- Genesis. It was right that Joseph revealed his dreams. It makes more sense to see him as good. This is why his father, Jacob, favoured him.
- Job. Job had only ten more after his recovery and only the girls are named. Job is given ten more children not twenty because he still had ten in heaven. The girls are named against convention in order to underline that tradition is not always correct.
- Song of Songs, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. There is nothing wrong with the traditional view that Solomon wrote the first as a young man, the last as an old man and the bulk of the middle one throughout his life.
- Proverbs 31 is not a mere appendix about what to look for in a wife but the climax of the call to the son by his father to marry wisdom. This wisdom points to Christ, the wisdom of God. We must marry the Bride Christ (as well as the Bridegroom as is taught elsewhere).
- 2 Kings. Elisha's request to Elijah for a double portion and why it was a hard thing to give is to do with the fact that a double portion is the eldest son's portion. When Elijah says he has asked for a hard thing it is not that it is hard for that to be done but being the eldest son involves great responsibility. For Christ it meant death on the cross.
- John 14. When Jesus speaks about going to prepare a place for his disciples he is referring chiefly to the work he is about to do on the cross. It is by this means that believers can enter heaven.
- Acts 16 says that the jailer was baptised along with his household. It is most likely that this reference is to all the other prisoners who also believed.
- Romans 14:22, 23 makes clear that faith resides in the conscience, which is the soul in its moral workings.
- 1 Corinthians 11:14 speaks of long hair as a shame to a man. Paul is probably being ironic here as he let his hair grow throughout the 18 months he was in Corinth planting the church.
- Revelation 20:3. How to understand the thousand years and the short time is difficult and there are various views. Those who rightly take it to refer to the period from Christ's first coming to his second still allow a short time at the end when Satan is again set free. It is better to take the thousand years and the short time to run conjointly. In one sense the period is like a thousand years of Satan bound but, in another sense, it is like a short time when Satan is free.
Last Lord's Day was a little different as we were away from home and staying with others. We had also decided to fly back to the mainland from N Ireland that evening. In the end we joined the Portadown Elim congregation online in the morning with four others. This was not quite what we are used to, although Mount Pleasant the week before had prepared us. The sermon was from a member called Ken Henning, an MBE and former police chief, who preached helpfully from 1 Corinthians 13. We should have been better organised and set up to watch something in the evening but failed there and so I found myself buying my wife perfume not something I often do, especially on the Lord's Day! We flew frm Belfast to Cardiff and then drove on to a holiday place near Aber. One sad aspect to the day was to know I was so near Richhill EPC and not be able to attend.
As we travel about in Wales we see a lot of places whose names begin with Nant-. Here are ten examples.
- Nantyrarian, Brecknockshire (Silverbrook)
- Nant-y-Bwch, Brecknockshire (Cowbrook)
- Nantddu, Brecknockshire (Blackbrook)
- Nantyglo, Monmouthshire (Coalbrook)
- Nantmel, Radnorshire (Honeybrook)
- Nantglas, Radnorshire (Bluebrook)
- Nant Mawr, Flintshire (Greatbrook)
- Nantycaws, Carmarthenshire (Cheesebrook)
- Nant-y-ffin, Carmarthenshire (Borderbrook)
- Nant-y-felin, Caernarfonshire (Millbrook)
As mentioned our holiday moved on next to Rhaeadr near the Elan Valley, where we saw the above statue in memory of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.
"Rocks piled on each other to tremendous heights, rivers formed into cataracts by their projections, and valleys clothed with woods, present an appearance of enchantment.""This country is highly romantic; here are rocks of uncommon height and picturesque waterfalls. I am more astonished at the grandeur of the scenery than I expected.""...I am not wholly uninfluenced by its magic on my lonely walks."
"He was a very strange gentleman. On weekdays he wore a little cap and had his neck bare, but on Sundays, donning a tall hat, he would go with the family to church". He was said to be "full of fun" and "he loved to sail in the rapid mountain streams a wooden boat about a foot in length, and would run along the bank, using a pole to direct his craft, and keep it from shipwreck on the rocks".
"Strange as it may appear, we have been all through North Wales to find a house, but not one presented itself..."
"The house is not yet our own, although we reside here, but will be so in the course of a month. ...This house is large, it will contain seven bedrooms. ...We are now embosomed in the solitude of mountains, woods and rivers - silent, solitary, and old: far from any town; six miles from Rhayader, which is the nearest. A ghost haunts this house, which has frequently been seen by the servants."
"We are not yet completely certain of being able to obtain the house where now we are. The cheapness, beauty, and retirement, make this place in every view desirable. .... mountains and rocks seeming to form a barrier round this quiet valley, which the tumult of the world may never overleap."
Our holiday is continuing in Rhaeadr, Mid-Wales, and the party has now swollen from three to fifteen (all our children and grandchildren are here). We are opposite the house where Robert J Thomas was born.
Nov. 3 This morning half-a-dozen junkmen went ashore to catch shell fish, on which three of them were cruelly beaten about the legs by a score of cowardly islanders. Our little fleet of nine junks was in a state of high indignation. We could send fifty men to fight. In their own fashion they immediately loaded their rusty matchlocks and small guns with powder only! And taking to their sampons, flying their respective flags, amidst great beating of gongs, made for the village. All the islanders were congregated like a flock of white sheep on the top of the hill. Two or three of the fiercer ones were going through all kinds of warlike manoeuvres on a near cliff. Steadily our flotilla advanced, firing volley after volley of power—the more prudent one fire about five hundred yards from the village. Two of the most daring boats advanced towards the shore, where, by this time, many of those from the hill had collected themselves and were engaged very vigorously in pelting stones; nothing daunted, these two boats seized a small junk lying off the beach, in a trice they had lifted the anchor, and amidst great acclamations brought away their prize. It is a small tub and will be given up tomorrow.
Nov. 4 Yesterday, stormy. Today two islanders fixed a small stick in the ground at low water with a piece of paper attached to it. I sent my writer for it; the following is a free translation:--"This for all to see. You are engaged in a contraband trade, a trade severely punished by our respective countries. Your vessels that come here are too much given to disturbances. You have been here already ten days. You have dared to cut wood on a sacred islet with a temple on it, rendering us liable to tempests. Your guilt is very great indeed. As we have none who after the wood, you have taken it in a thievish manner. You are all a set of thieves. You indeed are a desperate set. One of our military officials will come with a thousand men, who will do battle with you and slay you. But now we are willing to make it up and not report it. You must believe this document. The other day you snatched away a vessel; you must return it, and then we will not entertain hostile feelings toward you. Be quick, be quick."
We are on holiday at the moment - in Wales, of course. We decided to start in Swansea and stayed (the three of us) in a nice studio flat near the marina for the weekend. There are many places we could go to church in Swansea but we decided on Mount Pleasant in the morning and Ebenezer in the evening. Both are Baptist churches. Way back Mount was English speaking and Ebenezer Welsh speaking but now the difference is more to do with conservative and less conservative approaches. We needed to register for both services.
Another fine prayer meeting and Bible Study on zoom again last week and with good numbers. We came to the end of 1 Timothy. Good timing as I am away soon, although I will take the meeting on August 4.