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.

Fontella Bass 1940-2012


I posted this video here back in January 2010. I post it again to mark the death of Fontella Bass on Boxing Day. The priceless recording is from 1965 and remains an exciting performance of a great song. 

Black and white Alphabet 02


Black and white Alphabet 01


Novelists 22 Anthony Trollope

Anthony Trollope (1815–1882) was one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of his best-loved works, collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also apparently wrote perceptive novels on political, social, and gender issues and on other topical matters. I must admit he remains untouched by me but noted fans have included Sir Alec Guinness, Harold Macmillan, Sir John Major, John Kenneth Galbraith and Lord Denning. Trollope's literary reputation dipped somewhat during the last years of his life, but he regained the esteem of critics by the mid-twentieth century.

Eschatology in Christmas Carols

I have noticed this Christmas how several carols close with a reference to the world to come. It is a pattern in other hymns, of course.
 
Thee, dear Lord, with heed I’ll cherish;
Live to Thee and with Thee, dying, shall not perish;
But shall dwell with Thee for ever,
Far on high, in the joy that can alter never.
(Paul Gerhardt, All my heart this night rejoices)

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!
(William Dix, As with gladness)

Then may we hope, the angelic thrones among
To sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display
Saved by His love, incessant we shall sing
Of angels and of angel-men the King.
(John Byrom, Christians awake!)

Made perfect first in love,
And sanctified by grace,
We shall from earth remove,
And see His glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed,
man shall all be lost in God.
(Let earth and heaven combine, Charles Wesley)
 
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle,
Is our Lord in heaven above:
And He leads His children on,
To the place where He is gone.

(Once in Royal David's City, C F Alexander)
 
Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there
(Away in a manger, Anonymous)
 
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall
Christ was born to save
Christ was born to save
(Good Christian men rejoice)

Jan Akkerman 66


Jan Akkerman is 66 today so I thought this bit of recent footage of him with Andy Summers might be approrpiate here. Happy birthday Jan!

Lord's Day December 23 2012

So it was Christmas themes again yesterday and another 10 carols (that's twenty we've sung so far). In the morning we considered Joseph and lessons from his life, especially leading up to the birth of Jesus as described in Matthew 1 and in the evening we focused just on Matthew 1:21 and the naming of Jesus by Joseph. We had decent congregations morning and evening but no newcomers.

Seven Good Joys

There are various versions of this pre-Reformation hymn. Here's an acceptable one

The first good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of one,
To see the blessed Jesus Christ
When he was first her son,
When he was first her son, good man,
And blessed may he be,
Both father, son, and Holy Ghost
Through all eternity.


The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of two,
To see her own son Jesus Christ
To make the lame to go.
To make the lame to go, good man,
And blessed may he be, etc


The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of three,
To see her own son Jesus Christ
To make the blind to see. ...


The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of four,
To see her own son Jesus Christ
To read the Bible o'er. ...


The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of five,
To see her own son Jesus Christ
To bring the dead alive. ...


The next good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of six,
To see her own son Jesus Christ
Upon the crucifix. ...


The last good joy that Mary had,
It was the joy of seven,
To see her own son Jesus Christ
To wear the crown of heaven. ...


Various folk singers have tackled it. I like the Kate Rusby version.

Spurgeon on Christmas

Spurgeon towards the end of his 1857 sermon on Luke 2:14 says
 
Now, I have one more lesson for you, and I have done. That lesson is PRECEPTIVE. I wish everybody that keeps Christmas this year, would keep it as the angels kept it. There are many persons who, when they talk about keeping Christmas, mean by that the cutting of the bands of their religion for one day in the year, as if Christ were the Lord of misrule, as if the birth of Christ should be celebrated like the orgies of Bacchus. There are some very religious people, that on Christmas would never forget to go to church in the morning; they believe Christmas to be nearly as holy as Sunday, for they reverence the tradition of the elders. Yet their way of spending the rest of the day is very remarkable; for if they see their way straight up stairs to their bed at night, it must be by accident. They would not consider they had kept Christmas in a proper manner, if they did not verge on gluttony and drunkenness. They are many who think Christmas cannot possibly be kept, except there be a great shout of merriment and mirth in the house, and added to that the boisterousness of sin. Now, my brethren, although we, as successors of the Puritans, will not keep the day in any religious sense whatever, attaching nothing more to it than to any other day: believing that every day may be a Christmas for ought we know, and wishing to make every day Christmas, if we can, yet we must try to set an example to others how to behave on that day; and especially since the angels gave glory to God: let us do the same.
He ends
What more shall I say? May God give you peace with yourselves; may he give you good will towards all your friends, your enemies, and your neighbors; and may he give you grace to give glory to God in the highest. I will say no more, except at the close of this sermon to wish every one of you, when the day shall come, the happiest Christmas you ever had in your lives.

Spurgeon on the Christmas Angels

These quotations are from a sermon by Spurgeon on Luke 2:14 called The first Christmas carol
 
What is the instructive lesson to be learned from this first syllable of the angels' song? Why this, that salvation is God's highest glory.
The angels were no Arminians, they sang, "Glory to God in the highest."
But, now, when the newborn King made his appearance, the swaddling band with which he was wrapped up was the white flag of peace.
I do long to see in the midst of the church more of a singing Christianity.

Was Marconi mad?

I was quoting my late mother just now, as I do from time to time. She used sometimes to say
"They said Marconi was mad".
Guglielmo Marconi is often thought of as the inventor off radio and shared the 1903 Nobel prize for physics due to his work in this area. The point of the saying is that general opinion is not always right.
I'm not sure how common a saying it was or is but the phrase did feature in a Marx brothers skit.
 
Groucho: "They said Edison was mad! They said Einstein was mad! They said Marconi was mad! They said my uncle Herbert was mad!-"
Chico: "Your uncle Herbert? Nobody ever hoid of your Uncle Herbert!"
Groucho: "That's because he was mad!"

The term applies especially to Marconi as after inventing his wireless telegraph he wrote to the ministry of Post and Telegraphs, which at the time was under the direction of the honorable Pietro Lacava, explaining how the machine worked and asking for funding. He never received a response to his letter which was eventually dismissed by the minister who wrote "to the Longara" on the document, referring to the insane asylum on via della Lungara in Rome.

Eternal Gifts


The Venerable Bede on Christmas

He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities (Is 53:5). It should be carefully noted that the sign given of the Saviour’s birth is not a child enfolded in Tyrian purple, but one wrapped round with rough pieces of cloth: he is not to be found in an ornate golden bed, but in a manger. The meaning of this is that he did not merely take upon himself our lowly mortality, but for our sakes took upon himself the clothing of the poor. Though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich (cf. 2 Cor 8:9); though he was Lord of heaven, he became a poor man on earth, to teach those who lived on earth that by poverty of spirit they might win the kingdom of heaven.

Lord's Day December 16 2012


We started on our Christmas themes this week with Luke 2:7 (the manger) and Matthew 1 (the women in the family tree). We didn't manage to tempt any newcomers in but it was good to have the students back, swelling the cpongregation. We had communion before the evening service. 2 Corinthians 8:9 was a great text for the occasion.

More from the census

Norwich had the highest proportion of people reporting no religion with 42.5 %, closely followed by Brighton and Hove with 42.4 %.
Some local authorities in Wales also reported some of the highest levels of no religion. Caerphilly had the largest percentage point increase since 2001 of 16.7 to 41.0 %! Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen also saw large increases of no religion with 16.0, 15.5 and 15.4 percentage points respectively.
In London, the boroughs of Newham, Harrow, Brent and Redbridge had the lowest proportions of the population reporting no religion. Other areas under 15 % included Slough in the South East (with many Hindus and Sikhs) and Knowsley, Blackburn with Darwen, Copeland, Ribble Valley and St Helens in the North West.
Tower Hamlets has the most Muslims (34.5 %) Harrow has the most Hindus (25.3 %) Slough has the most Sikhs (10.6 %) Barnet has the most Jews (15.2 %) Rushmoor in Hampshire has the most Buddhists (3.3 %).

Godless Wales and Norwich

The results of the 2011 census are appearing. The main points on religion are as follows:
 
Despite falling numbers Christianity remains the largest religion in England and Wales in 2011. Muslims are the next biggest religious group and have grown in the last decade. Meanwhile the proportion of the population who reported they have no religion has now reached a quarter of the population.
  • Christianity was the largest religion, with 33.2 million people (59.3 % of the population). The second largest religious group were Muslims with 2.7 million people (4.8 % of the population).
  • 14.1 million people, around a quarter of the population in England and Wales, reported they have no religion in 2011.
  • The religion question was the only voluntary question on the 2011 census and 7.2 % of people did not answer the question.
  • Between 2001 and 2011 there has been a decrease in people who identify as Christian (from 71.7 % to 59.3 %) and an increase in those reporting no religion (from 14.8 % to 25.1 %). There were increases in the other main religious group categories, with the number of Muslims increasing the most (from 3.0 % to 4.8 %) which sounds like it is lower than the Muslim birth rate.
  • In 2011, London was the most diverse region with the highest proportion of people identifying themselves as Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish. The North East and North West had the highest proportion of Christians and Wales had the highest proportion of people reporting no religion.
  • Knowsley on Merseyside was the local authority with the highest proportion of people reporting to be Christians at 80.9 % and Tower Hamlets had the highest proportion of Muslims at 34.5 % (over 7 times the England and Wales figure). Norwich had the highest proportion of the population reporting no religion at 42.5 %.

Unusual words 10 Termagant

A Termagant is a quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew. Interestingly, the word is from Middle English Termagaunt, an imaginary Muslim deity portrayed as a violent and overbearing character in medieval mystery plays.
I came across the word in Tyerman's Life and Times of Samuel Wesley ("This lawless mob was headed by a furious, termagant woman,called Popplewell")
It comes up in The Two Destinies by Wilkie Collins "The magic of money transformed this termagant and terrible person into a docile and attentive nurse--so eager to follow my instructions exactly that she begged me to commit them to writing before I went away."
PS Not to be confused with the game bird the Ptarmigan.

Death of Ravi Shankar


Ravi Shankar has died at the age of 92. Perhaps he was most famous as George Harrison's sitar teacher but he had his own career in the west and is also the father of Norah Jones. I remember buying Transmigration Macabre in my teens or early twenties. This track has always been my favourite. It is truly beautiful. As for metempsychosis, as Mr Shankar now knows, it is not so.

Novelists 21 Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens 1812-1870 Easily the most famous of all English novelists and pretty prolific. I must confess to having read only a handful of them. Many have remained unfiinshed. They are rather long. Anyway most of them are on my kindle and any day now ....

Plaque to Lloyd-Jones unveiled

According to the Cambrian News a plaque has been unveiled at the former home of a famous preacher, in Llangeitho, Ceredigion. Dr Martyn Lloyd- Jones, lived in Albion House, in the centre of the village, between 1904 and 1914.
Dr Jones moved to the village with his family when he was six, and attended the village primary school and later Tregaron County School. The plaque was unveiled by his great granddaughter Angharad Marshall. Pictured with her is Dr Gwyn Davies, of Aberystwyth, a lecturer in church history at the Welsh Evengelical School of Theology in Bridgend.
Afterwards, Dr Davies gave a short address on the life of Dr Lloyd-Jones.
My father-in-law tells me it was a shop  in Lloyd-Jones day (there was a famous fire from which he was rescued) and it is a café today. The owners were delighted to have the plaque unveiled. The people planning and organising the event were a couple of local folk, quite unknown to the Welsh evangelical world, just conscious of this famous preacher who had once lived here. He thinks they have been rather naïve in not letting local churches know. The Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust (who to be fair did announce it on Facebook) gave money for a tea and then the Doctor’s great grand-daughter, Angharad, a final year student in Swansea University, came along with a Christian friend and spoke briefly on behalf of the family (she is one of Bethan Catherwood’s children).
It was a Sunday afternoon in December so only 18 people turned up. If they had planned it for August and the week of the Aber. Conference hundreds would have come there and there would have been some preaching.
I understand that it is part of the Ceredigion Faith Trail although that fact has not been noted on the site yet. In fact if you look up people there, only three are mentioned. Daniel Rowland one expects but Dafydd ap Gwilym and Dylna Thomas are in a rather different category.

Unusual words 09 Batrachised


In Surprised by Joy by C S Lewis again he writes of how in his childhood fictional world Boxen there was an office

held at that time by a man—or to speak more accurately, a Frog—of powerful personality. Lord Big brought to his task one rather unfair advantage; he had been the tutor of the two young kings and continued to hold over them a quasi-parental authority. Their spasmodic efforts to break his yoke were, unhappily, more directed to the evasion of his inquiry into their private pleasures than to any serious political end. As a result Lord Big, immense in size, resonant of voice, chivalrous (he was the hero of innumerable duels), stormy, eloquent, and impulsive, almost was the state. The reader will divine a certain resemblance between the life of the two kings under Lord Big and our own life under our father. He will be right. But Big was not, in origin, simply our father first batrachised and then caricatured in some directions and glorified in others.

Batrachised means to make into a frog!

Guess the parcel 1


A parcel arrived today. Can you guess what was in it?

Guess the parcel 2

When you get the plastic off its clear there are four of them but four what?

Guess the parcel 3

Guessed it yet?

Guess the parcel 4

It was four egg cups!

Lord's Day December 9 2012

We had lunch together in church yesterday, as we do from time to time. We are always well fed. In the morning I completed the first chapter of 2 Peter looking at verses 12-21 (about remembering truths and abouit Scripture). We will get back to the other chapters some time in the future. In the evening I completed a brief series on Habakkuk, which has been okay. We had a few visitors but quite a few missing. We'll start on something more Christmassy next week.

10 more unusual seasonal tracks

I love to play my holiday music at this time of the year. If you are getting fed up of the same old same old, here are 10 more unusual tracks worth checking out.

1. Eternal gifts by Leigh Nash

2. Maybe this Christmas by Ron Sexsmith

3. The River by Joni Mitchell

4. The Rebel Jesus by Jackson Browne and the Chieftains

5. I have a dream by Thijs Van Leer and family

6. Easier said than done by Jon Anderson

7. Run with the fox by Chris Squire

8. Er Is Een Kindeke Geboren Op Aard' by Rogier Van Otterloo, Thijs Van Leer, etc

9. Rug Muire Mac do Dhia by Horslips

10. Birthday card at Christmas by Jethro Tull

Unusual words 08 Cantle

In Surprised by Joy C S Lewis talks about how much he hated going to parties at a certain age. He says
To me it was all inexplicable, unprovoked persecution; and when, as often happened, such engagements fell in the last week of the holidays and wrested from us a huge cantle of hours in which every minute was worth gold, I positively felt that I could have torn my hostess limb from limb.
A cantle can be part of a saddle but here it is a corner, segment, or portion; a piece.
AnoOher example
They are here set down, most holy father, upon a cantle of sheep-skin Conan Doyle in The White Company

How many ejected?

One of the things that arose in Lee Gatiss's paper on 1662 is a question of how many were ejected. In my book on 1662 I say this
Estimates vary but it seems that, including those ejected before 1662 and some who jumped rather than waiting to be pushed, nearly two thousand ministers and others were silenced or ejected. There will always be some vagueness about the figure as some changed their minds. A G Matthews says that some 210 later conformed. A contemporary writer, John Walker, says of an Evan Griffiths of Oxwich in South Wales, who was ejected but then conformed, that he became as violent against dissenters as he had once been against royalists. Also, the ejection included not only ministers but also lecturers and even private tutors. Further, some such as Cornishman Francis Howell 1625-1679 present anomalies. Howell, “a man mighty in the scriptures” according to Calamy, was expelled both as Principal of Jesus College, Oxford in 1660 and as incumbent of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in North Wales in 1662.
In his Nonconformist Memorial Calamy deals with some 2,465 people altogether. Matthews and Watts say that the number unwilling to conform in 1662 was 2029, around 936* in England and 120 in Wales. Some 200 of these were university lecturers. Matthews points out that a further 129 were deprived at an uncertain date between 1660 and 1663 and with the ejections of 1660 as well, he gives a total of 1760 ministers (which is about 20% of the clergy) thrust out of the Church of England, silenced from preaching or teaching because they could no longer conform by law and so deprived of a livelihood.
Gerald Bray comments that “almost all of these were Puritans, and so the Act may be said to represent the expulsion of Puritanism from the national Church.” On the other hand, John Spurr points out that Puritans remained within the state church and others, like Quakers and General Baptists, were ejected. He quotes John Corbet 1620-1680, saying, "it is a palpable injury to burden us with the various parties with whom we are now herded by our ejection in the general state of dissenters."
*I seem to have that figure wrong. Perhaps it should be 1,936

Geffrye Museum

We had a very nice family day out last Saturday at the Geffrye Museum of the home in East London. The free museum presents a series of home scenes from 1630 to the present day and at this time of the year has a Christmas theme although that hardly kicks in until the Vicorian period. It was a very interesting set up and would be worth a second visit I'm sure. There is a nice gallery here.

Westminster Conference 2012 06

We appropriately closed the conference with a paper by Peter Law on the great missionary and translator Henry Martyn 1781-1812. It was appropriate in following on from the paper on Islam and this being the two hundredth anniversary of his death. Perhaps his being an Anglican fitted in somehow and even the fact that the paper was given by a graduate of the very Anglican Bash camps for public schoolboys but who is a Baptist but also an Arabic speaker who makes regular trips to the Middle East. Like Pascal, Martyn also died young yet did so much - what a challenge he is! Consciously or unconsciously this paper was no exercise in hagiography but a very human portrait of a man who was a sinner yet whom God greatly used.
Next year's conference is set for December 3, 4 and includes papers on C S Lewis, Isaac Ambrose, Henry Havelock and Edward Irving.

Westminster Conference 2012 05

The graveyard slot on the second day went to Roger Welch whose task was to survey 1400 years of history looking for patterns in Christian response to Islam and so we went through the various areas mentioning dhimmitude, John of Damascus, the crusades, Ramon Lull, Nicholas de Susa, Luther, Calvin, Samuel Zwemer, etc and modern contextualisation. It was a helpful survey and led into a tame but fairly well informed discussion of reaching Muslims today. It was good to have at least looked at the subject even if we were at a very general level. As ever the need to befriend people rather than read books about their religion came over strongly. Stephen Clark chaired.

Westminster Conference 2012 04

We made a good start to the second day at the Westminster Conference with a very good paper by David Gregson on Blaise Pascal. Most of us were fairly ignorant of Pascal beforehand so it was good to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. Pascal lived 1623-1662 and so was only 39 when he died. David Gregson summed him up as a genius whose life God touched. He made significant strides forward in mathematics, science and other areas and in his twenties met Jansenists who while remaining within Romanism had an Augustinian view of grace. He was converted firstly intellectually (in 1646) and then to new birth (in 1654). It was good to have the view that his conversion stunted his scientific interests refuted. We also had a summary of the famous Pensees, including reference to something we have touched on in this blog before ie Cleopatra's nose. See here. The memorial describing his conversion that he sewed into his coat and that was discovered after his death can be found here. A useful discussion on conversion and what we need to know followed.

Westminster Conference 2012 03

Perhaps the most interesting paper of the day was that given by Andrew Atherstone - another Anglican as it turns out. He was looking at the whole matter of the writing of Christian biography and history. It is a subject most germane to the conference. He outlined the more recent resurgence of evangelical history writing within academia (by Marsden, Noll, Bebbington and others) and then noted the uneasiness about this expressed in the pages of the Banner of Truth, especially by Iain Murray. Andrew Atherstone's plea was for both as he felt that both forms have their place. The rest of us were not so sure although we were broadly in agreement  guess. The fear is that is academia dictates the ground rules something will be lost. The other area covered more briefly was the danger of hagiography. On the way home I was reading Luke Tyerman's biography of Samuel Wesley and I was interested to come across this line "The extract is inserted with reluctance; but, in delineating character, faults as well as virtues must be noted". So a good day. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as good.

Westminster Conference 2012 02

I chaired the second session and once again we were looking at 1662, this time with my old LTS church history teacher Andrew Davies whose brief was to give us some biogrpahies of ejectees. Being a Welshman he plumped for Philip Henry who ministered in North Wales and the lesser known Samuel Jones who ministered in South Wales. We also had a snippet on Thomas Gouge which will appear in the published paper. It was an excellent paper. The discusiion wasn't too bad although we weren't very good at sticking to the subject of what authority we are obliged to submit to and on what issues. All the message are being recorded and will be available on CD. The published papers usually appear in six months time.

Westminster Conference 2012 01

The Westminster Conference began today. The opening paper was on 1662 and all that and the speaker was Lee Gatiss, perhaps controversially, an Anglican. Being an Anglican he was a little afraid that we would be bored and so we began with 15 minutes of introduction that included some audience participation as we were examined on a range of beliefs such as what we thought about keeping pistols ready at home or the Queen as head of the church. The serious point behind this apparent frivolity was to demonstrate that things have changed a great deal since 1662 and few of us hold to a range of views quite acceptable in days gone by. We then had half an hour on 1662 itself, which included what I thought was a controversial attempt to get the numbers of the ejected as low as 900 and to claim that even these were not all Puritans. The rest of the time was spent defending Anglicanism - quite understandable from an Anglican I guess.
Dr Robert Oliver chaired and some good points were made from the floor, especially Iain Murray's about the need to recognise spiritual movements and political movements, which sometimes coalesce but inevitably oppose each other. We were probably far too gentle with Lee I guess whose view seems to be that 1662 was a massive mistake but the Anglican church hasn't been all bad since and indeed has improved in some ways. Certainly there was no sign that 1662 gives him any pause to consider leaving.

Novelists 20 W M Thackeray


1811-1863 Born in Calcutta, he was the son of a servant of the East India Company who was of an old and respectable Yorkshire family. In 1816 his father died and he was sent home to England. Educated at Charterhouse, he went on to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1829 but spent only a year there. After travelling on the continent, he tried first the legal profession and then journalism but these came to nothing. By this time bad investments and other mistakes had divested him of his fortune and he needed a profession. Art was his next project, which involved studying in Paris and Rome. In 1836 he had married in Paris, returning to England the following year. He wrote for several magazines but his contributions to Punch were the hat first to gain public attention. The major turning point was the publication in monthly numbers of his best known novel Vanity Fair (1847–48). Pendennis, largely autobiographical, followed in 1848–50. Esmond (1852) is considered by some his masterpiece. It was followed by The Newcomes (1853) and the less successful The Virginians, a sequel to Esmond (1857–59). For some years he suffered spasms of the heart then suddenly died suddenly during the night of December 23, 1863. His wife had also been suffering ill health for some years. It has been written of him that “he was master of a style of great distinction and individuality, and ranks as one of the very greatest of English novelists”.

Lord's Day December 2 2012

This first Lord's Day of the final month of 2012 began with communion where we read again from John 16. We had a good congregation in the morning supplemented by visitors and a nice bunch of young people here for dinner. We looked at 2 Peter 1:10, 11 on making your calling and election sure. In the evening we looked at the rest of Habakkuk 2. We were a smaller number by that point.

Forgotten Anniversary 2 Samuel Wesley

Samuel Wesley (1662 – 1735) was a clergyman of the Church of England, as well as a poet and a writer of controversial prose.
His father was John Westley, ejected rector of Winterborne Whitechurch, Dorset. His mother was the daughter of John White, ejected rector of Trinity Church, Dorchester, the so-called "Patriarch of Dorchester". Following grammar school education in Dorchester, Wesley was sent away from home to prepare for ministerial training under Theophilus Gale. Gale's death in 1678 forestalled this; instead, he attended another grammar school and then studied at Dissenting academies under Edward Veel (or Veal) in Stepney then Charles Morton in Newington Green, where Gale had lived. Daniel Defoe also attended Morton's school contemporaneously with Wesley. Samuel resigned his place and his annual scholarship among the Dissenters and walked all the way to Oxford, where he enrolled at Exeter College as a "poor scholar" or "servitor" (ie he sustained himself financially by waiting on wealthy students). He also published a small book of poems, entitled Maggots: or Poems on Several Subjects never before Handled in 1685. The unusual title is explained in a few lines from the first page of the work: In his own defence the author writes Because when the foul maggot bites He ne'er can rest in quiet: Which makes him make so sad a face He'd beg your worship or your grace Unsight, unseen, to buy it
Wesley married Susanna Wesley in 1688. He fathered Samuel, John and Charles. He had 19 children, nine of whom died in infancy. Three boys and seven girls survived. In 1697 he was appointed to the living at Epworth through the benevolence of Queen Mary. He may have come to the queen's attention because of his heroic poem, "The Life of Christ" (1693) which he dedicated to her. Samuel Wesley's high-church liturgies, academic proclivities and loyalist Tory politics were a complete mismatch for those of his illiterate parishioners. He was not warmly received and his ministry was not widely appreciated. Wesley was soon deep in debt and much of his life would be spent trying to make financial ends meet. In 1709 his parsonage was destroyed by fire and son John was barely rescued from the flames.
Career
His poetic career began with the publication of Maggots. The poems appear to be an attempt to prove that poetic language can create beauty out of the most revolting subject. The first poem, "On a Maggot", is composed in hudibrastics, with a diction obviously Butlerian, and it is followed by facetious poetic dialogues and by Pindarics of the Cowleian sort but on such subjects as "On the Grunting of a Hog." In 1688 Wesley took his BA, at Exeter College, Oxford, following which he became a naval chaplain and, in 1690, rector of South Ormsby. In 1694 he took his MA from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and the following year he became rector of Epworth. During the run of the Athenian Gazette (1691–1697) he joined with Richard Sault and John Norris in assisting John Dunton, the promoter of the undertaking. His second venture in poetry, The Life of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour, an epic largely in heroic couplets with a prefatory discourse on heroic poetry, appeared in 1693, was reissued in 1694, and was honoured with a second edition in 1697. In 1695 he dutifully came forward with Elegies, lamenting the deaths of Queen Mary II and Archbishop Tillotson. An Epistle to a Friend concerning Poetry (1700) was followed by at least four other volumes of verse, the last of which was issued in 1717. His poetry appears to have had readers on a certain level, but it stirred up little pleasure among wits, writers or critics. Judith Drake confessed that she was lulled to sleep by Blackmore's Prince Arthur and by Wesley's "heroics" (Essay in Defence of the Female Sex, 1696, p. 50). And he was satirised as a mere poetaster in Garth's Dispensary, in Swift's The Battle of the Books, and in the earliest issues of the Dunciad.  
Controversy
For a few years in the early 18th century Wesley found himself in the vortex of controversy. Brought up in the dissenting tradition, he had swerved into conformity at some point during the 1680s, possibly under the influence of Tillotson, whom he greatly admired (cf. Epistle to a Friend, pp. 5–6). In 1702 there appeared his Letter from a Country Divine to his friend in London concerning the education of dissenters in their private academies, apparently written about 1693. This attack upon dissenting academies was published at an unfortunate time, when the public mind was inflamed by the intolerance of overzealous churchmen. Wesley was furiously answered; he replied in A Defence of a Letter (1704), and again in A Reply to Mr. Palmer's Vindication (1707). It is scarcely to Wesley's credit that in this quarrel he stood shoulder to shoulder with that most hot-headed of all contemporary bigots, Henry Sacheverell. His prominence in the controversy earned him the ironic compliments of Defoe, who recalled that our "Mighty Champion of this very High-Church Cause" had once written a poem to satirise frenzied Tories. About a week later Defoe, having got wind of a collection being taken up, for Wesley - who in consequence of a series of misfortunes was badly in debt - intimated that High-Church pamphleteering had turned out very profitably for both Lesley and Wesley. But in such snarling and bickering Wesley was out of his element, and, he seems to have avoided future quarrels. His literary criticism is small in bulk. But though it is neither brilliant nor well written (Wesley apparently composed at a break-neck clip), it is not without interest. Pope observed in 1730 that he was a "learned" man (letter to Swift, in Works, ed. Elwin-Courthope, VII, 184). The observation was correct, but it should be added that Wesley matured at the end of an age famous for its great learning, an age whose most distinguished poet was so much the scholar that he appeared more the pedant than the gentleman to critics of the succeeding era; Wesley was not singular for erudition among his 17th-century contemporaries.

Forgotten Anniversary 1 John Biddle

I've seen hardly anything noting that this years is the 350th since the death of the father of unitarianism. For the record
John Biddle was born Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England, 14 January 1615 and died 22 September 1662. He was an influential English nontrinitarian, and Unitarian. He is often called "the Father of English Unitarianism".
He studied at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, taking an MA 1641. Aged 26, he became headmaster of the Crypt Grammar School, Gloucester.The school had links to Gloucester Cathedral, and since he was obliged to teach his pupils according to the Catechism of the Church of England, he immersed himself in the study of the Bible.
He concluded from his studies that the doctrine of the Trinity was not supported by the Bible and set about publishing his own views on the nature of God. He was imprisoned in Gloucester, 1645, for his views but was released on bail. He was imprisoned again by Parliament 1646 and 1647. While still a prisoner, his tract Twelve Arguments Drawn Out of Scripture was published. Henry Vane defended Biddle in the House of Commons, and he was released on bail 1648. After a short while he was again imprisoned, in Newgate, where he remained until amnestied by the 1652 Act of Oblivion. Biddle and the MP John Fry, who had tried to aid him, were supported by the 1649 Leveller pamphlet Englands New Chaines Discovered. Biddle was strongly attacked by John Owen. In 1654-5 he was again in trouble with Parliament, which ordered his book A Two-fold Catechism to be seized; Cromwell exiled him to the Scilly Isles, out of the jurisdiction of any hostile English Parliaments. He was released in 1658 but was imprisoned once more, and became ill, leading to his death.
A biography by Joshua Toulmin was published in 1789.
Works
A Two-fold Catechism He is believed to have translated the Racovian Catechism into English.
Views
He denounced original sin, denied eternal punishment and translated a mortalist tract. He condemned the Ranters. He affirmed that the Bible was the Word of God and his Christology appears to be Socinian, denying the pre-existence of Christ but accepting the virgin birth.
Legacy
His appeal for conscience was one of the major milestones of the establishment of religious freedom in England. More recently his combination of socinian Christology and millennialism has led to a rediscovery of his work among Christadelphians and other non-Trinitarian groups in the 1970s and '80s.

Unusual words 07 Pasquinade

It's an age since we've has one of these. I cam acrosss Pasquinade in Luke Tyerman's biography of Samuel Wesley (father of John and Charles) who used to write them as a young man.
It is a satire or lampoon, especially one that ridicules a specific person, traditionally written and posted in a public place. Pasquino is the Italian name given to an ancient Roman statue disinterred in 1501, which was annually posted with satirical verses

Addison on the essay form

I found this here on an interesting site I'd like to explore
Méga Biblion, méga kakón [“A great book is a great evil.”]
A Man who publishes his Works in a Volume, has an infinite Advantage over one who communicates his Writings to the World in loose Tracts and single Pieces. We do not expect to meet with any thing in a bulky Volume, till after some heavy Preamble, and several Words of Course, to prepare the Reader for what follows: Nay, Authors have established it as a kind of Rule, that a Man ought to be dull sometimes; as the most severe Reader makes Allowances for many Rests and Nodding-places in a Voluminous Writer. This gave Occasion to the famous Greek Proverb which I have chosen for my Motto, That a great Book is a great Evil.
On the contrary, those who publish their Thoughts in distinct Sheets, and as it were by Piece-meal, have  none of these Advantages. We must immediately fall into our Subject, and treat every Part of it in a lively Manner, or our Papers are thrown by as dull and insipid: Our Matter must lie close together, and either be wholly new in itself, or in the Turn it receives from our Expressions. Were the Books of our best Authors thus to be retailed to the Publick, and every Page submitted to the Taste of forty or fifty thousand Readers, I am afraid we should complain of many flat Expressions, trivial Observations, beaten Topicks, and common Thoughts, which go off very well in the Lump. At the same Time, notwithstanding some Papers may be made up of broken Hints and irregular Sketches, it is often expected that every Sheet should be a kind of Treatise, and make out in Thought what it wants in Bulk: That a Point of Humour should be worked up in all its Parts; and a Subject touched upon in its most essential Articles, without the Repetitions, Tautologies and Enlargements, that are indulged to longer Labours. The ordinary Writers of Morality prescribe to their Readers after the Galenick way; their Medicines are made up in large Quantities. An Essay-Writer must practise in the Chymical Method, and give the Virtue of a full Draught in a few Drops. Were all Books reduced thus to their Quintessence, many a bulky Author would make his Appearance in a Penny-Paper: There would be scarce such a thing in Nature as a Folio. The Works of an Age would be contained on a few Shelves; not to mention millions of Volumes that would be utterly annihilated.
I cannot think that the Difficulty of furnishing out separate Papers of this Nature, has hindered Authors from communicating their Thoughts to the World after such a Manner: Though I must confess I am amazed that the Press should be only made use of in this Way by News-Writers, and the Zealots of Parties; as if it were not more advantageous to Mankind to be instructed in Wisdom and Virtue, than in Politicks; and to be made good Fathers, Husbands and Sons, than Counsellors and Statesmen. Had the Philosophers and great Men of Antiquity, who took so much Pains in order to instruct Mankind, and leave the World wiser and better than they found it; had they, I say, been possessed of the Art of Printing, there is no question but they would have made such an Advantage of it, in dealing out their Lectures to the Publick. Our common Prints would be of great Use were they thus calculated to diffuse good Sense through the Bulk of a People, to clear up their Understandings, animate their Minds with Virtue, dissipate the Sorrows of a heavy Heart, or unbend the Mind from its more severe Employments with innocent Amusements. When Knowledge, instead of being bound up in Books and kept in Libraries and Retirements, is thus obtruded upon the Publick; when it is canvassed in every Assembly, and exposed upon every Table, I cannot forbear reflecting upon that Passage in the Proverbs: Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her Voice in the Streets: she crieth in the chief Place of Concourse, in the Openings of the Gates. In the City she uttereth her Words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love Simplicity? and the Scorners delight in their Scorning? and Fools hate Knowledge?
The many Letters which come to me from Persons of the best Sense in both Sexes, (for I may pronounce their Characters from their Way of Writing) do not at a little encourage me in the Prosecution of this my Undertaking: Besides that my Book-seller tells me, the Demand for these my Papers increases daily. It is at his Instance that I shall continue my rural Speculations to the End of this Month; several having made up separate Sets of them, as they have done before of those relating to Wit, to Operas, to Points of Morality, or Subjects of Humour.
I am not at all mortified, when sometimes I see my Works thrown aside by Men of no Taste nor Learning. There is a kind of Heaviness and Ignorance that hangs upon the Minds of ordinary Men, which is too thick for Knowledge to break through. Their Souls are not to be enlightened. Nox atra cava circumvolat umbra. [“Black night surrounded [us] with its enfolding shadows.”—Virgil. Aeneid 2.360] To these I must apply the Fable of the Mole, That after having consulted many Oculists for the bettering of his Sight, was at last provided with a good Pair of Spectacles; but upon his endeavouring to make use of them, his Mother told him very prudently, That Spectacles, though they might help the Eye of a Man, could be of no use to a Mole.
It is not therefore for the Benefit of Moles that I publish these my daily Essays.
But besides such as are Moles through Ignorance, there are others who are Moles through Envy. As it is said in the Latin Proverb, ‘That one Man is a Wolf to another;’ so generally speaking, one Author is a Mole to another Author. It is impossible for them to discover Beauties in one another’s Works; they have Eyes only for Spots and Blemishes: They can indeed see the Light as it is said of the Animals which are their Namesakes, but the Idea of it is painful to them; they immediately shut their Eyes upon it, and withdraw themselves into a willful Obscurity. I have already caught two or three of these dark undermining Vermin, and intend to make a String of them, in order to hang them up in one of my Papers, as an Example to all such voluntary Moles. (1711)
MLA Citation Addison, Joseph. “On the essay form.” 1711. Quotidiana. Ed. Patrick Madden. 18 Jan 2007. 30 Nov 2012 .
 

10 Observations on the case of Jimmy Savile

1. In 1 Timothy 5:24 Paul says that The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgement ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. Jimmy Savile is a case in point. Some did have their doubts about him and some few knew there was a problem but until only a few months ago the official line was that his sins were not obvious. He was a man to be commended and celebrated.
2. Do not believe everything that people say. Even when on rare occasions Savile was confronted with his crimes he denied them all. We should not be surprised at that.
3. Many people have the idea that if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds then all is well. In the case of Jimmy Savile there appear to have been many deeds that could be considered in some sense good. However, it is his evil deeds that are capturing the attention at the moment. Nobody is suggesting even for a moment that provided his good deeds outweigh his evil ones nothing more needs to be said.
4. One hopes that the Savile revelations will help put paid to the lie that the sixties was a wonderful period of freedom and progress. Rather it was just as much a period of licentious when a number of people took advantage of the situation to pursue their own evil agenda.
5. Society today prides itself on its non-judgemental, post-modernist attitudes. It is clear from the Savile case, however, that society still draws very clear lines beyond which no-one dare go. This is not an anything goes society, despite what it may claim. Sin may be demarcated in a different more expansive way to that which once prevailed but make no mistake some sins are totally unacceptable.
6. When punishment comes today it is quite selective but it is very like the way Soviet dissidents were once dealt with. Savile's contribution to Radio 4's Desert Island Discs has already been moved from the website and soon his presence on radio and TV will be as rare as that of the similarly discredited popular artists Gary Glitter or Jonathan King.
7. It is amazing what depraved acts people will do if they believe that they are not going to be found out. Savile remained pretty much undetected because his crimes were committed largely in secret. What is done in secret does not always remain secret. A day is coming when indeed every secret will be revealed and it will be shouted on the housetops what men tried to keep secret.
8. Without close supervision many men are quite happy to abuse their power and use it to their own advantage regardless of the suffering it brings to others. Corporate bodies (like the BBC or hospital management teams) have a tendency to obfuscate the truth rather than bringing things out into the open.
 
9. Society claims that we are all equal but in fact there is a hierarchy, particularly when it comes to who is trusted and who believed to be telling the truth. Those further up the tree, including the knighted and friends of royalty and those who reach a good old age, are presumed to be more reliable than criminals, the physically and mentally sick and the deprived. In this case the opposite appears to have been the case. Generally speaking, it is the most vulnerable members of society who are most often taken advantage of.
10. Savile claimed to be Roman Catholic and was certainly received and honoured by the Pope. Without mere point scoring it is worth considering how much guilt attaches to Romanism here. While Romanism would condemn Savile's acts as much as any philosophy, it would appear to have been unable to do anything to shame this man for his sins and encourage him to confess and repent.

Radio surfing

I have a digital radio by my bed and a game I like to play is scanning the stations to find a track I like. I've done it a few times lately and although most of the time I've not found anything unusually brilliant (unless Baby, please don't go by Them counts) I did get two great strikes.
First, one night I found them playing Sylvia by Focus on Arrow. What was particularly good was that I tuned in right at the beginning. Love that track every time I hear it. Why hearing it on the radio gives a particular pleasure I don't really know.
I don't usually include Radio 2 in my surfs but this one time I did and what should I catch but the dying notes of Chariot Choogle, which was followed by all of Mystic Lady, both from the T Rex album The Slider. It was good to hear Mark Radcliffe praising the Slider album and its predecessor Electric Warrior to the skies, prompted by yet another re-issue of the albums.
The chances of someone my age finding something they like is quite high as digital stations available include Arrow, Kerrang, Planetrock, Gold and several versions of Absolute Rock as well as more mainstream stations such as Radios 1, 2, 6 and Heart, etc.

Westminster Conference 2013

This is just a reminder that the Westminster Conference is on next week (Tuesday, Wednesday Dec 4 and 5) at Regent Hall (The Salvation Army) 275 Oxford Street, London W1C 2DJ.
The programmes is as follows
 
1662 and all that (Lee Gatiss)
Two eminent ejectess, Philip Henry and Samuel Jones (Andrew Davies)
Hagiography and history (Andrew Atherstone)
 
Pascal: Truth Through the Mind and Through the Heart (David Gregson)
Christian attitudes to Islam (Roger Welch)
Henry Martyn (Peter Law)
 
The cost is £40. More details here.
 

Novellas

The above novellas are on sale atAbebooks
(The Time Machine, A Clockwork Orange, The Alchemist, Kitchen and Breakfast at Tiffany's)

Dr Strivens on DIssenting Academies

It was a privilege to hear Dr Robert Strivens this afternoon at the Evangelical Library speaking on early dissenting academies. Robert focused on the crucial period 1662-1689. Most of us are quite unfamiliar with this territory and it was a very useful to have this survey before us. We had a good crowd again, which was encouraging. The address was recorded and can be obtained from the Library. The text is on the website here. Robert also alerted us to the Dr Williams Library Dissenting Academies Project which can be accessed here.

Focus X Reviewed

So amazingly Focus reach double figures with their tenth album. I have held back from writing about it until now as I know by experience that initial impressions can be wrong. Certainly the presence of familiar titles was offputting – a nod backwards in the opening title Father Bacchus (good joke though), yet another Focus track, Le Tango in its umpteenth incarnation, Message Maqique was on a solo album (that also featured Talk of the Clown, there called Pierrot). Van Leer insiders also know that the curiously titled Amok in Kindergarten was directly inspired by the Dunblane incident way back in 1996. Even the title All hens on deck made me nervous as I feared a re-hash of Hurkey Turkey. It turns out to be one of the most attractive numbers on the album.
In fact this is as good a post-Akkerman album as Focus have come up with so far. The only real problem is an over-dependence on Van Leer for the writing and performance, a Van Leer almost shorn of one of his attributes, his voice (his keyboard and flute work are better than ever). Van Der Linden's drumming is of a high order throughout but good drumming though important is a relatively small component in a rock album's make-up.
The opening track is a fine effort from the new guitarist Menno Gootjes, spoiled only by Van Leer announcing the band's name as if in a live setting. The track Focus 10 is fine, though since Focus 5 I feel that particular strand has not been working so well somehow. The third track is currently my favourite. Quite what inspired Victoria I don't know but the result is quintessential Focus. Superb! Amok in Kindergarten is contemplative and an adequate track for inclusion. After the up tempo All hens full of Van Leer scat we have an interesting version of Le Tango that justifies its inclusion by being re-titled Birds come fly over and featuring the veteran Brazilian musician Ivan Lins singing lyrics by Van Leer's ex-wife Roselie Peters (she also provides the spoken lyrics for Crossroads). The decision to hand over the mike to Lins was wise. Presumably there was a similar plan with Van Leer's daughter Berenice for the last track (she is credited but I do not hear her unless she is doing backing vocals). Hoeratio is better known as Horace in the English speaking world. Someone has spotted his reference to the flute in his ars poetica. Van Leer reads this in Latin over a slow Bobby Jacobs written piece that is again only adequate as far as I can see. May be it will grow on me. We then have the two tracks lifted from the 1986 solo album Renaissance. The use of acoustic guitar on the first of these tracks and on Le Tango is refreshing. So there it is a rock album with a lot of jazz or Latin influences but no obviously classical ones. Great guitar work from Gootjes and a solid rhythm section, Van Leer at the height of his powers for the most part.
The CD comes as a little book with artwork from Roger Dean, which adds to the overall enjoyment.

Lord's Day November 25 2012

Quite a few of our older members were missing yesterday but we had a good number in the morning and not to bad in the evening with a few visitors along. We carried on with these new series in 2 Peter and Habakkuk. The 2 Peter was easier as we had a nice list to deal with. Challenging though. I'm leaning quite heavily on Dr Lloyd-Jones for the Habakkuk series. What  a[privilege it is to preach the Word.

Novelists 19 Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) The daughter of William Stevenson, a Unitarian minister, she also married a Manchester based Unitarian minister. In 1848 she published anonymously her first novel, Mary Barton, in which the life and feelings of the manufacturing working classes are depicted with much power and sympathy. Other novels followed, the novella Mr. Harrison’s Confessions [1851], Ruth [1853], Cranford (1851-53), North and South [1855], Sylvia’s Lovers [1863], etc. Her last work was Wives and Daughters [1865], which appeared in the Cornhill Magazine, and was left unfinished. In 1910 John Cousin wrote of Gaskell as having some of the characteristics of Jane Austen. He said “if her style and delineation of character are less minutely perfect, they are, on the other hand, imbued with a deeper vein of feeling”. She was the friend of Charlotte Bronté and wrote her biography. Of Cranford Lord Houghton wrote, “It is the finest piece of humoristic description that has been added to British literature since Charles Lamb.” He works include several novellas and short stories and some non-fiction. She sometimes co-wrote with Dickens, Wilkie Collins and others.

Things kids say

We had a nice turn out to our kids clubs in church last night. Lots of funny things were said, mostly of a "you had to be there" sort. In the younger club I was speaking about Jesus's disciples and tried to explain how they weren't just with him in formal classroom type situaitons but followed him everywhere. One girl innocently asked if I meant "like stalking someone". No, that's not what I meant.

Library Lecture Next Monday

Just a reminder that next Monday at 1 pm (November 26) there will be a lunch time lecture at the Evangelical Library in Bounds Green, North London by Dr Robert Strivens on Early Dissenting Academies – the forgotten story. A warm welcome to all.

Dutch Day

Yesterday on my day off, it was an all Dutch affair. In the morning I went to my art history class on Rembrandt Van Rijn. Fascinating stuff as the master rose to the heights of fame and then went our of favour as he changed his style to no-one's pleasure.
In the evening I headed down to Chislehurst where Focus were doing the last date on their current UK tour. I thought we might have had more from the new album (more of that anon) but it was the usual stuff mostly, beginning with the very earliest Focus 1, Anonymus and House of the King and including an excellent rendition of several parts of Eruption (best piece of the night IMHO), a good version of Aya Yuppie Ye, La Cathedrale and Harem Scarem back to back as they often are (church to pub Thijs calls it) plus the obligatory Sylvia and a rather truncated Hocus Pocus just within the 11 pm curfew. So only time for three new tracks (Focus 10, an excellent All hens on deck and an isntrumental Le Tango). They were preceded by an unconscionably young Yorkshire trio born out of time called The Mentulls. They looked good (though too repetitive for my liking) until Focus appeared. Focus confirmed again that they are in a class of their own. It is a shame that the nostalgia trip has to dominate but that's what peoiple come to see I guess.
 

Speaking at Historic Venues

On Saturday there was another opportunity to preach in Trafalgar Square with Biblical Gospel Ministries. I preached alongside several others on John 3:16. The opportunity to pass on TBS Bibles and to witness was a blessing. A Christian worker I know happened to be passing through the square and she stopped to listen, which was nice. I have had that sort of thing happen before. Slightly surreal.
Then yesterday (Monday) I was speaking again on 1662, this time in Cambridge for PTS. The meeting took place in the Round Church, which I was told is the second oldest building in the city. We were only around 20 or so but I knew some of those present (Gearoid Marley of PTS, William Wilson from Norwich and someone I was in CU with all those years ago in Aber. Her husband chaired and had taken the trouble to look in here to have some material for introduction purposes). Beforehand I was able to meet up with a girl from the church here who is studying at Clare College who kindly showed me round before heading to a lecture on Old English riddles (We enjoyed seeing the portrait of Hugh Latimer in the Great Hall). I was also able to meet up with Ian Hamilton, minsiter of CPC, who would have been in the meeting but who was speaking that same night to the Chinese Fellowship. 

Lord's Day November 18 2012

We ended up starting on two new series on Sunday. Having finished my morning series on John 3:1-21, I decided to make a start on 2 Peter, beginning with 1:1-4. I think I amde heavy weather of it for some reason. In the evening I thought we were due for a break from Numbers adn so started another sereis - this one on Habakkuk. We also met for communion before the evening meeting. Numbers attending were okay. It was particularly good to have some back who have not been in a while adn two visitors who I hope we will see again.

Lord's Day November 11 2012

Yesterday was Remembrance Day so we started, as we usually do, with two minutes silence and the hymn Our God our help. I preached on John 3:19-21 rounding of a series on that section. In the evening we had tea and a bookstall and then I preached on Numbers 21:10-35 about pressing on and battling on in the Christian life. Numbers were a little bit down in the evening I think.

Beatles Songs Time References

Seconds, minutes, etc
1. Made the bus in seconds flat
2. Wait, oh yes wait a minute mister postman
3. And in my hour of darkness
4. You said you would be late, about an hour or two
5. In the morning wanna die
6. Tuesday afternoon is never ending.
7. There will be a show tonight on trampoline
8. A day in the life/Things we said today
9. Martha my dear though I spend my days in conversation/So many days you passed me by
10. Uh, oh, many, many, many nights go by
11. Talking in our beds for a week/Eight days a week
12. I'll be writing more in a week or two/ You know its three weeks, I'm going insane

Days of the week etc
1. Didn't get to bed last night
2. Yesterday
3. The night before
4. Monday morning, turning back
5. Stupid bloody Tuesday
6. Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins
7. Thursday night yourstockings needed mending
8. Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
9. Performs his feat on Saturday at Bishopsgate
10. Two of us Sunday driving not arriving/Sunday mornings go for a ride

Novelists 18 Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) One tends to think of Poe as a poet and short story writer and rightly so as he only wrote one complete novel. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket of 1838 tells the story of a stowaway. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American short story writers. Some consider him to be the inventor of the detective fiction genre and some a contributor to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life. Born in Massachusetts, he was orphaned young. After trying the University of Virginia and West Point unsuccessfully he embarked on a writing career and worked for various literary journals and periodicals. In 1835, he married his 13-year-old cousin, who died 12 years later, two years before his own death, the cause of which is unknown.