The similar phrase 'Worldly Christianity' is one used by Bonhoeffer. 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.

Moustache Styles

A question on University Challenge tonight concerned names for moustaches for men. They showed four pictures and asked what the styles were. Let me try you.

Answers (written backwards to disguise them)
1. rab eldnah 2. hsurbhtoot 3. Uch Nam Uf 4. licnep
2 Hitler
 4 John Walters
 3 Hulk Hogan
1 Jimmy Edwards

The Bloggy Man 15

Late Too Not

A short piece (2' 20")on the writing of the new album appears here.

Not Too Late

A few years back I was watching Parkinson on TV one Saturday and I saw this young girl at the piano playing with her band. I was entranced. I said to Eleri, I must get the CD. As it turned out I was in town the next week and saw it for £10 and bought it. I loved it. A few days later Norah Jones was on "everyone's lips" and may be if I hadn't got in first I'd be less of a fan. (I pride myself in spotting such talent. I heard that Mika Number 1 some weeks back and tried to investigate but wasn't sure how to spell or say his name and there was little info).
I think the attraction is the way the voice is so sweet yet retains a smokiness at the same time. her way of punching out the word then fading works well. Also the backing is quite sophisticated, drawing on jazz and country, etc, but not demanding anything from the hearer at all (may be that's it's Achilles heel for some). great pop.
Her new album was issued today. It's more of the same (as on the first two). It rings the changes with occasional cellos (Wish I could - love that), basses (Broken), backward guitars/marimba (Not my friend and the single Thinking about you) brass (My Dear Country) and Daru Oda whistling (Little Room). Sinkin' Soon has a jazz comedy feel. Wake me up and Be my somebody were the stand outs for me on the first few plays. Not too late is growing on me.
For only the second time in my life (for a whole album) I bought on i-tunes not CD. By pre-ordering I got some bonus live tracks.
You can see Rosie's Lullaby here and get the info that i-tunes doesn't seem to give you.
(Not too late? The majority of popular music is sold in December)

No Easy Task

I was at the first lunch time lecture of the year at the Evangelical Library today (in fact I was chairing). It was gratifying to be among over 30 people who had gathered to hear trustee Professor Paul Helm speak on the subject No easy task - Charles Hodge and Theology. Focusing on the first 17 pages of Hodge's Systematic Theology (see here for an online edition of Hodge) Dr Helm sought to do two things. Firstly, to defend Hodge against accusations of naivete and a perceived over-emphasis on propositions and secondly to stress the importnace of his material for today.
1. Professor Helm accused some modern scholars of failing to read Hodge properly and spoke of a veritable 'Hodge derision' industry. Kevin Van Hoozer was one cited by name. Hodge certainly believed in the inductive method of approaching Scripture - taking the data of Scripture and using the human mind to draw conclusions but people today often throw their hands up in horror at such a method.
Hodge in fact was not naive but recognised the difficulties in his task. (He himself uses the phrase 'no easy task').

Of course, the Bible is not a higgledy-piggledy collection of facts that can be arranged as suits the individual. Even in Scripture there is evidence of systematisation and order (not only in Paul but in John and perhaps in other places too). The bible's own self-interprettion is a help for those who would systematise.
He speaks too of dogmatic and speculative difficulties that we bring to Scripture when we either come to it with our minds already made up about things or fall into mysticism, on one hand, or philosophising on the other.
2. Professor Helm's plea then was for a reaffirmation of the fact that the Bible is objectively true. Though for sociological purposes the government and others may consider evangelicals to be a sect we are in fact people who stand on the objective truth of Scripture. It is a mistake to think that if a thing is objectively true it must be provable. Some things are not of that nature. We need to remember the Reformation view that 'councils have erred' and recognise our own fallibility without surrendering the idea that Scripture itself is infallible and inerrant. We are always 'on the way' as Hodge recognised but we do have the truth.
In his closing remarks Dr Helm urged us to check out what peole really say and not rely too much on secondary sources. When we find a scholar misrepresenting his source we should ask where he is really getting his ideas from. We need to recognise that in Scripture we find truth not just opinions. We must be determined to make a disciplined study of it.
A helpful brief time of discussion followed. It was nice to meet old friends and others including a young American man studying in Brighton present with his wife and baby son. There is another lecture on Feb 26 at the Library when Mostyn Roberts will be looking at Francis Schaeffer.

Thomas Adams New Blog

I've just opened up a new blog on the doctrinal Puritan Thomas Adams. A fascinating preacher, he is eminently quotable. See here

Jesus Christ Prince of Thieves

I had this passage in Calvin pointed out the other day. This translation has Prince of robbers but I suppose it could be Prince of thieves
See under comments on Mt 27:33-38; Mk 15:22-28; Lk 23:33-38

Then were crucified with him two robbers. It was the finishing stroke of the lowest disgrace when Christ was executed between two robbers; for they assigned him the most prominent place, as if he had been the prince of robbers. If he had been crucified apart from the other malefactors, there might have appeared to be a distinction between his case and theirs; but now he is not only confounded with them, but raised aloft, as if he had been by far the most detestable of all. On this account Mark applies to him the prediction of Isaiah, (53:12) he was reckoned among transgressors; for the prophet expressly says concerning Christ, that he will deliver his people, not by pomp and splendour, but because he will endure the punishment due to their sins. In order that he might free us from condemnation, this kind of expiation was necessary, that he might place himself in our room. Here we perceive how dreadful is the weight of the wrath of God against sins, for appeasing which it became necessary that Christ, who is eternal justice, should be ranked with robbers. We see, also, the inestimable love of Christ towards us, who, in order that he might admit us to the society of the holy angels, permitted himself to be classed as one of the wicked.

3.2 Solomon on the throne

Look not to false, fading would-be kings like the pretender Adonijah (continued)
2. Expect them to rely on mere worldly assets
To add to his prestige Adonijah ‘got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him’. It created an aura of power and prestige. Such pretenders know how to shine. Just in case we are tempted to be impressed the writer adds (verse 6) 'His father had never interfered with him by asking, Why do you behave as you do? He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.'
The parallel with his brothers Amnon and Absalom should alert us to the problem. Amnon was similarly left to find his own level by David and ended up raping his half-sister. In response, you may recall, Absalom killed Amnon. Absalom then staged a coup and forced David to retreat from Jerusalem into the desert. He too was a handsome man (like Saul and David’s eldest brother Eliab). Worldly considerations like impressive parades and good looks should not sway our judgement, but sadly they often do. We cannot appoint leaders on such a flimsy basis.
3. Expect them to find support
In verse 7 we are told ‘Adonijah conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest, and they gave him their support.’ He was not short of backers. The Head of the military and the High Priest, no less, were behind him. Joab is perhaps no surprise but one would have hoped more from Abiathar.
This reminds us that from both likely and unlikely sources pretenders are able to summon support. How often are people fooled into following false teachers just because certain people back them. That is why politicians are so eager to enlist the commendation of pop stars and sportsmen. This extends to religion. Because, say, Madonna follows the Kabbalah or Tom Cruise accepts scientology then some people are willing to give it credence. If some respected Christian leader commends a book or a cause it has a big influence. This is understandable but we must not make the mistake of thinking that such things prove that a cause must be right.
John Wesley was a fine evangelist but certain aspects of his doctrine do not bear close scrutiny. Something similar could be said of Richard Baxter and other great men of the past. And even the finest Christian leader will have some flaw or blind spot in his thinking or actions. A perusal of the lives of the saints in the Bible confirms that.
In verse 8 we read ‘But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei and David’s special guard did not join Adonijah.’ Before we get taken up with anyone’s ‘verse 7 qualifications’ we need to check their ‘verse 8 ones’ too, as it were. Look both at who supports and who does not support a person. We cannot ultimately make decisions on the basis of who is for or against something but it can help us to get our bearings.
4. Expect them to seek to establish themselves in worldly ways
In order to establish his claims Adonijah did what many would-be leaders have done. He had a
big party.
9, 10 'Adonijah then sacrificed sheep, cattle and fattened calves at the Stone of Zoheleth near En Rogel. He invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah who were royal officials, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the special guard or his brother Solomon.'
The true king was deliberately excluded. Again big meetings and lavish displays can take in the unwary. Remember Hitler once more. No-one put on larger or more spectacular rallies than he. It is superficial to be impressed by such things. They are all show and have no place for the true king.
5. Expect them eventually to fail and be brought down
What happened to Adonijah comes out at the end. When he and his guests heard that Solomon had been appointed as king (49) ‘Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm and dispersed.’ All his support came to nothing. As for Adonijah himself he (50) ‘in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar.’ The Temple was then thought of, as it might be now, as a place of sanctuary. Pretenders will cling to anything when they are going down. Solomon is told the situation and he says (52) ‘If he shows himself to be a worthy man, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.’
Solomon then has Adonijah brought to him. He bows down to the true king before being sent home. It is a picture of the way one day every knee will bow to the True King, including those who have set themselves up as false teachers and wicked leaders opposed to the True King Jesus. You too will bow one day if you have not already done so. Humble yourself now in this life before it is too late. Do not for a moment put your faith in those who will inevitably lead you astray.

Not Harry's Sister

As I said when I began this blog we don't get to the cinema often. It was Dydd Santes Ddwynwen yesterday, however, and so we went to see Miss Potter. It's been out a while now but if you get a chance .... It really is brilliant. Interesting, funny, well cast, moving, brilliant sets and scenery, 'U' certificate (though not for kids - the one steamy scene [!] appears in the trailer). I think it's pretty correct historically. Even the animation works, which I wasn't sure about.

Evangelical Times 40

I note that The Evangelical Times newspaper is now 40 years old. Congratulations! The current edition celebrates with backward glancing articles over the 40 years, mostly of an encouraging kind (the one on 40 years of moral decline clearly isn't). One thing lacking, as far as I can see, is something on the history of the paper itself. The facts appear to be hard to get at.
It began as a separatist paper for evangelicals. The first editor was Peter Masters (now pastor of Met Tab). Michael Buss and David Potter were also involved. The story goes that Dr Lloyd-Jones wasn't too keen at the start but came round. Much has changed since 1967. Editorship passed to the late Robert Horn, during whose time there was sadly a split so that another similar looking (less separatist?) paper began, Evangelicals Now. For many years the editor has been John Benton. Roger Fay is the main man at ET although Prof Edgar Andrews still has an important role. The basic beef between the two papers, I suppose, is how we deal with the contemporaneity question as evangelicals so (as the names suggest) EN comes out as 'hip' and ET as a bit staid. This is a pity as there are bigger issues here.

Gwyl Santes Ddwynwen

Today is St Dwynwen's day. In brief, (at least since the sixties) Welsh Valentines day.
The story goes that Dwynwen lived in the 5th Century AD. She was one of 24 daughters of St Brychan. She fell in love with a young man called Maelon. Stories differ substantially on the events that followed. Either she is raped by Maelon and prays for assistance, or she is unable to marry him due to her father's refusal and prays to forget her love for him. God apparently sent an angel bearing a potion for Maelon to drink. After drinking it, Maelon turns to ice. As well as receiving the potion, Dwynwen is allowed 3 requests from God. These three requests are that Maelon be released; that, through her, God look after all true lovers; and that she remain unmarried. At this point, she retreats to the solitude of Llanddwyn Island off the west coast of Anglesey to become a hermit until she dies c 460 AD. The site is still visited today.
For more check on Wikipedia or here or here.

Happy Birthday ICC, Soho

I got this cheering paragraph today from Andrew Murray
Today is a red letter day. 20 years ago today Immanuel Community Church, Soho, was formed! There were four original members, and three people ... waiting to be baptised and join the church (the baptisms took place a couple of weeks later) ... while we might be disappointed at how little progress seems to have been made in the past 20 years, perhaps we should rather be thankful to God for what he has done in sustaining the little church, now in fellowship with CGEC (Covent Garden Evangelical), and looking forward to what the future holds. Yesterday, the Soho members and Derek met with ... (someone who wants to be baptised and join the church) ... it was lovely to hear her tell the story of what God has done in her life.
The picture shows the church's Fair Trade shop in Soho.

Terse (firs' verse)

Hopes I nurse,
Dreams rehearse,
Thoughts immerse,
Lips I purse,
Quench a curse
('Drat' or worse),
Write this verse -
All too terse.

JA the classical element 2

Tabernakel (1973) is again diverse but has several classical elements. On Javeh and Lammy, especially the Amen, the classical input is strong and never far away. However, it is again on the lute tracks that it is most obvious. There are three tracks by John Dowland (1663-1626), ‘the greatest lutenist of his age’. The album opens with Britannia and features an orchestra and rhythm section. We also have two galliards (quick and lively Elizabethan dances), The earl of Derby, his galliard and another, simply here called A galliard. Dowland is revisited on track three of the later Live at the Priory: Heavy Sleep (better known as Come, heavy sleep). The second Tabernakel track is Coranto for Mrs. Murcott by Francis Pilkington (c1565-1638), on solo lute. We also have a galliard from Anthony Holborne (c1584-1602). His Last Will and Testament later features towards the end of the Lammy suite. An Elizabethan courtier, Holborne was possibly a lawyer and cultured well beyond the confines of music. He was also involved in diplomatic missions on behalf of Elizabeth’s secretary of state, Sir Robert Cecil. His best known publication was his Pavans, Galliards, Almains and other short Aeires published 1599, just three years before his premature death. The other two solo lute tracks on Tabernakel are A pavan (a more stately Elizabethan dance form) by Elizabethan composer, businessman and spy Thomas Morley (1557-1602), no doubt from his book of lute pieces The first book of ayres and A fantasy by the Italian Laurencini of Rome (c1550-1608).
The self-titled 1977 Jan Akkerman album features more jazz than classical music. The title Pavane, however, shows where Jan had been musically and Gate to Europe, featuring acoustic guitar and strings, is in classical vein. Something similar could be said of the album Eli made with Kaz Lux in 1976.
In 1978 Jan made an album with the German classical arranger and composer Claus Ogerman (b 1930). Later bearing various titles, the album was originally called Aranjuez. That title drew attention to the opening track – the adagio from the Concierto de Aranjuez by blind Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999), an inevitable choice perhaps. Other classical composers featured are Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). Author of over 2000 works, this experimental Brazilian composer drew on folk music and many diverse sources. Here Jan plays The Prelude from Modinha and The seed of God from Magdalena. Track four on the album is by 17th Century guitarist and composer Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710). He published one of the earliest books on guitar playing in 1694, Espanoleta. That track is followed by Pavane pour une infante defunte, an early work (1899) originally for piano, by French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937).
From 1978 there was perhaps something of a retreat from classical themes, although one does find such themes, for example, in Valdez on Pleasure Point (1981) and on the 1987 album Heartware in Winterborn Lyric and Firenze. It comes out, less obviously in Prima Donna from Art of Noise (1990), which is apparently about the opera singer Maria Callas.
With the release of the excellent Focus in Time in 1997 we return to classical themes big time. The opening track, Home voyage and the closing track I’ll find my own way home (the sleeve notes describe it as 'Acid Bach') are based on parts of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)and Well Tempered Clavier 1 (BWV 846-869). Three other classical composers are also plundered. Aprés un Rêve (Op 7 No 1) written in 1877 is adapted from French composer and organist Gabriel-Urbain Fauré (1845-1924) as is Elegy (from Op 20). The song for Akkerman’s daughter Laurie Anne is adapted from Norwegian Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) and Leading me there from W A Mozart (1756-1791). (Jan himself told me how he inadvertently sent the late Rick Van Der Linden who features on the track, on a wild goose chase looking for the air in the works of Bach instead of Mozart!). Wildflower, Akkerman’s own composition, also has something of a classical air.
The unplugged guitar album Live at the Priory, issued the following year, has many classical pieces. Wildflower is conjoined with the charming Altogether … Oh that! from Mother Focus. We have mentioned the Dowland piece. Le Clochard is prefaced by the appropriate Classical gas, a hit for Mason Williams back in 1968. Firenze is partnered by the jazz standard
Autumn Leaves.
Some of these tracks feature on the 1999 unplugged studio album Passion. In addition there is the Bach derived title track best known through the hymn O sacred head sore wounded; two tracks from Anthony Holborne (Countess of Pembrook’s Paradise and Muy Linda) and the anonymous piece labelled Knight of the Lute. The distinctive final track includes part of the Liebestraum (No 3) by Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Written around 1847 it is his most famous piece.
We are not talking about straight music then. Far from it. I'm thankful for that.

Six Nations Rugby

I'm not a huge rugby fan but being Welsh you can't ignore the Six Nations tournament which starts Feb 03. I understand that the filming my son did with Jeremy Guscott and Brian Moore the other day will feature in the Grandstand programmes in connection with the various games. There is a nice site where the two explain a bit about rugby here.

The Bloggy Man 14

Ice hockey

I was up during the night with my youngest coughing. We went downstairs and watched some TV. What's on in the middle of the night? There's The Mint an interactive quiz game for mugs. There was a history programme showing how, over 600 years, an English constitutional monarchy evolved out of Norman absolutism. Charles I was losing his head when I was looking. Then there's Goalissimo - a round up of professional soccer in various countries.
My boy went for Channel 5 and Nick Halling and Russell Chamberlain presenting live ice hockey action from the 2007 All Star Game in Dallas, Texas. 'The best players from the Eastern and Western Conferences battle it out in the NHL's showpiece event.' It was 12-9 to the West (or was it East). Did you know Nashville has a top ice hockey team? All the players are imported, of course. I remember someone in Atlanta telling me that thy encourage people to the games by saying 'come and watch our yankees play your yankees' (yankee here meaning northerner). Better than dancing on ice but I won't be taping the next game.
I was thinking how people must tune into the 'GOD' Channel and see it all going on but not get any nearer to the Lord. I know no more about ice hockey now than I did as a kid when, watching some Olympic game, my father imparted the information that I also passed on to my son last night. The flat thing is called a puck. I don't think that will get you far in NHL.

Gee, thanks!

One of my sons kindly made this for me. Diolch!

Wesley's Conversion

John Wesley (1703-1791), of course was a minister in the Church of England and 'the founder of Methodism' (at least the Arminian sort). Theologically, he emphasised free will along with predestination and faith along with works. Spiritually, he encouraged a life of prayer, Bible study and charity. Today, there are as many as 70 million Methodists worldwide. Methodism is not what it was but its roots are good. I'm glad people make a fuss about Wesley still. i just wish they remembered George Whitefield (1714-1770), his shorter lived Calvinistic counterpart. Down in the City yesterday I saw both the statue of Wesley in St Paul's churchyard and a bronze memorial Methodist Flame and plaque on Aldersgate Street put there in 1981 to commemorate his conversion experience (or was it something else?) on the site on May 24, 1738. It is at Nettleton Court, London EC2 on the first floor level of the Barbican complex, and is reached via stairways on either side of Aldersgate St, near the entrance to the Museum of London and can be seen at any time. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate.
The plaque records sections from his journal entry for May 24, 1738:

What occurred on Wednesday, the 24th, I think best to relate at large, after premising what may make it the better understood. Let him that cannot receive it ask the Father of lights that he would give more light to him and me. ...

I think it was about five this morning that I opened my Testament on those words: δι ων τα μεγιστα ημιν και τιμια επαγγελματα δεδωρηται ινα δια τουτων γενησθε θειας κοινωνοι φυσεως αποφυγοντες της εν κοσμω εν επιθυμια φθορας - ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.’ Just as I went out I opened it again on those words, ‘Thou art not far from the kingdom of the God.’
In the afternoon I was asked to go to St Paul’s [it's just around the corner]. The anthem was,
"Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? But there is mercy with thee; therefore thou shalt be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his sins."
14. In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
For more see here.

Grace Assembly 2007

The brochure is out now, so one more opportunity to promote this.

St Paul's Cross

Being at St Paul's yesterday I took opportunity to have a proper look at the St Paul's Cross memorial, which I've not done before. According to the plaque there the pulpit in St Paul's churchyard goes back to 1191. It was what Alexandra Walsham (Providence in early modern England, p 281) calls a ‘rostrum contemporaries revered as the ‘chiefest Watchtower’ and the very ‘stage of this land’’. She reproduces a crude 1625 woodcut of Thomas Brewer preaching there. There are better visuals here and a digest of a 1925 article by E Beresford Chancellor saying that it was the setting, perhaps the inspiration in part, for some of the most pregnant scenes in London’s, indeed England’s, history. Even before it was the cathedral pulpit, it was a traditional spot for announcing proclamations, civil and religious. At times of national crisis, Londoners were drawn there as by a magnet. Its history goes back at least to the 13th Century. Down the years declarations, proclamations and public confessions were made there; impostors and frauds were exposed, traitors denounced, sermons preached, books burned. In the late 15th Century the pulpit was rebuilt. Largely of timber, mounted on steps of stone with a lead covered roof and a low wall around, it held three or four. It was said that ‘All the Reformation was accomplished from the Cross’ - where my interest arose. It fell into disuse early in Elizabeth’s reign but was revived and continued until swept away in 1643. From then the site remained unmarked until in 1910 a new cross was built that marks the site today.

On the good ship again

I have a friend, a fellow minister, and we meet once a year in January, when he has a sort of sabbatical month. We first met in LTS and then were neighbours and so used to meet once a week in a downmarket cafe in Kilburn. This time round we had a look at the sites round St Paul's - Wesleyania, Smithfield, martyrs' memorial at Smithfield, etc, to inspire us. More anon, perhaps. We then grabbed a coffee in the Barbican Centre, talking all the while. As we sat there. He tested me on his portable music collection (very white and seventies). He was quite impressed by my knowledge, especially 'Tom, Tom turn around' by New World (amazingly I have their autograph somewhere) and 'Silver machine' by Hawkwind. He's really a football man rather than music (he gave me a nice illustration about Teddy Sherringham - still playing Premier League football because he not only likes the playing but the training too) and has all girls not boys like me. He has a much larger suburban church with elders and assistants, etc. But we're both the Lord's and set apart to the ministry. It's great to spend time with someone who understands that (and has a sense of humour and history). He was particularly helpful to me, as I shared my fears and failures, in reminding me of the importance of discipline. As we walked to Piccadilly Circus to part I thought 'good bloke (I must remember it's his turn to pay for the coffee next year)'.

Snow is cool

Like thousands of others we woke to snow this morning. It's thin but enough to make you feel nice inside (I haven't been out yet). No basketball today.

Nice day

It's towards the end of another busy day. I've just come in from chairing a committee down at Cafe Eterno, Covent Garden. We seek to support the church planting work there and in Soho through the London Inreach Project. There are many encouragements but some difficulties too in a slow and demanding work. It's pretty cold out.
Eleri's watching TV with our eldest (17) after a hard day's work around the house. He's been writing an essay on Shakespeare's Much ado about nothing. The next two are in bed about to go off (I hope). Number two (13) says he's aching all over after doing school rugby training down at Old Deer Park (the London Welsh ground) with ex-England players Brian Moore and Jeremy Guscott. (They won a BBC competition). He came back with a nice autographed ball and was on local TV. The two youngest are tucked up in bed. They had no school today as a tree has half come down in last week's winds and was being dealt with by a tree surgeon today. They had a friend round for most of the day and found plenty of fun things to do as well as homework. Number four (8) has been researching the London plague and fire of the 1660s and preparing a 'show and tell' on the baseball match we went to see last summer in the US.

JA the classical element 1

The word ‘classical’ has many meanings. Here we use it to refer to older and more traditional musical styles as opposed to more contemporary and popular ones. I am not a great fan of classical music, though I have very many classical CDs. Much of my classical education has been via men like Jan Akkerman.
Akkerman’s most famous period was with Focus in the 1970s. He remarkably finished the At the Rainbow concert by coming on stage and performing a Dowland piece on solo lute. See here. He had become interested in the instrument through seeing Julian Bream in concert. It seems that the live act often included a Menuett from J S Bach (1685-1750) and the fourth movement of the Concerto for Orchestra by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok (1881-1945), among other things classical, that were never released. Akkerman expressed particular appreciation for Bach and for Bartok's Concerto and Third Piano Concerto. In an interview from the period he neatly sums up the difference between the two. Bach, he says, sought to make earthly music and made heavenly, while Bartok sought to make heavenly music and made beautiful earthly music.

Even without such comments journalists at the time were not slow to spot the classical influence on the music. Relistening to the recorded corpus this is not immediately obvious. The careful listener, however, soon spots the influence as far back as the coda to Anonymus (In and out) through to the Hamburger Concerto album and beyond. It is sometimes in the background as with Anonymus, Eruption (Moving Waves) or P’s March and Spake the Lord Creator (Ship of Memories) or there are parodies such as with the opera singing on Hamburger Concerto or the harpsichord intro to Birth (Hamburger Concerto). Then there are tracks in a classical style such as Le Clochard (Moving Waves) on guitar or Elspeth of Nottingham (Focus 3) on lute.
It was apparently intended that Eruption should include adaptations from Bartok but his family refused permission. At least one listener has spotted a lift from the opera Orpheus and Euridice by Monteverdi (1567-1643) and believes there is also a quotation from the opera of the same name by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787).
As for direct lifts from classical composers, however, there appear only to be some three tracks of this sort. They are Delitae Musicae and the Starter from the title track of Hamburger Concerto and Father Bach (Mother Focus). The first is credited to good old Anonymous. The story goes that Akkerman found a manuscript by an old Belgian composer from Antwerp in a London music shop. It was then arranged for lute and recorder with Van Leer. It has been suggested that the piece is the work of a J Hove whose lute arrangement of a motet appeared in 1612 as Delitiae Musicae Cantiones. Starter uses the theme best known as The St Anthony Chorale. It was written by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) as a trumpet serenade and later taken up by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) in his Variations on a theme by Haydn (Op 56a), completed in 1873. The third piece is based on part of Bach’s St Matthew Passion of 1729.
Turning to Akkerman’s solo output we remind ourselves that his very first release, aged 15, was a rocked up version of Melody in F (but played in 'A') by American classical pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982). We can make similar divisions to those above. The albums vary in classical content from some (eg Tabernakel) that are full of it to others (eg CU) that appear to have none at all.
Guitar for Sale, the debut album, gives only a slight hint of classicism with the Jewish traditional Hineimatov. The next two albums have several classical themes. Profile (1972) is very diverse and shows plenty of evidence of Akkerman’s classical training on the second side where four of seven tracks are in a classical style for solo guitar or lute. First, the anonymous Kemp’s jig, on lute. William Kemp was apparently a Shakespearian actor who came to fame with his nine days wonder - a morris dance performed from London to Norwich in the days of Elizabeth I. Then comes an etude by Matteo Carcassi (1792-1853), a leading 19th Century guitarist-composer. Born in Florence he began as a pianist but changed to guitar, beginning a concert career in Germany in 1810. He moved from place to place but was eventually based in Paris where he died. His fame there rivalled that of Carulli, though the two differed greatly in technique and style. Carcassi left almost a hundred works for guitar, all of romantic taste, brilliant and technically demanding. His Method (Op 59) is still considered among the best didactic works of 19th Century guitar masters and his etudes (Op 60) are popular. Track four is by Austrian composer Antonio Diabelli (1781-1858). Andante Sostenuto, as its title suggests, is slow and sustained. It is from a Guitar Sonata (Op 29 No 3) and is described by one aficionado as ‘almost too beautiful to be true’. The sixth track is a short lute composition of Akkerman’s own - Minstrel/Farmers dance.
To be continued

Bio 05 George Matheson

We recently sang O Love that wilt not let me go setting me thinking on the hymn and its author.

The authorGeorge Matheson (1842–1906) ‘the Blind Preacher’ was Glasgow born and the eldest of eight. His parents were George Matheson, a prosperous Glasgow merchant, and Jane Matheson, his father's second cousin. From childhood he suffered with eye problems and by his late teens was almost totally blind. It did not deter him from an early ambition to enter the ministry. At the Glasgow Academy he gained a competent knowledge of the classics and modern languages, winning many prizes. He went on, in 1857, to Glasgow University, graduating BA (Hons) in philosophy, 1861, and gaining his MA, 1862. At the Divinity Hall he was much influenced by Hegelian John Caird. He gained a BD in 1866.
Licensed by the Glasgow presbytery he assisted Dr MacDuff at Sandyford church, Glasgow for a short while then became minister of Innellan church on the Firth of Clyde, in Argyll, where he remained for 18 years, his preaching gifts rapidly maturing. For a period he grew dissatisfied with the Calvinist theology he was nurtured in and was tempted, he later revealed, to reject religion entirely. Studies in Hegelian philosophy apparently kept him from agnosticism.
With a brilliant memory, he wrote hundreds of articles and many books with the help of a secretary or, later, by braille and typewriter. His first book in 1874 was anonymous. Aids to the Study of German Theology attempted to show liberal theology to be positive and constructive. It passed into three editions in as many years. In 1877 The Growth of the Spirit of Christianity, a two volume philosophical presentation of the history of the church to the Reformation appeared. Natural Elements of Revealed Theology (Baird lecture, 1881) used comparative religion to defend Christianity and the 18812 St Giles lecture was on Confucianism. Can the Old Faith Live with the New? or, The Problem of Evolution and Revelation (1885) argued that accepting evolution would not undermine the faith. He also wrote popular devotional books. My Aspirations (1883) and Words by the Wayside (1896) were both translated into German. His Sacred Songs appeared in 1890, his famous hymn being in the third edition (1904).
In October 1885 he was invited to Balmoral by Queen Victoria to preach for her. She had his sermon on Job published. In 1879 he had declined an invitation to be a minister in London, but in 1886 moved to St Bernard's, Edinburgh, where he was very successful. Despite his handicap, he was a dramatic preacher, many not realising he was blind. In 1897 poor health led him to seek assistance and in 1899 he retired, devoting his latter years mostly to study and writing. He received an honorary DD, 1879 and a LLD, 1902 and in 1890 was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Other theological works include The Psalmist and the Scientist, or, The Modern Value of the Religious Sentiment (1887), popularising views found in Can the Old Faith Live with the new? The Distinctive Messages of the Old Religions (1892). The Lady Ecclesia (1896) is an allegory on the development of the spirit of Christ in the church and the individual. Studies of the Portrait of Christ (Vol 1, 1899; vol 2, 1900), was a popular book, characteristic of him.
His learning was varied rather than profound. He is said to have been more of a visionary than a balanced judge. His strength lay in his 'vivid apprehension of the factors which make the Christian personality, rather than in constructive doctrinal statement'. He has been called 'a conspicuous and effective representative of liberal theology'. Invariably radiant and cheerful, he was a great optimist though sometimes tempted to despair. Never married, he lived with his eldest sister Jane, to whom he attributed much of his happiness and success. She kept house for him, helped him with the parish and wrote essays and early sermons at his dictation.
He died suddenly of apoplexy on holiday in North Berwick in 1906. He was buried in Glasgow. A biography by D McMillan appeared in 1907.
The hymnHe wrote Oh Love that wilt not let me go on the day of a sister's marriage. He always credited Dr Peace who wrote the music for it, with much of the praise for its success. When it appeared in a hymn book for the first time he was asked to change the word 'climb' as in 'I climb the rainbow through the storm' to 'trace' which he willingly agreed to, though some have criticised him for it.
Writing of the hymn's composition Matheson said it was composed
on the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a day spring from on high.Many conjectures have been made as to the 'mental distress' he suffered. Probably because of the opening line it is suggested he had been bitterly disappointed in his hopes of marrying a young woman to whom he had become deeply attached. It is said that she refused to marry because he was blind. If there was such an incident it would surely have occurred years before. Other suggestions are a bereavement or a concern over the inroads of Darwinism into the church. As with Paul's 'thorn in the flesh' we do not know.
Other lines perhaps worth mentioning are the final ones - 'I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.' I must confess that I always took it to mean 'I lie in dust, life's glory dead,' but, of course, the English words 'lie' and 'lay' have different meanings and Matheson means 'I lay life's glory in the dust' - a much more evangelical thought.

TvL The religious element

I remember once hearing that Simon and Garfunkel split over a religious difference. There is apparently no truth in the rumour. A conspiracy theorist might stand a better chance of trying to explain the Thijs Van Leer, Jan Akkerman split in such terms.
I've highlighted the religious element in Akkerman’s music elsewhere. When it comes to Van Leer the task is pretty straightforward.
In 1981 the Van Leer penned album Donna Nobis Pacem (Give us peace) was released with three other artists under the name Pedalpoint. With Latin and Greek lyrics, it is basically a traditional mass with one or two other bits thrown in. In the sleeve notes, Van Leer gives thanks to the Lord for it all. Straddling the classical and rock genres as it does it is one of his best solo albums.
Two albums chiefly of hymn tunes have also appeared (The glorious album and Instrumental hymns, also released in Holland as De Mooiste Liedere – The best songs). Van Leer is not over proud of these as they can tend toward a Claydermanesque muzakishness in places but at times they are worthy to be ranked alongside some of the fine Introspection tracks.
Then there are the Christmas albums. There are four of these. The first was Music per la notte de natale (1976) featuring 11 Christmas hymns in a classical style, with Louis Van Dijk, Rogier Van Otterloo and others. Then came the similarly conceived Kerst met Thijs van Leer en Elly Ameling in de Grote Kerk te Monnickendam (1982) with several Christmas carols. [The picture shows a version of the two combined]. There was also Joy to the world, which like the more down home Kerstconcert was produced with diverse contributions from family members and others and includes several carols.
Of course, when we speak of the religious element in Van Leer’s music the name of J S Bach can never be far away. Van Leer is on record, back in 1976, as saying that he and Akkerman ‘always agreed that our ideal composers were Bach and Bartok.’ He goes on to say that ‘Bach always has that radiance, knowing it was the music of the truth of Jesus Christ ... Rock could still be the language of our day in that way.’ Years later in 1999 he was one of several musicians to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Bach’s death in 2000. He released Bach for a new age which featured well known pieces, including reworkings of Erbarme dich from the St Matthew Passion; Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring; Sheep may safely graze; Ave Maria from the well-tempered clavier and Agnus Dei from the Mass in B minor. Most of the tracks had previously featured, differently arranged, on the delightful Introspection albums that appeared mainly in the seventies and were so successful. They include several religious pieces chiefly from Bach and Handel.
It would be wrong to think that the religious element of the music is confined to the solo output. Even in Focus days it was a feature. Several early albums include what amounts to a hymn from Van Leer. On Moving Waves it is the title track, a setting of the words of the Sufi Muslim Inayat Khan. On Focus 3 Latin verse from Virgil breaks up the raucous Round goes the gossip. On Hamburger Concerto it is simply an old Dutch Christmas hymn inserted into the title track. Perhaps where the first and last original Focus albums went wrong (if they did) was in not including a hymn!
The more one looks for this religious element the more one sees it. It is there in a title like Carmen Elysium (Introspection 2) for example (later reworked as P’s March on Ship of Memories) and in a track like La Cathedrale de Strasbourg which is ostensibly about camping holidays but has bells, church organ and an 'Amen'. What about his penchant for speaking and singing in tongues, evidenced on some more recent recordings? In a 2006 interview Van Leer made a rare reference to being Jewish. Such a revelation may come as a surprise when one considers the amount of Christian harmony in his output, however a closer listen might perhaps reveal a strand of Jewishness making up yet another element in the Van Leer repertoire and proving a further factor to note when considering what makes it so attractive.

The Bloggy Man 13

This one courtesy of my friend, Tom. Thanks Tom.

She'll teach you to yodel

I've always liked yodelling (my dad loves to do it). This bit of footage features 11 year old Taylor Ware on an American talent show last year singing one of my favourite songs (we had the Frank Ifield version at home as I was growing up). The whole thing lasts 2' 22". Give it a listen.

3.1 Solomon on the throne

We next need to look at how Solomon became king, his succession to his father David. Solomon’s story is found in the Bible's history books. There are three main ones, each divided in two because of their size - Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. Solomon’s story is chiefly found in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. In this chapter we concentrate on 1 Kings 1, verses that have no parallel in Chronicles or elsewhere.
On first reading, it seems a slightly strange chapter in some ways. It appears to leap into the middle of things rather. The history to be found in the Books of Samuel (about Samuel, Saul and David) is assumed. A feature of the chapter is that it contains a number of speeches – from Nathan, Bathsheba and David. There is also a lot of repetition. You may notice that one phrase or something like it occurs no less than nine times – see verses 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 30, 35, 46 and 48: 'and he will sit on my throne; and he will sit on my throne; who will sit on the throne of my lord the king; and that he will sit on your throne; who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him; and he will sit on my throne; and sit on my throne; Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne; a successor on my throne today.' There need be no doubt about the subject of this chapter then – who sits on the throne!
Here we have three kings or possible kings, all from the same family – David, Adonijah and Solomon. They portray for us, successively, an old king leaving his throne behind, a pretender to the throne and the true king on his throne. Thus we learn about Solomon negatively by learning what he is not and then positively by learning about his accession.
You may wonder how such information can be of any use to us today but the question of who is on the throne is always highly relevant - not who is on the English throne or who rules America or Israel but who is the ultimate ruler of all. This chapter helps us think that matter through. So we will look at these three kings or would-be-kings and learn from them where to look.

Do not look to puny, passing human rulers like dying David
David is, of course, a type of Jesus Christ in many ways but at this point he is weak and old, his kingship is coming to an end and he personifies the weak and transitory nature of all human kingship. We are told in verse 1 that he ‘was old and well advanced in years’. One of his big problems was that ‘he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him’. You may know that babies and old people are particularly susceptible to hypothermia because of their inability to shiver and so warm their bodies. That is how weak David was by this stage – too weak to even shiver. He was also getting out of touch with what was going on. This comes out in verse 18.
We are told that David’s servants adopted what seems to us a rather odd solution, one that sounds rather unethical. However, before we are too quick to jump to conclusions, we should remember that this is before the invention of central heating or electric blankets. It is surprising what has been done to deal with medical problems, especially in the past. I remember my father telling me about a boy he knew who had to eat live maggots to deal with a stomach growth!
So David’s servants say to him (verse 2) ‘Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.’ The idea of using another person to warm David up makes sense. But who? To sell the idea to David they had to make it sound attractive. So, we learn how ‘they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.’ Inevitably ‘The girl was very beautiful’. ‘She took care of the king and waited on him.’
The note – ‘but the king had no intimate relations with her’ is seen by some as further evidence of David’s decrepitude – the great lover can no longer perform! It is more likely that Abishag is introduced here partly to explain what Adonijah does later. The note is intended to clarify David’s relationship with her.
David’s weakness and old age here sum up the nature of human rule and leadership. For all its strengths, it is fundamentally weak and cannot last. Parents and husbands die. Preachers pass away. Political leaders do not last. We need to recognise this fundamental fact so that we do not put our ultimate trust in any merely human power. Psalm 146:3 and 118:9 admonish us 'Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save … It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes'.

Do not look to false, fading would-be kings like ambitious Adonijah
So with a weak and old king on the throne and nothing apparently yet certain about his successor, there was something of a power vacuum in Israel. Such times come to God’s kingdom, times of change and transition – how we react at such times is important. A passage like this encourages us to remember that through it all God is in control. If we look to him, all will be well. Such circumstances suit opportunists like David’s son Adonijah and the godly need to beware. We can say several things about such would-be kings. We begin with this one
1. Expect them to put themselves forward
At this time it was not automatically the eldest son who succeeded. As a senior son Adonijah felt his claim was as good as any and rather than waiting for David’s death he decided to push himself forward. Verse 5 'Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, I will be king.'
He volunteered himself. It may surprise you to know how many people get to positions of power simply by pushing themselves forward. That is basically how Hitler came to power. Mere personal recommendation is not enough, however. Our leaders need to be those with a little more than a willingness to serve. When we choose our political leaders or elders and deacons in churches we need to do more than simply find volunteers! Our heroes should not just be those that the media promote either.


There is apparently an article on Jan Akkerman in February's Guitar Player. Clearly aimed at those interested in guitar amplification.

Faithful Shepherd 5a

I've just posted Chap 5 Part 1 of Faithful Shepherd here

Bio 04b John Darrell Exorcist

The Darling and Starkey exorcisms were sensational triumphs in which Darrell, assisted by other godly ministers, had succeeded in curing demoniacs while the remedies of medical men and folk healers had proved ineffective. In an effort to build on these successes, Darrell and his followers began to broadcast his achievements in print. Notes of Darling's possession, taken by Jesse Bee, a relative, were edited by John Denison, then sent to Darrell and Hildersham for approval, finally being published in June 1597 as 'The most Wonderfull and True Storie'. A note at the end of Bee's book promised readers that an account of Darrell's exorcism of the Starkey demoniacs would soon be printed. A few months later, in August 1597, this account duly appeared. It was the work of John Dickens, a local minister who had participated in the exorcisms. No copies survive. It should not be confused with later works by Darrell and More on the Starkey exorcisms. There appears to have been a sustained effort to publish accounts of Darrell's exploits, with support from godly witnesses.

William Somers
In November 1597 Darrell, at the invitation of the town authorities, arrived in Nottingham to cure William Somers, an apprentice musician who claimed to be possessed. Apparently an alleged gift of tongues was one of the prominent features of this possession as well as others. On the evening of 7 November, Darrell exorcised Somers before an enthusiastic crowd. Shortly afterwards, Darrell was appointed preacher at St Mary's, Nottingham. Somers, however, then claimed to have been repossessed and was exorcised again by Darrell only to be repossessed once more. This cycle of possession, exorcism and repossession continued several weeks. By the end of November, Somers, along with his sister Mary Cowper, who also claimed to be possessed, were denouncing specific individuals as witches responsible for their possession. Acting on these denunciations, Darrell had 13 people arrested. Eventually all but two were released. Alice Freeman, one of two suspects not released, was related to William Freeman JP, an alderman of Nottingham. The magistrate had Somers arrested on a countercharge of witchcraft.

In February, Somers confessed to fraud, not witchcraft. To support his confession he feigned convulsions before the mayor and certain aldermen. A commission was established by Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of York, to investigate. It was convened in Nottingham on 20 March 1598. Composed of a mixture of prominent local lay and clerical figures, it was heavily biased in Darrell's favour - an indication of the depth of his support. The commission declared that Somers had been genuinely possessed and cleared Darrell of wrongdoing. Darrell's opponents put pressure on Hutton, however, and he deprived the exorcist of his licence to preach on 20 April. They also complained to John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, who summoned Darrell to Lambeth, where he was imprisoned along with George More.

After being in prison more than a year, Darrell and More were found guilty of fraud by the commissioners for ecclesiastical causes, in late May 1599. They were deprived of their livings and returned to prison to await sentence. An acrimonious controversy ensued that lasted four years and provoked a pamphlet war with more than a dozen publications. Darrell's opponents, led by Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London, and his chaplain Samuel Harsnett (later Archbishop of York), a man powerful in his sarcasm, were well placed to sponsor sermons and printed attacks on Darrell and to suppress works defending him. The debate centered around who was speaking in cases of possession. Darrell argued for multiple beings inside one frame evidenced by multiple voices. Voice was seen as inseparable from being. Harsnett argued for ventriloquism, which would constitute trickery, and would thus undoubtedly be the work of the devil. The substance of the debate centred on the authority and provenance to be ascribed to human and inhuman voices.

Darrell clearly enjoyed well-organised support, since works championing him poured from foreign and clandestine presses. Although he was quietly released in summer 1599 he went underground and by the end of 1602 had published five works on his own behalf. He was also said to have visited a possessed boy in Cheshire in the early 1600s. His career as an exorcist, however, was really over, and he eventually returned to the Mansfield area. Along with his wife and household, he was taken to court in 1607 for not receiving communion. In the autumn of the same year he preached without licence in at least two churches in the area. After this there is no further record of him, unless (as is highly probable) he was the John Dayrell who wrote a book attacking the Brownists in 1617.

Bio 04a John Darrell Exorcist

Cleworth Hall
Recent studies of my own have brought to light the name of John Darrell (c1562-1607). In the ODNB, Thomas S Freeman describes him as 'the most spectacularly successful and celebrated (or notorious) of the Puritan exorcists, who included Edward Nyndge, John Foxe, Richard Rothwell and Robert Balsom. His career, and the difficulty Bancroft had in ending it, largely inspired the canon 72, which forbids exorcism without episcopal permission.'
Others describe Darrell as a godly Protestant who acquired a reputation as an exorcist quite unwillingly. They point out that 'his preferred method of ridding the possessed of their demons was to prescribe fasting and prayer and to leave them to their fate.' They suggest that it was his apparent successes that made him enemies and led to his imprisonment. What follows is based largely on Freeman's article but I have consulted other articles available online.

John Foxe
Foxe (1516-1587) and his brush with demon possession is another story, though it is fair to say that he 'remained the standard by which Protestant dispossessors of demons measured themselves'. Darrell himself cites Foxe as the most authoritative Protestant cleric on the authenticity of possession and includes him in his list of clerics who asserted that casting out devils was natural rather than miraculous. Darrell claimed to surpass Foxe's expertise by faulting his credulity and lack of skill. Darrell's associate, George More, asserted that he and Darrell were divinely inspired to discern possession directly because it had pleased God to imbue them with an immediate spiritual perception of demonic presence while Foxe had been able to discern possession only indirectly, through his intellect. Darrell, on the other hand, wrote that ‘The expulsion of Satan by prayer, or fasting and prayer is no miracle, because it is brought to pass by means ordained to that end.’ Prayer and fasting ‘is as effectual through the blessing of God upon this his ordinance to cast Satan forth of those he possesses as the best medicine we have is to cure any natural disease’.

Darrell was born in Nottinghamshire, probably in the Mansfield area, the son of one Henry Darrell. He became a sizar of Queens' College, Cambridge, in June 1575, graduating BA in 1579. He subsequently left Cambridge and studied law at an inn of court in London before returning to home to take up farming. He married at some stage. His wife's name is unknown.
His reputation as an exorcist must have begun before 1586 but it was in that year that he was asked to deal with a reputed demoniac, Katherine Wright. According to Samuel Harsnett, who was to become Darrell's chief adversary, he was already known as ‘a man of hope, for the releeving of those that were distressed in this sort’. After two sessions with Wright, held several weeks apart, Darrell was credited with having expelled her demons. He also attempted to prosecute a local woman whom Wright accused of bewitching her. According to Harsnett this led to a confrontation with local magistrate Geoffrey Fouljambe. If so, it is remarkable that the magistrate's wife, Isabel, was sent a written account of the exorcism by Darrell himself. Isabel Fouljambe (nee Wray, later Bowes, then Darcy) was a patron to later Puritan preachers such as Richard Bernard and Richard Rothwell and was closely associated with a group of Puritan clergy led by Arthur Hildersham centred in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. These Puritans were to become Darrell's most important supporters. It is likely that Isabel introduced Darrell to them.

Thomas Darling
Some time after the Wright exorcism, Darrell moved first to Bulwell, near Nottingham, then to Ashby, where he settled. He was an enthusiastic participant in godly exercises throughout the Midlands and is known to have preached at Ashby. During this period he led an exemplary life and later produced testimonials to his good character from the people of the places where he lived. Even Abraham Hartwell, who later attacked Darrell, had to acknowledge his ‘Stoicall conversation and holy life’.
Darrell's rise to more than local fame began with his exorcism of Thomas Darling, an adolescent demoniac of Burton upon Trent, on 28 May 1596. Darling was said to have seen green angels and demonic cats, as well as having extended dramatic conversations with a duo of devils and Jesus Christ. As in Wright's case, a local woman was accused of causing possession by means of witchcraft. This time the accused was convicted and died in prison, though there is no evidence Darrell had anything to do with her prosecution.

Cleworth Hall
Darrell, along with George More, capped this by exorcising some seven demoniacs in the household of Nicholas Starkey, a Lancashire gentleman at Cleworth hall, Tyldesley, on 17 and 18 March, 1597. Starkey had consulted the celebrated John Dee, alchemist and astronomer, about the behaviour of a number of people in his household, all of whom showed signs of possession. Dee advised him to seek the help of godly preachers and to engage in prayer and fasting. Only one person, a Jane Ashton, was able to resist Darrell and More. More put this down to the interference of Catholic priests.
To be continued

Know what you believe 1b

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down *or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture:* unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God and government of the church common to human actions and societies which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
**WC in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:
1. The Bible is sufficient. It teaches all we need to know for God’s glory and our salvation, what to believe and what to do. If not set out explicitly there, it can be logically deduced from it. Our need is not fresh revelation but better Bible knowledge. Study it to know what honours God, how to be saved, what to believe, how to live. Even less obvious things can be known by a more diligent study of its contents.
2. Add nothing to the Bible – not old traditions nor 'new revelations'. Reject both Catholicism and Charismania. Don't follow mere tradition or expect prophecies to supplement the Bible.
3. To understand the Word in a way that leads to salvation we need the Spirit to enlighten our minds. Some have a vast knowledge of the Bible but are unsaved because they lack the Spirit. Pray he will illumine your thinking so that you understand the Bible and are changed by it.
4. The Bible does not go into every practical detail of worship and church order. Some things have to be worked out with honesty and sanctified common sense in light of its general teaching. The Bible does not tell what time to meet on Sundays! With a good conscience work at thinking through the practical details of worship and organising church life on biblical lines.
7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all. Yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.
1. The Bible is clear but not all parts are equally clear and some parts are less easy to understand. Also, some see things quicker than others. Don’t be surprised if there are parts that at first you find hard to understand.
2. However, the Bible is clear enough for both educated and uneducated, by ordinary means, to know all they need to know - what to believe and how to be saved. Never doubt that the Bible is clear enough for even the least educated to be saved if they are willing to hear.
3. The way to know how to be saved is to read the Bible and hear it preached. To be saved – read the Word and hear it preached. Pray that more will hear and be saved.
8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old) and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded in the fear of God to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and comfort of the Scriptures may have hope.
1. The Bible, as originally given, is directly inspired by God. He has also watched over it so that we can still have its message today. Consider the Bible, as originally given, truly God-breathed.
2. The Bible has supreme authority for God's people, the church. Accept that our highest authority must always be the Bible.
3. All believers have a right and a duty to read and study the Bible so it should be translated for that to read it, each having his own copy. Be thankful for the Bible in your own language and read it every day.
4. This is how we can all know the riches in God’s Word and worship acceptably, full of hope. Reverently study the Bible and fill your mind with it so that you can worship him in an acceptable way and, helped by the Bible, be filled with hope.
9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
1. The only infallible rule for interpreting the Bible is the Bible itself. Get help from other authorities but don't make them your rule for understanding the Bible. Your rule for understanding the Bible should be the Bible itself.
2. The Bible is a unity and there are no real contradictions. Accept that though the Bible may appear to contradict itself at certain points it never does so in fact.
3. The clearer parts of the Bible should be used to interpret the less clear. Always understand the Bible on its own terms. Compare Scripture with Scripture. What we need is, as it were, two Bibles – one to interpret the other.
4. The Bible has only one meaning. It may have different applications or different fulfilments but there is only one true meaning.
10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private spirits are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but *the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit, into which Scripture so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.*
**WC the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
1. The Bible is the supreme judge in every religious question. Accept that what the Bible says is the final judge in any and every religious question.
2. It is superior to statements by church councils, ancient writers and all other human opinions public or private. Beware of giving human opinion of any sort a higher place than the Bible. Even this confession is subject to the Bible.
3. Our faith must rest only on what God has said in the Bible through his Spirit. Be sure that all you believe is rooted only in what the Bible says.

Know what you believe 1a

A simple study of the 1689 Baptist Confession
It's easy to say I believe the Bible but we need to pin down what a person believes it says. Confessions of Faith are useful for
1 Public affirmation and defence of the truth
2 Providing a public standard of fellowship and discipline
3 Providing a concise standard for evaluating ministers of the Word
4 Giving us a sense of historical continuity
The 1689 Baptist (2nd London) Confession is the one I adhere to most closely. The briefer 1st London Confession was issued in 1644, the 2nd London was actually put together in 1677 but not published then, owing to persecution. Like the Congregationalist Savoy Declaration (1658) the 1689 closely follows, where it can, the Presbyterian Westminster Confession (1647).

In red we have the original confession (only punctuation has been altered) followed by comments in blue.
1: The Holy Scriptures
1. The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable, yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself and to declare that his will unto his church and afterward, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.
1. How to be saved, what saving faith is and how to live to please God is revealed in the Bible in sufficient detail, clearly enough and without errors. If you want to know how to be saved, what to believe or how to live as a Christian, look in the Bible. It's there!
2. Man’s conscience, creation and providence (general or natural revelation) are enough to teach us there is a good, wise and powerful God so disobedience is inexcusable. By nature we are ignorant of salvation but we do know God is there so we have no reason not to serve him. Stop making excuses and search the Bible to know God.
3. Because we don't know enough to be saved, it has pleased God at different times, in different ways to supply a special, supernatural revelation of himself to his chosen people. It is a mercy that God has revealed himself, something for which we should be very thankful.
4. So that the truth may be preserved, widely known, kept pure and help God's people despite the world, the flesh and the devil, these revelations were written down. The Bible is now the only source of these essential revelations. We ought to love and get to know the one book in which God shows us all we need to know.
2. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these:
OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of the Apostles, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
All of which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.
3. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon or rule of the Scripture, and, therefore, are of no authority to the church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of than other human writings.
1. Positively, the Bible contains all the books of Old and New Testaments. We ought to know that God’s revelation came in two stages and be able to see the differences between the two.
2. All 66 books are God breathed and are the only rule for what to believe and how to live. Believe that the Bible is from God and let it regulate all your beliefs and actions.
3. Negatively, the Apocrypha is not part of the Bible and deserves no more respect or use than any other human writing.
4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed [and obeyed], dependeth not upon the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.
5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church of God to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scriptures; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, and the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scopeof the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation and many other incomparable excellencies and entire perfections thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.
1. We must accept the Bible as God's Word because of its own inherent authority not what the church or anyone else says. Accept the Bible for what it is. If we believe because the church says we should, the church becomes our highest authority.
2. The Spirit can use external and internal testimony to authenticate the Bible. The church’s witness and the Bible’s self-authenticating testimony (heavenly content, life-changing power, majestic style, perfect harmony, glorification of God, revelation of salvation and other great qualities and perfections) show it is God’s Word. One of the best ways to see what the Bible is, is simply to read it. Don't ignore the church’s witness or the Bible’s own self-authentication.
3. To be entirely sure of the Bible's infallible truth and divine authority we need the Spirit’s direct inward witness through and with the Word. If you doubt the Bible's infallibility and authority, ask God’s Spirit to help you to see it.
Differences between the Westminster and 1689 are minor here. I've highlighted them in black (for additions) and pink (for subtractions). The opening addition puts a clear emphasis on Scripture from the beginning. See here.