But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Monday, 28 October 2019 08:55

General and Undue Influence

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Here is a section from an appellate brief we filed today in a probate action. A key provision n the case concerns the distinctions between “undue influence” and “general influence”; it is a point which courts often confuse. There is an understanding, caused by untold...

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Sibbes now moves on to the paradox of the church in this age. How can we be both simultaneous a saint and a sinner? “My undefiled.’ Undefiled is a high word to be applied to the church of God here; for the church, groaning under infirmities, to be counted perfect and undefiled.”


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Monday, 21 October 2019 15:20

History and Persuasion

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The act of persuasion requires the use of language intentionally and purposefully crafted to convey meaning and appeal. Contemporary historians increasingly recognize that language shapes and creates the past; the basic events of human experience do not in and of themselves possess the qualities of...

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Thursday, 17 October 2019 09:26

Richard Sibbes, Sermons on Canticles 7.3

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Knowing that we are beloved, Sibbes draws three “uses” of this doctrine:

First, to be “persuaded of his love”. The result of such persuasion is that it will draw us to him: love creates a reciprocal love in the beloved:

Now this should stir us up to be fully persuaded of his...

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The letter is found in Loeb vol. 266, Select Papyri and is number 120, “From a Penitent Son.” The translation and notes below are my own.

Antonius Longus

To his mother

tê mêtri: The article functions as a possessive pronoun: literally, the mother

many/much greeting(s).


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You remember how Greatheart in the Pilgrim describes the Valley of Humiliation as the best and most fruitful land in all those parts, and how that Mercy protested that she was as well in that Valley as she had been anywhere else in all their journey. That is only the old Dreamer’s way of...

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Saturday, 12 October 2019 08:19

More dangerous than anything you will ever meet

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The Two Towers, Chapter 5

Tolkien here draws together two ideas which Gimili naively thinks to be exclusive of one-another. This is similar to Lewis’ comment that the lion is good and dangerous. The lion is certainly not safe.

The source of this idea is God himself. God is good, perfectly good....

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Thursday, 10 October 2019 11:52

Richard Sibbes, Sermons on Canticles, 7.2

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In the next section of the sermon, Sibbes notes the nature of the Savior’s love to his people. He takes this doctrine from the clause which contains the words “my love”, “Open my unto me, my love.” The appellation “my love” demonstrates the fact of love....

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Wednesday, 09 October 2019 13:31

Richard Sibbes, Sermons on Canticle, Sermon 7.1

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My love, my dove, my undefiled; for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; and how shall I defile them?—Cant. 5:2, 3.

In this sermon, Sibbes addresses the marvel of the Christian life: the...

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Tuesday, 08 October 2019 11:16

Shakespeare Sonnet 10, Notes

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[1]       For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any,

[2]       Who for thyself art so unprovident.

[3]       Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,

[4]       But...

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Saturday, 05 October 2019 15:34

That’s also what made want to become an actor

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That’s also what made me want to become an actor, so that by taking on another’s role I could acquire a sort of surrogate for my own life and in this exchanging of externals find some form of diversion. That’s what I lacked for leading a completely human life and not just a life...

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Saturday, 05 October 2019 03:09

A Note on Christian Politics

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William Gurnall noting how Paul responded to being imprisoned:

But how doth this great apostle spend his time in prison? Not in publishing invectives against those, though the worst of men, who had laid him in; a piece of zeal which the holy sufferers of those times were little acquainted with: nor...

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Friday, 04 October 2019 15:59

Thomas Hardy To Life

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O life with the sad seared face,

I weary of seeing thee,

And thy draggled cloak,

and thy hobbling pace,

And thy too-forced pleasantry!

I know what thou would’st tell

Of Death, Time, Destiny-

I have known it long, and know, too, well

What it all means for me.

But canst thou not array


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Friday, 04 October 2019 04:58

Abraham Kuyper, Common Grace 1.8

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This chapter concerns Genesis 9:6

Whoever sheds the blood of man,

by man shall his blood be shed,

for God made man in his own image

The first issue he considers is whether statement is the institution of capital punishment by a government, or merely an observation that private vendetta will occur. He...

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Tuesday, 01 October 2019 10:54

Joseph Conrad, The Lagoon Notes.2

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     A plaintive murmur rose in the night; a murmur saddening and startling, as if the great solitudes of surrounding woods had tried to whisper into his ear the wisdom of their immense and lofty indifference. Sounds hesitating and vague floated in the air round him, shaped...

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Friday, 27 September 2019 06:57

Joseph Conrad, The Lagoon, Notes.1

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            The white man, leaning with both arms over the roof of the little house in the stern of the boat, said to the steersman—

 “The white man”: here is a stranger venturing into another world.  Yes, you can...

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Friday, 27 September 2019 03:23

Shakespeare Sonnet 9, Notes

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(Weeping Woman, Pablo Picasso)

Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye

That thou consum’st thyself in single life?

Ah, if thou issueless shalt hap to die,

The world will wail thee like a makeless wife;

The world will be thy widow and still weep

That thou no form of thee hast left behind,


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Thursday, 26 September 2019 09:31

Thucydides and the Fear of God and gods

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In considering the matter of the fear of God/gods and human response, Thucydides has an interesting observation in Book II The Peloponnesian War. He is describing a circumstance of people flooding into the city of Athens. He first describes the breakdown in public order:

[52]An aggravation of the...

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Pohill begins with his proposition which he seeks to prove in the ensuring discourse:

If we would be in a fit posture for suffering, we must get an holy fear in our hearts.

He then cites to two texts of Solomon which commend fear as a means of wisdom:

The wise Solomon begins his Proverbs with this;...

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Tuesday, 24 September 2019 10:00

The Fear of God and Suffering

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This discussion of “fear” takes place in the context of a larger concern of Pohill’s work, a preparation for suffering. The basic proposition is that “holy fear” will prepare us for suffering. Before we consider his understanding of fear, it would be well to consider...

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Tuesday, 24 September 2019 09:28

Thinking God’s Thoughts

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Alfred North Whitehead explained, “There can be no living science unless there is a widespread instinctive conviction in the existence of an Order of Things. And, in particular, of an Order of Nature.” Whitehead argued that confidence in this proposition was especially inspired by the...

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Saturday, 21 September 2019 13:41

The memory of motion had for ever departed

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The forests, somber and dull, stood motionless and silent on each side of the broad stream. At the foot of big, towering trees, trunkless nipa palms rose from the mud of the bank, in bunches of leaves enormous and heavy, that hung unstirring over the brown swirl of eddies. In the stillness of the...

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Saturday, 21 September 2019 02:48

How to preach

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A description of Matthew Henry’s father Philip Henry as a preacher

He adapted his method and style to the capacities of his hearers, fetching his similitudes for illustration from those things which were familiar to them. He did not shoot the arrow of the word over their heads in high...

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This sermon by Phillip Henry (father of Matthew Henry) is an excellent example of a type of sermon construction which develops the structure around a central metaphor. The text of the sermon is

1 Corinthians 3:11 (ESV)

11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is...

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Thursday, 19 September 2019 03:23

Kuyper, Common Grace 1.7

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In the seventh chapter of Common Grace, Kuyper comes to:

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning:

from every beast I will require it

and from man.

From his fellow man I will require a reckoning

for the life of man.

Genesis 9:5 (ESV)

First, the verse concerns God’s...

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