Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Monday, 26 July 2010

edgehill - day 3

We'll be at the beach today (if the weather holds):
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You can see the beach year round, 24/7 here

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Lord's Day Reflections

Question 6. Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?
Answer: By no means; but God created man good, (a) and after his own image, (b) in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him. (c)

(a) Gen.1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (b) Gen.1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Gen.1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (c) Col.3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; Col.3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Eph.4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Eph.4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 2 Cor.3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Question 7.
 Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?
Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise; (a) hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin. (b)

(a) Genesis 3. Rom.5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Rom.5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Rom.5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (b) Ps.51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Gen.5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

Question 8.
 Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?
Answer: Indeed we are; (a) except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. (b)

(a) Gen.8:21 The imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Gen.6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit. Isa.53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (b) John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 1 Cor.12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 2 Cor.3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A new way of being human

The Church is not a club for religious people. The Church is a way of living together before God, a new way of being human together. (Against Christianity p16)

Thursday, 15 July 2010


...after nature and grace, undoubtedly, there is nothing more powerful than education.  Early habits (if I may so speak) are everything with us, under God.  We are made what we are by training.  Our character takes the form of that mould into which our first years are cast. (JC Ryle)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Harvard & Early Years Learning!

In America no other English-speaking colonizers established higher education as soon after their arrival as did the Puritans. Only six years after their arrival in Massachusetts Bay, the General Court voted four hundred pounds 'towards a school or college.' Thus established, Harvard College was kept alive during its early years partly through the sacrifice of farmers, who contributed wheat to support teachers and students. 
p 157 Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were

The Prodigal God

We are greatly enjoying Luke 15 with the help of Tim Keller at the moment (see here)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Young plants

Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct.  Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, — these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, — these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.  Few are to be found, even among grown-up people, who are not more easy to draw than to drive.  There is that in all our minds which rises in arms against compulsion; we set up our backs and stiffen our necks at the very idea of a forced obedience.  We are like young horses in the hand of a breaker: handle them kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many a month before you get the mastery of them at all.
    Now children’s minds are cast in much the same mould as our own.  Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw them back.  It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself to find the door.  But let them only see that you have an affectionate feeling towards them, — that you are really desirous to make them happy, and do them good, — that if you punish them, it is intended for their profit, and that, like the pelican, you would give your heart’s blood to nourish their souls; let them see this, I say, and they will soon be all your own.  But they must be wooed with kindness, if their attention is ever to be won.  And surely reason itself might teach us this lesson.  Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such, they need patient and considerate treatment.  We must handle them delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do more harm than good.  They are like young plants, and need gentle watering, — often, but little at a time.(JC Ryle) http://www.anglicanlibrary.org/ryle/parents/

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Another Lord's Day

We are going to the house of prayer,
pour upon us the spirit of grace and supplication;
We are going to the house of praise, 
awaken in us every grateful and cheerful emotion;
We are going to the house of instruction, 
give testimony to the Word preached,
and glorify it in the hearts of all who hear; 
may it enlighten the ignorant, awaken the careless,reclaim the wandering, establish the weak, comfort the feeble minded, make ready a people for their Lord. 
p387 The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Teaching Your Child to Weed

Remember children are born with a decided bias towards evil, and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong.  The mother cannot tell what her tender infant may grow up to be, — tall or short, weak or strong, wise or foolish he may be any of these things or not, — it is all uncertain.  But one thing the mother can say with certainty: he will have a corrupt and sinful heart.  It is natural to us to do wrong.  "Foolishness," says Solomon, "is bound in the heart of a child" (Prov. 22:15).  "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Prov. 29:15).  Our hearts are like the earth on which we tread; let it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.  If, then, you would deal wisely with your child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one weak and blind; but for pity’s sake, give him not up to his own wayward tastes and inclinations.  It must not be his likings and wishes that are consulted.  He knows not yet what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body.  You do not let him decide what he shall eat, and what he shall drink, and how he shall be clothed.  Be consistent, and deal with his mind in like manner.  Train him in the way that is scriptural and right, and not in the way that he fancies. 
JC Ryle 'The Duties of Parents'

Friday, 9 July 2010

Islamisation of the West?

for the Barnabas article click here

A Jewish perspective on the early church

It was not long before the Christians were saying that the Law was too hard for any man to bear. It did not matter what food a man ate: God was not concerned with such things. When one considers the almost divine place given to the Law in Judaism it can readily be seen that the diminution of even the ceremonial part of it would irrevocably alienate the Jews. Worse still, the sacred rite of circumcision was soon left behind by this new movement. The very sign of the people of God which had stood from the days of Moses, indeed of Abraham, was impiously banished to the scrap heap. Entry to the people of God was now offered on equal terms to Greeks and barbarians alike, without any insistence on the costly repentance involved in the symbolic cutting away of Gentile impurity in circumcision. This was truly appalling. Instead of devotion to God's age-old Torah, this new cult taught worship of a second God, born of a virgin and executed as a criminal. Instead of the Sabbath, the first day of the week was kept for worship and called, impertinently, the Lord's day - as if it was not the seventh day with God had specially set aside. How could such a people, so manifestly disobedient to the commands of God, have any claim to be his representatives?   p32 Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Old insights

from Tertullian's  Ad Uxorem

Chapter IV.—Of the Hindrances Which an Unbelieving Husband Puts in His Wife’s Way.

But let her see to (the question) how she discharges her duties to her husband. To the Lord, at all events, she is unable to give satisfaction according to the requirements of discipline; having at her side a servant of the devil, his lord’s agent for hindering the pursuits and duties of believers: so that if a station is to be kept, the husband at daybreak makes an appointment with his wife to meet him at the baths; if there are fasts to be observed, the husband that same day holds a convivial banquet; if a charitable expedition has to be made, never is family business more urgent. For who would suffer his wife, for the sake of visiting the brethren, to go round from street to street to other men’s, and indeed to all the poorer, cottages? Who will willingly bear her being taken from his side by nocturnal convocations, if need so be? Who, finally, will without anxiety endure her absence all the night long at the paschal solemnities? Who will, without some suspicion of his own, dismiss her to attend that Lord’s Supper which they defame? Who will suffer her to creep into prison to kiss a martyr’s bonds? nay, truly, to meet any one of the brethren to exchange the kiss? to offer water for the saints’ feet? to snatch (somewhat for them) from her food, from her cup? to yearn (after them)? to have (them) in her mind? If a pilgrim brother arrive, what hospitality for him in an alien home? If bounty is to be distributed to any, the granaries, the storehouses, are foreclosed.

Chapter V.—Of Sin and Danger Incurred Even with a “Tolerant” Husband.

“But some husband does endure our (practices), and not annoy us.” Here, therefore, there is a sin; in that Gentiles know our (practices); in that we are subject to the privity of the unjust; in that it is thanks to them that we do any (good) work. He who “endures” (a thing) cannot be ignorant of it; or else, if he is kept in ignorance because he does not endure (it), he is feared. But since Scripture commands each of two things—namely, that we work for the Lord without the privity of any second person, and without pressure upon ourselves, it matters not in which quarter you sin; whether in regard to your husband’s privity, if he be tolerant, or else in regard of your own affliction in avoiding his intolerance. “Cast not,” saith He, “your pearls to swine, lest they trample them to pieces, and turn round and overturn you also.” “Your pearls” are the distinctive marks of even your daily conversation. The more care you take to conceal them, the more liable to suspicion you will make them, and the more exposed to the grasp of Gentile curiosity. Shall you escape notice when you sign your bed, (or) your body; when you blow away some impurity; when even by night you rise to pray? Will you not be thought to be engaged in some work of magic? Will not your husband know what it is which you secretly taste before (taking) any food? and if he knows it to be bread, does he not believe it to be that (bread) which it is said to be? And will every (husband), ignorant of the reason of these things, simply endure them, without murmuring, without suspicion whether it be bread or poison? Some, (it is true,) do endure (them); but it is that they may trample on, that they may make sport of such women; whose secrets they keep in reserve against the danger which they believe in, in case they ever chance to be hurt: they do endure (wives), whose dowries, by casting in their teeth their (Christian) name, they make the wages of silence; while they threaten them, forsooth, with a suit before some spy which most women, not foreseeing, have been wont to discover either by the extortion of their property, or else by the loss of their faith.

Chapter VI.—Danger of Having to Take Part in Heathenish Rites, and Revels.

The handmaid of God dwells amid alien labours; and among these (labours), on all the memorial days at the beginning of the year, at the beginning of the month, she will be agitated by the odour of incense. And she will have to go forth (from her house) by a gate wreathed with laurel, and hung with lanterns, as from some new consistory of public lusts; she will have to sit with her husband ofttimes in club meetings, oft-times in taverns; and, wont as she was formerly to minister to the “saints,” will sometimes have to minister to the “unjust.” And will she not hence recognise a prejudgment of her own damnation, in that she tends them whom (formerly) she was expecting to judge? whose hand will she yearn after? of whose cup will she partake? What will her husband sing to her, or she to her husband? From the tavern, I suppose, she who sups upon God will hear somewhat! From hell what mention of God (arises)? what invocation of Christ? Where are the fosterings of faith by the interspersion of the Scriptures (in conversation)? Where the Spirit? where refreshment? where the divine benediction? All things are strange, all inimical, all condemned; aimed by the Evil One for the attrition of salvation!

Friday, 2 July 2010

the complete woman

At church we are getting together a group to go to the Northern Women's Convention 2010. It looks like it will be a superb conference.The publicity says this:
The pressure is on. Women in today's world can be expected to be successful in the workplace, manage a home and family, look beautiful, workout and cook like Nigella Lawson! As Christian women we are often able to reject the stereotypes we hear from the media but instead we replace them with spiritual pressures. We want to become the perfect Christian woman: a woman of prayer, a godly wife and mother, offering hospitality, being salt in our community, reaching out with the gospel, generous to others, serving in church and a diligent bible student but when we look at ourselves we see constant failure. We feel far from being 'the complete woman'. 
This year at the Northern Women's Convention Lizzy Smallwood will take us through the book of Colossians in which we will discover what it truly means to be a complete woman. We have a variety of seminars which will help us to look at areas in which we frequently struggle, from managing the pressures on our time to learning contentment, rejoicing in grace and truly forgiving others. We also have the opportunity to consider how to reach out with the gospel to people we often neglect. We are thrilled to welcome international speaker and writer Dr. Helen Roseavere who will run one of our seminars as well as talking to us all about her missionary work. 
For those who would benefit from an opportunity to meditate further on the truths that we will hear we will have a session this year of praise and singing led by Kat Buckley and the band. It looks as though this will be a day which will inspire us in the truths of the gospel as well as challenge and equip us.

Some Respectives on Marriage Troubles