Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
"Remember that life is neither pain nor pleasure; it is serious business, to be entered upon with courage and in a spirit of self-sacrifice." - De Tocqueville.
Photo by Israel Fichman
The following quote is about Revenge, and during the time, dueling was common, this is directed to that specifically, but it relates to revenge in general. I especially like his vivid illustrations that have such strong word pictures. Very masculine in his approach, something I find lacking in today's pulpits, and no wonder he is called the Shakespheare of the preachers.
"....... For what man is so barbarous as to recover his leprosy by sucking the life-blood from dying infants? a good man would rather endure ten leprosies then one such remedy. Such a thing is revenge; it pretends to cure a wound but does it with an intolerable remedy. It was the song of the Cyclops to his sheep: 'feed you upon the tender herbs, I mean to feed upon the flesh and drink the blood of the Greeks'; this is a violence not only to our laws and manners, but even to the very nature of men.
Lions and tigers do, with a strange curiosity, eye and observe him that struck them, and they fight with him above all other hunters; to strike again is the return of beasts; but to pardon him that smote me, is the bravest amends and the noblest way of doing right unto our selves; whilest in the ways of a man and by the methods of God, we have conquered our enemy into a friend. But revenge is the disease of honor, and is as contrary to the wisdom and bravery of men as dwelling in rivers and wallowing in fires is to their natural manner of living, and he who out of pretence of valor pursues revenge is like him, who because fire is a glorious thing, is willing to have a St. Anthonies fire in his face."
Jeremy Taylor - Photo by James Pan
Thursday, August 28, 2008
"A capacity for self-recollection - for withdrawal from the outward to the inward - is in fact the condition of all noble and useful activity. If the sailor did not carry with him his own temperature he could not go from the pole to the equator, and remain himself in spite of all. The man who has no refuge in himself, who lives, so to speak, in his front rooms, in the outer whirlwind of things and opinions, is not properly a personality at all. He is one of a crowd, a taxpayer, an elector, an anonymity, but not a man.
He who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no ideal, no convictions -- such a man is a mere article of the world's furniture - a thing moved, instead of a living and moving being - an echo, not a voice. The man who has no inner life, is the slave of his surroundings, as the barometer is the obedient servant of the air at rest, and the weathercock the humble servant of the air in motion."
Henri Frederic Amiel, a Swiss scholar and writer, pulls no punches in this stinging exhortation. But how soon we abandon our inner life at the meeting of odds.
Photo by Gundega Dege
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
"The only way for a rich man to be healthy is by exercise and abstinence, to live as if he was poor; which are esteemed the worst parts of poverty." Sir W. Temple
Ha! that's ironic.
This picture of Scarlett Johannson imitating Kiera Knightley was done by 'Danger Mouse'. So sad.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
We boast our light; but if we look not wisely on the sun itself, it smites us into darkness. The light which we have gained was given us, not to be ever staring on, but by it to discover onward things more remote from our knowledge.
To be still searching what we know not, by what we know, still closing up truth as we find it, this is the golden rule in theology as well as in arithmetic, and makes up the best harmony in church; not the forced and outward union of cold and natural and inwardly divided minds.
Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making.
Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
The Temple of Janus with his two controversial faces might now not unsignificantly be set open. Let truth and falsehood grapple: who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing."
John Milton, English Puritan Poet, author of Paradise Lost, 1608-1674 - Photo from the Vatican
Friday, August 22, 2008
In training our children and grandchildren, one way I present morality is as though it is a riddle and it is their task to interpret. They may discuss with one another and then, like a game show, offer their answer. Going through Proverbs or like the following post , are good challenges when age appropriate.
"Read not books alone, but men, and amongst them chiefly thy self: if thou find any thing questionable there, use the commentary of a severe friend rather than the gloss of a sweetlipt flatter; there is more profit in a distasteful truth than deceitful sweetness.
If thou art rich, strive to command thy money, lest she command thee: if thou know how to use her, she is thy servant; if not, thou art her slave.
Be not censorious, for thou know'st not when thou judgest; it is a more dextrous error to speak well of an evil man than ill of a good man.
Hath any wronged thee? be bravely reveng'd: sleight it, and the work's begun; forgive it, and 'tis finished: he is below himself that is not above an injury.
Give not thy tongue too great a liberty, lest it take thee prisoner. A word unspoken is, like the sword in thy scabberd, thine; if vented, thy sword is in another's hand: if thou desire to be held wise, be so wise as to hold thy tongue.
Francis Quarles 1592-1644 Photo by Polixeni Papapetrou - Riddles
Demean thy self more warily in thy study than in the street. If thy public actions have a hundred witnesses, thy private actions have a thousand. The multitude looks but upon the actions: thy conscience looks into them."
Thursday, August 21, 2008
But now mark, in men of impure hearts and lives, the scum doth not only arise, but it seethes and boils in. Ezek. 24:12, 'She wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her;' notwithstanding all the threatenings of God, and all the judgments of God upon her, yet her scum and filthiness boiled in. Though God boiled Jerusalem in the pot of his judgments, yet her scum and filth stuck to every side of her. Wicked men's scum and filth doth not only arise, but it also seethes and boils in, and mingles together with their spirits; but so doth not the scum and filth that rises in a gracious heart. A sheep may fall into the mire, but a swine delights to wallow in the mire."
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
“Now there was, not far from where they (Christian and Hopeful) lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds they were now sleeping; wherefore he, getting up in the morning early and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep in his grounds. Then with a grim and surly voice he bid them awake and asked them whence they were, and what they did in his grounds. They told him they were pilgrims and that they had lost their way.
Then said the giant, “You have this night trespassed on me by trampling and lying on my grounds, and therefore you must go along with me.”
So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they. They had also but little to say, for they knew themselves in a fault. The giant, therefore, drove them before him, and put them into his castle, into a very dark dungeon, nasty and stinking to the spirits of these two men. Here then they lay from Wednesday morning until Saturday night, with out one bit of bread or drop of drink, or light.
Well, on Saturday, about midnight, they began to pray, and continued in prayer till almost the break of day. Now, a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out into this passionate speech: “What a fool,” quoth he, “am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom called Promise that will I am persuaded open any lock in Doubting Castle.”
Then said Hopeful, “That is good news: good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.”
Then Christian pulled it out of his bosom and began to try at the dungeon door, whose bolt as he turned the key gave back, and the door flew open with ease, and Christian and Hopeful both came out. Then he went to the outward door that leads into the castle yard, and with his key opened that door also. After that he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened two; but that lock went desperately hard, yet the key did open it. They then thrust open the gate to make their escape with speed; but that gate, as it opened, made such a creaking that it waked Giant Despair, who hastily rising to pursue his prisoners, felt his limbs to fail; for his fits took him again, so that he could by no means go after them. Then they went on, and came to the King’s highway.”
John Bunyan -- Photo by arjun das - Ray of Hope.
"The essence of all education is self-discovery and self-control. When education helps an individual to discover his own powers and limitations and shows him how to get out of his heredity its largest and best possibilities, it will fulfil its real function; when children are taught not merely to know things but particularly to know themselves, not merely how to do things, but especially how to compel themselves to do things, they may be said to be really educated. For this sort of education there is demanded rigorous discipline of the powers of observation, of the reason, and especially of the will." -- Edwin Grant Conklin 1863
I thought this was interesting but it left me hungering to know more of his ideas. Any insights, ideas and experiences are greedily accepted.
You may have seen this picture before, if you back up Einsteins face changes to Marylin Monroe's.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
They rejoice when the bold boy strikes a lion with his hunting spear, and shrinks not when the beast comes to affright his early courage. Softness is for slaves and beasts, for minstrels and useless persons, for such who cannot ascend higher then the state of a fair ox, or a servant entertained for vainer offices: But the man that designs his son for noble employments, to honors, and to triumphs, to consular dignities and presidences of counsels, loves to see him pale with study or panting with labor, hardened with sufferance or eminent by dangers: and so God dresses us for heaven. He loves to see us struggling with a disease, and resisting the devil, and contesting against the weaknesses of nature, and against hope to believe in hope, resigning our selves to God’s will, praying him to choose for us, and dying in all things but faith and its blessed consequences.”
"Chastity is either abstinence or continence. Abstinence is that of Virgins or Widows: Continence of married persons. Chaste marriages are honorable and pleasing to God: Widowhood is pitiable in its solitariness and loss, but amiable and comely when it is adorned with gravity and purity, and not sullied with remembrances of the passed license, nor with present desires of returning to a second bed.
But Virginity is a life of Angels, the enamel of the soul, the huge advantage of religion, the great opportunity for the retirements of devotion: and being empty of cares, it is full of prayers: being unmingled with the world, it is apt to converse with God: and by not feeling the warmth of a too forward and indulgent nature, flames out with holy fires, till it be burning like the Cherubim and the most ecstasied order of holy and unpolluted Spirits."
Jeremy Taylor - Photo by Manuel Libres Librodo Jr.
I highly recommend this film.
As I was at church this morning considering the children in the film, praying for them and horrified by what they suffered, and confused why the wicked prosper, the thought drifted into my mind "I am there." And He is. Not a religious movie, but where great sorrow is, there is Faith in God, and their faith couldn't be edited out, it is too much a part of their life. One day this will all be over and there will be no more tears........ I'm looking for that day.
Thank "ThinkFilms" for their noble use of film.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The Eternal Goodness
O friends, with whom my feet have trod
the quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
And love of man I bear.
I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.
But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds:
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.
I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
The love and power of God.
I see the wrong that round me lies,
I feel the guilt within:
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
The world confess its sin.
Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by strom and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!
I know not what the future hath
of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
If thou art not able to make thyself that which thou wishest, how canst thou expect to mold another in conformity to thy will?”
Thomas A. Kempis - Photo by Katja Faith
(From an address to his congregation just before the Pilgrims, who were members, sailed to America, July 21, 1620.)
“We are now ere long to part asunder, and the Lord knoweth whether I shall live to see your faces again. But whether the Lord hath appointed it or not, I charge you before God and his blessed angels to follow me no further than I have followed Christ; and if God should reveal anything to you by any other instrument of his, to be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry; for I am very confident the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth out of his Holy Word.
I bewail the condition of the reformed churches who are come to a period in religion and will go no further than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw; for whatever part of God’s will has been imparted and revealed to Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it. And the Calvinists, as you see, stick where Calvin left them. This is a misery much to be lamented; for though Luther and Calvin were precious shining lights in the times, yet God did not reveal his whole will to them; and were they living now they would be as ready and willing to embrace further light as that that they had received. I beseech you to remember your church covenant, at least the part of it whereby you promise and covenant with God and one with another to receive whatsoever light or truth shall be made known to you from the written Word of God.”
Friday, August 15, 2008
“Presently it came to pass that the Religion of the despised Jesus did infinitely prevail; a Religion that taught men to be meek and humble, apt to receive injuries, but unapt to do any; a Religion that gave countenance to the poor and pitiful, in a time when riches were adored, and ambition and pleasure had possessed the heart of all mankind; a religion that would change the face of things, and the hearts of men, and break vile habits into gentleness and counsel; that such a Religion, in such a time, by the Sermons and conduct of fishermen, men of mean breeding and illiberal Arts, should so speedily triumph over the philosophy of the world, and the arguments of the subtle, and the Sermons of the Eloquent; the power of Princes and the interests of States, the inclinations of nature and the blindness of zeal, the force of custom and the solicitation of passions, the pleasures of sin and the busy arts of the devil; that is, against wit and power, superstition and willfulness, fame and money, nature and Empire, which are all the causes in this world that can make a thing impossible; this, this is to be ascribed to the power of God, and is the great demonstrations of the Resurrection of Jesus.”
Jeremy Taylor - Photo by Vic Moss
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The joy of life is living it, or so it seems to me;
In finding shackles on your wrists, then struggling till you’re free;
In seeing wrongs and righting them, in dreaming splendid dreams,
Then toiling till the visions is as real as moving streams.
The happiest mortal on the earth is he who ends his day
By leaving better than he found to bloom along the way.
Were all things perfect here there would be naught for man to do;
If what is old were good enough we’d never need the new.
The only happy time of rest is that which follows strife
And sees some contribution made unto the joy of life.
And he who has oppression felt and conquered it is he
Who really knows the happiness and peace of being free.
The miseries of earth are here and with them all must cope.
Who seeks for joy, through hedges thick of care and pain must grope.
Through disappointment man must go to value pleasure’s thrill;
To really know the joy of health a man must first be ill.
The wrongs are here for man to right, and happiness is had
By striving to supplant with good the evil and the bad.
The joy of life is living it and doing things of worth,
In making bright and fruitful all the barren spots of earth.
In facing odds and mastering them and rising from defeat,
And making true what once was false, and what was bitter, sweet.
For only he knows perfect joy whose little bit of soil
Is richer ground than what it was when he began to toil.
Edgar A. Guest - Photo by Shawn Shawhan
The fact that saving involves self-denial, gives a high ethical ground from which the habit may be inculcated. John Sterling says somewhere, “The worst education which teaches self-denial is better than the best which teaches everything else and not that.” Charles H. Keays
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
“It is very requisite (needful) that we should understand the state of our own infirmity, the weakness of the flesh, the temptations and diversions of the spirit, that by understanding our present state we may prevent the evils of carelessness and security. Our evils are the imperfections and sorrows inherent in, or appendant (attached) to our bodies, our souls, our spirits.
In our bodies we find weakness, and imperfection, sometimes crookedness, sometimes monstrosity; filthiness, and weariness, infinite numbers of diseases, and an uncertain cure, great pain, and restless night, hunger and thirst, daily necessities, ridiculous gestures, madness from passions, distempers and disorders, great labor to provide meat and drink, and oftentimes a loathing when we have them; if we use them they breed sicknesses, if we use them not, we die; and if we eat like beasts only of one thing, our souls are quickly weary; if we eat a variety, we are sick, and intemperate; and our bodies are inlets to sin, and a stage of temptation. If we cherish them, they undo us; if we do not cherish them, they die: we suffer illusion in our dreams, and absurd fancies when we are waking; our life is soon done, and yet very tedious; it is too long, and too short; darkness and light are both troublesome; and those things which are pleasant, are often unwholesome. Sweet smells make the head ache, and those smells which are medicinal in some diseases, are intolerable to the sense. The pleasures of our body are bigger in expectation, then in the possession; and yet while they are expected, they torment us with the delay, and when they are enjoyed, they are as if they were not, they abuse us with their vanity, and vex us with their volatile and fugitive nature.
We live a precarious life, begging help of every thing, and needing the repairs of every day, and being beholding to beasts and birds, to plants and trees, to dirt and stones, to the very excrements of beasts, and that which dogs and horses throw forth. Our motion is slow and dull, heavy and uneasy; we cannot move but we are quickly tired, and for every days labor, we need a whole night to recruit our lost strengths; we live like a lamp, unless new materials be perpetually poured in, we live no longer than a fly; and unless we be in the shadow of death for six or eight hours every night, we shall be scarce in the shadows of life for the other sixteen. Heat and cold are both our enemies; and yet the one always dwells within, and the other dwells round about us. The chances and contingencies that trouble us are no more to be numbered then the minutes of eternity. The Devil often hurts us, and men hurt each other oftener, and we are perpetually doing mischief to ourselves.
Jeremy Taylor - Photo by Edgar Thissen
Neither is it better in the soul of man, where ignorance dwells and passion rules. After the fall there entered also a swarm of passions. And the will obeys everything but God. Our judgment is often abused in matters of sense, and one faculty guesses at truth by confuting another; Our fancy is often abused, and yet creates things of its self, by trying desperate things together, that can cohere no more then music and a cable, then meat and syllogisms: and yet this alone does many times make credibility’s in the understanding.
Sometimes we forget those millions of sins which we have committed, we scarce remember so many as to make us sorrowful, or ashamed. Our judgments are baffled with every Sophism, and we change our opinion with a wind, and are confident against truth, but in love with error. We use to reprove one error by another, and lose truth while we contend too earnestly for it. Infinite opinions there are in matters of Religion, and most men are confident, and most are deceived in many things, and all in some; and those few that are not confident, have only reason enough to suspect their own reason. We do not know our own bodies, nor what is within us, nor what ails us when we are sick, nor whereof we are made; nay we oftentimes cannot tell what we think, or believe, or love. We desire and hate the same thing, speak against something and then run after it. We resolve, and then consider; we bind our selves, and then find causes why we ought not to be bound, and want not some pretences to make our selves believe we were not bound. Prejudice and Interest are our two great motives of believing; we weigh deeper what is extrinsical to a question, then what is in its nature; and oftener regard who speaks, then what is said.
The diseases of our soul are infinite. Mankind of old fell from those good things which God gave him, and now is fallen into a life of passion and a state of death. In sum, it follows the temper or distemper of the body, and sailing by such a Compass, and being carried in so rotten a vessel, especially being empty, or filled with lightness, and ignorance, and mistakes, it must needs be exposed to the danger and miseries of every storm.
Jeremy Taylor - Photo by Asya Schween
But then if we consider what our spirit is, we have reason to lie down flat upon our faces, and confess God’s glory and our own shame. When it is at the best, it is but willing, but can do nothing without the miracle of Grace. Our spirit is hindered by the body, and cannot rise up whither it properly tends, with those great weights upon it. It is foolish and improvident; large in desires, and narrow in abilities; naturally curious in trifles, and inquisitive after vanities; but neither understands deeply, nor affectionately relishes the things of God; pleased with forms, cousened with pretences, satisfied with shadows, incurious of substances and realities. It is quick enough to find doubts, and when the doubts are satisfied, it raises scruples, that is, it is restless after it is put to sleep, and will be troubled in despite of all arguments of peace. It is incredibly negligent of matters of Religion, and most solicitous and troubled in the things of the world. We love our selves, and despise others; judging most unjust sentences, and by peevish and cross measures; Covetousness and ambition, gain and Empire are the proportions by which we take account of things. We hate to be governed by others, even when we cannot dress our selves; and to be forbidden to do or have a thing, is the best art in the world to make us greedy for it. The flesh and the spirit are perpetually at strife; the spirit pretending that his ought to be the dominion, and the flesh alleging that this is her state, and her day. We hate our present condition, and know not how to better ourselves, our changes being but like the tumblings and tossings in a fever, from trouble to trouble, that’s all the variety. We are extremely inconstant, and always hate our own choice: we despair sometimes of God’s mercies, and are confident in our own follies; as we order things, we cannot avoid little sins, and do not avoid great ones. We love the present world, though it be good for nothing, and undervalue infinite treasures, if they be not to be had till the day of recompenses. We are peevish, if a servant does but break a glass, and patient when we have thrown an ill cast for eternity;
Throwing away the hopes of a glorious Crown for wine, and dirty silver. We know that our prayers, if well done, are great advantages to our state, and yet we are hardly brought to them, and love not to stay at them, and wander while we are saying them, and say them without minding and are glad when they are done, or when we have a reasonable excuse to omit them. A passion does quite overturn all our purposes, and all our principles, and there are certain times of weakness in which any temptation may prevail, if it comes in that unlucky minute.
This is a little representment of the state of man.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
This is the kind of man I would like to work for.
Friday, August 08, 2008
“No matter what may be one’s nationality, sex, age, philosophy, or religion, everyone wishes either to become or to remain happy. Hence definitions of happiness are interesting. One of the best was given in my senior year at college by President Timothy Dwight: “The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts.”
This definition places happiness where it belongs – within and not without. The principle of happiness should be like the principle of virtue: it should not be dependent on things, but be a part of personality…..
If the happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts we are bound to grow happier as we advance in years, because our minds have more and more interesting thoughts. A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view halfway up is better than the view from the base, and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands.
Here lies the real value of education. Advanced education may or may not make men and women more efficient; but it enriches personality, increases the wealth of the mind, and hence brings happiness. It is the finest insurance against old age, against the growth of physical disability, against the lack and loss of animal delights. No matter how many there may be in our family, no matter how many friends we may have, we are in a certain sense forced to lead a lonely life, because we have all the days of our existence to live with ourselves. How essential it is, then, in youth to acquire some intellectual or artistic tastes, in order to furnish the mind, to be able to live inside a mind with attractive and interesting pictures on the walls.”
When I was in Thailand, I went to a crafter's mall, where they sculpt and paint etc.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls, are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask, they will know one another, although the divers liveries they wear here make them strangers."
William Penn - Photo by Branko Korelc - Kobra
"Men are generally more careful of the Breed of their horses and Dogs than of their children.
Those must be of the best Sort for Shape, Strength, Courage and good conditions; But as for these, their own posterity, Money shall answer all things."
William Penn - Photo by Niceto Munoz
Sunday, August 03, 2008
“For not to name the beauties and sparkling diamonds of heaven, a man’s or a woman’s or a hawks eye is more beautiful and excellent, then all the Jewels of his crown.”
What jewel can compare to the beauty of the eyes? And they are there for all the world to see, with no cost. I have thirteen grandchildren, and if they were all together, side by side, and all twenty six eyes were compared to the most expensive gemstones in the entire world, their eyes would captivate and out gleam the fairest stone.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
"A man's heart is infinitely deceitful, unknown to it self, not certain in his own acts, praying one way, and desiring another, wandering and imperfect, loose and various worshipping God and entertaining sin, following what it hates, and running from what it flatters, loving to be tempted and betrayed, petulant like a wanton girl, running from, that it might invite the fondness and enrage the appetite of the foolish young man or the evil temptation that follows it; cold and indifferent one while, and presently zealous and passionate, furious and indiscreet; not understood of it self or any one else, and deceitful beyond all arts and numbers of observation."
Jeremy Taylor - Photo by Jingna Zhang