Within the age…

we cannot transcend all the errors that characterize our time.

Archive for May 2014

Purring Bellies

leave a comment »

“The Greeks supposed that the belly was the nursery and dwelling place of the appetites and desires, just as they supposed that the head was the home of thought, and the chest the place of right feelings, a reasonable mediation between the two. Their knowledge of anatomy would not have gotten them through our medical schools, but their metaphor provides powers of the mind that are not instilled in our medical schools, or any other. That metaphor has this great virtue, that it gives us the beginning of a way to distinguish internal and invisible events from one another by family, as it were. We can be almost as clear in our minds about the different denizens of the belly, the chest, and the head, as we can about animals, vegetables, and minerals.”

“…Consider again that, even in the company of those we call “intellectuals,” I would suffer rebuke or disapproval in saying that Jews are stingy, and escape both in saying that Jews are diligent and productive. As thinking, both statements are equal. Both worthless. If I can get away with the second, even in lofty mental company, it is because what I say probably makes every belly in the room purr with satisfaction, while the first makes them all growl with unease.” – Richard Mitchell

Source: The Gift of Fire by Richard Mitchell

More of Mitchell here.

Written by Agrammatos

May 31, 2014 at 1:00 AM

The Best Foundations for a Proper Code of Conduct

leave a comment »

“Scripture accompanies its exhortations with the promise of God’s countless blessings and of the all-embracing salvation he grants us.

Therefore, since God has revealed himself as a Father, we would be guilty of the basest ingratitude if we did not behave as his children.
Since Christ has purified us through the baptism in his blood, we should not become defiled by fresh pollution.
Since Christ has united us to his body as his members, we should be anxious not to disgrace him by any blemish.
Since Christ, our Head, has ascended to heaven, we should leave our carnal desires behind and lift our hearts upward to him.
Since the Holy Spirit has dedicated us as temples of God, we should exert ourselves not to profane his sanctuary, but to display his glory.
Since both our soul and body are destined to inherit an incorruptible and never-fading crown, we should keep them pure and undefiled till the day of our Lord.
Such are the best foundations for a proper code of conduct. Philosophers never rise above the natural dignity of man. (But Scripture points us to our only sinless Savior, Jesus Christ. Rom. 6:44ff; 8:29)” – John Calvin

Source: The Golden Booklet of The True Christian Life by John Calvin

Written by Agrammatos

May 30, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Posted in Book Recommendations

Tagged with

How the World Sees Serious Christians

leave a comment »

By-Ends: We are so, indeed; but the men before us are so rigid, and love so much their own notions, and do also so lightly esteem the opinions of others, that let a man be ever so godly, yet if he jumps not with them in all things, they thrust him quite out of their company.

Mr. Save-All: That is bad; but we read of some that are righteous overmuch, and such men’s rigidness prevails with them to judge and condemn all but themselves. But I pray, what, and how many, were the things wherein you differed?

By-Ends: Why, they, after their headstrong manner, conclude that it is their duty to rush on their journey all weathers, and I am for waiting for wind and tide. They are for hazarding all for God at a clap; and I am for taking all advantages to secure my life and estate. They are for holding their notions, though all other men be against them; but I am for religion in what, and so far as the times and my safety will bear it. They are for religion when in rags and contempt; but I am for him when he walks in his silver slippers, in the sunshine, and with applause.

Mr. Hold-the-World: Aye, and hold you there still, good Mr. By-ends; for, for my part, I can count him but a fool, that having the liberty to keep what he has, shall be so unwise as to lose it. Let us be wise as serpents. It is best to make hay while the sun shines. You see how the bee lieth still in winter, and bestirs her only when she can have profit with pleasure. God sends sometimes rain, and sometimes sunshine: if they be such fools to go through the first, yet let us be content to take fair weather along with us. For my part, I like that religion best that will stand with the security of God’s good blessings unto us; for who can imagine, that is ruled by his reason, since God has bestowed upon us the good things of this life, but that he would have us keep them for his sake? Abraham and Solomon grew rich in religion; and Job says, that a good man shall lay up gold as dust; but he must not be such as the men before us, if they be as you have described them.

Mr. Save-All: I think that we are all agreed in this matter; and therefore there needs no more words about it.

Mr. Money-Love: No, there needs no more words about this matter, indeed; for he that believes neither Scripture nor reason, (and you see we have both on our side,) neither knows his own liberty nor seeks his own safety.” – John Bunyan

Source: Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Written by Agrammatos

May 29, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Some Eskimos are Stingy

leave a comment »

“But the warning against generalization is ordinarily provided not for intellectual reasons but for social reasons. It is certainly true that vague generalization provides an easy way to insult lots of people all at once without having to prove anything, but it also provides an easy way to praise or flatter lots of people all at once without having to prove anything. If I say that Jews are stingy, I will be accused first of some social depravity, and only thereafter, and rarely, too, of intellectual disorder. Furthermore, my intellectual disorder, speaking as though Jews were an agent who could be stingy, will be at least partially excused should I back off a bit and say, to what will surely be general assent, Well, some Jews are stingy. Who can deny it? Some Eskimos are also stingy. I will not be required to specify a percentage. Having corrected myself socially, I will not be required to correct myself intellectually. And I will suffer no correction at all if I say that Jews are diligent and productive. Now, I am OK, and listeners will nod approvingly. Nor will I be required to say, even approximately, how many Jews are diligent and productive, or which ones. In one of the worlds in which I live, the World of We All, the first assertion is a Bad Thing, and the second a Good Thing. But in another world in which I also live, the world where the mind does its work, the two statements are perfectly equal in value, and their value is zero. They are worthless statements. It is not sufficient to condemn them as generalizations, for that condemnation is really an exoneration as well. The most we require of a generalization is that it be toned down. Come on, now, they can’t all be stingy. And when we declaw our generalizations, we suppose that we have come out of the Wrong and into the Right. But we have only come out of one worthlessness and into another.”  – Richard Mitchell

Source: The Gift of Fire by Richard Mitchell

More of Mitchell here.

Written by Agrammatos

May 28, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Religion in His Rags, and Silver Slippers

leave a comment »

“Christian: If you will go with us, you must go against wind and tide; the which, I perceive, is against your opinion: you must also own Religion in his rags, as well as when in his silver slippers; and stand by him, too, when bound in irons, as well as when he walketh the streets with applause.” – John Bunyan

Source: Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Written by Agrammatos

May 27, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Talking Rubbish

leave a comment »

While it may well be that few persons ever happen to notice and consider the strange and unique powers that they have as persons, and not as humanity, including the power to decide what important should mean, I suspect that we all have some inkling of that strange state of affairs. That is why we are warned in schools–well, maybe in some schools–against what is generally called “generalization.” Generalizations often name many minds and then go on to speak as though they were a mind. Right from the start, they speak of what is not, for the Italians can not believe one thing and the Belgians another. Only a person can believe or think–or feel, for that matter. And when we undertake to talk about what is not, we are in danger of falling into nonsense and talking rubbish.” – Richard Mitchell

Source: The Gift of Fire by Richard Mitchell

More of Mitchell here.

Written by Agrammatos

May 26, 2014 at 3:52 AM

A Day of Gloom with No Brightness

leave a comment »

“Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
    Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
    as if a man fled from a lion,
    and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
    and a serpent bit him.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,

    and gloom with no brightness in it?” – Amos 5:18-20

I’m not going to address the full context of Amos here, but I will offer one observation. Amos was addressing a people who had been incorrectly expecting that the day of the Lord would bring blessings to them. Amos tells them they shouldn’t expect blessings, but judgement. He compares their present situation as being one who flees from a lion, only to encounter a bear. Or, a man that goes in to lean his hand against the wall and is bitten by a serpent. A people seeking a better situation (rest) than what they have currently, and will find instead of solace, a much worse situation.

There will always be those that believe they are in line to receive blessings from God, only to discover that not only are they not receiving blessings, but judgement is coming instead.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:21-23

Written by Agrammatos

May 25, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Posted in Scripture

Tagged with