Thursday, June 25, 2009

Walking -

I like long walks - especially when they are taken by people who annoy me. Fred Allen

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. -Raymond Inmon

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vivisection -

I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

Visits -

Visits always give pleasure - if not the arrival, the departure.-Portuguese Proverb

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vision -

You can observe a lot by just watching. -Yogi Berra

The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.
Helen Keller (1880-1968)In "Webster's Electronic Quotebase," ed. Keith Mohler, 1994.

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. - Schopenhauer

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Virtue -

To Almighty God, this shrine of the arts, music and literature is dedicated by the first Governors in the year of our Lord 1931, John Reith being Director General. It is their prayer that good seed sown will produce a good harvest, that everything offensive to decency and hostile to peace will be expelled, and that the nation will incline its ear to those things which are lovely pure and of good report and thus pursue the path of wisdom and virtue - inscription inside Broadcasting House, home of the BBC

Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.-- John Adams

[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen onto any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. -Samuel Adams

Prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue. -Francis Bacon

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable --if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Phil. 4:8 NIV

Glory follows virtue as if it were its shadow. --Cicero (B.C. 106-43)

When was public virtue to be found when private was not? - William Cowper

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e.,waste nothing.
6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that areyour duty.
9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as youthink they deserve.
10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11.TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor ow'd the constant felicity of his life, down to his 79th year, in which this is written.
What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence;but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to helphisbearing them with more resignation.
To Temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good constitution;to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance. I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.
In this piece it was my design to have endeavored to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man's fortune as those of probity and integrity.
My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list.
In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.- Benjamin Franklin, 1706 - 1790, [Thus far written at Passy, 1741]

Virtue has a veil, vice a mask. - Victor Hugo, 1802 - 1885

The arguments for purity of life fail of their due influence, not because they have been considered and confuted, but because they have been passed over without consideration. - Samuel Johnson (Rambler #87)

No people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous. - Samuel Johnson: An Introduction To The Political State of Great Britain write and to live are very different. Many who praise virtue, do no more than praise it. - Samuel Johnson: Addison (Lives of the Poets)

Most people are awaiting Virtual Reality; I'm awaiting virtuous reality.--Eli Khamarov ,Lives of the Cognoscenti

When you can't have anything else, you can have virtue. - Don Marquis

The strength of a man's virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts. - Blaise Pascal

However evil men may be they dare not be openly hostile to virtue, and so when they want to attack it they pretend to find it spurious, or impute crimes to it. -La Rochefoucauld, _Maxims_, 1665

A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.-Jean Jacques Rousseau

Fruits are always of the same nature with the seeds and roots from which they come, and trees are known by the fruits they bear: as a man begets a man, and a beast a beast, that society of men which constitutes a government upon the foundation of justice, virtue, and the common good, will always have men to promote those ends; and that which intends the advancement of one man's desire and vanity, will abound in those that will foment them. -Algernon Sidney

Personal virtue is no substitute for political hard-headedness.- Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power, Harper Collins,1995, p11

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. -George Washington

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Now that I am of an age to remember six decades I have been pondering what I remember of the characteristics and big events of each.

50s - Post war austerity and the end of rationing. The death of the king. Coronation. Retirement of Churchill. The four minute mile. Laker's 10 wickets. Trueman and Statham. Listening to the radio.

60s - The Beatles and the Mersey sound. Cuban missile crisis. Assassination of Kennedys. Vietnam war. Start of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Biafran civil war. England win the World Cup. Satellites in space. Television at home. Profumo scandal.

70s - Watergate. James Herriot's vet books. Escalation of petrol prices. Colour TV. Hijacking. Inflation. Labour government's failure. Asian immigration from East Africa. Idi Amin.

80s. Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev and the start of the end of the Soviet Empire. Miners' strike. Falklands war. Hostage taking. IRA bombs.

90s. New Labour and decline in sexual morality enshrined in law. National lottery :-(
Good Friday Agreement. EU takes control. Computers. Mobile phones.

00s. Twin towers and the rise of Islam worldwide. Eastern European immigration. Financial meltdown. Internet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Virgin birth-

I do not wish to imply that God the Son could not, absolutely speaking, have become incarnate by a non-virginal conception, any more than I should wish to deny that God might, absolutely speaking, have redeemed mankind without becoming incarnate at all; it is always unwise to place limits to the power of God. What we can see is that both an incarnation and a virginal conception were thoroughly appropriate to the needs and circumstances of the case and were more "natural", in the sense of more appropriate, than the alternatives... In practice, denial of the virginal conception or inability to see its relevance almost always goes with an inadequate understanding of the Incarnation and of the Christian religion in general.
E. L. Mascall, The Secularisation of Christianity [1965]

Victims -

People often find it easier to be a result of the past than a cause of the future.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Books read in June 2009 (3)

1, Fire from Heaven: Life in an English Town in the Seventeenth Century by David Underdown

Dorchester was rated as the most godly community in seventeen century England. This book tells you what that meant. If you did not go to your parish church every Sunday or if you went and fell asleep, you risked a fine. That was the law of the land, not the locality. The commonest offences brought to law were drunkenness and swearing. The law was applied to rich and poor alike to the concern of some of the gentry. A hospital and schools were built. There was extraordinary generosity in collections for many needy causes. Most strange to modern Christians would be that a major source of funds were the profits of the brewery the town opened. Drunkenness was sin but beer was wholesome drink. We are taken through the town's reformation by two godly ministers, the turmoil of civil war, the ejection of the Puritan clergy, the start of nonconformity and the decline of Puritan ethics. There was regulation of market prices at times and staples sold to the poor were subsidised in times of scarcity. A fascinating and well written account which includes the founding of another Dorchester across the ocean, another godly community. My one criticism is the paucity of information about the liturgical reforms of the Puritans and detail as to why they would not conform in 1662.

2. The Bible - NIV Study

Once again I have kept to my schedule and completed reading in one year. If fact it is the Old Testament which takes the year at two chapters a day as daily reading of New Testament and Psalms is quicker.

3. Sweet Water and Bitter: The Ships That Stopped the Slave Trade by Sian Rees

Having recently commemorated the bicentenary of Britain abolishing its slave trade one rarely hears more of the story except for the later banning of slavery in the Empire. But how was the trade stopped? By the Royal Navy capturing slave ships. The problem was that international law gave them no authority over ships flying the flags of other nations. This is the clearest case of law promoting injustice. When the conditions of the slaves are described it makes for very unpleasant reading. It took decades for other nations to abandon the trade, the last being Brazil. But the most difficulty was in dissuading the Africans to stop the trade. Slaves were their most lucrative export.So we are also told of the exploration of West Africa to find the Niger and expeditions to stop the trade which was the start of colonisation by Britain. Colonialism is universally decried today but it stopped slavery.So a comprehensive history but sometimes rather repetitive and so it can be a bit dull.