Wednesday, August 30, 2006

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Of Death and the Grave

"We must be willing to go through the grave to Christ; that way he went to his glory, and so must we. If we cannot see God's face and live, better die than never see it."

~~Matthew Henry, from Commentary on John 20:1-10.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Arminianism is enmity against God.

All seem to agree about this, that the great end of all the Lord's counsels and decrees is his own glory, to be manifested on men and angels; and that this must be first in his mind; not that there is first or last with him, but to speak after the manner of men. If he had many thoughts, as we have, this would be his first thought; and in this one purpose this end is chiefly aimed at, and all other things are by the Lord's counsel subordinate to this, as means to compass that. But as concerning the order of these means, and consequently of his majesty's purpose about them, men, by examining his majesty according to the creature's rules, or according to sense, bring him down far below his own infinite greatness. Some conceive that that was first, as it were, in his mind which is first done. Looking upon the execution of his purpose in the works of his power, they imagine, that as he first created man righteous, so this was his first thought concerning man, to create man for the glory of his goodness and power, without any particular determination as yet of his end. And I conceive, this is the thought of the multitude of people. They think God was disappointed in his work, when they hear he created such a glorious creature that is now become so miserable. They cannot believe that his majesty had all this sin and misery determined with him when he purposed to create him, but look upon the emergent of man's fall into sin and misery as a surprisal of his majesty; - as if he had meant another thing in creating him, and so was, upon this occasion of man's sin, driven to a new consultation about the helping of the business, and making the best out of it that might be. Thus 'through wisdom' the world knows not God. They think God altogether like themselves, and so liken him to the builder of a house, who set nothing before him in doing so, but to build it after that manner for his own ends; but then being surprised with the fall and ruin of it, takes a new advisement, and builds it up again upon another and a surer foundation. But because they cannot say, that God takes any new advisements in time, but must confess that all his counsels are everlasting concerning all the works of his hands, therefore they bring in foreknowledge to smooth their irreligious conceit of God; as if the Lord, upon his purpose of creating man, had foreseen what should befall him, and so purposed to permit it to be so, that out of it he might erect some glorious fabric of mercy and justice upon the ruins of man. And that little or nothing may be left to the absolute sovereign will of God, to which the Scripture ascribes all things, they must again imagine, that upon his purpose of sending Christ to save sinners, he is yet undetermined about the particular end of particular men, but watches on the tower of foreknowledge to espy what they will do, whether men will believe on his Son or not, whether they will persevere in faith or not; and according to his observation of their doings, so he applies his own will to carve out their reward or portion of life or death. These are even the thoughts which are inbred in your breasts by nature. That which the learned call Arminianism is nothing else but the carnal reason of men's hearts, which is enmity to God. It is that very disputation which Paul in this chapter exclaims against, 'Who art thou, O man, that disputest?'
~~Hugh Binning, Of Predestination.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Amazing Trivia

The spitball, a pitch in baseball in which the ball is tampered with (spit on, scuffed, smeared with petroleum oil or peanut butter, etc.) in order to affect the movement of the ball during the pitch, was permitted in Major League Baseball until 1920. Back in the day, the same baseball was used for much of the game, unlike today where they replace the ball after every couple pitches -- the ball was sometimes stained with various substances, including tobacco spit. The spitball was difficult for the batter to see coming. It was in 1920 when Ray Chapman was hit with a spitball pitch. Ray Chapman died 12 hours later, from injuries to his skull. There is some dispute whether or not Chapman's death was the cause of the ban of the spitball.

Crop circles, the "phenomena" where some guys use a board to smash down wheat, corn, or other crops, into sometimes elaborate designs, may have been around in the 1600's. A pamphlet (August 22nd, 1678) called "The Mowing Devil" features a woodcut of a devil smashing down crops into a circle. Hmm...

It seems that when lifting weights to gain strength, one set of 12 reps may be almost as effective for the average joe, as the classic 12 rep/3 set workout.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Yes! My knees are sore.

Tonight I was icing the inside of both my knees, and do you know why?

Because Karate class tonight was AWESOME, that's why.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mocking Popery ≠ Christianity

To say that men may lawfully eat flesh on a Friday, and to mock all the superstitions of popery, and to say that they are but empty and trivial things -- that they can do with ease. But, at the same time, if a man asks them what it is to be regenerate, what patience is, what newness of life is, and what it is to be fashioned again after the image of God -- there the majority of them will show that they never tasted the truth of the gospel, but have disregarded all but the externals, and never came to the real substance of it.
~John Calvin, The Twenty-Ninth Sermon on Ephesians.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I pity the Poor Immigrant

I took this idea from Willena's blog.

"I pity the poor immigrant, when his gladness comes to pass." -- Bob Dylan.

dylan bob lyrics

song lyrics

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I'm kind of ashamed

I'm kind of ashamed because I joined alot of people in just assuming that JonBenet's parents were involved in her murder. I don't mean only that they were responsible for dressing her up like a model and painting her face like a prostitute so as to attract sick perverts, I mean that I assumed that one or both of them must have murdered her.

It looks like I was wrong, and I feel bad about that -- not about being wrong, I'm that all the time. I'm sorry I thought such an ugly thought about them without knowing the facts.

It makes me think about how many times I may have done this sort of thing. It makes me think that I need to work harder to have charitable estimations of others.

LXXVII. Ques. What is required in the ninth commandment?

Ans. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour's good name, especially in witness-bearing.


Q. 11. What doth the ninth commandment require of us, in reference to the good name of our neighbour?
A. The ninth commandment requireth of us, in reference unto the good name of our neighbour, the maintaining and promoting thereof as our own, and that both in regard of ourselves and in regard of others.

Q. 12. How ought we to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in regard of ourselves?
A. We ought to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in regard of ourselves — 1. By looking unto, and having a due esteem of, the worth and the good things which are in them. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." — Phil. 2:4. "Esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." — 1 Thess. 5:13. 2. By liking, and loving, and desiring, and giving thanks to God for their good name and fame. "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." — Rom. 1:8. 3. By a ready receiving a good report concerning them, and rejoicing therein. "I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came, and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth." — 3 John 3. "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." — 1 Cor. 13:6. 4. By deafening the ear against and discouraging talebearers, backbiters, slanderer; who speak evil of their neighbours. "That taketh not up a reproach against his neighbour." — Ps. 15:3. "The north wind driveth away rain; so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue." — Prov. 25:23. 5. By grieving at their faults, which expose them unto disgrace, with desires and endeavours to promote their amendment and the recovery of their reputation. "For, out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you." — 2 Cor. 2:4.

Q. 13 How ought we to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in reference unto others?
A. We ought to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in reference unto others — 1. By giving that honour unto them which is their due, speaking well of them behind their backs, freely acknowledging their gifts and graces, and good things, and preferring them in honour before ourselves. " Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." — 1 Pet. 2:17. " Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record, and ye know that our record is true." — 3 John 12. "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." — 1 Cor. 1:4, 5, 7. " Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." — Rom. 12:10. " Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but, in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves." — Phil. 2: 3. 2. ;By defending their reputation and good name, in endeavours to prevent or stop any evil or false report concerning them, and to vindicate them so far as we can; especially when we are called before a magistrate to bear witness to their innocency, so far as it is consistent with truth. "Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?" — 1 Sam. 22:14. 3. By concealing and covering their faults and infirmities when we may, with unwillingness to expose them unto disgrace; and, in the spirit of meekness, endeavouring to restore them when they are overtaken and fallen into sin. "Charity shall cover the multitude of sins." — 1 Pet. 4:8. "Joseph, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately." — Matt. 1:19. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." — Gal. 6:1. 4. By reproving them before others only when there is need, and that with a respect unto their condition, and remembrance of what is praise-worthy in them. "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more," &c. — Matt. 18:15, 16. "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience," &c. "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee," &c. — Rev. 2:2, 4.
~Vincent's Commentary upon Shorter Catechism Q&A #77.

It also makes me think about how easy it is to have one's thoughts and opinions guided by the media.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tai Chi application

Tai Chi is a very slow, graceful, and really sorta strange exercise. Here's a video of some of those slow, graceful, strange moves applied. Oh... ~that's~ what that is!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Some Words of Matthew Henry, on Samson

We've been reading through Judges in the mornings as a family, and we just finished up on the life and death of Samson. Having been pressed upon the duty of making good use of the tools we have today to help us understand the Bible better (from reading the Westminster Larger Catechism's question and answer #157, and J.G. Vos' commentary thereon), I turned to Matthew Henry to help me understand more about this "riddle of a man" named Samson. Some of Rev. Henry's thoughts to ponder:

"Samson did only begin to deliver Israel (David was afterwards raised up to complete the destruction of the Philistines), but our Lord Jesus is both Samson, and David too, both the author and finisher of our faith."

"It is no part of religion to go contrary to the innocent usages of the places where we live; nay, it is a reproach to religion when those who profess it give just occassion to others to call them covetous, sneaking, and morose. A good man should strive to make himself, in the best sense, a good companion."

"It were well for us if the unkindnesses we meet with from the world, and our disappointments in it, had but this good effect upon us, to oblige us by faith and prayer to return to our heavenly Father's house and rest there. The inconveniences that occur in our way should make us love home and long to be there."

"When differences happen between near relations, let those be ever reckoned the wisest that are most forward to forgive and forget injuries."

"The mischief we seek to escape by any unlawful practices we often pull upon our own heads."

Wylie on Descending Covenant Obligation prove the transmission of the obligation of religious covenants to posterity, or those who enter into them representatively. In doing this we shall select some of the scripture passages which establish the point most clearly.

1. We find posterity recognized in the transaction between God and Jacob, in Beth-el, Gen. 28:13, where the good old patriarch, travelling to Padan-aram, in the visions of the night, had a remarkable interview with God. He engages to give unto Jacob and his seed all the land of Canaan. More than a thousand years from that time, this engagement is pleaded by his posterity, as having been made with them. Hos. 12:4, In allusion to this transaction, they say, "He found him" (Jacob) "in Beth-el, and there he spake with us." There he covenanted with us in the loins of our father Jacob.

2. We have another remarkable instance of the transmission of covenant obligation to posterity, in Deut. 5:2,3, "The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even with us, who are all of us here alive this day." There are several things connected with this passage, peculiarly deserving notice.

(1.) The covenant here alluded to, was made about eight or nine weeks after Israel's departure from Egypt. Compare Exod. 12:6 with 19:1.

(2.) It is now the eleventh month of the fortieth year, since they began their journey, Deut. 1:1. They are in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, attending to the rehearsal of the law.

(3.) All who had actually and personally for themselves entered into this covenant are now dead save three, viz. Moses, Caleb and Joshua, Num. 26:64,65, "But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel, in the wilderness of Sinai. For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."

(4.) All the persons now addressed, save Caleb and Joshua, must either be such as were minors at the making of this covenant, and so not able to engage for themselves; or such as were born after that period. Yet mark how Moses addresses them. He declares, the LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, that is, with our fathers only, but also with us, even with us who are all of us here alive this day. Can words be more explicit in demonstrating the transmission of covenant obligation to posterity?

3. We have another example of the same kind full in point, Deut. 29:10-15, which respects the renovation of the Sinaic covenant. Here Moses addresses the whole congregation. "Ye stand this day, all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water: That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day."

To this important duty they are exhorted, from the consideration, that it would be an excellent mean of establishing them in the land whither they went. "Neither," saith he, "with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; but with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day." The covenant is here made with persons of three different descriptions. One of them is addressed or spoken to. "Neither with you only," &c. intimating that the covenant was made with them but not exclusively: others are comprehended. Two descriptions are spoken of. One of these is present, represented by the words, "Him that standeth here with us," &c. which evidently point out minors, who were yet incapable of covenanting for themselves. The other is absent, namely, "Him that is not here with us this day." This could have no reference to any of the Israelites then in existence, as they were all present. It must therefore include posterity, yet to be begotten, together with all future accessions to their community, of those then considered strangers and aliens from the common-wealth of Israel. With them, Moses informs us the covenant was made, as well as with those who actually entered into it, in the plains of Moab.

4. Another instance, in which posterity is recognized in covenant obligation, is found in Josh. 9:15. This covenant was made between the children of Israel, and the Gibeonites. Between four and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe famine, in the days of David, 2 Sam. 21:1. And it is expressly declared by the LORD that "It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites." And at the same time, ver. 2, that very covenant is recognized, and the breach of it stated, as being the formal reason of the Divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal; for they were comprehended in the Canaanitish nations, which God had commanded them to root out.

It may here be thought singular, seeing the LORD had expressly forbidden Israel to make any league with the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, that, notwithstanding, when they sinfully entered into covenant with them contrary to his command, this deed should be held valid by God, and they punished for the violation of it.

Perhaps this difficulty may be solved, by distinguishing the commands of God, into moral natural and moral positive. The former, God commands, because they are necessarily right, and their contrary inconsistent with the perfections of his nature. The latter are right, because God commands them. For any thing we know, they flow from his arbitrary will, and , had it pleased him, commands different or contrary would have been equally right. These commands, of course, he may reverse whenever he chooses. God's moral subjects have no right of this kind. They are bound to obey every one, even the least of his commandments. The violation of them is highly criminal. Neither ought we to come under any obligation to do what they forbid. But if any man, or community of men, should ignorantly engage to do what is contrary to a command which is only moral positive, provided God recognizes the deed, the person or persons are bound, however criminal they were in coming under the obligation. This we presume was the situation of things, in the point before us. Israel was criminal in entering into a league with the Gibeonites, contrary to the command of God. But there was nothing, in the matter of this deed, inconsistent with the divine perfections, or contrary to the moral natural law of God. He could never recognize or sanction an oath, whereby his subjects would be bound to act inconsistently with his divine attributes.

5. Another passage of scripture full in point is found in Jer. 11:10. God brings a charge against his people in these words. "The house of Israel, and the house of Judah have broken my covenant, which I made with their fathers." Now it would be inconsistent to suppose, that, God would charge any with breach of covenant obligation, except those who had really covenanted; but he charges the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, with breach of covenant obligation; therefore they had really covenanted. But the covenant was "made with their fathers," and yet they are considered as really bound, as if it had been actually entered into by themselves.

6. This doctrine is proved also by infant baptism. It would be foreign from the point in hand, to enter upon a probation of the propriety of baptising infants. This at present I take for granted. To those who admit it, the argument will have the same force, as if it had been proved.

Our Westminster Divines very justly observe that "Baptism seals our ingrafting into Christ,—and engagement to be the Lord's." Baptism, like circumcision, is a seal of the righteousness of the faith, Rom. 4:11.. But seals are confirmatory of the deeds to which they are appended, and necessarily involve an obligation. Now when the person baptised, in infancy, comes to maturity he is either bound agreeably to the tenor of the obligation, or he is not. If he is bound, whence does his obligation arise? Not from his own act, for he was merely passive in the whole matter. It must arise from the connexion established by divine institution between him and his parent in this particular act. Between the parent and the child there is a representative identification, so that, whatever is actually done by the father in this representative capacity, is virtually done by the child, and thus the deed of the one becomes obligatory upon the other.—But supposing the child is not bound, when he arrives at maturity, then his baptism in infancy was useless. It was a mere form and cypher. He wants what was essential to the ordinance, viz. obligation to resist the devil, the world and the flesh, and to be for Christ alone. He ought now to be baptized, as having never before received this holy ordinance.

7. The truth of this doctrine may be further illustrated from the common practice of wills, or testamentary deeds among men. By these the heirs of the testator are bound. It may be here objected, that the example is not to the point, because the legatees are bound only inconsequence of their coming into the possession of the deceased's inheritance, but should they disclaim all interest in the estate, the obligation would not extend to them. Be it so. Then it will at least follow, that those who choose to enter upon the religious inheritance of their ancestors, are bound by their deeds. But is it a mere optional thing, whether they receive the inheritance or not? In whatever our ancestors erred, their deeds could neither bind themselves nor us. But, so far as they were right, we are bound to enter upon the inheritance, and endeavour to transmit it, with all possible improvements to posterity. See Psalm 78:1.
~Rev. Samuel Wylie, Discourse on the Obligation of Covenants, 1803.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I'm still here

Wow, this might be the longest I ever went without writing something here. Well, I'm still alive and kicking (figuratively and literally). It's been an emotionally draining, very busy, couple of weeks that included a family trip, what I thought was the death of a family member (the family member, it turns out, only appeared to be dead, and after a while in the hospital, pulled through -- there's alot more to this story that I'll probably just keep to myself), contact with a couple ministers that I hope leads to bigger things (but if not, at least I have some more Christian friends), and a bunch more other stuff I can't seem to summon to mind right now.

So, last evening, I'm upstairs putting on a tee-shirt with the intent of going into the basement and lifting some weights, so as to improve upon my manly big bulkiness, when I hear a ruckus from outside. I bend my hear, and figure out that there is a kid (don't ask me how old... old enough to know better, that's for sure) yelling down my walkway, into my yard, demanding that a neighborhood girl that my kids were playing with come out to him. My kids responded by protecting her -- "Go away, she doesn't want to talk to you. You're not allowed in our yard." etc. This punk, purporting to be in our city's "Most Dangerous" gang, continued while I'm putting on my shirt. Then I heard "Do you think I'm afraid of you ****ing little kids?!" "Oh, no he didn't just say that," I thought to myself as I grabbed my sneakers and ran down the steps, blasted my front screen door open, threw my shoes down on the porch and sat down in a chair, so that I am know staring face to face, eye to eye, with this creep, and I start putting my socks and shoes on. He says, "I'm asking for A_____ to come out and talk to me." I yelled... and I mean I YELLED... "I HEARD WHAT YOU SAID!!!," giving him my best nasty, about to get medieval, look. Then, still staring at him with daggers for eyes, I told him, "You better split before I get these shoes on!" in a kind of "I came out here to do two things: Put on my shoes, and kick your rump black and blue.... and I'm almost done putting my shoes on." He looked at me and asked, "What?" I repeated, "YOU BETTER SPLIT BEFORE I GET MY SHOES ON!" He and his buddy, who I guess I didn't notice was standing there until this point, ran away. This is not the first time I've had to chase people off my property
Man, that fired me up. I almost lost it. We're all but fed up with living in the city. I want to go live in the woods.