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.

One day in the life

I got round to reading Solzhenitsyn's One day in the life of the Life of Ivan Denisovich the other day. It followed on from the Orwell book as it is again about subsisting and is a reminder of our privileges and the need not to think too much but be more thankful. First published in November 1962 in the Soviet literary magazine Novy Mir (New World) it is well known and was one of the reason Solzhenitsyn was given the Nobel Prize in 1970 and no doubt one reason why he got kicked out in the end. The story is set in a Soviet labour camp in the Stalinist 1950s, (Solzhenitsyn was in a gulag 1945-1953 and began writing his book in 1957).
Wisely what he does is to describe just a single day of an ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. That takes out the need for a long story and a lot of explanation and gives a sharp profile to the presentation. We meet other prisoners including Aloshya the Baptist who I felt inevitable drawn to.
The book's publication was an extraordinary event in Soviet literary history as an account of Stalinist repression had never been openly distributed before. An English translation by Ralph Parker quickly followed. That as the one I read. Four others have followed. There is also a 1970 film, which I've not seen.


Nice piece on Pelican paperbacks by Abebooks here I notice.

New GBM Mission Co-ordinator

I understand that Grace Baptist Mission have appointed Daryl Jones as their new Mission Co-ordinator to succeed John McDonald when he retires. Daryl will eventually begin alongside John next June for a transition period. Daryl is currently pastor of Bethel FIEC in Liverpool and has served in other pastorates previous to this one as well as working for UCCF in the past. His wife Julia is well known as a speaker to women.

Unusual words 13 Calomel

Calomel is apparently a colourless, white or brown tasteless compound, Hg2Cl2, used as a purgative and insecticide. It is also called mercurous chloride.
On page 98 of Bryant's life of Macaulay, he says that Macaulay's doctor (Bright) prescribed it. It is referred to in these places

... suddenly addressing the prentices and Guster, to their consternation, "if I am told by the doctor that calomel or castor-oil is good for me, I may naturally ask what is calomel, and what is castor-oil....
Bleak House by Dickens

The latter was a feeble child, and it was only by prodigious quantities of calomel that Lady Southdown was able to keep him in life at all.
Vanity Fair by Thackeray

Down and out in Paris and London

I first came across George Orwell in school and have read 1984 and Animal Farm and some of his essays. I recently picked up and read his mainly factual account of poverty first in Paris then in London, which first appeared in 1933 and was Orwell's first full length work. I love his lean style. He's very journalistic. The book has the distinction of having been rejected by T S Eliot.
While in Paris he is on the breadline working as a plongeur in hotels. In London he is a fully fledged tramp for 30 days. The two halves are not a neat join and the Paris section is probably more interesting. Apparently the supposed order of events is fictional.
The book reminded me a little of W H Davies' Autobiography of a Supertramp but when I checked that came out some 15 years before. Davies did review it favourably. Orwell mentions Jack London in the book and was apparently an admirer of hiss People of the Abyss about life in London's east end, which came out in 1903.
The book is interesting for opening the door on other worlds and the many anecdotes it contains. The thought that some people are wholly occupied simply with feeding themselves, working and sleeping is sobering. Perhaps some of us have too much time on our hands.

Lord's Day February 24 2013

It was a very cold last Sunday of February, yesterday, and there were  a few away with illnesses and for other reasons. In the morning we completed our studies in 2 Peter looking at that interesting verse about Peter finding some things in Paul hard to understand and the closing verses. In the evening we completed the fascinating section in Numbers about Balaam and his oracles. We were quite low in the evening but there were still about 15 of us, which is good in these days when some have had to abandon evening services. It'll be good to get into March and, hopefully, some Spring weather at last. I hope we'll be starting on a new book too.

Wales win 26-9

Another win for Wales today, against Italy, including two tries in bad conditions.

Playing Soldiers

My youngest son was 12 yesterday. His best (and cheapest) present was a bag of army men. He (and I) really enjoyed playing with them after tea. We shared them out and then had a battle using two dice and rules that we made up as we went on. He won. Great stuff. Later we played consequences and categories in the front room.

Hogarth's House

I enjoyed getting out to Chiswick this week to take a look at William Hogarth's house. The little museum is nicely done, is free and is one of London's many hidden wonders. There are no original works as such but there are some original personal items and lots to help you get a feel for the time. Other occupants of the place are not ignored. More here. Nearby is Chiswick House and Gardens, which looks like a visit some time.

Heidelberg Catechism 27, 28

Ursinus (main author of HC)
I am not familiar with the Heidelberg Catechism but in this 450th anniversary year, we are trying to get to know it. These two QAs are excellent.
27. What do you understand by the providence of God?
The almighty, everywhere-present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He still upholds heaven and earth with all creatures, and so governs them that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things come not by chance, but by His fatherly hand.
28. What does it profit us to know that God created, and by His providence upholds, all things?
That we may be patient in adversity, thankful in prosperity, and for what is future have good confidence in our faithful God and Father, that no creature shall separate us from His love, since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

Novelists 23 The Brontes

The Brontës were a 19th century literary family associated with the village of Haworth, high on the Yorkshire moors. The sisters, Charlotte (1816-1855), Emily (1818-1848) and Anne (1820-1849), are well known as poets and novelists. They originally published using masculine pseudonyms (Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell). Their stories immediately attracted attention, though not always the best, for their passion and originality. Charlotte's Jane Eyre was the first to know success, while Emily's Wuthering Heights, Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and other works (Charlotte's Villette, Anne's Agnes Grey) were later to be accepted as masterpieces of literature.
The three sisters and brother, Patrick Branwell (1817-1848), who also wrote, were very close and they developed their childhood imaginations through the collaborative writing of increasingly complex stories. The confrontation with the deaths first of their mother then two older sisters marked them profoundly and influenced their writing. Their fame at first was due as much to their own tragic destinies as to their precociousness. Since their early deaths, then the death of rector father Patrick in 1861, they were subject to a following that did not cease to grow. Their home, the parsonage at Haworth, is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum and is a mecca for visitors the world over. A recent article reprinted in Evangelical Times said of Anne that she "shines out among them all as a genuine trophy of saving grace". One of her hymns is in Grace Hymns (Believe not those who say). I have enjoyed the older women's best known novels but have never got round to the other works.

Disappearing surnames

I noticed this article here on how certain surnmaes are disappearing.

Bitesize Biographies

Evangelical Press's bitesize biographies have been coming out for a while now. I have read six of the ten that are out so far. I have enjoyed Chrysostom, Henry, Toplady, Macaulay, Schaeffer and Lloyd-Jones and am about to start on Renee of France (leaving Knox, Cranmer and Kivengere to come. Others are in the pipeline I believe). The discipline of keeping it to around 120 words (oops! Pages I mean, of course - Thanks Mostyn) is a good one and helpful to writer and reader. In the case of Lloyd-Jones and Schaeffer (Eryl Davies and Mostyn Roberts) the writers had the advantage of knowing their subjects. Both are excellent intros to important 20th century figures. Chrysostom (Earl Blackburn) delves the furthest back but is well done. I liked Philip Eveson's Matthew Henry for the way it told the story so well. Zachary Macaulay's important story was well told by Faith Cook too and left me wanting to know more (it led to me reading Arthur Bryant's Macaulay on the son, who sadly never came to faith). Singularly the EP book was marred by some minor errors such as typos. I was slightly disappointed with Douglas Bond's Toplady as it made too many references to extraneous matters for me. A good introduction nevertheless. This is a great series that will be of benefit to many people. Well done editor Michael Haykin and EP.

Bio Wibrandis Rosenblatt

Bucer it turns out was married twice. First to Elizabeth, a former nun, who died in 1541 and then to Wibrandis Rosenblatt. A root around on the Internet reveals the following.
Sometimes known as "The Bride of the Reformation" or, in German, Reformationfrau, Wibrandis Rosenblatt (1504-1564) was the wife of three notable Reformers, and a godly woman in her own right, as each of her husbands testified.
She was born, in 1504, in Bad Säckingen, Germany, and raised in Basel, on the Rhine where France, Germany and Switzerland meet. In the early 16th century it was a bustling hub of commerce and culture. From all over Europe, students flocked to its university and writers brought their books to its presses. Chief among the intellectuals of Basel was Desiderius Erasmus. In 1515-16, in Basel, he had produced his famous edition of the Greek New Testament, assisted by younger scholars such as Oecolampadius, a priest who was working for the Froben printing house and Capito, preacher and theology professor.
Wibrandis's mother Magdalena Strub was from Basel but had married Hans Rosenblatt from Bad Säckingen. The father served in the Austrian army and so was absent from home quite a bit and that is perhaps why the mother moved back to Basel with her daughter. The Strubs were tanners and a prominent local family, several members sitting on the local town council at times. Wibrandis first married when she was 20 years old. Her first husband was a Basel craftsman called Ludwig Keller (c 1500-1526). He was a reformer and was known as Cellarius. Together they had a daughter, also called Wibrandis, but sadly within two years Keller was dead.
In the Spring of 1528, aged 24, she remarried, taking as her second husband Johannes Huasschein of Basel (1482-1531), better known as Johannes Oecolampadius. He was 22 years older than his bride and had taken vows of chastity prior to this but decided to break them for the sake of Protestantism. For this he was strongly criticised by Erasmus and others. A year after marrying he wrote to his friend Capito, who had left Basel for Mainz a few years before and who had urged him to marry, saying of Wibrandis, “My wife is what I always wanted … She is not contentious, garrulous, or a gadabout, but looks after the household. She is too simple to be proud and too discrete to be condemned.”
Wibrandis came to the marriage home with her mother and her little daughter from the first marriage. She and her second husband had three children, all of whom were given names from Greek - Eusebius, Irene and Aletheia. (piety, peace and truth). As a pastor's wife she also kept busy with housekeeping, hospitality, including the reception of religious refugees and assisting the poor and the sick. She was also involved in visiting other reformers' wives and their families and corresponding with them. These include Anna Zwingli and Elizabeth Bucer and Agnes Capito in Strasbourg.
Oecolampadius was probably weakened in health by the news of Zwingli’s death in the Battle of Kappel on October 11, 1531. He gathered his children on the evening of November 21, 1531, and spoke to each of them. His voice was weak. At one point, someone asked him whether the light was too bright for him. He struck his breast and murmured with a smile (perhaps referring to his name as well as to the gospel), “Here's light enough within.” He died on November 23, 1531, in the presence of his wife and children and so Wibrandis was widowed for the second time.
Meanwhile, at the same time, in Strasbourg, the wife of the dean of the collegiate chapter of the church of St Thomas, Agnes Capito (nee Rottel), also died. In view of this, Bucer and other friends advised him to remarry and were successful in their search for a suitable wife in Wibrandis. And so Wibrandis's third husband was 54 year old Wolfgang Fabricius Koepful or Capito (1478-1541). They married in April 1532. Her mother and children again accompanied her on this next move. The couple had a daughter, Agnes, and five surviving children altogether (Dorothea, Simon, Wolfgang and Irene were the others). In 1541, plague swept across southern Germany and came to Strasbourg, taking not only Capito but also the wife and all but one of the five children of fellow reformer Martin Bucer (1491-1551) and at least three of Wibrandis' children.
On her deathbed, Bucer's wife, Elizabeth Palass, alias Silbereisen, a former nun who had borne her husband 13 children, heard that Capito had died and suggested that her husband marry the widow when she died. Bucer did so on April 16, 1542. The marriage contract says that they entered marriage “for the furtherance of the glory of God and the upbuilding of the Christian church”. At the time Bucer wrote
Although I am past the age suited to marriage, I have nevertheless, in view of my circumstances and office, decided to follow the advice of my brothers and to marry the widow of Capito. As my response to the illegitimate canon laws about a second marriage (digamy), I would point to the law from Ezekiel 44 which does permit a priest to wed the widow of a priest. She still has four children: a girl from Oecolampadius, and a boy and two small girls from Capito. The latter, as you know, did not leave her very much on account of the tough luck he had with his money loans but thanks to the aid of Wendelin Rihel there is a little money with which to support her. As long as God gives me life and my income, we will keep that money - however small the amount may be - for the orphans and we will treat them as my own children. My motives for taking this step are (1) loneliness and (2) the danger which exists if a person starts a household with someone he does not know. Further, there is the virtuous character of this widow and the love I owe to the orphaned children of the man who made himself so useful to me. Pray the Lord for us so that our plans may be approved by Christ and be of the benefit to his church!
He added that he chose her to be his wife for in past years she has really proven that she is not only pure, honourable, faithful and godly but also a diligent helper, who fruitfully made herself useful to the church and has a gift for ministry as for many years she demonstrated in her marriage to those two precious men of God, Oecolampadius and Capito.
He also compared his two wives thus
My marriage is now a public reality and I am even a little afraid of my excellent wife's tendency to be overly accommodating in my direction. My first wife felt somewhat more free to admonish me and now I realise that that freedom of hers was not only useful but necessary. Aside from her excessive diligence on my behalf and her accommodating attitude, my present wife leaves absolutely nothing to be desired; yet, O, how strong still is my yearning for my deceased wife - that first marriage, so reverently contracted struck such deep roots in me.
Bucer was often away from home in this period and late in 1549, having been turned out of Strasbourg, he went to become regius professor of divinity at Cambridge. Wibranids came a little later. When she arrived Bucer wrote "My wife arrived just in time: I had become completely cold but she warmed me up again." Seeing the situation in England Wibrandis felt that a return to Strasbourg would be wisest and soon returned there to arrange things. There she narrowly escaped being summoned by a Catholic official who was trying to confiscate her property (she admitted that if she had gone she might have "said something hot" which would not have been a good idea). By the end of 1549 she had herded the whole family to England, in time to nurse Martin through two more difficult winters. Bucer took the opportunity to update his will, noting that Wibrandis would do fine on her own if he was not around, but expressing his desire that she should remarry in such a case. In 1551 Bucer died, worn out by his endless activity, discouraged by the apparent failure of his work, and weakened by the climate. King Edward VI gave her an award of 100 marks for services rendered to the Church of England by her husband. It was left to Wibrandis to organize her children and her elderly mother for the return trip to Strasbourg. But Strasbourg was no longer a haven. Wibrandis and her household therefore returned to Basel, where she lived for more than 10 years as a much respected matriarch until her death.
Wibrandis died in Basel of the plague November 1, 1564 at the age of sixty, having been successively married to four men, three of them prominent reformers. With these four she gave birth to some 12 children. She was married for a total of about 24 years and was married to Oecolampadius the longest.

Martin Bucer - Forgotten Reformer

It was good to be at the Evangelical Library today and to hear Austin Walker give an excellent overview of the life of forgotten Reformer Martin Bucer (1491-1551). Younger than Luther and Zwingli (by 8 years) and older than Calvin (by 18 years), Bucer is the man who mentored Calvin during his three year exile in Strasbourg, brought about the unsuccessful Marburg Colloquy and spent his final years in Cambridge at the request of Thomas Cranmer.
A fascinating figure he was a Dominican monk who became a zealous Reformer in Strasbourg, where he worked with Capito, Zell and others from 1523-1549. Calvin said of him
"In addition to his profound learning. abundant knowledge, keenness of intellect. wide reading, and many other varied excellences, in which he is surpassed by hardly anyone at the present day, this scholar, as we know, is equalled by few and is superior to very many. It is to his especial credit that no one in our time has been more precise or diligent in interpreting scripture than he."
Austin surveyed his pastoral theology which has been translated into English by Peter Beale and published by Banner. He went on to talk of his instigation of confirmation for the baptised and his attempt to form fellowships within the state church, a plan doomed to eventual failure.

Lord's Day February 17 2013

It's half term here so things were a bit different with 6 or 7 regulars out but others with us because it was half term. Congregations are always variable with us. We carried on with 2 Peter 3 in the morning, on the Second Coming and the holiness it should engender in us. I hope to complete the book next Lord's Day. We will also finish our consecutive readings from Joshua next week so we need to think carefully about what comes next. Sunday evening after communion we were back in Numbers. We looked at the first two oracles of Balaam. So encouraging again.

Lloyd-Jones on Karl Barth

Here's an interesting link you may have missed

Unusual words 12 Meed

I camne across the word meed, which means reward or wage in Arthur Bryant's biography of T B Macaulay (see p 70 of the 1979 Weidenfeld and Nicolson hardback).

The non-juror Ken receives as liberal a meed of praise as any man can earn from another: ...

It also appears in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

He could have endured poverty, and while this distress had been the meed of his virtue, he gloried in it; but the ingratitude of the Turk and the loss of his beloved Safie were misfortunes more bitter and irreparable.

And in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter

The helpful inmate had departed, without one backward glance to gather up the meed of gratitude, if any were in the hearts of those whom she had served so zealously.

10 Beatles songs with love in the title

1. Love me do
2. P S I Love you
3. She loves you
4. Words of love
5. Can't buy me love
6. And I love her
7. You've got to hide your love away
8. It's only love
9. All you need is love
10. Real love
(All Lennon McCartney except 4, perhaps you could replace that with Step inside love)

10 Inspirational songs with love in the title

1. Love constraining to obedience (Indelible Grace ft M P Jones)
2. O love that will not let me go (Indelible Grace ft Sandra McCracken)
3. O the deep deep love of Jesus (Indelible Grace ft Katy Bowser)
4. I love you (Larry Norman)
5. Without love you are nothing (Larry Norman)
6. Give me a heart to love (Rev Gary Davis)
7. Watered-down love (Bob Dylan)
8. Shot of love (Bob Dylan)
9. Love divine (Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band)
10. Let us love and sing and wonder (Jars of Clay)

Ten Instrumentals with love in the title

1. Love Train (Jan Akkerman)
2. Love is uneven (Jan Akkerman)
3. Over in love (Tracy Chapman)
4. Fretless love (Focus)
5. Brazil love (Focus)
6. Love remembered (Focus)
7. Whole lotta love (CCS)*
8. The tao of love (Vangelis)
9. Fantasia [My Lagan love] (Horslips with the Ulster Orchestra)
10. I love you my child (Native American Lullaby)

* Features a little singing but is basically an instrumental

10 Two word titled songs of love

Looking at my itunes collection yesterday (Feb 14) I saw that about 15% of the content mentions the word love, lover or similar. From those songs I cam up with a few lists. This first one started as any song mentioning love in the title but soon became any secular song with a two word title including the word love.
1. Warm love (Joan Armatrading)
2. Hot Love (T Rex)
3. Burning love (Elvis Presley)
4. Radar love (Golden Earring)
5. Laser love (T Rex)
6. Muskrat love (America)
7. Crazy love (Paul Simon)
8. Jitterbug love (T Rex)
9. Higher love (Steve Winwood)
10. Real love (The Beatles)

Revamped Lloyd-Jones Biography

Banner of Truth have just published a newly cast biogrpahy of Lloyd-Jones. Called The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones 1899 –1981 (ISBN: 978-1-84871-180-8) it is an illustrated paperback of 496 pages (£11/$20) and is a re-cast, condensed and, in parts re-written version of Iain Murray's excellent two volumes D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years (1982) and The Fight of Faith (1990). It apparently takes into account the comments and assessments of Lloyd-Jones that have appeared in various places since the previous publications. Its main purpose is to put Dr Lloyd-Jones’ life before another generation in more accessible form.

Was Orwell racist?

Radio 4 have been celebrating George Orwell recently and I have been reading his Down and out in Paris and London. On page 127 of my edition I notice that in an unusually editorial passage he says
Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, as though they were two different races, like negroes and white men.
Racism is a notoriously difficult word to define but it sounds racist and no doubt had he lived in this era he would have expressed himself differently. See an old discussion here.

Why were shepherds detestable to Egyptians?

“When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians.” (Genesis 46:33-34 NAU) Why was every shepherd loathsome (an abomination, disgusting, abhorrent, detestable) to the Egyptians?
Here are some suggestions, from here.
 G. J. Wenham says, Shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians probably reflects a common distrust of nomadic peoples by urban dwellers (cf. attitudes to gypsies and ‘travellers’ in modern society). (The New Bible Commentary)
The IVP Bible Background Commentary says, It is unlikely that native Egyptian herdsmen would be detested by other Egyptians. Joseph’s advice to his father is both a warning about Egyptian attitudes toward strangers and a piece of diplomacy in that they would claim independent status (they had their own herds to support them) and show they were not an ambitious group who wished to rise above their occupation as shepherds.
Derek Kidner likes the explanation of J. Vergote:
A more likely explanation is that of J. Vergote, that this is only the perennial antipathy of the town-dweller for the nomad or the gipsy [gypsy]. Joseph saw the importance of emphasizing this, to ensure that Pharaoh’s goodwill would be to the family’s real benefit, not to their detriment by drawing them into an alien way of life at the capital. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries)
Howard Vos says, The reason for Joseph’s concern was that Egyptians considered shepherds an abomination. Settlement in Goshen would separate them from the Egyptian cattlemen of the Nile Valley and thus reduce friction with Egyptians and preserve their distinctiveness as a people. (Genesis in Everyman’s Bible Commentary)
John T. Willis points out that the term livestock (or cattle; Hebrew, miqneh) is “a comprehensive term including cattle, sheep, goats, and the like” (Genesis in The Living Word Commentary on the Old Testament).
We may add the opinions of
1. Shepherds and feeders of cattle were usually a sort of lawless, free-booting bandits, frequently making inroads on villages, etc., carrying off cattle, and whatever spoils they could find. This might probably have been the case formerly, for it is well known it has often been the case since. On this account such persons must have been universally detested.
2. They must have abhorred shepherds if Manetho's account of the hycsos or king-shepherds can be credited. Hordes of marauders under this name, from Arabia, Syria, and Ethiopia, (whose chief occupation, like the Bedouin Arabs of the present day, was to keep flocks), made a powerful irruption into Egypt, which they subdued and ruled with great tyranny for 259 years. Now, though they had been expelled from that land some considerable time before this, yet their name, and all persons of a similar occupation, were execrated by the Egyptians, on account of the depredations and long-continued ravages they had committed in the country.
3. The last and probably the best reason why the Egyptians abhorred such shepherds as the Israelites were, was, they sacrificed those very animals, the ox particularly, and the Sheep, which the Egyptians held sacred. Hence the Roman historian Tacitus, speaking of the Jews, says: "They sacrifice the ram in order to insult Jupiter Ammon, and they sacrifice the ox, which the Egyptians worship under the name of Apis." Though some contend that this idolatry was not as yet established in Egypt, and that the king-shepherds were either after the time of Joseph, or that Manetho by them intends the Israelites themselves; yet, as the arguments by which these conjectures are supported are not sufficient to overthrow those which are brought for the support of the contrary opinions, and as there was evidently an established religion and priesthood in Egypt before Joseph's time, (for we find the priests had a certain portion of the land of Egypt which was held so sacred that Joseph did not attempt to buy it in the time of the famine, when he bought all the land which belonged to the people, Gen 47:20-22), and as that established priesthood was in all likelihood idolatrous, and as the worship of Apis under the form of an ox was one of the most ancient forms of worship in Egypt, we may rest tolerably certain that it was chiefly on this account that the shepherds, or those who fed on and sacrificed these objects of their worship, were an abomination to the Egyptians. ...
not because shepherds ate of the milk and flesh of the creatures they fed, which the Egyptians abstained from; for the Egyptians in those times did eat the flesh of slain beasts, see Genesis 43:16; nor because they fed, and slew, and ate those creatures, which the Egyptians worshipped as gods, as Jarchi; for it does not appear that the Egyptians were so early worshippers of such creatures; nor is this phrase, "every shepherd", to be understood of any other than foreign shepherds; for one of the three sorts of the people of Egypt, as distinct from, and under the king, priests, and soldiers, according to Diodorus Siculus, were shepherds, and were not despised on that account; for, as the same writer says, all the Egyptians were reckoned equally noble and honourable; and such it is plain there were in Egypt, in the times of Joseph, see Genesis 47:6; and goat herds were had in esteem and honour by those about Mendes, though swine herds were not: wherefore this must be understood of foreign shepherds, the Egyptians having been greatly distressed by such, who either came out of Ethiopia, and lived by plunder and robbery, or out of Phoenicia or Arabia; for, according to Manetho, it was said that they were Arabians or Phoenicians who entered into Egypt, burnt their cities, etc. and set up kings of their own, called their Hycsi, or pastor kings: and therefore Joseph might the rather fear his brethren and father's family would be the more contemptible in that they came from Canaan, which was near to Arabia and Phoenicia; but Dr. Lightfoot is of opinion, that the Egyptians, being plagued for Abraham's and Sarah's sake, made a law, that for the future none should converse with Hebrews, nor with foreign shepherds, so familiarly as to eat or drink with them.

Unusual words 11 Philibeg or Filibeg

In the introduction to a later edition of Arthur Bryant's life of Macaulay he quotes TBM saying (xviii) "There were three or four Highland Chiefs in kilts, plaids and philibegs with eagles plumes in their hats, dirks and pistols at their sides, and claymores in their hands."
Philibeg or Filibeg refers to the kilt worn by Scottish Highlanders [from Scottish Gaelic fēileadhbeag, from fēileadh kilt + beag small]

Royal Academy

Another day out with the art history class today. This time to the Royal Academy on Piccadilly, which I confess I have never been into. This is the last week of their Constable, Gainsborough, Turner exhibition (manet is the new one). Quite a modest presentation, it features one main Gainsborough, two big Constables and only one Turner (Dolbadarn Castle) but was interesting (especially with the guide) as we looked mainly at engravings by these and other artists (including Richard Wilson who did several Welsh scenes). The whole exhibition covers 17th century to the present and utilises items in the RA collection. It wa especially good to get some idea of the RA's history and the infighting that often went on.

Lord's Day February 10 2013

Late with this again I'm afraid. We had lunch in church which we do from time to time. That was good. Lots of older ones away and others too but quite a few younger people (17-21) one way or another which is good. I began on 2 Peter 3 in the morning and returned to Numbers in the evening to begin looking at Balaam. Quite a small congregation by the evening.


We have a new member of the household. His name is Tuko and he is a bearded dragon, an early birthday present for my youngest son. He's no trouble, though getting his vivarium to the top of the house proved something of a major effort.

Bucer The Forgotten Reformer

This is a reminder that next Monday (18th) Austin Walker will be giving a lunch time lecture at the Evangelical Library on Martin Bucer - The forgotten Reformer. We start at 1 pm.

Job Vacancy

Ten odd things that more or less exist

1. Diabetic soap
2. Left handed cheese grater
3. TV glasses
4. Clerestory doors
5. Artificial water
6. Drinking shoes
7. Swimming gauntlets
8. Gardening sunglasses
9. Liquid rope
10. Nostril flarer
 (The other day for some reason I started thinking of things that might exist. I looked up each of these on the Internet and found a reference to all of them. Perhaps we'll show pictures at some point.)

Babington Macaulay on the Sabbath

Man, man is the great instrument that produces wealth. The natural difference between Campania and Spitzbergen is trifling when compared with the difference between a country inhabited by men full of bodily and mental vigour, and a country inhabited by men sunk in bodily and mental decrepitude. Therefore it is that we are not poorer but richer, because we have, through many ages, rested from our labour one day in seven. That day is not lost. While industry is suspended, while the plough lies in the furrow, while the Exchange is silent, while no smoke ascends from the factory, a process is going on quite as important to the wealth of nations as any process which is performed on more busy days. Man, the machine of machines, the machine compared with which all the contrivances of the Watts and the Arkwrights are worthless, is repairing and winding up, so that he returns to his labours on the Monday with clearer intellect, with livelier spirits, with renewed corporal vigour. Never will I believe that what makes a population stronger, and healthier, and wiser, and better, can ultimately make it poorer.
Part of a speech given on May 22, 1846, in the House of Commons

A Banner man

Just a bit of fun, as we look forward to this year's Banner conference in Leicester (the fiftieth!)


Apparently the inventor of the etch-a-sketch,  Andre Cassagnes, has died. The etch-a-sketch came out the year after I was born. I never owned one but my sister did and so I am familiar with the game. Burned into the retina of my mind is an early from when I was five or six. It was summer time and the grass had been cut in school and so kids were throwing it about. One twit decided to put a stone in one clump and throw it at me. It hit me in the head and I vividly remember putting my palm to my head and being horrified to see it covered in blood when I brought it back down. A teacher quickly arrived and I was taken somewhere that I'd never been before or since - to the headmistress's room (a Miss Morgan if I remember correctly). Now the thing is when we arrived, outside her door there was a tearful boy (Ashman if I recall) and he had in his hands something I'd never seen before or since - a broken etch-a-sketch. The vision of that grey sand has stayed with me all these more than fifty years as has finally arriving at the door of my home my head in a crepe bandage, to my mother's distress. Perhaps that bang on the head explains everything!

Lord's Day February 3 2013

Great day yesterday, despite the continuing agony of toothache.
The day was in two parts. In the morning, we began with communion and welcoming in our two friends from last week's baptism. I preached on the end of 2 Peter 2, a little reluctant to hammer away on the subject of false teachers once again but we probably need it. Quite a few away for diverse reasons but a decent crowd all told.
After a quick lunch we headed for Cwmbran and a baptism at Pontrhydyrun Baptist  Church. In a packed church we witnessed the baptism of my sister's oldest daughter, Vicki, and two others. All three testified well. Having been brought up in Christian homes all three had wandered, which is a pity but God is very gracious. It was good to have the opportunity to hear the new minister Jonny Raine (on Philippians 1:21). The congregation was stop heavy with ministers (besides myself, former minister John Emonds, the father of one of the candidates and Jonny's father Phil were present). It was good to see so many old friends and family including mys sister and all her children, her former husband and various relatives, my five boys and Sibyl, Eleri's sister and family and her mother, my old friend David White who surreally insists on speaking to me in Welsh (!), Stephen Price who I grew up with from birth and his wife Fay, etc, etc.

The Shakespeare Experience

It was my privilege last month to introduce Mike Reeves at one session in the Carey Conference. I was explaining then how everyone had told me how good he was and how pleased I was that he proved to be as good as they said. It's a phenomenon I have observed in other spheres. So for example when I was in school they told me how good Shakespeare was and in time I came to see he really is that good, head and shoulders above any of his contemporaries anad most of his successors. Or take the Beatles or pre-Akkerman Focus. I often find myself listening to one or other and thinking, yes, they really were that good.
All that to draw your attention to a blog piece here, where someone has just started reading Dr Lloyd-Jones and had what I call (shades of Miranda's mother) the Shakespeare experience. Seeing it in others is a joy as it confirms what you already know.

Princess Anne Visit

Since September I have been attending classes once a week at the Working Men's College near King's Cross. I wasn't there but this week Princess Anne was present to hand out medals and there is a full report here.

Bronze Sculptures

I had the opportunity to go with others to a bronze foundry the other day in the Docklands area of London. The above video gives you a good idea of the process, although it is another foundry. We went to Bronze Age. They weren't pouring that day so we missed the most exciting bit but it was fascinating.


A current problem set me looking at the subject and I found this interesting short article of a few years back here.