefly to be charged upon their ignorance of the true beauties and use of Theological Writings.

Van Gogh Vergeten 08

The Red Vineyard, Oil on Canvas
Arles: November, 1888, Pushkin Museum, Moscow
The only painting Van Gogh ever sold

Words often misspelled 05

Last one this as I'm not gripped by this series

Lightning

Miss out the "e" to lighten your load

Doddridge Practical Writers 3

In Lecture 3 Doddridge comes on to
The Character of Dissenting Writers of the Present Age, or those who have written since 1700.
§1(John) Evans His style is grave, plain, manly, nervous. His heads are always distinct and well arranged. The scriptures he quotes are very properly chosen. His thoughts, especially in the application, are thrown close together. His sermons to young people are scarce, and valuable. His Christian Temper is one of the best practical pieces in our language.
§2(Samuel) Wright Has great simplicity and awful solemnity. His writings compose the thoughts, and gradually elevate them. The heads are distinct and sentences very comprehensive. He discovers a deep sense of God, and a good acquaintance with the world. His words are elegant and well chosen, cadence however is but little regarded. He always appears master of himself. There are often plain intimations of many thoughts being suppressed. His sentiments are candid and rational. His book on Regeneration has been remarkably acceptable and is one of the most useful pieces published in this age. His work on the Deceitfulness of Sin is written with great knowledge of mankind; with the ruin of many young people before his eyes, and it is admirably adapted to prevent it. His Great Concern is very comprehensive and even in that respect much preferable to the Whole Duty of Man. His subsequent treatises are not equally valuable, nor is the collection of scriptures so judicious as was expected.
§3(Isaac) Watts Very different from Wright. His style is harmonious, florid, poetical and pathetic but too diffuse, too many words, especially in his later works, and his former are too much loaded with epithets. Yet on the whole he is an excellent writer. All that he has written is well worth reading. I most admire the first volume of his Sermons - Death and Heaven, the Love of God, and Humble Attempt not to mention his incomparable Lyric poems -  Psalms and Hymns.
§4(Henry) Grove (Taunton) He resembles Watts but is not equally poetical - yet rather more nervous. He has many judicious and new thoughts which are disposed in a method quite peculiar, and expressed with force and elegance and in his former pieces there is a remarkable sweetness. He discovers great seriousness but his great aversion to Calvinism and the ill usage he had met with from bigots have soured him of late. The Friendly Monitor, his book on Secret Prayer, and some Funeral Sermons, published in his lifetime, are very valuable. His book on the Sacrament is exceeding proper for scholars, though much exceeded by Henry and Earle, for common use. Some of his meditations at the end of his Treatise on Faith are excellent.
§5(Matthew) Henry. Very popular; his style is short and pointed; has many antitheses, and is too often a little fanciful; elegant imagination; some peculiarities, such as making his heads begin with the same letter or some chiming word; yet this is generally natural. Great seriousness, sprightly thoughts, digested in very good order. His Commentary excellent, though rather too large, and too full of typical and allegorical interpretations; yet there are some judicious notes both critical and historical. Many of his notes on the historical parts, on the import of some original words, and some of the most entertaining things, are taken from Grotius, Patrick, Poole, Josephus, Calvin and many others. However, the work is despised only by those who do not know it. His discourses on meekness, the sacrament, and early piety, are all very good. His style is formed on scripture, to which he has numberless allusions.
§6 (Jabez) Earle (London). Judicious, pathetic, and very laconic. He has written but little besides his Treatise on the Sacrament, which is excellent. In his other pieces there are several pretty classical quotations in the margin.
§7(Thomas) Bradbury His method is by no means accurate. Many weak arguments but enlivened by sprightly turns of wit and numberless allusions to scripture. Christ's joy on finishing his course and his Sermons on the fifth of November are his best.
§8(Joseph) Boyse He has been called the dissenting Scott but much more polite. His language is plain, animated and nervous, pretty much resembling Evans. His matter is excellently digested. He abounds with ideas. Each sermon appears to be a contraction of some judicious treatise, and often is so. The two volumes of his sermons and his discourses on the Four last Things, are his principal practical works, and deserve attentive, repeated reading.
§9(Benjamin) Bennett Plain, serious and spiritual but flat. Has many good quotations from modern authors. His Christian Oratory is his best and almost only practical piece, which had been better had it been less.
§10(William) Harris He was reckoned the greatest master of the English tongue among the Dissenters. His style plain and easy; his thoughts substantial, but seldom striking or uncommon. Nothing to blame, nor very much to admire. See his Discourses on the Messiah and Funeral Sermons.
§11(David) Jennings (son of John Jennings) Methodical, plain, and serious. Some pretty turns of thought. His strain very evangelical. He is, upon the whole, the Flavel of the present age, only much more polite, and free from Flavel's faults. All he has published should be carefully read especially his Sermons to Young People, and those in the Berry-Street Lectures, which are the glory of the book, and very much to the honour of the author.
§12(Benjamin) Grosvenor A most popular preacher while his voice continued good. In his compositions there is a strange mixture of the familiar and pathetic. Many strong figures of speech, especially prosopopaeias and dialogisms, beyond any writer of the age. See particularly his Sermons on the Name and Temper of Jesus, his Mourner and his Essay on Health.

Ancient local puns

I came across these ancient puns recorde by Len Denham here.
Although it was many years ago I can still remember a couple of their witticisms. The trolleybus conductor who as the "trolley" approached Child's Hill would call out "Child's 'ill, call the doctor!" and the conductor on the 28 bus route who, as the stop for West Hampstead Cemetery loomed, would shout "West Hampstead Cemetery! Any more for the Underground!" And the terrifying noise of the trams as they passed under the railway at Cricklewood. As a four year old I hated them and was so pleased to see them replaced with the splendid new trolleybuses.


Florence Kate Upton

(Mostly from Wikipedia)
I recently came across the name of Florence Kate Upton (1873-1922). Born in Flushing, New York to recently emigrated British parents, her family was creative and slightly eccentric.
Her father, Thomas Harborough Upton, worked as a confidential clerk at the American Exchange Bank. In 1884, they moved to central Manhattan, which was more convenient for her father’s work. The National Academy of Design, located nearby, offered free instruction to anyone who could qualify. Thomas enrolled in evening classes along with 15 year old Florence.
In June 1889 Thomas suddenly died placing the family in financial difficulty. However, Florence’s mother, Bertha, had a trained singing voice and began to give voice lessons at home. Older sister Ethelwyn found work and Florence, 16, worked as a professional illustrator.
Finances eventually stabilised and in 1893 the family paid an extended visit to Bertha’s relatives, the Hudsons, who lived in Hampstead, London. With an established reputation from her published work in New York, Florence had no difficulty finding employment with London publishers. When the rest of the family returned to the US, she opted to stay and began experimenting with ideas to supplement her income so that she could afford further art training.
She began to sketch out ideas for a children’s book, using 'penny wooden dolls' as models. However, without a central character on which to hang the tale, progress came to a standstill. Her aunt, Kate Hudson, found an old toy in her attic that had belonged to the Upton children, left behind from an earlier visit. This toy, which she named Golliwogg, proved inspirational. The first story was produced 1894. Publishers Longmans, Green & Co offered Florence a contract, and The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg was published for Christmas 1895.
During her London stay Florence provided illustrations for The Strand, The Idler and Punch among other activities. After three years work, she returned to New York to attend the Art Students League, then continued studies in Paris and Holland. Returning to London in 1906 to take up permanent residence, she moved to 21 Great College Street in 1910.
Through the years Florence and Bertha collaborated on a total of 13 Golliwogg adventures, the series ending as, over the years, cultural drift caused interest in the series to wane and Florence sought a career as a professional artist. The last of the Golliwogg books was published 1909.
Florence continued to study and paint, concentrating mainly on portraits. She exhibited at the RA, etc, and established a reputation as an accomplished society portraitist. Additionally, she received hundreds of commissions from the families of young soldiers.
Due to health issues, Florence was found unfit to serve in any physical capacity during the Great War but aided the war effort by donating her original dolls and drawings to a fund-raising auction for the Red Cross, conducted by Christies, 1917. The dolls, sold as a lot, funded purchase of an ambulance, christened ‘Golliwogg’, which went to the front and served in France.
Aged only 49, Florence died in her studio on 16 October 1922, from complications following surgery. She is buried in Hampstead Cemetery. For many years her vandalised grave was unidentifiable, with the headstone toppled face-down in the grass. The stone has now been set upright, courtesy of a Heritage Lottery grant, and awaits restoration.
The original Golliwogg and Dutch Dolls resided for many years at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country estate in Berkshire. They now receive visitors at the Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London.
It is difficult nowadays to appreciate the enormous impact that the Golliwogg had at the height of its popularity. Florence Upton’s friend and biographer, Edith Lyttelton recollected, ‘One of my children, long before we knew who Bertha and Florence Upton were, had a passionate attachment to the doll stories, and a new Golliwogg book was a great excitement in my nursery as in countless others.’
Florence did not patent the character. Recognising a large and profitable market, many toy companies took advantage of the popularity of the books and manufactured the doll, while other writers and illustrators took equal advantage, many changing the nature of the series.
The prolific Enid Blyton chose to depict golliwogs in a number of her stories as rude and untrustworthy or stupid. Other authors took a similar tack. The name "golliwog" came to be used as a degrading term for anyone who wasn’t white-skinned, and new origins were suggested for the word. Florence Upton despaired, ‘I am frightened when I read the fearsome etymology some deep, dark minds can see in his name.’
(My dad sold golliwogs to raise funds for the Red Cross during World War II)

Thomas Pell Platt


Childs Hill House 1813

One of the streets of Childs Hill here in London is Platt's Lane. It gets its name from Thomas Pell Platt (1798–1852) who lived there in Chlds Hill House (demolished 1904). A Bible translator, he was born in London but schooled in Little Dunham, Norfolk, then Trinity College, Cambridge, (pensioner 1816; elected scholar 1818; Davies scholar adn president of the union 1819; Tyrwhitt Hebrew scholar 1821; BA and fellow 1820; MA 1823).
While at Cambridge Platt became involved with the British and Foreign Bible Society, and was for several years its librarian. In 1823 he published a catalogue of Ethiopic biblical manuscripts held in the Royal Library of Paris and the BFBS Library. Afterwards he also collated and edited the Ethiopic versions of the NT for the society. The publication did not aim to offer new interpretations but ‘simply to give the Abyssinians the Scriptures in as good a form of their ancient version as could be conveniently done’. Platt did, however, make a few interpretative notes on the readings in the Gospels which particularly struck him, and was prepared to defend his methods when the publications of the BFBS were attacked in an article in a Quarterly Review (1827). In 1829 he prepared an edition of the Syriac gospels and in 1844 edited an Amharic version of the Bible, using the translation of Abba Rukh (OT) and Abu Rumi Habessinus (NT). He was an early member of the Royal Asiatic Society (founded 1823) and for many years served on its oriental translation committee.
Platt came under the influence of the Tractarian movement. He described his conversion from evangelicalism in a Letter to Pusey (1840). Even after his change of heart, however, he resisted ‘mystical and spiritual interpretations to the prophecies of the Old Testament’ in vogue among some Tractarians. He died at Dulwich Hill, Surrey in 1852, leaving an only son, Francis Thomas Platt.

Pygmalion at the Garrick

It was a rare treat last night to be at the theatre. There is a new production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre and Eleri fancied going, so off we went. The Garrick on Charing cross Road is a brilliant little theatre. We had seats in the third row.
We know the play chiefly via My Fair Lady. It was good then to get back to the original and find that Henry Higgins is in fact a quite unsympathetic character. The play, though dated in some ways, does raise some interesting questions about what makes a person tick and what really matters in life. The most famous line in it I think is that of Eliza's father in reply to the question "Have you no morals, man?" - "Cant afford them, Gov'nor. ..."
It was a great production, almost word perfect. The sets were straightforward and the acting just right for the most part. Simon Ward was off somewhere but good old Diana Rigg did well as did Rupert Everett (bit too shouty - but we weren't supposed to like him). Our friend Kara Tointon was in the lead role as Eliza and did very well, charming us all. Of course, there is some "sanguine language" which is a pity in some ways but the scene where an almost transformed Eliza talks about her aunt having died from influenza (so they said) but adding "it's my belief they done the old woman in" is hilarious (cf this version).
PS Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. More here.

Christian Acrostics 10




Thought we coudl finish this little series with

Christ
Has
Redeemed
Individuals
Saving
Transgressors
In
All
Nations

Doddridge Practical Writers 2

§13 I now call your attention, in the Second place, to the Nonconformists of the last age; that is, those who wrote before 1700.
§14(John) Owen and (Thomas) Goodwin. Both highly evangelical but both very obscure, especially the latter. Owen's style resembles St Paul's. There is great zeal and much knowledge of human life discovered in all his works, especially in his book on Apostasy. Dr Wright seems to have taken many things from hence in his Deceitfulness of Sin. That on the Hebrews is his great work. The Means of understanding the Mind of God in the Scriptures is one of his best. Those on Communion with God and on the Person of Christ most celebrated. His Exposition of the 130th Psalm is most excellent. His discourses of Indwelling Sin, Spiritual Mindedness and Mortification of Sin in Believers show great improvement in practical religion. Goodwin's pieces published in his lifetime are the most valuable. In them there are many accurate and valuable remarks on Scripture. His Child of Light walking in Darkness is very useful for afflicted consciences - many uncommon thoughts.
§15(Richard) Baxter He is inaccurate because he had no regular education and always wrote in haste, as in the views of eternity; but generally judicious, nervous, spiritual and evangelical, though often charged with the contrary. He discovers a manly eloquence and the most evident proofs of an amazing genius; with respect to which he may not improperly be called "The English Demosthenes". His works are very proper for conviction. See his Saint's Rest, all his treatises on conversion, especially his Call to the Unconverted, Divine Life, Counsel to young Men. Few were ever instrumental of awakening more souls.
§16(Thomas) Manton Plain, easy and unaffected. His thoughts are generally well digested but there is seldom anything extraordinary. He has many judicious remarks on scripture. His chief work is on the 119th Psalm. Many of his posthumous sermons are of little value.
§17(William) Bates Charming and elegant yet his style not formed. His sentences are too short; his words, however, are very polite. Admirable similes, only too many of them - proper to be quoted by those whose genius does not lead in this way. Read his Harmony of the Divine Attributes, Spiritual Perfections and Four Last Things. He was well acquainted with poetry and the belles lettres, n admirer as well as imitator of (Abraham) Cowley.
§18(John) Howe He seems to have understood the gospel as well as any uninspired writer and to have imbibed as much of its spirit. The truest sublime is to be found in his writings and some of the strongest pathos, yet he is often obscure and generally harsh. He has unhappily imitated the worst part of (Robert) Boyle's style. He has a vast variety of uncommon thoughts and, on the whole, is one of the most valuable writers in our language, and I believe, in the world. His best pieces are, The Blessedness of the Righteous, Enmity and Reconciliation, Redeemer's Tears and The Redeemer's Dominion; with some Funeral Sermons.
§19(john) Flavel. Not deep nor remarkably judicious but plain, popular, tender. Proper to address afflicted cases and melt the soul into love. His Token for Mourners is inimitable; his Fountain of Life very useful and most of the subjects proper to be preached over on Sacrament-days. Allusions to Pagan stories both in him and Bates are entertaining and useful.
§20(Stephen) Charnock Celebrated by some as a polite writer but chiefly by those who are not true judges of politeness. He has some fine words but no cadence; which is also the fault of Bates. His divisions are too numerous; his thoughts are often obscure and in disorder; no clear and distinct ideas in many of the differences he makes. Yet he has some very valuable things. On the Attributes he is deep and sublime. His book on Regeneration is much applauded, though much inferior to Baxter, Alleine, and Wright.
§21(Nathaniel) Taylor The Dissenting (Robert) South. There is vast wit and great strength of expression in all he wrote, yet apt to aggravate matters a little too much. His language is remarkably proper and beautiful. His best pieces are his discourses on Faith, Deism and the Covenant. He wrote but little more than these. All deserve reading.

Doddridge Practical Writers 1

§1 I shall first give you some general advices on the subject now before us. And, first, let some practical writer be daily read. Practical religion is important to ourselves and a practical strain of preaching is important to our people. We shall thus form ourselves to words and a proper way of expression.
§ 2 Read them at once with a view to your improvement as Christians and preachers. Make observations on their matter and style.
§ 3 Mingle authors of various strains. Otherwise you will learn a disagreeable imitation of one. Seem not to have any writer in view in the manner of your compositions. Water running through a bed of steel is apt to take a chalybeate (metallic) taste and tincture.
§4 Make references to remarkable passages, that you may review them a second time. Nor will it be amiss to mark them in the margin, if the book is your own. Keep a catalogue of such things as you would read before you preach upon any subject.
§5 Having made these general remarks, I proceed to give you the characters of several practical writers of our own nation, which may be divided into four classes:
The Puritans - the Nonconformist of the last age - those of the present - and the authors of the established church.
§6 I recommend to you, first, to form some acquaintance with the Puritans, though they are too often despised. There was good sense and learning in those days as well as ours. Our grandmothers had real beauty, though the change of fashions has made their dress ridiculous to us. I shall name but few:
§7 (Samuel) Bolton He had been a great and notorious sinner and was reclaimed by great terrors. He is therefore excellent both for conviction and consolation. His style is rather inclined to bombast yet there are many expressions truly great and magnificent. The beauties of imagination are most visible in his Four last things but his most useful treatises are Directions for comfortable walking with God and for Comforting distressed Consciences. There we see the traces of a soul most intimately acquainted with God.
§8 Bishop (Jospeh) Hall. The most elegant and polite writer of his age. He abounds rather too much with antitheses and witty turns. In some of his writings he seems to have imitated Seneca and Austin. His sermons are much the worse for a compliance with the taste of the age in which he lived. His Contemplations are incomparably valuable for language, criticism and devotion. Next to them his Meditations, his Letters and Balm of Gilead are worthy of your attention.
§9(Edward) Reynolds. A most elaborate writer. He has many surprising similes. His style is remarkably laconic. A world of things are gently touched upon, which shew his extensive acquaintance with human nature, as well as great labour. His works contain a judicious collection of scripture, both in the text and margin.
§10(Richard) Sibb(e)s His language is nervous and decent. His dedications are very handsome. His style pathetic and tender, especially so in his Bruised Reed and Soul's Conflict.
§11(Samuel) Ward Worthy to be read through. His language is generally proper, elegant, and nervous. His thoughts are well digested, and happily illustrated. He has many remarkable veins of wit. Many of the boldest figures of speech are to be found in him beyond any English writer; especially Apostrophes, Prosopopaeias, Dialogisms and Allegories. There is indeed a mixture of fancy in his writings but pardonable, considering his youth, and that many of his sermons were not prepared by himself for the press, but copied from his mouth while preaching. He died before he was 28 years old. Had he lived, he would probably have been the phoenix of British preachers.
§12(John) Hales of Eton. Generally called the ever memorable. He is remarkably witty; has many very uncommon thoughts and vast learning. There are many curious passages in his works fit for a commonplace book but little judgment. He has no good order and connection. Very little of a true unction appears in him, the mere scholar also is too apparent. He writes like one that knows not much of human life - with an affectation of driving things to the utmost, which, by overdoing, weakens the cause he designs to support. His Golden Remains and additional Tracts should be read. None show the man more than his Christian Omnipotence.
(Orton expresses surprise that Doddridge says nothing about Perkins, Preston, Burroughs and Hildersham. He also makes remarks on Thomas Jackson)

Philip Doddridge Lecture

It was a great joy to be at a lunch time lecture today at The Evangelical Library. These are held from time to time and it was good to see us in double figures to hear Dr Ian Densham (Hemel Hempstead) on Philip Doddridge and preaching.
Dr Densham began with a brief summary of Doddridge's life as a pastor and as the leader of a non-conformist academy in Northampton, mentioning his "unceasing concern for revival" among other things.
He then focused Doddridge's lectures on preaching found in his complete works. (These can be purchased from Tentmaker here. The lectures are on google books here.)
Dr Densham took us through the lectures which certainly are full of good things. he began by quoting from this passage from Job Orton:

The Doctor's manner of lecturing was well adapted to engage the attention and love of his pupils, and promote their diligent study of the lectures. When the class was assembled, he examined them in the last lecture; whether they understood his reasoning; what the authors referred to, said upon the subject; whether he had given them a just view of their sentiments, arguments, and objections, or omitted any that were important? He expected from them an account of the reasoning, demonstrations, scriptures, or facts contained in the lecture and references. He allowed and encouraged them to propose any objections which might arise in their own minds, or which they met with in the authors referred to, of which they did not think there was a sufficient solution in the lecture: or to mention any texts that were misapplied, or from which particular consequences might not be fairly drawn; and to propose others, which either confirmed or contradicted what he advanced and if at any time their objections were petulant or impertinent, he patiently heard and mildly answered them. He was solicitous that they should thoroughly understand his lectures, and what he said for the illustration of them: if he observed any of them inattentive, or thought they did not sufficiently understand what he had said, he would ask them what he had said that he might keep up their attention, and know whether he expressed himself clearly. He put on no magisterial airs, never intimidated nor discouraged them, but always addressed them with the freedom and tenderness of a father. He never expected nor desired that they should blindly follow his sentiments, but permitted and encouraged them to judge for themselves. To assist them herein, he laid before them what he apprehended to be the truth with all perspicuity, and impartially stated all objections to it.  He never concealed the difficulties which affected any question, but referred them to writers on both sides, without hiding any from their inspection. He frequently and warmly urged them not to take their system of divinity from any man or body of men, but from the word of God. The Bible was always referred and appealed to upon every point in question, to which it could be supposed to give any light. Of his honesty and candour in this respect, the world has had a sufficient proof in his Theological Lectures. He resolutely checked any appearances of bigotry and uncharitableness; and endeavoured to cure them by showing the guilty persons the weakness of their understandings, and what might be said in defence of those principles which they disliked; reminding them at the same time of the great learning and excellent character of many who espouse them. He much discouraged a haughty way of thinking and speaking; especially when it discovered itself in a petulant inclination to employ their talents at satire, in ridiculing the infirmities of plain serious Christians, or the labours of those ministers who are willing to condescend to the meanest capacities, that they may be wise to win souls. It was his great aim to give them just and sublime views of the ministry, for which they were preparing, and lead them to direct all their studies so as to increase their furniture and qualifications for it. To this end he endeavoured to possess them with a deep sense of the importance of the Gospel-scheme for the recovery of man from the ruins of the apostasy, and his restoration to God and happiness by a Mediator; to show them that this was the great end of the divine counsels and dispensations; to point out what Christ and his Apostles did to promote it; to display before them those generous emotions of soul which still live and breathe in the New Testament; and then, when their minds were warmed with such a survey, to apply to them as persons designed by Providence to engage in the same work, to support and carry on the same interest, who therefore must be actuated by the same views, and imbibe the same spirit. He thought such as these the most important lectures a tutor could read; tending to fill the minds of his pupils with noble and elevated views, and to convince them that the salvation of one soul was of infinitely greater importance than charming a thousand splendid assemblies with the most elegant discourses that ever were delivered. He thought such a zeal and tenderness would arise from these views, as would form a minister to a popular address, abundantly sooner and more happily than the most judicious rules which it is possible to lay down. He frequently inculcated upon them the necessity of preaching Christ, if they desired to save souls; of dwelling much upon the peculiarities of the Gospel scheme, and the doctrines of Christ and the Spirit; of considering their own concern in them, and endeavouring to feel their energy on their own spirits, that they might appear to their hearers as giving vent to the fullness of their hearts on its darling subjects.

Can't Believe My Eyes


This youtube video features the music of Focus and various optical illusions.

Ten Books

Abebooks do this thing where they list books by theme. It appeals to me. This is their latest (although they were lazy and only went up to eight. I have taken it onto 10. I could have had Eleven hours by Paullina Simons and Twelve by Mick McDonnell to go further).

Annual Lecture Evangelical Library

This is a reminder that at 7 pm on Monday, June 6, at the Evangelical Library, Austin Walker will speak on the subject of "William Carey and his books".
This year sees the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Carey, often referred to as “the father of modern missions”. This lecture on Carey and his books will focus both on what he wrote and what he read.
Austin Walker actually comes from North London but has studied in Wales and in Westminster Theological Seminary, USA. In 1975 after his return to the UK, he became one of the pastors of what is now known as Maidenbower Baptist Church in Crawley, West Sussex. Becoming full-time in 1979, he has continued in that role up to the present day. An author as well as a pastor, Austin is married to Mai and they have four children and seven grandchildren.
This will be the first time that the annual lecture has been held at the new Library premises. We are hoping for a good turn out.

Hardy Moule

Just noticed this on "Against heresies". It begins

As a teen the great English novelist Thomas Hardy was friendly with the Moule family and their seven impressive sons. Mr Moule was vicar at Fordington, his son Charles became president of Corpus Christi in Cambridge, Handley became Lord Bishop of Durham (I can see his book on Ephesians, squeezed in amongst my commentaries, as I type this) and two others went to China as missionaries.
Thomas Hardy was a year older than Handley Moule but became close friends with Horace Moule, eight years Hardy's senior. Horace became 'Tom's special friend', he was 'the charmer, handsome and gifted' but also 'a tender-hearted son to his mother, writing to her almost every year on the anniversary of the death of the baby brother who had died before he was two'.
Horace had studied at Oxford and Cambridge but failed to gain a degree from either university. Hardy's biographer, Claire Tomalin, describes the changes in Horace's thinking that put him at odds with his upbringing: ... More here.
(It is said that Hardy's character Jude was based in part on Moule, who committed suicide in 1873. The Moule family may have inspired the Clares too in Tess. Iain Murray looks at Hardy, of course, in his little book The Undercover Revolution, but doesn't really bring this out.)