Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The changing world (45) May 76

May 1st   Holiday.Family to Jos  and met up with Bulmers at the Lutheran Dogon Dutse accommodation.
2nd         All to church at Hillcrest except for me to our EKAN Church - the Hausa title for COCIN, Eklessia Kiristi in Nigeria - not a word of Hausa in fact!
3rd         Two family’s children very happy together. Enjoying seeing the steam trains.
4th         Travel restricted by the new governor touring the city.Saw him at the station
5th          Took the boys to the zoo.
6th         Visited friends who were leaving the Institute of Linguistics. That was the name taken, in error by Wycliffe Bible Tranlators. They were to change again to Nigeria Bible Translation Trust.
8th           Ate with Jones of SIM, pharmacist with whom we did Hausa school in 1971.
9th           With boys to EKAN in the morning and with Katy and Dick to Hillcrest in the evening.
10th       Bought cloth to have a riga (gown) made. Sorry to hear Clarks to go home soon as Elizabeth is pregnant and they fear hepatitis at term. David locked himself in the toilet.
11th       Ate with the Williams our pharmacist who suppose all the missions from Jos.
14th       Took Jonathan to see Hillcrest School. He is not yet ready to board aged five.
15th       Governor Gomwalk and murderer Dimka executed in Lagos. Back to Langtang via Gills for lunch at Vom.
16th        Boys had Sunday School with the Campus Crusade teachers children. Heavy rain.
18th        Bokkos TEE teachers then to Mushere. overnight.
19th        Mushere TEE student class. Pastor Joshua led well. Books overnight.
20th        Rev Dauda led Bokkos student class well. Took Geof Kimber back to Langtang.
21st        To Kwalla class in landrover taking Geof Kimber. Came back due to heavy rain lest the river prevented our return tomorrow.
22nd        Shendam TEE led well by James. Kimber complains I drive too fast. Not the first to complain but I have many miles to travel and never had an accident in a country full of hazardous roads.
23rd         The boys cried at secondary school Sunday school. David unsettled by my travelling so much.
24th          Mwari TEE. Heard Hausa Bible read with lack of understaning bringing hilarity to me alone. Abraham looked for a city with foundations = birne mai tusa (plural of tussa - foundation) Instead was read, mai tusa - owner of a fart. No-one else laughed. All our Christians are second language speakers not versed in the intricacies of Hausa. Later I was to be told how  the Hausa Muslims despise the Christians mudering their mother tongue. For the Christians ignorance of the finer points is bliss.   Boi overnight.
25th Mart TEE on Honda but  Yakubu the teacher had failed to distribute the book and so get the course started.
26th On Honda to Tadnum TEE after rain. Fell where the road was washed away with the Honda exhaust on the back of my naked knee. I was wearing short. Home with a painful burn.
27th  Kimbers have been staying at Langtand. Breakfast with them. Leg stiff.
28th   Dressed a weepy painful legend hobbled to church.
29th Katy drove us to Vom. Dr Thomas said I was to be admitted for four days as the leg was infected. In Private Ward with a Fulani alhaji here after crashing his Mercedes. 
30th Managing with difficulty to walk to the toilet. Dressing changing very painful. I was cheered to be told that they normally give children morphine before such a dressing change.
31st The doctor says it will take three weeks before I am fully mobile. The alhaji has gone and now I have another one here with piles.He is very sociable.

The changing world (46) Jun 76

June 1st  More mobile known hospital. Alhaji Ahmadi in agony after his piles operation. He has brought his TV but the programmes are not up to much at all.
2nd   Dressing change less painful. Visits from Joyce McQuone, Bulleys, Christine potter and Peter Dominy.
3rd   Discharged to the great house where the family have been. Visits from Hugh Jones and Bentleys.
4th   Looked after Rachel while Katy took car into Jos for generator repair. Still weak at knee.
5th   Back to Langtang with Hugh Jones
6th   To Zamko to pickup Clark’s cook Zechariah who is to work for us.
7th   Editing TEE book on Old Testament introduction. Visit from Phylis Shorter and Elizabeth Burns.
9th   Kurgwi TEE with Hugh driving. Back via Bakin Ciyawa we stuck in mud. 
10th  Jos with Hugh and editing the OT Introduction with Ernie of SIM.
11th  Jos to Vom to Pankshin TEE led by Rev Joel. Vehicle had to be lifted out od a hole on way home.
12th  Piapung class. 14/14. No food but good book sales.
14th Garkawa class well led by Rev Daniel. 
15th Family and Hugh to Bokkos TEE then to stay at Gindiri. Supper with Birches.
16th Gave three talks at Pastors College on TEE. Dined at Birches then Bulls and Rev Luther’s.
17th Kabwir TEE class. Lunch with Gulas. Can leave bandage off the leg now.
18th Kwalla teasers at Bakin Kogi. Good discussion on predestination.
19th Tuttung class with Hugh and Amos from TCNN.
21st Mwari with Hugh over roads made difficult by erosion after rain. Stayed overnight.
22nd Mrari to Lusa where we were stuck in clay. Boi, Tapshin, Gindiri where we stayed after supper at Mathers.
23rd  Chat with Rev John Audu then rocky road Zango, Lere Gindiri. Chat with Wibberleys and supper at Drews.
24th  Kabwir teachers. Brought Dick Tyler to Langtang for two days.
25th Full class of Langtang teachers.
26th With family to Jos then with Hugh to Bauchi TEE and back to Jos.
27th  Disgusted by Rev Ezekiel at EKAN’s sermon on road safety. Greeted Koops of CRC. 
28th Back to Langtang. Rev Damina agrees I am travelling too much so I dropped going to Garga TEE tomorrow.
29th  Very tired so no study after lunch and no visit to class at Garga.

30th  Found morning very tired but some afternoon study

Monday, February 19, 2018

Diary w/e 17 Feb 18

Sun 11 Feb
Levy good on the second half of the Beatitudes. David and family here from lunchtime. Excellent roast beef. He came with me to evening service, Chris Roberts on Ps 139 part 2.

Mon 12 Feb

Love your enemies, yes. But for hackers I am looking up imprecatory Psalms.
Since I cleared my cache on advice I now have lost much stored on my mac like log ins and the facility to post a page to f/b in one click. The cache clearing did no good only the opposite. All this is a spin off of the hack.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/predictor I am 54th out of
Total players: 397167

After seven and a half months of leg ulcers I am pronounced cured PTL! Doppler in 3 months DV.
Continuing to give thanks for my healed legs. I am now wearing shoes for the first time in eight months. Goodbye sandals until summer.
Lovely visit to Hampton Court, Henry VII apartments and garden - but I cannot upload any of the photos.

Tues 13 Feb

Travelled the E10 to one stop from its Northolt terminus to pick up a parcel the P.O. could not get through our letter box nor return to deliver on the date requested. They came the wrong day. E10 to Ealing for bargain lunch at the Weatherspoons which has the best real ale selection in Ealing. Good chat with Levy concerning my determination to go to USA without full medical insurance. Gethin Jones at ELT the pastoral visit with a phone call from our member's solicitor in which I was nominated to be her attorney, able to give consent on her behalf in all matters including finances and medical.I am honoured tone given such a responsibility. Her family approves her decision. 
Back from Ealing Historical Society lecture on Luther by Lyndal Roper 24th Regius Professor of history at Oxford.

Wed 14 Feb

My U3A history only had one person join me so we enjoyed a chat in preparation for our postponed topic, Indian History. Anyone care to comment of the religious breakdown in the subcontinent before the British? The person leading us found no statistics.
Packing for two weeks near Sacramento visiting my friend recovering from major surgery and collapse. Thankful for my wife every day for the past 48+ years.
Shopping and library via the Greenford E10.
Good house group on 1 Sam lead by Chris Craddock.

Thur 15 Feb


At noon Debbie dropped me at Northfields for the tube to Heathrow T3 three hours early to check in for 3:20 Virgin to LA, an 11 hour flight. I foolishly chose window seat. With my diuretic it should have been aisle There was little to see for we flew north over Iceland, Greenland before going south over Canada. Nothing was really visible and we merely followed he dusk to land 6pm in LA. Virgin service was rather lacking in liquid on refreshment rounds. I managed little reading and reverted to the entertainment system. It is sophisticated but the in the classical..I watched two films. music is lacking. The selection is secular. No gospel nor oratorio. We were into LA on time. I foolishly declined a wheelchair offered when I had my stick. The immigration was very slow. Their electronic check in was inoperative. An official on hearing I had a connection make called a wheelchair and I was whisked through immigration, bag reclaim, customs and the long trek to the domestic terminal. There I asked for and got priority boarding on a full plane to Sacramento. It arrived early before Julie met me. She drove me to their new home where I could give Dennis my greeting at midnight. He is in pain, in bed but ever so pleased to see me. I have the top of the house to myself. Luxury to end my 29 hour long day. Fri 16 Feb Early morning colder than expected. Glad I brought a jumper.Up before Julie I see this house is more than twice the size of ours for much less than half the price. It is over a century old which ia ancient here where settlement in the modern era dates from the 1849 gold rush centred nearby..]I was up before the  family with Dennis then up, a pleasant surprise. Joanna cam and I met her four for the first time. They love the Cadbury's I brought. Toured the estate and shopped for some Virginian weed which I have started to enjoy on the verandah in the sun. 
   Julie tretedd us to er lasagne for supper and I met their two there daughters. Esther came with husband Christian, their baby Clementine and older sixth grade daughter too. Christian is an electricity line man. Abigail's husband Joshua has recently resined as a tenured chemistry professor in the south of this state. His family background is very unusual. Polish Jews who became Baptist and emigrated to Argentina to escape the Nazis. Julie presented me with a bottle of Graham's port, I gave to families Cadbury's chocolate, Old Peculier and IRC tea towels. So today I met six out of nine Roe grandchildren and the tenth is en route.


Sat 17 Feb
I have walked Libby, Anotolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees cross - a shepherd guard dog. She is a real man size that one is proud to walk with. But she is more interested in sniffing than walking. Photos to follow.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fims seen in February 2018

1. Victoria & Abdul (DVD) Judi Dench (Actor),‎ Ali Fazal (Actor),‎ Stephen Frears (Director) 

I have seen this criticised as pro-Islam. It is very positive on Islam and lacking in Christianity. Would Victoria start a banquet with no grace? This smacks of the secularism in Downton Abbey where they never showed grace said. I do not believe Victoria's death bed was so bereft of Christian prayer. The Munshi was a delight. His friend was so loyal to him too. The court and Bertie were so prejudiced and wicked. Dench and Izzard were very good. Great cinematography. Captivating story. Most enjoyable despite the Islam. Do women wear burkas outside of Afghanistan? A very human queen and never mad though lonely.

2. Viceroy's House Hugh Bonneville (Actor),‎ Gillian Anderson (Actor),‎ Gurinder Chadha 

This is too horrible a subject for pleasant entertainment. The horrors of partition. Bonneville and Anderson brilliant. He took his promotion from Downton well. The part suits him. I  think the romantic interest was an overdone sub-plot. The politics of it seem realistic. Mountbatten was betrayed by those he was sent o represent.

The changing world (43) Mar 76

Mar 1st  Kabwir to Mwari teachers’ meeting. To Jos via Kabwir and Vom. 
2nd        Bible School Committee in Jos. To Katy at Vom   .
3rd         Took Katy back to Langtang.
4th          Kabwir TEE teachers. Photographed grave of Rev Lloyd from Newport, pioneer Anglican there. I have a plate of Newport Castle which I presume he brought out.
5th         Langtang TEE teachers’ meeting. Sold many books. Dimka, murderer of Murtala apprehended.
6th         On Honda to Marti TEE via Boi. Tough ride. Back to Langtang.
7th         Brought American teachers to Hausa service. Preached in English in afternoon.
8th         Mban class in Zamko landrover on bad road. Given bananas and mangos.
9th         Tuttung class. Unusually not given food or drink. 
10th       Sabon Gida classs. Given yams and bananas. Greeted water driplers at Yelwa.
11th       Long journey to Bokkos class. Plateu cold and cloudy. Langtang hot and sticky. Theirty plotters executed in Lagos. The first relatives knew was seeing executions on TV.
12th       Bakin Rijiya, Was class. Katy upset at my many travels away.
13th       Road blocks still with soldiers saying it was a Plateau coup. Dimka was Ngas but exiled Gowon was accused and stripped of rank and pension. He did a PhD in Warwick, settled in N London and served as a church warden. Years later he was reinstated and the new Jos airport named in his honour.
14th       Once again brought the secondary teachers to Hausa service and translated for them
15th        Richa class then Daffo and Kwalla. Chat with Joyce McQuone at Panama,
16th       Daffo class. Slept in church vestry Tapshin. Heard Harold Wilson resigned from premier. No-One knew why but years later it was because he saw signs of the dementia which ran in the family. Later events proved him right. The last Labour leader I supported.
17th      Tapshin class. Very hospitable. Katy a bit easyer about my travels.
18th      Kurgwi class in Landrover.Carried yams back.
19th      Tafawa Balewa classs. Stayed with pastor who had been to the Emir of Bauchi with a dispute over butchers. They would be Muslims, the locals not. They are building a church with local stone not mud bricks. This is Sayawa country. They still resent the fact that the British put them under the Bauchi Hausa rulers.
20th   Bauchi class overnight  pastor’s home 
21st    Preached to mainly young people at Bauchi. Two lunches, one Nigerian, one European.
22nd   Mrai class on Honda. Then Kabwir where Katy and the children spend the weekend.
23rd    Bokkos class. Took family back to Langtang where the church convention has started.
24th    Class at Pie. Given a chicken. Selling books at convention. Ten to supper including Jill Joy, Peter clark, Keith Black, Bitrus Pam and Joseph Jibi.
25th   Took class at Kabwir.
26th   Kwalla  in landcover. Overnight  there after Bakin Ciyawa class.
27th   Kwalla class. Home to Langtang where convention has ended.
28th   Very tired in hot and sticky weather relieved a little by nearby rain.
29th   Mwari teachers. Still very tired. Stayed overnight.
30th  . Boi class. To Kabwir feeling weak. Stayed overnight.

31st    Home to longhand after Kabwir class and pleased with the arrival of a new fridge.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Calvin on Civil Government

Calvin ends his Institutes with a chapter on civil government. The world has changed since the 16th century but has the obedience required of a Christian changed and if so, how? In the 18th century American Presbyterian amended the Westminster Confession removing sections on the power of the magistrate. Give the time and historical context it was no surprise but IMO they were sawing off the bough on which the WCF sat for it was the magistrate who had called the Assembly in the first place. The Confession originated from Parliament, the state, not the church. But to Calvin.

First to show there is a separate civil power demanding of obedience.

1. But he who knows to
   distinguish between the body and the soul, between the present fleeting
   life and that which is future and eternal, will have no difficulty in
   understanding that the spiritual kingdom of Christ and civil government
   are things very widely separated....Scripture clearly teaches, that the
   blessings which we derive from Christ are spiritual, remember to
   confine the liberty which is promised and offered to us in him within
   its proper limits. For why is it that the very same apostle who bids us
   "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be
   not again entangled with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1), in another
   passage forbids slaves to be solicitous about their state (1 Cor.
   7:21).

Civil government is matter of to foster and
   maintain the external worship of God, to defend sound doctrine and the
   condition of the Church, to adapt our conduct to human society, to form
   our manners to civil justice, to conciliate us to each other, to
   cherish common peace and tranquillity.


But now, separating church and state we dissent from,' to foster and
   maintain the external worship of God, to defend sound doctrine and the
   condition of the Church'. 


3. ...the use of civil government..no idolatry, no
   blasphemy against the name of God, no calumnies against his truth, nor
   other offences to religion, break out and be disseminated among the
   people; that the public quiet be not disturbed, that every man's
   property be kept secure, that men may carry on innocent commerce with
   each other, that honesty and modesty be cultivated; in short, that a
   public form of religion may exist among Christians, and humanity among
   men. Let no one be surprised that I now attribute the task of
   constituting religion aright to human polity, though I seem above to
   have placed it beyond the will of man, since I no more than formerly
   allow men at pleasure to enact laws concerning religion and the worship
   of God, when I approve of civil order which is directed to this
   end--viz. to prevent the true religion, which is contained in the law
   of God, from being with impunity openly violated and polluted by public
   blasphemy.... we treat of each of its parts separately. Now
   these are three: The Magistrate, who is president and guardian of the
   laws; the Laws, according to which he governs; and the People, who are
   governed by the laws, and obey the magistrate. Let us consider, then,
   first, What is the function of the magistrate? 
4. With regard to the function of magistrates, the Lord has not only
   declared that he approves and is pleased with it, but, moreover, has
   strongly recommended it to us by the very honourable titles which he
   has conferred upon it. To mention a, few. [682] When those who bear the
   office of magistrate are called gods, let no one suppose that there is
   little weight in that appellation. It is thereby intimated that they
   have a commission from God, that they are invested with divine
   authority, and, in fact, represent the person of God, as whose
   substitutes they in a manner act. ... For he says that "there is no power but of
   God: the powers that be are ordained of God;" that rulers are the
   ministers of God, "not a terror to good works, but to the evil" (Rom.
   13:1, 3). To this we may add the examples of saints, some of whom held
   the offices of kings, as David, Josiah, and Hezekiah; others of
   governors, as Joseph and Daniel; others of civil magistrates among a
   free people, as Moses, Joshua, and the Judges. Their functions were
   expressly approved by the Lord. Wherefore no man can doubt that civil
   authority is, in the sight of God, not only sacred and lawful, but the
   most sacred, and by far the most honourable, of all stations in mortal
   life.
5. The magistrates power subject to Christ.For when David says, "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be
   instructed, ye judges of the earth;" "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry"
   (Psalm 2:10, 12), he does not order them to lay aside their authority
   and return to private life, but to make the power with which they are
   invested subject to Christ, that he may rule over all. In like manner,
   when Isaiah predicts of the Church, "Kings shall be thy
   nursing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-mothers" (Isaiah 49:23),
   he does not bid them abdicate their authority; he rather gives them the
   honourable appellation of patrons of the pious worshippers of God; for
   the prophecy refers to the advent of Christ. I intentionally omit very
   many passages which occur throughout Scripture, and especially in the
   Psalms, in which the due authority of all rulers is asserted. The most
   celebrated passage of all is that in which Paul, admonishing Timothy,
   that prayers are to be offered up in the public assembly for kings,
   subjoins the reason, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in
   all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:2). In these words, he recommends
   the condition of the Church to their protection and guardianship.
6. They are not engaged in profane occupations, unbefitting a servant of God, but in a most sacred office, inasmuch as they are the ambassadors of God.
7. ...though among magisterial offices
   themselves there are different forms, there is no difference in this
   respect, that they are all to be received by us as ordinances of God.
   For Paul includes all together when he says that "there is no power but
   of God," ... But Scripture, to obviate these
   unjust judgments, affirms expressly that it is by divine wisdom that
   "kings reign," and gives special command "to honour the king" (1 Peter
   2:17).
8. And if you compare the different states with
   each other, without regard to circumstances, it is not easy to
   determine which of these has the advantage in point of utility, so
   equal are the terms on which they meet. Monarchy is prone to tyranny.
   In an aristocracy, again, the tendency is not less to the faction of a
   few, while in popular ascendancy there is the strongest tendency to
   sedition. [684] When these three forms of government, of which
   philosophers treat, are considered in themselves, I, for my part, am
   far from denying that the form which greatly surpasses the others is
   aristocracy, either pure or modified by popular government, not indeed
   in itself, but because it very rarely happens that kings so rule
   themselves as never to dissent from what is just and right, or are
   possessed of so much acuteness and prudence as always to see correctly.
   Owing, therefore, to the vices or defects of men, it is safer and more
   tolerable when several bear rule, that they may thus mutually assist,
   instruct, and admonish each other, and should any one be disposed to go
   too far, the others are censors and masters to curb his excess. This
   has already been proved by experience, and confirmed also by the
   authority of the Lord himself, when he established an aristocracy
   bordering on popular government among the Israelites, keeping them
   under that as the best form, until he exhibited an image of the Messiah
   in David. And as I willingly admit that there is no kind of government
   happier than where liberty is framed with becoming moderation, and duly
   constituted so as to be durable, so I deem those very happy who are
   permitted to enjoy that form, and I admit that they do nothing at
   variance with their duty ... But should those to whom the Lord has
   assigned one form of government, take it upon them anxiously to long
   for a change, the wish would not only be foolish and superfluous, but
   very pernicious. If you fix your eyes not on one state merely, but look
   around the world, or at least direct your view to regions widely
   separated from each other, you will perceive that Divine Providence has
   not, without good cause, arranged that different countries should be
   governed by different forms of polity. For as only elements of unequal
   temperature adhere together, so in different regions a similar
   inequality in the form of government is best. All this, however, is
   said unnecessarily to those to whom the will of God is a sufficient
   reason. For if it has pleased him to appoint kings over kingdoms, and
   senates or burgomasters over free states, whatever be the form which he
   has appointed in the places in which we live, our duty is to obey and
   submit.

9. The duty of magistrates, its nature, as described by the word of
   God, and the things in which it consists, I will here indicate in
   passing. That it extends to both tables of the law, did Scripture not
   teach, we might learn from profane writers; for no man has discoursed
   of the duty of magistrates, the enacting of laws, and the common weal,
   without beginning with religion and divine worship. Thus all have
   confessed that no polity can be successfully established unless piety
   be its first care, and that those laws are absurd which disregard the
   rights of God, and consult only for men... Hence in Scripture
   holy kings are especially praised for restoring the worship of God when
   corrupted or overthrown, or for taking care that religion flourished
   under them in purity and safety. On the other hand, the sacred history
   sets down anarchy among the vices, when it states that there was no
   king in Israel, and, therefore, every one did as he pleased (Judges
   21:25). This rebukes the folly of those who would neglect the care of
   divine things, and devote themselves merely to the administration of
   justice among men; as if God had appointed rulers in his own name to
   decide earthly controversies, and omitted what was of far greater
   moment, his own pure worship as prescribed by his law. 

10.  the magistrate, in inflicting punishment, acts not of himself, but executes
   the very judgments of God, we shall be disencumbered of every doubt.
   The law of the Lord forbids to kill; but, that murder may not go
   unpunished, the Lawgiver himself puts the sword into the hands of his
   ministers, that they may employ it against all murderers. It belongs
   not to the pious to afflict and hurt; but to avenge the afflictions of
   the pious, at the command of God, is neither to afflict nor hurt. [686]
   I wish it could always be present to our mind, that nothing is done
   here by the rashness of man, but all in obedience to the authority of
   God. ... I am not one of those who would either
   favour an unseasonable severity, or think that any tribunal could be
   accounted just that is not presided over by mercy, ...The magistrate must guard against both
   extremes; he must neither, by excessive severity, rather wound than
   cure, nor by a superstitious affectation of clemency, fall into the
   most cruel inhumanity, by giving way to soft and dissolute indulgence
   to the destruction of many. It was well said by one under the empire of
   Nerva, It is indeed a bad thing to live under a prince with whom
   nothing is lawful, but a much worse to live under one with whom all
   things are lawful.

11. As it is sometimes necessary for kings and states to take up arms
   in order to execute public vengeance, the reason assigned furnishes us
   with the means of estimating how far the wars which are thus undertaken
   are lawful. For if power has been given them to maintain the
   tranquillity of their subjects, repress the seditious movements of the
   turbulent, assist those who are violently oppressed, and animadvert on
   crimes, can they use it more opportunely than in repressing the fury of
   him who disturbs both the ease of individuals and the common
   tranquillity of all; who excites seditious tumult, and perpetrates acts
   of violent oppression and gross wrongs? ...
   Natural equity and duty, therefore, demand that princes be armed not
   only to repress private crimes by judicial inflictions, but to defend
   the subjects committed to their guardianship whenever they are
   hostilely assailed. 

12. But if it is objected, that in the New Testament there is no
   passage or example teaching that war is lawful for Christians, I
   answer, first, that the reason for carrying on war, which anciently
   existed, still exists in the present day, and that, on the other hand,
   there is no ground for debarring magistrates from the defence of those
   under them; and, secondly, that in the Apostolical writings we are not
   to look for a distinct exposition of those matters, their object being
   not to form a civil polity, but to establish the spiritual kingdom of
   Christ; lastly, that there also it is indicated, in passing, that our
   Saviour, by his advent, made no change in this respect. For (to use the
   words of Augustine) "if Christian discipline condemned all wars, when
   the soldiers ask counsel as to the way of salvation, they would have
   been told to cast away their arms, and withdraw altogether from
   military service. Whereas it was said (Luke 3:14), Concuss no one, do
   injury to no one, be contented with your pay. Those whom he orders to
   be contented with their pay he certainly does not forbid to serve"
   (August. Ep. 5 ad Marcell.) But all magistrates must here be
   particularly cautious not to give way, in the slightest degree, to
   their passions. ...
   assuredly all other means must be tried before having recourse to arms.
   In fine, in both cases, they must not allow themselves to be carried
   away by any private feeling, but be guided solely by regard for the
   public. Acting otherwise, they wickedly abuse their power which was
   given them, not for their own advantage, but for the good and service
   of others. 

 13. Lastly, we think it proper to add, that taxes and imposts are the
   legitimate revenues of princes, which they are chiefly to employ in
   sustaining the public burdens of their office. These, however, they may
   use for the maintenance of their domestic state, which is in a manner
   combined with the dignity of the authority which they exercise. Princes, however, must remember, in their turn, that their revenues are not so much private
   chests as treasuries of the whole people (this Paul testifies, Rom.
   13:6), which they cannot, without manifest injustice, squander or
   dilapidate; or rather, that they are almost the blood of the people,
   which it were the harshest inhumanity not to spare. They should also
   consider that their levies and contributions, and other kinds of taxes,
   are merely subsidies of the public necessity, and that it is tyrannical
   rapacity to harass the poor people with them without cause. These
   things do not stimulate princes to profusion and luxurious expenditure
   (there is certainly no need to inflame the passions, when they are
   already, of their own accord, inflamed more than enough), but seeing it
   is of the greatest consequence that, whatever they venture to do, they
   should do with a pure conscience, it is necessary to teach them how far
   they can lawfully go, lest, by impious confidence, they incur the
   divine displeasure. Nor is this doctrine superfluous to private
   individuals, that they may not rashly and petulantly stigmatise the
   expenditure of princes, though it should exceed the ordinary limits.
 14. In states, the thing next in importance to the magistrates is laws,
   the strongest sinews of government, or, as Cicero calls them after
   Plato, the soul, without which, the office of the magistrate cannot
   exist; just as, on the other hand, laws have no vigour without the
   magistrate. Hence nothing could be said more truly than that the law is
   a dumb magistrate, the magistrate a living law. As I have undertaken to
   describe the laws by which Christian polity is to be governed, there is
   no reason to expect from me a long discussion on the best kind of laws.
   The subject is of vast extent, and belongs not to this place. I will
   only briefly observe, in passing, what the laws are which may be
   piously used with reference to God, and duly administered among men.
   This I would rather have passed in silence, were I not aware that many
   dangerous errors are here committed. For there are some who deny that
   any commonwealth is rightly framed which neglects the law of Moses, and
   is ruled by the common law of nations. How perilous and seditious these
   views are, let others see: for me it is enough to demonstrate that they
   are stupid and false. We must attend to the well known division which
   distributes the whole law of God, as promulgated by Moses, into the
   moral, the ceremonial, and the judicial law, and we must attend to each
   of these parts, in order to understand how far they do, or do not,
   pertain to us. Meanwhile, let no one be moved by the thought that the
   judicial and ceremonial laws relate to morals. For the ancients who
   adopted this division, though they were not unaware that the two latter
   classes had to do with morals, did not give them the name of moral,
   because they might be changed and abrogated without affecting morals.
   They give this name specially to the first class, without which, true
   holiness of life and an immutable rule of conduct cannot exist.


15. The moral law, then (to begin with it), being contained under two
   heads, the one of which simply enjoins us to worship God with pure
   faith and piety, the other to embrace men with sincere affection, is
   the true and eternal rule of righteousness prescribed to the men of all
   nations and of all times, who would frame their life agreeably to the
   will of God. For his eternal and immutable will is, that we are all to
   worship him and mutually love one another. The ceremonial law of the
   Jews was a tutelage by which the Lord was pleased to exercise, as it
   were, the childhood of that people, until the fulness of the time
   should come when he was fully to manifest his wisdom to the world, and
   exhibit the reality of those things which were then adumbrated by
   figures (Gal. 3:24; 4:4). The judicial law, given them as a kind of
   polity, delivered certain forms of equity and justice, by which they
   might live together innocently and quietly. And as that exercise in
   ceremonies properly pertained to the doctrine of piety, inasmuch as it
   kept the Jewish Church in the worship and religion of God, yet was
   still distinguishable from piety itself, so the judicial form, though
   it looked only to the best method of preserving that charity which is
   enjoined by the eternal law of God, was still something distinct from
   the precept of love itself. Therefore, as ceremonies might be abrogated
   without at all interfering with piety, so, also, when these judicial
   arrangements are removed, the duties and precepts of charity can still
   remain perpetual. But if it is true that each nation has been left at
   liberty to enact the laws which it judges to be beneficial, still these
   are always to be tested by the rule of charity, so that while they vary
   in form, they must proceed on the same principle. Those barbarous and
   savage laws, for instance, which conferred honour on thieves, allowed
   the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, and other things even fouler
   and more absurd, I do not think entitled to be considered as laws,
   since they are not only altogether abhorrent to justice, but to
   humanity and civilised life.

  
16. What I have said will become plain if we attend, as we ought, to
   two things connected with all laws--viz. the enactment of the law, and
   the equity on which the enactment is founded and rests. Equity, as it
   is natural, cannot be the same in all, and therefore ought to be
   proposed by all laws, according to the nature of the thing enacted. As
   constitutions have some circumstances on which they partly depend,
   there is nothing to prevent their diversity, provided they all alike
   aim at equity as their end. Now, as it is evident that the law of God
   which we call moral, is nothing else than the testimony of natural law,
   and of that conscience which God has engraven on the minds of men, the
   whole of this equity of which we now speak is prescribed in it. Hence
   it alone ought to be the aim, the rule, and the end of all laws.
   Wherever laws are formed after this rule, directed to this aim, and
   restricted to this end, there is no reason why they should be
   disapproved by us, however much they may differ from the Jewish law, or
   from each other 
   17. It now remains to see, as was proposed in the last place, what use
   the common society of Christians derive from laws, judicial
   proceedings, and magistrates. With this is connected another question
   --viz. What difference ought private ind... But if
   it is lawful for brother to litigate with brother, it does not follow
   that it is lawful to hate him, and obstinately pursue him with a
   furious desire to do him harm.

   18. Let such persons then understand that judicial proceedings are
   lawful to him who makes a right use of them; and the right use, both
   for the pursuer and for the defender, is for the latter to sist himself
   on the day appointed, and, without bitterness, urge what he can in his
   defence, but only with the desire of justly maintaining his right; and
   for the pursuer, when undeservedly attacked in his life or fortunes, to
   throw himself upon the protection of the magistrate, state his
   complaint, and demand what is just and good; while, far from any wish
   to hurt or take vengeance--far from bitterness or hatred --far from the
   ardour of strife, he is rather disposed to yield and suffer somewhat
   than to cherish hostile feelings towards his opponent.  When we hear that the assistance of the magistrate is a sacred gift from God, we ought the more carefully to beware of polluting it by our fault.

   19. Let those who distinctly condemn all judicial distinction know,
   that they repudiate the holy ordinance of God, and one of those gifts
   which to the pure are pure, unless, indeed, they would charge Paul with
   a crime, ...for we are
   to consider that the vengeance of the magistrate is the vengeance not
   of man, but of God, which, as Paul says, he exercises by the ministry
   of man for our good (Rom. 13:8).

   20. No more are we at variance with the words of Christ, who forbids us
   to resist evil, and adds, "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right
   cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the
   law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also" (Mt. 5:39,
   40). He would have the minds of his followers to be so abhorrent to
   everything like retaliation, that they would sooner allow the injury to
   be doubled than desire to repay it. From this patience we do not
   dissuade them. For verily Christians were to be a class of men born to
   endure affronts and injuries, and be exposed to the iniquity,
   imposture, and derision of abandoned men, and not only so, but were to
   be tolerant of all these evils; that is, so composed in the whole frame
   of their minds, that, on receiving one offence, they were to prepare
   themselves for another, promising themselves nothing during the whole
   of life but the endurance of a perpetual cross. Meanwhile, they must do
   good to those who injure them, and pray for those who curse them, and
   (this is their only victory) strive to overcome evil with good (Rom.
   12:20, 21). Thus affected, they will not seek eye for eye, and tooth
   for tooth (as the Pharisees taught their disciples to long for
   vengeance), but (as we are instructed by Christ), they will allow their
   body to be mutilated, and their goods to be maliciously taken from
   them, prepared to remit and spontaneously pardon those injuries the
   moment they have been inflicted. This equity and moderation, however,
   will not prevent them, with entire friendship for their enemies, from
   using the aid of the magistrate for the preservation of their goods,
   or, from zeal for the public interest, to call for the punishment of
   the wicked and pestilential man, whom they know nothing will reform but
   death. 

   21. .. a rage for litigation prevailed in the Church of Corinth to
   such a degree, that they exposed the gospel of Christ, and the whole
   religion which they professed, to the calumnies and cavils of the
   ungodly....In short, as we
   said at first, every man's best adviser is charity. Everything in which
   we engage without charity, and all the disputes which carry us beyond
   it, are unquestionably unjust and impious.

   22. The first duty of subjects towards their rulers, is to entertain
   the most honourable views of their office, recognising it as a
   delegated jurisdiction from God, and on that account receiving and
   reverencing them as the ministers and ambassadors of God. ..subjects, in submitting to princes and governors, are not to be influenced merely by fear... but because the obedience which they yield is rendered to God himself, inasmuch as their power is from God. ...the station itself is deserving of honour and
   reverence, and that those who rule should, in respect of their office,
   be held by us in esteem and veneration.

   23. From this, a second consequence is, that we must with ready minds
   prove our obedience to them, whether in complying with edicts, or in
   paying tribute, or in undertaking public offices and burdens, which
   relate to the common defence, or in executing any other orders. "Let
   every soul," says Paul, "be subject unto the higher powers."
   "Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of
   God" (Rom. 13:1, 2).


   24. But as we have hitherto described the magistrate who truly is what
   he is called--viz. the father of his country, and (as the Poet speaks)
   the pastor of the people, the guardian of peace, the president of
   justice, the vindicator of innocence, he is justly to be deemed a
   madman who disapproves of such authority. ...And, undoubtedly, the natural
   feeling of the human mind has always been not less to assail tyrants
   with hatred and execration, than to look up to just kings with love and
   veneration.

   25. But if we have respect to the word of God, it will lead us farther,
   and make us subject not only to the authority of those princes who
   honestly and faithfully perform their duty toward us, but all princes,
   by whatever means they have so become, although there is nothing they
   less perform than the duty of princes. For though the Lord declares
   that a ruler to maintain our safety is the highest gift of his
   beneficence, and prescribes to rulers themselves their proper sphere,
   he at the same time declares, that of whatever description they may be,
   they derive their power from none but him. Those, indeed, who rule for
   the public good, are true examples and specimens of his beneficence,
   while those who domineer unjustly and tyrannically are raised up by him
   to punish the people for their iniquity. Still all alike possess that
   sacred majesty with which he has invested lawful power. ... in so far as public obedience is concerned, he is to be held in the same honour and reverence as the best of kings.

   26. And, first, I would have the reader carefully to attend to that
   Divine Providence which, not without cause, is so often set before us
   in Scripture, and that special act of distributing kingdoms, and
   setting up as kings whomsoever he pleases. In Daniel it is said, "He
   changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up
   kings" (Dan. 2:21, 37).He bound to obey, and
   could not lawfully resist: as if Samuel had said, To such a degree will
   kings indulge in tyranny, which it will not be for you to restrain. The
   only thing remaining for you will be to receive their commands, and be
   obedient to their words.

   27.  If we constantly keep before our eyes and minds the fact, that even the most iniquitous kings are appointed by the same decree which establishes all
   regal authority, we will never entertain the seditious thought, that a
   king is to be treated according to his deserts, and that we are not
   bound to act the part of good subjects to him who does not in his turn
   act the part of a king to us.

   28. Let us doubt not that on whomsoever the kingdom has been
   conferred, him we are bound to serve. Whenever God raises any one to
   royal honour, he declares it to be his pleasure that he should reign.
  
   29. This feeling of reverence, and even of piety, we owe to the utmost
   to all our rulers, be their characters what they may. This I repeat the
   oftener, that we may learn not to consider the individuals themselves,
   but hold it to be enough that by the will of the Lord they sustain a
   character on which he has impressed and engraven inviolable majesty.
   But rulers, you will say, owe mutual duties to those under them. This I
   have already confessed. But if from this you conclude that obedience is
   to be returned to none but just governors, you reason absurdly.
   Husbands are bound by mutual duties to their wives, and parents to
   their children.

   30. Herein is the goodness, power, and providence of God wondrously
   displayed. At one time he raises up manifest avengers from among his
   own servants, and gives them his command to punish accursed tyranny,
   and deliver his people from calamity when they are unjustly oppressed;
   at another time he employs, for this purpose, the fury of men who have
   other thoughts and other aims. 

   31. But whatever may be thought of the acts of the men themselves,
   [692] the Lord by their means equally executed his own work, when he
   broke the bloody sceptres of insolent kings, and overthrew their
   intolerable dominations. Let princes hear and be afraid; but let us at
   the same time guard most carefully against spurning or violating the
   venerable and majestic authority of rulers, an authority which God has
   sanctioned by the surest edicts, although those invested with it should
   be most unworthy of it, and, as far as in them lies, pollute it by
   their iniquity. Although the Lord takes vengeance on unbridled
   domination, let us not therefore suppose that that vengeance is
   committed to us, to whom no command has been given but to obey and
   suffer. I speak only of private men. For when popular magistrates have
   been appointed to curb the tyranny of kings ... So far am I from forbidding these officially to check the undue license of kings, that if they connive at kings when they tyrannise and insult over the humbler of the people, I affirm that
   their dissimulation is not free from nefarious perfidy, because they
   fradulently betray the liberty of the people, while knowing that, by
   the ordinance of God, they are its appointed guardians.

   32. But in that obedience which we hold to be due to the commands of
   rulers, we must always make the exception, nay, must be particularly
   careful that it is not incompatible with obedience to Him to whose will
   the wishes of all kings should be subject, to whose decrees their
   commands must yield, to whose majesty their sceptres must bow. And,
   indeed, how preposterous were it, in pleasing men, to incur the offence
   of Him for whose sake you obey men! The Lord, therefore, is King of
   kings. When he opens his sacred mouth, he alone is to be heard, instead
   of all and above all. We are subject to the men who rule over us, but
   subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against Him let us
   not pay the least regard to it, nor be moved by all the dignity which
   they possess as magistrates--a dignity to which no injury is done when
   it is subordinated to the special and truly supreme power of God.... "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29), let us console ourselves with the thought, that we are rendering the obedience which the Lord requires, when we endure anything rather than turn aside from piety. And that our courage may
   not fail, Paul stimulates us by the additional consideration (1 Cor.
   7:23), that we were redeemed by Christ at the great price which our
   redemption cost him, in order that we might not yield a slavish
   obedience to the depraved wishes of men, far less do homage to their
   impiety.

Monday, February 05, 2018

February 5: John Witherspoon



by archivist
A Force for God and Country is bornby Rev. David T. Myers
On July 4, 1776, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence was John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian pastor and educator who was at that time serving as the president of the College of New Jersey (later to become Princeton University).  We will in this year’s historical devotions focus on this man in five separate days because he was  such an effective influence for God and country.
Born February 5, 1723, John Witherspoon would grow up in a church manse in the tiny town of Gifford, Scotland, which was fourteen miles from Edinburgh, Scotland.  We have a scarcity of information about his parents.
His father, the Rev. James Witherspoon, was a Church of Scotland minister who served the parish of Yester from 1720 until his death in 1759. We do know that he attended the denomination’s General Assembly as a delegate, and even preached before that Assembly on one occasion, and was appointed a royal chaplain in 1744.  We have no doubt that like many faithful Scottish pastors, he was eminent for his holiness, learning, and faithfulness.
John’s mother, Ann Walker,  was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister.  She was to bear six children from this union with James, all in the space of ten years.  John Witherspoon later gave credit to his mother for his early religious education in the Bible, reading it through for the first time when he was only four years of age, and later hiding a lot of it in his heart by way of memory. Some historians have concluded that she was a descendant of the Reformer John Knox, while others are unconvinced. Whatever may be said, the training of John Witherspoon began early in the home and continued at the Haddington Grammar School, which had also trained John Knox. Along with secular subjects, the Westminster Shorter Catechism was part of the training at that school. When he left at age thirteen for the University of Edinburgh in 1736, he had a good command of Latin, Greek, and French.  He also had a solid foundation in biblical Christianity.  All of this was to bear him well as he continued preparing for the divine calling which was his in both Scotland, his native country, and in the colonies and United States of America.
Continuing his education in divinity at the University of Edinburgh, Witherspoon was licensed in 1743 and ordained and installed as the minister of the parish of Beith in the Church of Scotland, on April 11, 1745.  He was twenty-two years old.  Two years later,  he married Elizabeth Montgomery.  They would both learn the sorrow connected with  a family when of the ten children which came from this union, only five would survive to adulthood.
This young Church of Scotland minister soon gained a reputation beyond his own parish.  The national body was divided into two splinters composed of the Popular party and the Moderates.  The first was akin to our orthodox party and the latter was akin to the liberals.  The former emphasized the important of the Westminster Standards as a summary of the Scriptures, while the latter group generally ignored the proper place of the Westminster Standards in the church.  Witherspoon was a solid member of the Popular party, and attacked the Moderates in the pulpit and by the pen.  Even in his second pastorate at Laigh Parish, his reputation as an orthodox minister began to expand in Scotland, and extended across the Atlantic to the colonies of America.
[more on Rev. Witherspoon’s story at a later date.]
Words to Live By:God prepares His own people for present and future work.  As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (ESV)  Remember this as you rear your children in the ways of the Lord.  Commend them into the hands of the Lord at an early age, indeed when they are born is best.  Then everything you do, do so in the Lord’s strength and for His glory.

Idiot Sightings

IDIOT SIGHTING No.1 


    My daughter and I went to the McDonald's check-out to pay our bill and I gave the clerk a £5 note. 

    Our total bill was £4.20, so I also handed her a 20 pence piece.

    She said, 'You gave me too much money.'

    I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me £1 back.'

    She sighed and went to get the Manager who asked me to repeat my request. 

    I did so, and he handed me back the 20 pence and said 'We're sorry but we do not do that kind of thing.'

    The clerk then proceeded to give me back 80 pence in change.


    Do not confuse the clerks at MacDonald's in  St Albans , Hertfordshire.!!



    IDIOT SIGHTING No2

    We had to have the garage door repaired. The GARADOR repairman told us

    that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener.

    I thought for a moment, and said that we had the largest one GARADOR made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower.

    He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.' 

    I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4 and he said, 'NOOO, it's not. Four is larger than two..'

    We haven't used Garador repair since. Happened in Moor Park, near Watford.



    IDIOT SIGHTING No3

    I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbour call the

    Highways Department to request the removal of the 'DEER CROSSING' sign

    from our road.

    The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars on this stretch of road! I don't

    think this is a good place for them to be crossing, any-more.'


    Story from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.



    IDIOT SIGHTING No 4

    My daughter went to a local Kentucky Fried Chicken and ordered a Taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' 

    He said he was sorry, but they only had Iceberg Lettuce.


    From South Oxhey, Hertfordshire.



    IDIOT SIGHTING No 5

    I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, 

    'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?' 

    To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?' 

    He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'



    Happened at Luton Airport



    IDIOT SIGHTING No 6

    The traffic light on the corner buzzes when the lights turn red and it is safe to cross the road.

    I was crossing with an intellectually challenged friend of mine.

    She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for.

    I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. 

    Appalled, she responded, 'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'

    She is a Local County Council employee in St Albans, Hertfordshire. (And she's NOT blonde) 



    IDIOT SIGHTING No7

    When my husband and I arrived at our local Ford dealer to pick up our car, 

    we were told the keys had been locked in it. 

    We went to the Service Department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the Driver's door.

    As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door-handle and discovered that it was unlocked. 

    'Hey,' I announced to the Fitter/Mechanic, 'it’s open!'

    His reply: 'I know. I already did that side.' 

    This was at the Ford dealership in St Albans, Hertfordshire.





    STAY ALERT! They walk among us.