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.

Christmas 2018

We have seen various members of the family over Christmas. Son number three and his wife arrived the Friday before last and stayed until the following Thursday before heading to Yorkshire. Number two and his wife could not come until Christmas Eve. We were a modest seven for Christmas lunch then. Boxing Day the Aberystwyth family arrived (five) plus Eleri's youngest sister and family from Cardiff (five) and her other sister and family from Wiltshire (three) and her father and his wife. So we were an amazing 22 before the end of Boxing Day. The Aber Bradys stayed longest (right up until today).
We had a service on Christmas day and it was gratifying to see 40 there altogether. There were visitors, a family from the Korean church that uses our building, some neighbours, etc. We sang a capella as none of pour musicians were around but that was fine. I preached on Luke 2:19,a  good choice. The sermon wasn't short but as we sung only three hymns and had no collection or children''s talk, it was all over in under the hour.
There were lots of presents at home, spread over several days. I'll report on the books later. We enjoyed games (Chameleon was the main one - quite satisfying; also Chain reaction), chatting, quizzes, an almost completed jigsaw, lots of food, not much TV (although I've managed to keep up with University Challenge bit by bit), etc.
On the Thursday we had a long walk along the South Bank and then on the Friday on the Heath, taking in a house where D H Lawrence once lived. So there was some exercise.
We missed Gwion over in the USA, of course. In the midst of that I was preparing for the Lord's Day, which I hope to report on soon.

Lime Bikes

Someone parked one of these outside the church recently. It appeared on Christmas Day and was still there yesterday. At least it's not cluttering up the way.

10 more who have refused the MBE

  1. Doris Lessing, author (in 1977; later declined appointment as DBE in 1992, because it is in the name of a non-existent Empire; accepted appointment as CH in 2000).
  2. Michael Rosen, author and poet
  3.  Benjamin Zephaniah, poet (in 2010), stating: "I get angry when I hear the word 'empire'; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised."Also Philip Larkin poet and librarian in 1968.
  4. Roald Dahl, author (in 1986, wanted a knighthood)
  5. Ken Loach, film director (in 1977): "I turned down the OBE because it's not a club you want to join when you look at the villains who've got it."
  6. Michael Winner, film director (in 2006; saying, "An OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at King's Cross station.")
  7. George Harrison, former Beatle (in 2000), reportedly felt he deserved a knighthood, as his fellow ex-Beatle Paul McCartney had been awarded in 1997
  8. Hank Marvin, guitarist (The Shadows)
  9. Hughie Green, TV personality, (in 1960)
  10. Nigella Lawson, chef, gourmand, television personality/presenter; cookery writer

10 actors who refused the OBE

  1. Jim Broadbent, actor (in 2002)
  2. Eleanor Bron, actress and writer
  3. Kenneth Williams, actor and comedian. "When offered something which obviously isn't worth the price... we still have the right to say 'No thanks'"
  4. Peter Capaldi, actor, director and writer
  5. Alan Rickman, actor
  6. Bill Nighy, actor
  7. Dawn French, comedian and actress and Jennifer Saunders (in 2001)
  8. Susannah York, stage and film actress
  9. Hattie Jacques, actress/comedian (in 1974)
  10. Geraldine McEwan, actress in 1986 (later declined DBE in 2002

10 others who refused the CBE

  1. Julie Christie, film actress
  2. John Cleese, actor/comedian (in 1996; he reportedly thought it was "silly", and later declined a life peerage)
  3. John Cole, journalist, latterly BBC Political Editor (in 1993)
  4. Brian Eno, musician (in 2007)
  5. Lucian Freud, artist (in 1977; later accepted appointment as CH in 1983, and OM in 1993).
  6. F R Leavis, literary critic. Refused in 1966; but later accepted appointment as CH.
  7. Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, due to be honoured for his services to the 2012 Olympics (turned down an honour in the 2013 New Years Honours due to his belief that politicians should not get such awards).
  8. Malcolm McDowell, actor (in 1984)
  9. George Melly, musician, writer, critic, artist and raconteur (in 2001)
  10. Paul Weller, musician (in 2007).

10 Literary types who refused the CBE

  1. J. G. Ballard, author (in 2003; "the honours system is a Ruritanian charade that helps to prop up the top-heavy monarchy.").
  2. Julian Barnes, novelist
  3. Honor Blackman, actress (in 2002; she is a republican)
  4. C. S. Forester, novelist (in 1953)
  5. Robert Graves, poet and novelist (in 1957; later declined appointment as CH in 1984)
  6. Graham Greene, author (in 1956) (later accepted appointment as CH and OM, neither of which are titles granting rank or precedence)
  7. C. S. Lewis, author, theologian, Oxford professor (in 1951, declined in order to avoid association with any political issues)
  8. Seán O'Casey, playwright (in 1963)
  9. Sue Townsend novelist and playwright
  10. Evelyn Waugh, novelist (in 1959, wanted a knighthood

10 Others who turned down a knighthood

  1. Michael Faraday, scientist: "I must remain plain Michael Faraday to the last"
  2. Peter Higgs, CH, physicist, Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Edinburgh; co-discoverer of the Higgs boson in 1999, because he felt honours are used for political purposes by the government. He later accepted appointment to the Order of the Companions of Honour, because he was (wrongly) assured that it was the personal gift of the Queen, in 2013
  3. Francis Crick, physicist, co-discoverer of DNA; was also offered a CBE in 1963, but did not accept it
  4. Stephen Hawking CH CBE, physicist, reportedly turned down a knighthood because he "does not like titles."
  5. David Hockney, CH RA, artist (in 1990; accepted appointment as CH in 1997, and OM in 2012 because they are not titles)
  6. L. S. Lowry, artist (in 1968; had previously declined appointment as OBE in 1955 and CBE in 1961; later twice declined appointment as CH (1972, 1976); holds the record for the most honours declined).
  7. Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum (in 1999); in 2010 he accepted appointment to the Order of Merit, the personal gift of the British monarch.
  8. David Bowie, musician (in 2003)
  9. Paul Scofield, actor (in 1968)
  10. Albert Finney, actor (in 2000; had previously declined CBE in 1980)

10 Literary types who turned down knighthoods

1. Alan Bennett, playwright (in 1996; had previously declined appointment as CBE in 1988)
2. Arnold Bennett, novelist, declined knighthood offered for service in running the British government's French propaganda department during World War I.
3. E. M. Forster, author and essayist; declined knighthood in 1949, but accepted a Companion of Honour in the 1953 New Year Honours list and an Order of Merit in 1969
4. Michael Frayn, novelist and dramatist; declined a knighthood in the 2003 New Year Honours and a CBE four years previously; Frayn stated: "I haven't done this for reasons of modesty. I like the name 'Michael Frayn'; it's a nice little name to run around with. I've spent 70 years getting used to it and I don't want to change it now."
5. John Galsworthy, playwright, declined knighthood in 1918 New Year Honours, but accepted appointment to the Order of Merit in 1929 as it was not a title.
6. Aldous Huxley, author (in 1959)
7. Rudyard Kipling, writer, and poet; declined knighthood in 1899 and again in 1903; his wife stated that Kipling felt he could "do his work better without it". Kipling also declined the Order of Merit in 1921 and again in 1924. Kipling expressed his own view on the importance of titles and poetry in his poem "The Last Rhyme of True Thomas".
8. T. E. Lawrence, Arabist, archaeologist, soldier; King George V offered Lawrence a knighthood on 30 October 1918 at a private audience in Buckingham Palace for his services in the Arab Revolt, but he declined
9. George Bernard Shaw, playwright, critic, and socialist; also declined OM
10. Danny Boyle, theatre and film director (in 2013)

Lord's Day December 23 2018

Sunday was one of those mornings when we start with a small congregation and before the end it is looking fairly decent. It was also fairly international as it can be sometimes - lots of Nigerians, a good sprinkling of Filipinos plus representatives of Jamaica, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Botswana, etc. I preached again on Old Testament texts - Micah 5:2 and Malachi 4:1-3. All in all it has been a good series, although it could have been done better. Simplicity is so hard but must not be lost sight of. We were a decent number in the evening. We have one of my sons and his wife with us. Lots of others away. We will meet again tomorrow morning.

Jan Akkerman Birthday

Bit late with this but happy brthday to Jan Akkerman, 72 today.

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 10 Eternal Gifts

This Kate York compostion is on Leigh Nash's Waiting for this

Santa knows what I want for Christmas
But Jesus knows what I need
It can't be purchased wrapped up and placed
Under an eight foot tree

I need patience, kindness - virtues like these
To bend on my knee at the manger
Santa may bring these that last for a year
But eternal gifts come from the Saviour

Some days come where I'm plain selfish
I can't think of no one but me
Then I think of all that I'm blessed with
And how it's always best to give than to receive

I need faithfulness, love, generosity
To open my home to a stranger.
Santa may bring things that last for a year
But eternal gifts come from the Saviour

I need patience, kindness, generosity
To bend on my knee at the manger
Santa may bring things that last for a year
But eternal gifts come from the Saviour

10 Lesser known Christmas Songs 9 Angels Song

Robert Lowry

This song was written by Robert Lowry and I have it on Kate Rusby's Angels and men where it is listed as Rolling downward

Rolling downward, through the midnight,
Comes a glorious burst of heav’nly song;
’Tis a chorus full of sweetness—
And the singers are an angel throng.

Glory! glory in the highest!
On the earth goodwill and peace to men!
Down the ages send the echo;
Let the old earth begin again!

Wondering shepherds see the glory,
Hear the word the shining ones declare;
At the manger fall in worship,
While the music fills the quivering air.

Christ the Saviour, God’s Anointed,
Comes to earth our fearful debt to pay -
Man of sorrows, and rejected,
Lamb of God, that takes our sin away.

Kings with riches see the splendour
Bringing treasures from a far off land
Join the chorus full of wonder
While the music sounds across the land.

Rolling downward, through the midnight,
Comes a glorious burst of heav’nly song;
’Tis a chorus full of sweetness—
And the singers are an angel throng.

You heard it here first

To my great surprise I hear that the Christmas Number one is We built this city on sausage rolls. I know that it is hardly super original to think of it but I did have it on this here blog some years ago. See here.

10 Lesser Known Christmas Songs 8 Angels we have heard

This is French carol translated into English by James Chadwick in the 19th century. We use the tune for Angels from the realms of glory, probably a better hymn.

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o'er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly, sweetly through the night
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brief delight

Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo
While our hearts in love we raise, etc

I have versions by Page CXVI and The Roches.

Other verses

Shepherds in the field abiding,
Tell us when the seraph bright
Greeted you with wondrous tiding,
What you saw and heard that night.


We beheld—it is no fable—
God incarnate, King of bliss,
Swathed and cradled in a stable,
And the angel strain was this:


Choristers on high were singing
Jesus and His virgin birth,
Heavenly bells the while a-ringing
Peace, good will to men on earth.


Midweek Meeting December 19 2018

There were ten of us last Wednesday. Nine fairly regular and one more of a visitor. We looked for the final time at Isaiah 9:6 focussing on the phrases Everlasting father and Prince of peace. I tred again to be quite interactive. That was helpful to do. It was good in the prayer time to thank the ord for some specific answers to prayer requests made last week. We were fairly fluent, though three didn't pray aloud.

Day off Week 51

So it was on with the jeans and t-shirt again and off for walk with Alffi for the last real day off of the year, as next week is Christmas which is always a unique week. I'd forgotten that I had to be in the seminary in the afternoon so despite the attire and the presence of the dog I had to get me to Finchley on the bus. At least it meant I got me 10,000 steps done. Eleri was out for most of the day so I ate out mid-day. I was keen to do something Christmassy so I watched the 2003 film Elf, which is a very funny Christmas film. I've never watched every moment of it before. I also started on a Poirot Christmas story which is alright (I have rather stalled with the Grace Mitchell novel I bought a few weeks ago Murder in the snow [originally Groaning Spinney] as it is not really a Christmas novel at all). I finished Seven types of Atheism by John Gray at last too. Plenty of Christmas music too but mostly the albums in my Christmas present - the box set of Jan Akkerman albums. I particularly enjoyed the live double album 10000 Clowns as well as other tracks and enjoyed putting some visuals with Come closer. I'm sure a day off is indulgent (chance woukd be a fine thing perhaps you think) in many ways but having reported on it now for half a year I am finding it a helpful way to think.

Lord's Day December 16 2018

We were looking at Old Testament Christmas texts again last Sunday. This time it was the less familiar Jeremiah 23:5 and the more obvious Isaiah 7:14. Didn't seem to go so well in the morning but was better in the evening, though not that easy ti follow in places perhaps. Anyway, we had decent numbers and at least one person turned up who hasn't f roa while and there was a visitor in the evening so lots t be encouraged about. In the morning we tried standing outside with mulled wine and ginger biscuits for passersby who were then invited in. We had communion before the evening service and that was good too.

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 7 Awake arise good Christians

Awake, arise good Christians, let nothing you dismay,
For unto us our Saviour was born upon this day!
The self-same moon was shining that now is in the sky,
When a holy band of angels came down from God on high!

Hosanna! Hosanna! To Jesus we'll sing,
Hosanna! Hosanna! Our Saviour, our King.

“Fear not, we bring good tidings, for on this happy morn,
The promised One, the Saviour, in Bethlehem's town was born!”
Up rose the simple shepherds, all with a joyful mind,
“Then let us go in haste,” they say, “This Holy Child to find.”

And like unto the shepherds, we wander far and near,
And bid you wake, good Christians, the joyful news to hear:
Awake, arise, good Christians, Let nothing you dismay,
For unto us our Saviour was born upon this day!
(repeat first verse and chorus twice)

This is abother Yorkshire one sung by Kate Rusby on Sweet Bells

Two interesting biographical documentaries

I have watched two interesting biographical documentaries recently. First, on ITV there was one on Cliff Richard - Sir Cliff Richard: 60 Years in Public and in Private. There was not much about Cliff's faith but there was one section suggesting he is a man who still prays and professes Christ. It is very easy to criticise such a person but he does seem to be seeking to live up to the light he has.
The other one was on the BBC more recently and was intended to be overtly religious as it is part of a series called My faith and me. No mention of Gavin's few months at London Seminary understandably but sadly. It was interesting nevertheless as he went from place to place capturing memories and telling his story so far. the move to Canada makes a great deal of sense and highlights how difficult celebrity can be.
Both are still available on iplayer or whatever at the moment.

Sir Cliff Exclusive

This screenshot shows a link to the recent itv documentary on Sir Cliff Richard. The picture shows Trevor MacDonald on deathrow next to a bed where men are executed. This is where Sir Cliff's opponents would had him placed had they had their way. Allegedly.

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 6 Drive the cold winter away

Census at Bethlehem Bruegel the elder
This is an Elizabethan song, again from Kate Rusby's The Frost is all over

All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all the rest of the year,
And welcome the nights that double delights,
As well for the poor as the peer!
And good fortune attends each merry man's friend,
That doth but the best that he may;
Forgetting old wrongs, with music and songs,
To drive the cold winter away.

'Tis ill for a mind to anger inclined
To think of small injuries now,
If it's wrath that you seek, do not lend her your cheek
Nor let her inhabit thy brow.
Cast out of thy books malevolent looks,
Both beauty and youth's decay,
And wholly consort with mirth and sport
To drive the cold winter away.

Oh this time of the year is spent in good cheer
And neighbours together do meet,
Oh to sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet.
And old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
And sorrows aside they all lay,
The old and the young doth carol this song,
To drive the cold winter away.

When Christmas tide comes in a like a bride,
With holly and ivy clad,
For twelve days of the year are spent in good cheer
In every household is glad.
Then the country guise is then to devise
Some gambols of Christmas play,
And every young man does the best that he can
To drive the cold winter away.

This is another version
All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all the rest of the year,
And welcome the nights that double delights,
As well for the poor as the peer!
Good fortune attend each merry man's friend,
That doth but the best that he may;
Forgetting old wrongs, with carols and songs,
To drive the cold winter away.

This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbours together do meet,
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love do greet;
Old grudges forgot, are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay,
The old and the young doth carol his song,
To drive the cold winter away.
To mask and to mum kind neighbours will come
With wassails of nut-brown ale,
To drink and carouse to all in the house,
As merry as bucks in the dale;
Where cake, bread and cheese is brought for your fees,
To make you the longer stay;
At the fire to warm will do you no harm,
To drive the cold winter away.

When Christmastide comes in like a bride,
With holly and ivy clad,
Twelve days in the year, much mirth and good cheer,
In every household is had;
The country guise is then to devise
Some gambols of Christmas play,
Whereat the young men do best that they can,
To drive the cold winter away.
When white-bearded frost hath threatened his worst,
And fallen from branch and brier,
Then time away calls, from husbandry halls
And from the good countryman's fire,
Together to go to plough and to sow,
To get us both food and array;
And thus with content the time we have spent
To drive the cold winter away.

I also have instrumental versions by Horslips to the traditional tune

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 5 Wish you a merry Christmas

This is a traditional song sung with various words. This is a SouthYorkshire version as sung by Kate Rusby on The Frost is all over

We singers make bold, as in days of old,
To celebrate Christmas and bring you good cheer;
Glad tidings we bring to you and your King,
To wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Glad he shepherds amazed as upward they gazed,
Behold holy angels to them drawing near;
Sing peace to all men as onward they came
To wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

So join heart and hand across this great land
In hope, peace adn kindness throughout the New Year,
In an innocent way be merry today,
To wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
And we ...

I also have versions by Enya and by Richie Blackmore

10 interesting words and phrases in Dickens' Christmas Carol

1. Bedight - Adorned (and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.)
2. Norfolk Biffins - Red apples ( there were Norfolk Biffins, squat and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons,)
3. Smoking Bishop - form of mulled wine (we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!)
4. Total abstinence principle - a phrase commonly associated with teetotaling, ie never drinking any alcohol or "spirits" - it's a pun (He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards;)
5. Apoplectic opulence - apoplexy involves becoming unconscious or incapicaitated. Her eit is due to opulence, wealth or luxury (tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence)
6. Retire to Bedlam -  Bedlam was a well known lunatic asylum in London where you would spend yoour final years if you were insane (There's another fellow, my clerk with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas; I'll retire to Bedlam.)
7. Counting house - an office or building in which the accounts and money of a person or company were kept (eg on Christmas Eve - old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house)
8. Comforter -  a woollen scarf (eg Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle)
9. Forfeits - this is a parrlour game where a piece of clothing or some personal belonging is put into a pile on the flooR and can only be redeemed by doing something silly, as decided by a judge. (After a while they played at forfeits; for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.)
10 The word scrooge originally meant to squeeze.

Midweek Meeting December 12 2018

Only seven of us last night but a good time as we sang a carol then carried on with the next little bit of Isaiah 9:6. We had a good time of prayer too. There is a lit of illness, some serious, about among members and friends, especially the women.

Childhood Anecdote

Somewhere around 1965 I went as a six year old with my family on our usual summer caravan holiday to Porthcawl. At some point my dad's younger brother Peter (still alive and well and living in Canada) turned up with a new car he had bought secondhand, perhaps his first car. It was some sort of Ford Zephyr, a convertible if I remember correctly. Anyway, the think about this car was the registration, GAR 12. My uncle told me (as uncles do) he'd got it with me in my mind (we had just moved into our new home, number 12). I remember thinking at the time that he might have been better to have had GARY B and dropped the 12. GAR would make it a Hertfordshire registration I think.

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 4 O holy night

"O Holy Night" ("Minuit Chretiens!" or "Cantique de Noël") is a Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, Chrétiens" (Midnight, Christians) written by a wine merchant and poet, Placide Cappeau (1808–1877). In both the French original and the English version of the carol, as well as many other languages, the text reflects on Christ's birth and on redemption.
O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees
O hear the angels' voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night,
O night divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from the Orient land.
A King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

Fall on your knees
O hear the angels' voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night,
O night divine.
I know it in this form from Leigh Nash's Wishing for this. I also have it by Jon Anderson on his Three ships and The Chieftains' Bells of Dublin where the vocalist is Rickie Lee Jones (and featuring Suzie Katayama on cello) with these extra words

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Day off Week 50

So on with the jeans and t-shirt once again and a walk in mild weather for the season to Kenwood House. Not having the dog with me, I could go into the house and check out the paintings again (Vermeer, Wright, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, etc). There were few people about and each house had at least one guide desperate to tell me stuff. Nice. I had a coffeee there and read the paper. In Golders Green I bought some coat hooks and back here I put them on the back of a bedroom door. Lots of reading. I finished a new transaltion of Aladdin which I enjoyed and read more of Christmas Carol (finished today) Pinocchio and a neglected book (still not quite finished Seven Types of Atheism. in the evening we watched the final parts of two series. Mrs Wilson was okay. It is amazing what people are willing to share about their family background. If Mr Wilson was my grandfather I might want to keep quiet. Blood turned out to be soemthing different to what you had thought and is really a rather poor attempt to normalise adultery, homosexuality, suicide, euthanasia, etc. Unimpressed.

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 3 Ane sang of the birth of Christ

Ane Sang Of The Birth Of Christ (Balulalow)
Scottish 16th Century written by James, John and Robert Wedderburn

I come fra hevin here to tell
The best nowells that e'er befell
To you their tythings trew I bring
And I will of them say and sing.
To you this day is born ane child
Of Marie meik and Virgin mild.
That blissit bairn bening and kind (bening and kind)
Shall you rejoyce baith hart and mind.

Lat us rejoyis and be blyth
And with the Hydris go full swyth
And see what God of his grace has done
Throu Christ to bring us to his throne
My saull and life, stand up and see
What lyis in ane cribbe of tree.
What Babe is that, sa gude and fair? (sa gue and fair?)
It is Christ, God's Son and Air.

The silk and sandell thee to eis
Ar hay and sempill sweilling clais,
Whar thou greit glorious God and King
As thou in hev'n war in thy ring.
And war the warld ten times sa wide,
Cled ouer with gold and stanes of pride
Unworthie yit it were to thee
Under thy feet ane stule to be.

O my deir hart, yung Jesus sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit!
And I shall rock thee in my hart
And never mair fra thee depart.
Bot I sall praise thee evermoir
With sangis sweit unto thy gloir.
The kneis of my hart sall I bow,
And sing that rycht Balulalow.

This is again from Carols and capers by Maddy Prtor and the Carnival Band

10 Lesser known Christmas Songs 2 My dancing day

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;
Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love
Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance.

In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Betwixt an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance.

Other verses go as follows

Then afterwards baptized I was;
The Holy Ghost on me did glance,
My Father’s voice heard from above,
To call my true love to my dance.

Into the desert I was led,
Where I fasted without substance;
The Devil bade me make stones my bread,
To have me break my true love's dance.

The Jews on me they made great suit,
And with me made great variance,
Because they loved darkness rather than light,
To call my true love to my dance.

For thirty pence Judas me sold,
His covetousness for to advance:
Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold!
The same is he shall lead the dance.

Before Pilate the Jews me brought,
Where Barabbas had deliverance;
They scourged me and set me at nought,
Judged me to die to lead the dance.

Then on the cross hanged I was,
Where a spear my heart did glance;
There issued forth both water and blood,
To call my true love to my dance.

Then down to hell I took my way
For my true love's deliverance,
And rose again on the third day,
Up to my true love and the dance.

Then up to heaven I did ascend,
Where now I dwell in sure substance
On the right hand of God, that man
May come unto the general dance.

I know the first part from the Maddy Prior and the Carnival band album Carols and capers. The traditional song goes back to Mediaeval times and is said to be the root of the modern song Lord of the dance.

10 Lesser known Christmas songs 1 Awake my soul

Awake my soul! Awake my tongue!
My glory wake and sing
To celebrate the holy birth
Of Israel's King.

Awake, awake my soul
Awake, awake awake my soul, awake my tongue
Awake me

O happy this night that brought forth the light
Which makes the blind to see
The Dayspring from on high came down to thee.

Awake, awake my soul
Awake, awake awake my soul, awake my tongue
Awake me

In Bethlehem
The Christ child he lies
Within a place obscure
Your Saviour's come
O sing to God on high

This is by Benjamin Keach and I know it from Page CXVI's Advent to Christmas

A fuller vision goes

Awake my soul! Awake my tongue!
My glory wake and sing
To celebrate the holy birth
Of Israel's King.

Awake, awake my soul
Awake, awake awake my soul, awake my tongue
Awake me

O happy this night that brought forth the light
Which makes the blind to see
The Dayspring from on high came down to thee.

Awake, awake my soul
Awake, awake awake my soul, awake my tongue
Awake me

In Bethlehem
The Christ child he lies
Within a place obscure
Your Saviour's come
O sing to God on high

Lord's Day December 9 2018

So at last I was back in the Childs Hill pulpit yesterday. Not an easy day really. Numbers seemed to be down rather and I chose to speak on two similar Old Testament verses not easy to present - Genesis 49:10  and Numbers 24:17. We had tea at 5 pm before the morning meeting. We also had a problem with one of the hymn tunes in the morning which did not help. One goes over it and tries to think what might have been changed and there is not much. We pray in faih that it will have done good therefore and hope to do better next time.

All Aboard For Christmas by Thomas Kinkade

This is an old video (2012) but I love the close ups its gves of my current screen saver. TK died at the age of 54 in 2012 and was a professing believer.

10 lots of siblings in history

1. Henry and William James
2. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë
3. Orville and Wilbur Wright
4. Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm
5. George and Ira Gershwin
6. Groucho, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo Marx
7. John, Robert and Edward Kennedy
8. Frank and Jessie James
9. Fernand, Louis and Marcel Renault
10. Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, Johann Christoph Friedrich and Johann Christian Bach

10 Footballing Brothers

1. Denis and Leslie Compton
2. Jackie and Bobby Charlton
3. Gary and Phil Neville
4. Anton and Rio Ferdinand
5. Yaya and Kolo Touré
6. Michael and Brian Laudrup
7. Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng
8. Ivor and Len Allchurch
9. Ronald and Frank de Boer
10. Eden and Thorgan Hazard

10 Sporting Siblings

1. Venus and Serena Williams (Tennis)
2. Jamie and Andy Murray (Tennis)
3. Jonny and Alister Brownlee (Triathlon)
4. Rory and Tony Underwood (Rugby)
5. Steve and Mark Waugh (Cricket)
6. Michael and Ralf Shumacher (Motor racing)
7. Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko (Boxing)
8. Ian, Greg and Trevor Chapell (Cricket)
9. Francesco and Edoardo Molinari (Golf)
10. Mako and Billy Vunipola (Rugby)
Bonus Dom, Vince and Joe DiMaggio (Baseball)

"Day off" Week 49

As noted in week 39 the luxury of a day off is not always possible and this is one of those weeks. So I have had to stagger as is necessary from time to time. So what I am doing is saying that the day is in three parts. I had an evening out last Monday to see Kate Rusby as reported and I''ll be pretty much relaxing also 4.30 - 7.30 pm on Saturday when we have our church social. The other component came yesterday when I took it rather easy after the Westminster Conference doing some blogging and reading about insid jokes on Wikipedia and exploring some other websites. Later I read the first stave of Dickens' Christmas Carol it being that time of year and the 175th anniversary of its publication. Everyone says it is a masterpiece. It is.

PS The Christmas social was great - lovely food and conversation and games. My annual quiz was bearable. We finished off with some performances inclduing a comedy sketch, a rendition of yakty sax and Rachmaninov's second piano concerto on piano and accordion. Lovely evening.

Midweek Meeting December 5 2018

Good session Wednesday as we started on Isaiah 9:6. The twelve of us present, including one visitor. As ever, plenty to pray about and good prayers. Found lovely quotes from Luther and Oswalt. Luther
Therefore this is the chief article, which separates us from all the heathen, that you, O man, may not only learn that Christ, born of the virgin, is the Lord and Saviour, but also accept the fact that he is your Lord and Saviour, that you may be able to boast in your heart: I hear the Word that sounds from heaven and says: This child who is born of the virgin is not only his mother’s son. I have more than the mother’s estate; he is more mine than Mary’s, for he was born for me, for the angel said, “to you” is born the Saviour. Then ought you to say, Amen, I thank you, dear Lord. But then reason says: Who knows? I believe that Christ, born of the virgin, is the Lord and Saviour and he may perhaps help Peter and Paul, but for me, a sinner, he was not born. But even if you believed that much, it would still not be enough, unless there were added to it the faith that he was born for you…Take yourself in hand, examine yourself and see whether you are a Christian! If you can sing: The Son, who is proclaimed to be a Lord and Saviour, is my Saviour; and if you can confirm the message of the angel and say yes to it and believe it in your heart, then your heart will be filled with assurance and joy and confidence, and you will not worry much about even the costliest and best that this world has to offer…You see how a person rejoices when he receives a robe or 10 guldens. But how many are there who shout and jump for joy when they hear the message of the angel: To you is born this day the Saviour? … For, if it is true that the child was born of the virgin and is mine, then I have no angry God and I must know and feel that there is nothing but laughter and joy in the heart of the Father and no sadness in my heart ….
This point underlines the central paradox in Isaiah’s conception of Yahweh’s deliverance of his people. How will God deliver from arrogance, war, oppression, and coercion? By being more arrogant, more warlike, more oppressive, and more coercive? Surely, the book of Isaiah indicates frequently that God was powerful enough to destroy his enemies in an instant, yet again and again, when the prophet comes to the heart of the means of deliverance, a childlike face peers out at us. God is strong enough to overcome his enemies by becoming vulnerable, transparent, and humble – the only hope, in fact for turning enmity into friendship.

One reason scholarship is not easy these days

Happened to come across this recently (you'll probbly need to click to read the text)

Westminster Conference 2018 Sessions 5 and 6

The final two sessions of the conference were on John Owen and his Christologia and the 18th century missionary to Native Americans, David Brainerd.
The first of these papers was given by Jeremy Walker and was an excellent introduction to what is perhaps a rather neglected work from the wen corpus.
Attention was drawn at the end to two particular things. Firstly, the reverence that characterises the work.
Owen writes introducing the work
The re-enthroning of the Person, Spirit, Grace, and Authority of Christ, in the hearts and consciences of men, is the only way whereby an end may be put unto these woeful conflicts. But this is not to be expected in any degree of perfection amongst them who stumble at this stone of offence, whereunto they were appointed; though in the issue he will herein also send forth judgement unto victory, and all the meek of the earth shall follow after it. In the meantime, as those unto whom he is thus a rock of offence - in his person, his spirit, his grace, his office, and authority - are diligent and restless (in their various ways and forms, in lesser or higher degrees, in secret artifices, or open contradictions unto any or all of them, under various pretences, and for divers ends, even secular advantages some of them, which the craft of Satan hath prepared for the ensnaring of them) in all ways of opposition unto his glory; so it is the highest duty of them unto whom he is precious, whose principal design is to be found built on him as the sure foundation, as to hold the truth concerning him, (his person, spirit, grace, office, and authority,) and to abound in all duties of faith, love, trust, honour, and delight in him - so also to declare his excellency, to plead the cause of his glory, to vindicate his honour, and to witness him the only rest and reward of the souls of men, as they are called and have opportunity. This, and no other, is the design of the ensuing treatise; wherein, as all things fall unspeakably short of the glory, excellency, and sublimity of the subject treated of, (for no mind can conceive, no tongue can express, the real substantial glory of them,) so there is no doubt but that in all the parts of it there is a reflection of failings and imperfections, from the weakness of its author.
Secondly, Owen's reliance on revelation. To quote again 
God, in his own essence, being, and existence, is absolutely incomprehensible. His nature being immense, and all his holy properties essentially infinite, no creature can directly or perfectly comprehend them, or any of them. He must be infinite that can perfectly comprehend that which is infinite; wherefore God is perfectly known unto himself only - but as for us, how little a portion is heard of him! Hence he is called “The invisible God,” and said to dwell in “light inaccessible.” The subsistence of his most single and simple nature in three distinct persons, though it raises and ennobles faith in its revelation, yet it amazeth reason which would trust to itself in the contemplation of it - whence men grow giddy who will own no other guide, and are carried out of the way of truth. 
 The paper closed with Owen's final emphasis on faith, hope and love. Owen writes
From the exercise of faith herein doth divine love, love unto God, proceed; therein alone it is enlivened and inflamed. On these apprehensions doth a believing soul cry out, "How great is his goodness! how great is his beauty!" God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, is the only object of divine love. Under that representation of him alone can the soul cleave unto him with ardent love, constant delight, and intense affections. All other notions of love unto God in sinners, as we are all, are empty fancies. ...
... Wherefore, in this state, the invocation of Christ is the refuge and sheet-anchor of the souls of them who truly believe in him. So it was unto all the holy martyrs of old, and in latter ages.
This doctrine and duty is not for them who are at ease. The afflicted, the tempted, the persecuted, the spiritually disconsolate, Will prize it, and be found in the practice of it. And all those holy souls who, in most ages, on the account of the profession of the Gospel, have been reduced unto outwardly unrelievable distresses, have, as was said, left their testimony unto this duty, and the benefits Of it. The refreshment which they found therein was a sufficient balance against the weight of all outward calamities, enabling them to rejoice under them with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” This is the church’s reserve against all the trials it may be exercised withal, and all the dangers whereunto it is exposed. Whilst believers have liberty of access unto him in their supplications, who hath all P°Wel‘ in his hand, who is full of ineffable love and compassion towards them, especially as suffering for his sake - they are more than conquerors in all their tribulations.
Discussion followed.
Nigel Graham simply gave us a biographical overview of Brainerd's life and the book that Jonathan Edwards produced. This was done very well I thought. There were echoes of Pink from the day before both in the question of editing books (we talked about the different editions of Sovereignty of God by Pink and then the way Edwards edited the Brainerd diary) and the speaker defending the subject from accusations of unnecessary solitude (see below for references). Both men seem to have suffered with some sort of tendency to depression. The other mitigating factor advanced for any eccentricity or deficiency in Brainerd was his relative youthfulness.
I cannot remember the exact example Nigel Graham gave but thee are several such as these

Sept. 10, 1742: In the afternoon, prayed with a dear friend privately, and had the presence of God with us; our souls united together to reach after a blessed immortality.
Dec. 11, 1742: I rode to Bethlehem, came to Mr. Bellamy’s lodgings, and spent the evening with him in sweet conversation and prayer.
Dec. 23, 1742: I rode to New-Haven, and there enjoyed some sweetness in prayer and conversation, with some dear Christian friends. My mind was sweetly serious and composed.
Dec. 26, 1742: In the evening, rode from New-Haven to Branford, after I had kneeled and prayed with a number of dear Christian friends in a very retired place in the woods.
Feb. 17, 1743: In the evening, spent some time with a dear Christian friend; and felt serious, as on the brink of eternity. My soul enjoyed sweetness in lively apprehensions of standing before the glorious God: prayed with my dear friend with sweetness, and discoursed with the utmost solemnity. And truly it was a little emblem of heaven itself.
March 19, 1743: In the afternoon, rode to Newark, and had some sweetness in conversation with Mr. Burr, and in praying together. O blessed be God forever and ever, for any enlivening and quickening seasons.

Reading Bavinck Extra

In addition to Dr Eglinton's paper I notice that the same subject is addressed here on a TGC website.

Westminster Conference 2018 Session 4

Our first session on the second day was on the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck and reading his works with James Eglinton, whose biography of Bavinck is soon to appear. After helpfully sketching Bavinck's times and life (a key date here being 1848 when constititutional reform led to toleration for the persecuted seceders from the state church, six years before his birth) Dr Eglinton addressed the question of why and how to read him
1. Why to read him
1. Secularisation
Previously in Holland the state church and the seceders were agreed on what truth is but after 1848 everything became relative. This is an issue that was often engaged with by Bavinck. Eg when he was a student, when he became an MP (the just war, dealing with the poor, etc), as a journalist and in his friendships with unbelievers.
Obvious books to study are Philosophy and revelation (Stone Lectures 1908-1909) and The Christian world view.
2. Scripture
He took it with utmost seriousness. He had an a priori approach - that it was the Word of God. Without this it is impossible to appreciate Scripture for what it really is.
3. Catholicity
A favourite text was 1 John 5:4. He believed that we have obligation now not just historically.. The missionary impulse. was strong in him.
2. How to read him
He is not easy to read. Understanding the structure of his dogmatics will help. Volume 1 (Prolegomena) is probably the hardest to read. Calvin is easier because he did not need to begin with an extended discussion of the philosophical thought of the day post-Kant and post-enlightenment. The volumes that follow use the structure of the Apostles Creed.
It is worth bearing in mind that Bavinck is eager to present his opponents in the clearest terms. He therefore rehearses the argument at length, emphasising their strongest case. Comments and arguments come only later. It is useful to bear in mind.
In the discussion we considered how we confront our secular age and how Bavinck can help us.

Westminster Conference 2018 Session 3

Image result for "Phil Arthur" Lancaster
Our third and final session of the day featured Phil Arthur on the Great War. Phil Artthur is a trained historian and a great raconteur and he was able to give us a fascinating and nuanced state of the art summary of the Great War of 1914-1918. He warned us against drawing our notions of the war from Balckadder or the war poets studied at GCSE level. He also touched on several other issues such as Israel, the end of African colonialism adn the rise of Christianity there, liberalism and the Downgrade, the doctrine of hell, Darwin, higher critcism, etc.
This all led to the question of whether, as is often asserted, the Great War proved fatal to Christianity in Britain. This was shown to be a myth, the faith of many being strengthened and even ignited during the war as often as it was extinguishhed. The real culprits are Darwinism, higher criticism and the flight from the doctrine of hell. This view was reflected in the discussion although some wanted to suggest that the war did have an adverse affect on the church - in the colossal loss of men for example that the war, together with the Spanish flu epidemic, brought about.

Westminster Conference 2018 Session 2

Our afternoon session day two of the conference was Geoff Thomas on A W Pink and that was a very good session, showing Pink to have been a fine evangelsitic Calvinist if not a good model on remaining in church fellowship.
Geoff's conclusions drawn from Iain Murray were as follows
His writings, his teaching, was self-consciously written with the authority of a man called by God to teach his word. His business was to speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority (Titus 2:15). 
The clarity of his method of teaching was focussed on one great aim of bringing people to definite conclusions concerning the truth. The presentation of the message was always aimed at instructing people in what was true. 
His teaching was not ended in the clear explanation of the meaning of a passage. The principles learned needed to be applied to our daily walk in order to convict and stimulate, comfort and strengthen (op cit Murray, pp.285&286). 
Iain concludes splendidly thus: “It is on the practical and devotional side that Pink really comes into his own, and that he is almost uniformly uplifting, stimulating and often inspiring. Here he needs to lean on none. He speaks what he has ‘seen and heard’ when he takes up such subjects as prayer and self-denial, communion with Christ and growth in grace. His grasp of the ways of God in conversion and in spiritual experience is masterly and reveals a gift which has been exceedingly rare among preachers and writers of our times. He has sound counsel for the spiritual infant and for the mature Christian. As a spiritual physician who knows the heart in all its multiplicity of need he talks like one of the Puritans. He is able to walk, and to assist others to walk through that Valley, which says Bunyan, ‘is as dark as pitch’, where there is ‘on the right hand a very deep ditch’ and on the left ‘a very dangerous quag, into which, if ever a good man falls, he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on.’ This pastoral ability and discernment is surely Pink’s foremost strength as a teacher”
(Murray, p 296).

Westminster Conference 2018 Session 1

Paul Wells opened the Westminster Conferene this year with a very thorough paper on Amyraldism, the view that accepts four of the five points of Calvinism but not Limited Atonement. It was a very thorough paper and a good discussion followed. Here is an outline.
1. Amyraldianism in conflict
Pierre du Moulin in his Anatomy of Arminianism 1619 deals with Amyraldism but the three main Amyraldian controversies (Roger Nicole)
1 Treatise on Predestination 1634 (Amyraut) > Synod of Alencon 1637
2 1641-1649 (1644 Synod of Charenton exonerated Amyraut and ended in the compromise of the Act of Thouars)
3 1655-1661 (Synod of Loudon 1559: Moderator Jean Daille, supporter of Amyraut)
The formula consensus Helvetica 1675
2. The order of the divine decree and election
1 The question of particularism and universalism
As supernaturalism is the mark of Christianity at large, and evangelicalism the mark of Protestantism, so particularism is the mark of Calvinism. The Calvinist .. holds with full consciousness that God the Lord, in his saving operations, deals not generally with mankind at large, but particularly with the individuals who are actually saved. Thus, and thus only, he contends, can either the supernaturalism of salvation which is the mark of Christianity at large and which ascribes all salvation to God, or the immediacy of the operations of saving grace which is the mark of evangelicalism and which ascribes salvation to the direct working of God upon the soul, come to its rights and have justice accorded it. Particularism in the saving processes, he contends, is already given in the supernaturalism of salvation and in the immediacy of the operations of the divine grace; and the denial of particularism is constructively the denial of the immediacy of saving grace, that is, of evangelicalism, and of the supernaturalism of salvation, that is, of Christianity itself. It is logically the total rejection of Christianity.
The particularism of the saving operations of God which is thus the mark of Calvinism, it is possible, however, to apply more or less fully (or, shall we say, with more or less discernment?) in our thought of the activities of God relatively to his sinful creatures (or shall we say, broadly, relatively to his creatures?). Thus differing varieties of Calvinism have emerged in the history of thought. As they are distinguishable from one another by the place they give to particularism in the operations of God, that is as much as to say they are distinguished from one another by the place they give to the decree of election in the order of the divine decrees.
B B Warfield The Plan of salvation 87, 88
This is why Muller rules Amyraldianism in and Arminianism outside the Reformed faith.
2 Arminianism
  • Provision of salvation for all by sending Christ (antecedent decree)
  • Salvation procured for all who believe
  • General grace sufficient given to all
  • Election of those foreseen as having faith and obedience (consequent decree)
Pierre du Moulin Eclairissement des controverses 4-6
3 Calvinistic infralapsarianism
  • Election of some to life in Christ
  • Sending of Christ as Mediator to accomplish reconciliation
  • Gift of the Holy Spirit to save those redeemed by repentance and faith
4 Amyraldianism
John Cameron very influential posthumously. His 1642 publication (following Amyraut's of 1634) was very influential.
  • God's desire to save all (first mercy)
  • Sending of the Son, remission of sins for all (impetration)
  • Election of some to faith
  • Salvation of those morally renewed by faith

Christ Saviour of all
Election of some to life (leaving others)
Divine desire to save all (first mercy)
Salvation procured for all who believe
Sending Christ to redeem the elect
Son of God sent as Saviour of all
Gift of persuasive grace for all
Holy Spirit regeneration, repentance and faith and union with Christ
Election of some to faith
Election by prescience of faith, consequent grace

Salvation on condition of faith

3. The nature of the divine decree in Amyraldianism
1 Sin, misery and the divine desire of salvation are equal and universal
2 Grace and redemption are equal and universal, provided men believe
3 Christ's humanity makes him one with all
4 Sacrifice, propitiation, salvation received from the Fathers are equally for all in the sanctified and glorified Christ
5 The condition: equal disposition in men to receive it
(equal dropped at the insistence of the synod is more precise than universal)
for Amyraut propitiaion is for all and salvation is presented to all, on condition that they believe.
Amyraut speaks about two different forms of predestination related to two distinct forms of the will of God in his treatise.
In his reply to the question of for whom Christ died, there are
  • Two aspects of the one divine will expressed in two decrees
  • Two forms of mercy, each with a precedent character in its recipients
  • Two predestinations, to salvation and to faith
  • Two covenants, one creational and legal the other the new covenant of grace
He seems to be aware of the problem of two decrees and is reluctant to speak of it. He says it is one in God's mind.
Summary Calvin and Amyraut
One simple absolute will
A decree expressing two wills hypo/absolute
The secret and revealed will
Antecedent and consequent will
Mercy t the elect and common grace
Two forms of mercy
One predestination to life (and reprobation)
Two forms of predestination
One covenant of grace for Fall
Two covenants, legal and gracious
One divine intention throughout
Two intentions

Canon VI: Wherefore, we can not agree with the opinion of those who teach: l) that God, moved by philanthropy, or a kind of special love for the fallen of the human race, did, in a kind of conditioned willing, first moving of pity, as they call it, or inefficacious desire, determine the salvation of all, conditionally, i.e., if they would believe, 2) that he appointed Christ Mediator for all and each of the fallen; and 3) that, at length, certain ones whom he regarded, not simply as sinners in the first Adam, but as redeemed in the second Adam, he elected, that is, he determined graciously to bestow on these, in time, the saving gift of faith; and in this sole act election properly so called is complete. For these and all other similar teachings are in no way insignificant deviations from the proper teaching concerning divine election; because the Scriptures do not extend unto all and each God’s purpose of showing mercy to man, but restrict it to the elect alone, the reprobate being excluded even by name, as Esau, whom God hated with an eternal hatred (Rom 9:11). The same Holy Scriptures testify that the counsel and will of God do not change, but stand immovable, and God in the, heavens does whatsoever he will (Ps 115:3; Isa 47:10); for God is in finitely removed from all that human imperfection which characterises inefficacious affections and desires, rashness repentance and change of purpose. The appointment, also, of Christ, as Mediator, equally with the salvation of those who were given to him for a possession and an inheritance that can not be taken away, proceeds from one and the same election, and does not form the basis of election.
—J. H. Heidegger, Francis Turretin, Helvetic Consensus Formula (1675)

4. Four comments
Too often Amyraut has been criticised for the likely consequences of his teaching rather than the teaching itself. Defenders of Amyraut usually argue that he is the true Calvinist.

1 Hypothetical decree
This is an expression of the universal goodness of God. The goodness of God is preserved at the expense of his soveregnty being undermined.
Nothing is gained by a hypothetical decree. It contradicts John 17. Further, of God foreknew man's sin and determined only to save some how does the hypothetical decree help? More, how can there be contradicting intentions in God?
2 The work of Christ
The strong link between redemption accomplished and applied is broken. The doctrine of union with Christ is undermined.
Robert Reymond
The upshot of the Amyraldian arrangement is that the actual execution of the divine discrimination comes not at the point of Christ's redemptive accomplishment which is universal in intent but at the point of the Spirit's redemptive application which is limited to the elect.
3. The gospel mandate
Preaching the gospel is made difficult.
4. Trinitarian questions
Despite what Amyraldians says there is a deficit. Robert Letham says
The electing purpose of the Father and the work of the Spirit are in conflict with the intention in the death of the Son on the cross. This is contrary to the simplicity of the gospel.
We need to understand the all passages in light of it meaning not just Israel, the Jews, but a much wider category of people. It is the movement from centripetal to centrifugal.
Oneism rules today. This makes limited atonement and the gospel itself scandalous. It is more counter-cultural than ever but that is its genius.