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.

Library Lecture on Matthew Henry

It was good to be at the Evangelical Library on Monday to hear Jeremy Walker sin the lunch hour on Matthew Henry, who was born 350 years ago this year.
Jeremy helpfully outlined what little there is to say about the great Matthew Henry and then gave us a brief tour of his preaching, his famous commentary and the other works for which he is rightly remembered today. There was then a brief time for questions.
This was the second of our lunch time lectures this quarter and it was particularly gratifying to see such a good attendance with more than 20 present. Perhaps the choice of a half term Monday was a help.
A recording of the excellent talk was made and that is available through the Library. We also hope to put the lecture in print quite soon.
Do come along to our next lecture at the usual time of 1 pm on November 26 when the speaker will be Dr Robert Strivens of LTS, looking at the subject of ministerial academies.

Novelists 15 Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley (1797-1851) I thought it was about time we got back to the novelists series. Given the date John Polidori (author of The Vampyre) would have been good but the author of the gothic novel Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus of 1818 is just as good. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin was a novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, but is best known for her much copied novel. She also edited the poems of her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, whom she married after scandalously eloping with him to Italy and after the suicide of his first wife. Her husband drowned six years on. She wrote at least five other novels.

Hairstyles 20 Tonsure

Hairstyles 19 Shag cut

I'm sure we used to say scrag cut but I can't find it referenced anywhere

Speaking on 1662 in Wrexham

It was gratifying to see fifty or sixty last Saturday night, gathered at Borras Park Evangelical Church in Wrexham, many of the faces more or less familiar to me. I was speaking again on 1662 and tried once more to tailor it to the audience by looking not only at Joseph Allein but also Philip Henry and mentioning two or three other locals including Judge Jeffreys (as the church is in Jeffreys Road). We had a good question session and sold a few more books (the book now has a second impression, which is good). I also got to spend a short while with my good frienc Chris Buckingham (to whom the book is dedicated). The journey there had been a little traumatic in that I left later than intended as our car broke down the night before and could not be fixed so I had to hire a car. Coming back was a breeze as I had an extra hour to play with.

Lord's Day October 29 2012

Sunday was a little bit different in that I was preaching over in South Hackney Evangelical Reformed, about half an hour to the east of us. Robert Strivens was preaching here in Childs Hill. We had good congregations at Hackney, where I have preached from time to time in the past. Many of the people there have come out of Pentecostalism but the church itself is thoroughly conservative and reformed. They have a good age range there and it was good to speak with some after the services. We could not meet in the main church and had to use the hall next door but that probably suited me best. I looked at John 3:13-15 (the bronze snake) and Numbers 20:1-13 (the waters of Meribah). More on the ERC here.

Matthew Henry on Monday

This is a reminder that on Monday at 1 pm Jeremy Walker will be speaking on Matthew Henry at the Evangelical Library. Do come along if you can.

Hairstyles 17 Queue

Carey and the shilling

In 1804 WIlliam Carey wrote a letter about his early days. He refers to an incident when he was 14 or 15 that led ultimately to his conversion.
... A circumstance, which I always reflect on with a mixture of horror and gratitude, occurred about this time, which, though greatly to my dishonour, I must relate. It being customary in that part of the country for apprentices to collect christmas-boxes from the tradesmen with whom their masters have dealings, I was permitted to collect these little sums. When I applied to an ironmonger, he gave me the choice of a shilling [5p] or a sixpence [2.5p]: I of course chose the shilling, and, putting it into my pocket, went away. When I had got a few shillings, my next care was to purchase some little articles for myself; I have forgotten what. But then, to my sorrow, I found that my shilling was a brass one. I paid for the things which I bought by using a shilling of my master's. I now found that I had exceeded my stock by a few pence. I expected severe reproaches from my master, and therefore came to the resolution to declare strenuously that the bad money was his. I well remember the struggles of mind which I had on this occasion, and that I made this deliberate sin a matter of prayer to God as I passed over the fields home. I there promised, that if God would but get me clearly over this, or, in other words, help me through with the theft, I would certainly for the future leave off all evil practices; but this theft and consequent lying appeared to me so necessary, that they could not be dispensed with.
A gracious God did not get me safe through. My master sent the other apprentice to investigate the matter. The ironmonger acknowledged the giving me the shilling, and I was therefore exposed to shame, reproach, and inward remorse, which increased and preyed upon my mind for a considerable time. I at this time sought the Lord perhaps much more earnestly than ever, but with shame and fear. I was quite ashamed to go out; and never till I was assured that my conduct was not spread over the town did I attend a place of worship.
I trust that under these circumstances I was led to see much more of myself than I had ever done before, and to seek for mercy with greater earnestness. ....

10 Facts about Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675
1. Known as the Sphinx of Delft, very little is known about Vermeer beyond what has been preserved in official documents. He was born and died in Delft, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands at the time. He appears only once to have left the city in his whole life. Proust wrote of him as “an enigma in an epoch in which nothing resembled or explained him.”
2. Only about 35 paintings that can be definitely attributed to Vermeer exist today, a rather small number. There are references to six paintings no longer extant. It is suggested that he may have produced 50 or 60 paintings in 20 years productivity. The paucity of paintings can probably be attributed to a low output caused by his busy life as an art dealer and innkeeper, his failure to sign many paintings and the lack of interest in his work until the 19th centrury.
3. Some 20 of the extant paintings appear to have been painted in the same room, probably the upstairs loft of his family home.
4. In the paintings about 40 women appear altogether, while only 14 men are found, usually in subsidiary roles. None of the paintings of women are portraits as such but, like most of the other paintings, genre interiors. None of the women have been certainly identified.
5. Van Gogh once wrote in a letter that in the pictures that Vermeer “painted, one can find the entire scale of colours; but the use of lemon yellow, pale blue and light grey together is as characteristic of him as the harmony of black, white, grey and pink is of Velázquez.” He also loved to use expensive ultramarine.
6. Vermeer was perhaps one of the least original masters of the glorious Golden Age of Dutch painting. He was neither an inventor nor a precursor of any technique or style, much less a founder of a school or art movement. His name virtually disappeared within a few years of his death. He is considered to be a conservative and unoriginal painter whose paintings evoke calm in those who view them. They are said to “exude silence”. This may be why they have become so popular in recent years.
7. It is sometimes suggested that Vermeer and others used a camera obscura in some paintings. Evidence for its use has been said to exist in paintings such as his view of Delft (where foreground detail is enlarged) and Maid with a milk jug (where tiny specks of light appear in a way similar to the way they would appear through an unfocused lens).
8. Before Vermeer died at the age of 43, the art market had collapsed and he left behind a widow, eight of his 11 children to bring up and a large debt. She was declared bankrupt shortly after his death.
9. At present 14 paintings are in America and 22 in Europe (7 in Holland, 6 in Germany, 4 in London, 2 in Paris, one each in Edinburgh, Dublin and Vienna).
10. The Concert depicts a man and two women playing music. It belongs to the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum in Boston but in March 1990 it was stolen and remains missing. It is thought to be the most valuable unrecovered stolen painting, with a value estimated at over $200 M.

Hairstyles 16 Ponytail

To be Frankel

My wife and I did something unusual last Saturday. We sat down to watch a horse race on TV. It was the Champion Stakes at Ascot. We had heard people raving on the radio in the morning going on about Frankel and it turned out to be convenient for us to watch the race, which he won pretty easily, despite being last out of the starting gate. That's 14 wins out of 14 starts. There is something wonderful about seeing someone, or on this occasion, some horse ,as good as everyone says he is. My old dad would have enjoyed seeing it. The Queen certainly did.
Just noticed I blogged on Frankel once before here.

Pray for Senegal

Lord's Day October 21 2012

I have rather neglected this strand this month. Yesterday morning I reached John 3:16 as we continue to look at John 3. In the evenings we have been in Numbers and yesterday we took the three incidents in Numbers 20:14-21:3 (Negotiations with Edom, Aaron's death, victory at Hormah). We also had communion yesterday evening. Again we had decent congregations. Some people we were expecting were absent and some visitors were in, including a slightly eccentric lady from across the road, who brings her own challenges.

Unknown success

In her autobiography Frances Ridley Havergal tells how as a very young girl she was struck by a hell fire sermon she heard that awoke her to her spiritual need. She says "No one ever knew it, but this sermon haunted me, and day and night it crossed me." It is that "No one ever knew it" that strikes me. It is an encouragement to every preacher who is faithful. Who knows what a sermon may do.

Hairstyles 15 Odongo Buns

Dongos are Japanese dumplings

Barry Fairbrother

Something I sometimes do in bookshops is to read the beginning of a novel to see if I might enjoy it. I recently picked up  J K Rowling's new novel. Practically the opening words are "Barry Fairbrother". That was enough for me. This is not a novel I want to read.
Somehow that doesn't compare with "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself" or "Call me Ishmael" or "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it".

Hairstyles 14 Nubian Twists

Big round up

We're over half way through the month already and I have been rather slow reporting on what's been going on. Sometimes there is so much on that there is not time to write things up.
At the beginning of the month I spoke twice on the Great Ejection of 1662. At the Westminster Fellowship on the first I chiefly worked my way through a work by John Corbet that was written as an apologia for those who were ejected in 1662 (see here). It was good to be with men I know and respect to discuss these important matters. Then on the Saturday (6th) I was at Buckingham Baptist Chapel, Bristol speaking to the Clifton and Bristol Protestant League. This time I covered the persecution that went on, as set out in one of the chapters of the book. There were good sales of the book at both venues so that was good.
On the following Monday I was at the LTS for the Theological Study Group where we were discussing the book The Mission of the church by Kevin de Young and Greg Gilbert. Clearly written, although it is for the American market it says some helpful things regaridng what is mission ans what are good deeds. Worth reading. In the evening there was a committee for the LIP down in Soho, which went off okay. I was at LTS again this Tuesday (16th) for the Board meeting. Everything seems to be going ahead very encouragingly.
The next morning I was down at the National Gallery near Trafalgar Square. I am attending a course of lectures on the history of art and our lecturer had a arranged for an expert to show us five or six renaissance works (Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks, Crivelli, Titian, etc). Very interesting and informative, though as ever in this country when it came to Bible knowledge there was a slight slip I noticed.
On Saturday my father-in-law took us to the Prince of Wales Theatre for Let it be, which was a brilliant Beatles tribute band with knobs on. I liked Two of us best and became more convinced of the merits of While my guitar gentle weeps.

Hairstyles 13 Mullet

Matthew Henry Prayer Guide

I vlogged recently commending O Palmer Robertson's version of Matthew Henry's Method of Prayer. I noticed recently that there is a website here with many resources in connection with Henry's book, organised by Ligon Dincan III.

Hairstyles 11 Kudumi

Also known as a sikha

Poor man's Bible £16K

My good friends at Abebbooks tell me that they sold this Latin Bible from 1491 last month and it was their most expensive sale. Ironically it's nicknamed the Poor Man's Bible but sold for £16,132. Their top 10 list also includds a first edition of Little Women and beautiful rare books about Egyptian archaeology, orchids and ornithology.

Hairstyles 10 Jheri Curl

Lord's Day September 30

It was harvest Childs Hill style last Lord's Day. No produce on display but I preached from Psalm 65 and we sang some harvest hymns. In the evening it was another look at Numbers - Numbers 18 and the principles of service and support. We had no pianist for the first two hymns in the morning but we can manage Come ye thankful people and We plough the fields. We had a number of visitors present which is always encouraging.

The work of University Christian Unions

Along with a few others I had a brilliant email this last weekend from an old college friend. It went like this
.... It was around this time 35 years ago that I first heard the gospel preached at Fresher's Tea in Alex Basement with the text 'You must be born again'.
By God's grace He saved me and has kept me since.
And you were all there too (maybe not all right at the beginning) and God has kept you too.

Though I have not seen some of you for quite a while now, your friendship is still special to me and you, your wives and families are all still in my thoughts and prayers regularly. I say that to encourage you in your lives and ministries. 35 years is a long time praying but hearing how God has worked and is continuing to work in your lives shows that God has been faithful in answering those prayers.

To God be the glory.

'being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus' ...
It's a reminder I guess to pray for the work in colleges today and to be thankful for all that has happened in the past.