The Fellowship of the Ring

Saturday, July 16, 2016

8:17 AM

“The prime motive [in writing The Lord of the Rings] was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them…to please readers was my main object.” Foreword, pg. ix, xii

“The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-dûr would not have been destroyed, but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived, even as slaves.” Foreword, pg. x-xi

“The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.” – Bilbo,

“The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with weary feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.” – Frodo

“I wish it need not have happened in my time” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – pg. 82

The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that family was called Smeagol. He was interested in roots and beginnings; he dived into deep pools; he burrowed under trees and growing plants; he tunneled under green mounds; he ceased to look up at the hill-tops, or the leaves on trees, or the flowers opening in the air: his head and eyes were downward.” pg. 84

“Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the ring, and not by its maker. In which case you also were meant to have it. And that may be an encouraging thought.” pg. 88

“But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,” said Frodo.

Sam looked at him unhappily. “It all depends on what you want,” put in Merry. “You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.” – pg. 150

“You don’t know much even about them, if you think old Barliman is stupid,” said Gandalf. “He is wise enough on his own ground. He thinks less than he talks, and slower; yet he can see through a brick wall in time (as they say in Bree). But there are few left in Middle-earth like Aragorn son of Arathorn. The race of the Kings from over the Sea is nearly at an end. It may be that this War of the Ring will be their last adventure.” – pg. 291

“The Elves may fear the Dark Lord, and they may fly before him, but never again will they listen to him or serve him. And here in Rivendell there live still some of his chief foes: the Elven-wise, lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.”

“I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then?”

“Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is upon the other side: one of the mighty of the Firstborn. He is an Elf-lord of a house of princes. Indeed there is a power in Rivendell to withstand the might of Mordor, for a while: and elsewhere other powers still dwell. There is power, too, of another kind in the Shire. But all such places will soon become islands under siege, if things go on as they are going. The Dark Lord is putting forth all his strength.” – Gandalf and Frodo, pg. 294

“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.” – pg. 325

“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.” – Gandalf to Saruman, pg. 339

“As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow, and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.” – Saruman to Gandalf, pg. 340

“But I had forgotten Bombadil, if indeed this is still the same that walked the woods and hills long ago, and even then was older than the old. That was not then his name. Iarwain Ben-adar we called him, oldest and fatherless. But many another name he has since been given by other folk: Forn by the Dwarves, Orald by Northern Men, and other names beside. He is a strange creature, but maybe I should have summoned him to our Council.” – Elrond, pg. 347

“The Ring has no power over him. He is his own master. But he cannot alter the Ring itself, nor break its power over others. And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds that he has set, though none can see them, waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them.” – Gandalf on Tom Bombadil, pg. 348

“It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill.” – Elrond, pg. 347

“They are not idle. But they were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or dominion or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained.” – Elrond on the three Elven Rings, pg. 352

“Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.” – Haldir to the Fellowship, pg. 451

“I’ve never heard of a better land than this. It’s like being at home and on holiday at the same time, if you understand me.” – Sam about Lothlorien, pg. 467

“Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.” – Celeborn to Boromir, pg. 484

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The Two Towers

Saturday, August 20, 2016

4:40 PM

“One who cannot cast a treasure away at need is in fetters.” – Aragorn, pg. 215

“I don’t know what Saruman thought was happening; but anyway he did not know how to deal with it. His wizardry may have been falling off lately, of course; but anyway I think he has not much grit, not much plain courage alone in a tight place without a lot of slaves and machines and things, if you know what I mean. Very different from old Gandalf.” – Pippin, pg. 219

“‘But you, Gandalf! For you at least I am grieved, feeling for your shame. How comes it that you can endure such company? For you are proud, Gandalf — and not without reason, having a noble mind and eyes that look both deep and far. Even now will you not listen to my counsel?’

Gandalf stirred, and looked up. ‘What have you to say that you did not say at our last meeting?’ he asked. ‘Or, perhaps, you have things to unsay?’

Saruman paused. ‘Unsay?’ he mused, as if puzzled. ‘Unsay? I endeavoured to advise you for your own good, but you scarcely listened. You are proud and do not love advice, having indeed a store of your own wisdom. But on that occasion you erred, I think, misconstruing my intentions wilfully. I fear that in my eagerness to persuade you, I lost patience. And indeed I regret it. For I bore you no ill-will; and even now I bear none…. How should I? Are we not both members of a high and ancient order, most excellent in Middle-earth? Our friendship would profit us both alike. Much we could still accomplish together, to heal the disorders of the world. Let us understand one another, and dismiss from thought these lesser folk! Let them wait on our decisions! For the common good I am willing to redress the past, and to receive you. Will you not consult with me? Will you not come up?’

So great was the power that Saruman exerted in this last effort that none that stood within hearing were unmoved. But now the spell was wholly different. They heard the gentle remonstrance of a kindly king with an erring but much-loved minister. But they were shut out, listening at a door to words not meant for them: ill-mannered children or stupid servants overhearing the elusive discourse of their elders, and wondering how it would affect their lot. Of loftier mould these two were made: reverend and wise. It was inevitable that they should make alliance. Gandalf would ascend into the tower, to discuss deep things beyond their comprehension in the high chambers of Orthanc. The door would be closed, and they would be left outside, dismissed to await allotted work or punishment. Even in the mind of Théoden the thought took shape, like a shadow of doubt: ‘He will betray us; he will go — we shall be lost.’

Then Gandalf laughed. The fantasy vanished like a puff of smoke.

‘Saruman, Saruman!’ said Gandalf still laughing. ‘Saruman, you missed your path in life. You should have been the king’s jester and earned your bread, and stripes too, by mimicking his counsellors. Ah me!’ he paused, getting the better of his mirth. ‘Understand one another? I fear I am beyond your comprehension. But you, Saruman, I understand now too well. I keep a clearer memory of your arguments, and deeds, than you suppose. When last I visited you, you were the jailor of Mordor, and there I was to be sent. Nay, the guest who has escaped from the roof, will think twice before he comes back in by the door. Nay, I do not think I will come up.’

A shadow passed over Saruman’s face; then it went deathly white. Before he could conceal it, they saw through the mask the anguish of a mind in doubt, loathing to stay and dreading to leave its refuge. For a second he hesitated, and no one breathed. Then he spoke, and his voice was shrill and cold. Pride and hate were conquering him.

‘Will I come down?’ he mocked. ‘Does and unarmed man come to speak with robbers our of doors? I can hear you well enough here. I am no fool, and I do not trust you, Gandalf. They do not stand openly on my stairs, but I know where the wild wood demons are lurking, at your command.’

‘The treacherous are ever distrustful,’ answered Gandalf wearily. ‘But you need not fear for your skin. I do not wish to kill you, or hurt you, as you would know, if you really understood me. And I have the power to protect you. I am giving you a last chance. You can leave Orthanc, free – if you choose.’

‘That sounds well,’ sneered Saruman. ‘Very much in the manner of Gandalf the

Grey: so condescending, and so very kind. I do not doubt that you would find Orthanc

commodious, and my departure convenient. But why should I wish to leave? And what do you mean by “free”? There are conditions, I presume?’

‘Reasons for leaving you can see from your windows,’ answered Gandalf. ‘Others

will occur to your thought. Your servants are destroyed and scattered; your neighbours

you have made your enemies; and you have cheated your new master, or tried to do so.

When his eye turns hither, it will be the red eye of wrath. But when I say “free”, I mean

“free”: free from bond, of chain or command: to go where you will even, even to Mordor,

Saruman, if you desire. But you will first surrender to me the Key of Orthanc, and your

staff. They shall be pledges of your conduct, to be returned later, if you merit them.’

Saruman’s face grew livid, twisted with rage, and a red light was kindled in his eyes.

He laughed wildly. ‘Later!’ he cried, and his voice rose to a scream. ‘Later! Yes, when

you also have the Keys of Barad-dür itself, I suppose; and the crowns of seven kings, and

the rods of the Five Wizards, and have purchased yourself a pair of boots many sizes

larger than those that you wear now. A modest plan. Hardly one in which my help is

needed! I have other things to do. Do not be a fool. If you wish to treat with me, while

you have a chance, go away, and come back when you are sober! And leave behind these

cut-throats and small rag-tag that dangle at your tail! Good day!’ He turned and left the


Come back, Saruman!’ said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of

the others, Saruman turned again, and as if dragged against his will, he came slowly back

to the Iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard. His face was lined and shrunken. His hand

clutched his heavy black staff like a claw.

I did not give you leave to go,’ said Gandalf sternly. ‘I have not finished. You have

become a fool, Saruman, and yet pitiable. You might still have turned away from folly

and evil, and have been of service. But you choose to stay and gnaw the ends of your old

lots. Stay then. But I warn you, you will not easily come out again. Not unless the dark

hands of the East stretch out to take you. Saruman!’ he cried, and his voice grew in power

and authority. ‘Behold, I am not Gandalf the Grey, whom you betrayed. I am Gandalf the

white, who has returned from death. You have no colour now, and I cast you from the

order and from the Council.’

He raised his hand, and spoke slowly in a clear cold voice. ‘Saruman, your staff is

broken.’ There was a crack, and the staff split asunder in Saruman’s hand, and the head Of

it fell down at Gandalf’s feet. ‘Go!’ said Gandalf. With a cry Saruman fell back and

crawled away.” – Gandalf and Saruman, pg. 238-241

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” – Faramir, pg. 355

“The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.” – Faramir to Sam, pg. 368

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The Return of The King

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

1:17 PM

“Denethor looked indeed much more like a great wizard than Gandalf did, more kingly, beautiful, and powerful; and older. Yet by a sense other than sight Pippin perceived that Gandalf had the greater power and the deeper wisdom, and a majesty that was veiled. And he was older, far older.” – pg. 32

“Well, my lord Steward, it is your task to keep some kingdom still against that event, which few now look to see. In that task you shall have all the aid that you are pleased to ask for. But I will say this: the rule of no realm is mine, neither of Gondor nor any other, great or small. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task, though Gondor should perish, if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I also am a steward. Did you not know?” – Gandalf to Denethor, pg. 33-34

“Generous deeds should not be checked by cold counsel.” – Gandalf, pg. 35

“You are a stern lord and resolute,” she said; “and thus do men win renown.” She paused. “Lord,” she said, “if you must go, then let me ride in your following. For I am weary of skulking in the hills, and wish to face peril and battle.”

“Your duty  is with your people,” he answered.

“Too often have I heard of duty,” she cried. “but am I not of the House of Eorl, a shieldmaiden and not a dry-nurse? I have waited on faltering feet long enough. Since they falter no longer, it seems, may I not now spend my life as I will?”

“Few may do that with honour,” he answered. “But as for your, lady: did you not accept the charge to govern the people until their lord’s return? If you had not been chosen, then some other marshal or captain would have been set in the same place, and he could not ride away from his charge, were he weary of it or no.”

“Shall I always be chosen?” she said bitterly. “Shall I always be left behind when the Riders depart, to mind the house while they win renown, and to find food and beds when they return?”

“A time may come soon,” said he, “when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defense of your homes. Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.” – Aragorn and Eowyn, pg. 67-68

“If the war is lost, what good will be my hiding in the hills? And if it is won, what grief will it be, even if I fall, spending my last strength?” – Théoden, pg. 78

“It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deed. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad that I know about them, a little.” – Merry to Pippin, pg. 179

“Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” – Gandalf, pg. 190

“Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.” – Sam, pg. 244

“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.” Frodo, pg. 369

“The Road goes ever on and on

Out from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

Let others follow it who can!

Let them a journey new begin,

But I at last with weary feet

Will turn towards the lighted inn,

My evening-rest and sleep to meet.” – Bilbo, pg. 329

“Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate;

And though I oft have passed them by

A day will come at last when I

Shall take the hidden paths that run

West of the Moon, East of the Sun.” – Frodo, pg. 381

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The Hobbit

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2:34 PM

“[Goblins] don’t make any beautiful things, but they make many clever ones.” – pg. 70

“Then the Prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!” said Bilbo

“Of course!” said Gandalf. “And why should they not prove true? Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, and just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!” – Pgs. 286-287

“Roads go ever ever on,

Over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone,

By streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown,

And through the merry flowers of June,

Over grass and over stone,

And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on

Under cloud and under star,

Yet feet that wandering have gone

Turn at last to home afar.

Eyes that fire and sword have seen

And horror in the halls of stone

Look at last on meadows green

And trees and hills they long have known.” – Bilbo,

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On Fairy-Stories

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

9:20 AM

“The Locked Door stands as an eternal Temptation.” – pg. 33

“What really happens is that the story-maker proves a successful “sub-creator.” He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is “true”: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises, the spell is broken; the magic, or rather art, has failed.” – pg. 37

“Children may hope to get fairy-stories fit for them to read and yet within their measure; as they may hope to get suitable introductions to poetry, history, and the sciences. Though it may be better for them to read some things, especially fairy-stories, that are beyond their measure rather than short of it. Their books like their clothes should allow for growth, and their books at any rate should encourage it.” – pg. 45

“If you prefer Drama to Literature…You are, for instance, likely to prefer characters, even the basest and dullest, to things. Very little about trees as trees can be got into a play.” – pg. 51

“Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.” – pg. 55

“Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Just so a Party-spokesman might have labeled departure from the misery of the Fuhrer’s or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery …. Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the “quisling” to the resistance of the patriot.” – pg. 60

“The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The resurrection is eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy.” – pg. 72

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The Silmarillion

Saturday, June 20, 2015

10:25 PM

“Then the themes of Illuvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent on their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Illuvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased.” – pg. 4

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The Book of Lost Tales 1

Sunday, September 27, 2015

5:12 PM

“Thou Melko shalt see that no theme can be played save it come in the end of Ilúvatar’s self, nor can any alter the music in Ilúvatar’s despite. He that attempts this finds himself in the end but aiding me in devising a thing of still greater grandeur and more complex wonder: – for lo through Melko have terror as fire, and sorrow like dark waters, wrath like thunder, and evil as far from my light as the depths of the uttermost of the dark places, come into the design that I laid before you. Through him has pain and misery been made in the clash of overwhelming musics; and with confusion of sound have cruelty, and ravening, and darkness, loathly mire and all putrescence of thought of thing, foul mists and violent flame, cold without mercy, been born, and death without hope. Yet is this through him and not by him’ and he shall see, and ye all likewise, and even shall those beings, who must now dwell among this evil and endure through Melko misery and sorrow, terror and wickedness, declare in the end that it redoundeth only to my great glory, and doth but make the theme more worth the hearing, Life more worth the living, and the World so much the more wonderful and marvellous, that of all the deeds of Ilúvatar it shall be called his mightiest and his loveliest.” – pg. 52

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

7:58 PM

I will not walk with your progressive apes,

erect and sapient. Before them gapes

the dark abyss to which their progress tends –

if by God’s mercy progress ever ends,

and does not ceaselessly revolve the same

unfruitful course with changing of a name.

I will not treat your dusty path and flat,

denoting this and that by this and that,

your world immutable wherein no part

the little maker has with maker’s art.

I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,

nor cast my own small golden sceptre down.

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Time and Tide

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2:40 PM

“No imaginary world has been projected which is at once as multifarious and as true to its own inner laws…none so relevant to the actual human situation yet so free from allegory…Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron; here is a book that will break your heart…good beyond hope” – On the Lord of the Rings

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The Abolition of Man

Monday, May 30, 2016

8:07 AM

“For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the cold slumber of vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts. The right defense against false sentiments is to inculcate just sentiments. By starving the sensibility of our pupils we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. For the famished nature will be avenged and a heard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head.” – pg. 13-14

“No emotion is, in itself, a judgment; in that sense all emotions and sentiments are alogical. Gut they can be reasonable or unreasonable as they conform to Reason or fail to conform. The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.” – pg. 19

“Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism…the head rules the belly through the chest…It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite he is mere animal.” – pg. 24

“Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey ‘people.’ People say different things: so do instincts.” pg. 35

“If nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved. Similarly, if nothing is obligatory for its own sake, nothing is obligatory at all.” pg. 40

“What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.” pg. 55

“Man’s final conquest has proved to be the abolition of Man.” pg. 64

“At the moment, then, of Man’s victory over nature, we find the whole human race subjected to some individual men, and those individuals subjected to that in themselves which is purely ‘natural’ – to their irrational impulses…Man’s conquest over Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be Nature’s conquest of Man.” pg. 67-68

“If you try to see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To “see through” all things is the same as not to see.” pg. 81

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On the Reading of Old Books

Sunday, June 26, 2016

1:15 PM

“The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”

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Mere Christianity

Sunday, June 26, 2016

3:23 PM

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when doing arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.” – pg. 28-29

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De Descriptione Temporum

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

8:33 PM

“All divisions [in history] will falsify our material to some extent; the best one can hope is to choose those which will falsify it least.”

“We have lived to see the second death of ancient learning…if one were looking for a man who could not read Virgil though his father could, he might be found more easily in the twentieth century than in the fifth.”

“It is not the remembered but the forgotten past that enslaves us…To study the past does indeed liberate us from the present, from the idols of our own market-place. But I think it liberates us from the past too. I think no class of men are less enslaved to the past than historians. The unhistorical are usually, without knowing it, enslaved to a fairly recent past.”

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Screwtape Letters

Sunday, September 25, 2016

8:48 PM

“But flippancy is the best of all [for making men amoral]. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy [God] that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it.”

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How to Read a Book

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

4:23 PM

“Philosophers are notorious for having private vocabularies.” pg. 104

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” Francis Bacon, portion in italics quoted on pg. 138

“No one is really teachable who does not freely exercise his power of independent judgment. He can be trained, perhaps, but not taught. The most teachable reader is, therefore, the most critical.” pg. 139 (italics original)

“To regard anyone except yourself as responsible for your judgment is to be a slave, not a free man. It is from this fact that the liberal arts acquire their name.” pg. 140

“To agree without understanding is inane. To disagree without understanding is impudent.” pg. 141

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The Lost Tools of Learning

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7:40 PM

“Is it not the great defect of our education today – a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned – that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils “subjects,” we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to thing: they learn everything, except the art of learning.”

“…the tools of learning are the same, in any and every subject; and the person who knows how to use them will, at any age, get the mastery of a new subject in half the time and with a quarter of the effort expended by the person who has not the tools at his command. To lean six subjects without remembering how they were learnt does nothing to ease the approach to a seventh; to have learnt and remembered the art of learning makes the approach to every subject an open door.”

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Art and Music: A Student’s Guide

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

9:36 PM

“If beauty is subjective then only the subject is left as the object of enjoyment.” – pg. 35

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Friday, July 1, 2016

11:15 PM

“But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I

have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time. It is trusting to a consensus of common human voices rather than to some isolated or arbitrary record. The man who quotes some German historian against the tradition of the Catholic Church, for instance, is strictly appealing to aristocracy. He is appealing to the superiority of one expert against the awful authority of a mob. It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history. The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad. Those who urge against tradition that men in the past were ignorant may go and urge it at the Carlton Club, along with the statement that voters in the slums are ignorant. It will not do for us. If we attach great importance to the opinion of ordinary men in great unanimity when we are dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. We will have the dead at our councils. The ancient Greeks voted by stones; these shall vote by tombstones. It is all quite regular and official, for most tombstones, like most ballot papers, are marked with a cross.” – pg. 47-48

“We have remarked that one reason offered for being a progressive is that things naturally

tend to grow better. But the only real reason for being a progressive is that things naturally tend to grow worse. The corruption in things is not only the best argument for being progressive; it is also the only argument against being conservative. The conservative theory would really be quite sweeping and unanswerable if it were not for this one fact. But all conservatism is based upon the idea that if you leave things alone you leave them as they are. But you do not. If you leave a thing alone you leave it to a torrent of change. If you leave a white post alone it will soon be a black post. If you particularly want it to be white you must be always painting it again; that is, you must be always having a revolution. Briefly, if you want the old white post you must have a new white post. But this which is true even of inanimate things is in a quite special and terrible sense true of all human things. An almost unnatural vigilance is really required of the citizen because of the horrible rapidity with which human institutions grow old. It is the custom in passing romance and journalism to talk of men suffering under old tyrannies. But, as a fact, men have almost always suffered under new tyrannies; under tyrannies that had been public liberties hardly twenty years before. Thus England went mad with joy over the patriotic monarchy of Elizabeth; and then (almost immediately afterwards) went mad with rage in the trap of the tyranny of Charles the First. So, again, in France the monarchy became intolerable, not just after it had been tolerated, but just after it had been adored. The son of Louis the well-beloved was Louis the guillotined. So in the same way in England in the nineteenth century the Radical manufacturer was entirely trusted as a mere tribune of the people, until suddenly we heard the cry of the Socialist that he was a tyrant eating the people like bread. So again, we have almost up to the last instant trusted the newspapers as organs of public opinion. Just recently some of us have seen (not slowly, but with a start) that they are obviously nothing of the kind. They are, by the nature of the case, the hobbies of a few rich men. We have not any need to rebel against antiquity; we have to rebel against novelty. It is the new rulers, the capitalist or the editor, who really hold up the modern world. There is no fear that a modern king will attempt to override the constitution; it is more likely that he will ignore the  constitution and work behind its back; he will take no advantage of his kingly power; it is more likely that he will take advantage of his kingly powerlessness, of the fact that he is free from criticism and publicity. For the king is the most private person of our time. It will not be necessary for any one to fight again against the proposal of a censorship of the press. We do not need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press.” – pg. 114-116

But there is one thing that I have never from my youth up been able to understand. I

have never been able to understand where people got the idea that democracy was in some way opposed to tradition. It is obvious that tradition is only democracy extended through time…Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father.

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The Ballad of the White Horse

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

4:39 PM

“Brothers at arms,” said Alfred,

“On this side lies the foe;

Are slavery and starvation flowers,

That you should pluck them so?

“For whether is it better

To be prodded with Danish poles,

Having hewn a chamber in a ditch,

And hounded like a howling witch,

Or smoked to death in holes?

“Or that before the red cock crow

All we, a thousand strong,

Go down the dark road to God’s house,

Singing a Wessex song?

“To sweat a slave to a race of slaves,

To drink up infamy?

No, brothers, by your leave, I think

Death is a better ale to drink,

And by all the stars of Christ that sink,

The Danes shall drink with me.

“To grow old cowed in a conquered land,

With the sun itself discrowned,

To see trees crouch and cattle slink—

Death is a better ale to drink,

And by high Death on the fell brink

That flagon shall go round.

“Though dead are all the paladins

Whom glory had in ken,

Though all your thunder-sworded thanes

With proud hearts died among the Danes,

While a man remains, great war remains:

Now is a war of men.

“The men that tear the furrows,

The men that fell the trees,

When all their lords be lost and dead

The bondsmen of the earth shall tread

The tyrants of the seas.

“The wheel of the roaring stillness

Of all labours under the sun,

Speed the wild work as well at least

As the whole world’s work is done.

“Let Hildred hack the shield-wall

Clean as he hacks the hedge;

Let Gurth the fowler stand as cool

As he stands on the chasm’s edge;

“Let Gorlias ride the sea-kings

As Gorlias rides the sea,

Then let all hell and Denmark drive,

Yelling to all its fiends alive,

And not a rag care we.”

When Alfred’s word was ended

Stood firm that feeble line,

Each in his place with club or spear,

And fury deeper than deep fear,

And smiles as sour as brine.

And the King held up the horn and said,

“See ye my father’s horn,

That Egbert blew in his empery,

Once, when he rode out commonly,

Twice when he rode for venery,

And thrice on the battle-morn.

“But heavier fates have fallen

The horn of the Wessex kings,

And I blew once, the riding sign,

To call you to the fighting line

And glory and all good things.

“And now two blasts, the hunting sign,

Because we turn to bay;

But I will not blow the three blasts,

Till we be lost or they.

“And now I blow the hunting sign,

Charge some by rule and rod;

But when I blow the battle sign,

Charge all and go to God.”

 – Alfred’s battle speech

“When all philosophies shall fail,

This word alone shall fit;

That a sage feels too small for life,

And a fool too large for it.

“Asia and all imperial plains

Are too little for a fool;

But for one man whose eyes can see

The little island of Athelney

Is too large a land to rule.

“Haply it had been better

When I built my fortress there,

Out in the reedy waters wide,

I had stood on my mud wall and cried:

‘Take England all, from tide to tide—

Be Athelney my share.’

“Those madmen of the throne-scramble—

Oppressors and oppressed—

Had lined the banks by Athelney,

And waved and wailed unceasingly,

Where the river turned to the broad sea,

By an island of the blest.

“An island like a little book

Full of a hundred tales,

Like the gilt page the good monks pen,

That is all smaller than a wren,

Yet hath high towns, meteors, and men,

And suns and spouting whales;

“A land having a light on it

In the river dark and fast,

An isle with utter clearness lit,

Because a saint had stood in it;

Where flowers are flowers indeed and fit,

And trees are trees at last.

“So were the island of a saint;

But I am a common king,

And I will make my fences tough

From Wantage Town to Plymouth Bluff,

Because I am not wise enough

To rule so small a thing.”

 – Alfred in the Orchard

But dark and thick as thronged the host,

With drum and torch and blade,

The still-eyed King sat pondering,

As one that watches a live thing,

The scoured chalk; and he said,

“Though I give this land to Our Lady,

That helped me in Athelney,

Though lordlier trees and lustier sod

And happier hills hath no flesh trod

Than the garden of the Mother of God

Between Thames side and the sea,

“I know that weeds shall grow in it

Faster than men can burn;

And though they scatter now and go,

In some far century, sad and slow,

I have a vision, and I know

The heathen shall return.

“They shall not come with warships,

They shall not waste with brands,

But books be all their eating,

And ink be on their hands.

“Not with the humour of hunters

Or savage skill in war,

But ordering all things with dead words,

Strings shall they make of beasts and birds,

And wheels of wind and star.

“They shall come mild as monkish clerks,

With many a scroll and pen;

And backward shall ye turn and gaze,

Desiring one of Alfred’s days,

When pagans still were men.

“The dear sun dwarfed of dreadful suns,

Like fiercer flowers on stalk,

Earth lost and little like a pea

In high heaven’s towering forestry,

—These be the small weeds ye shall see

Crawl, covering the chalk.

“But though they bridge St. Mary’s sea,

Or steal St. Michael’s wing—

Though they rear marvels over us,

Greater than great Vergilius

Wrought for the Roman king;

“By this sign you shall know them,

The breaking of the sword,

And man no more a free knight,

That loves or hates his lord.

“Yea, this shall be the sign of them,

The sign of the dying fire;

And Man made like a half-wit,

That knows not of his sire.

“What though they come with scroll and pen,

And grave as a shaven clerk,

By this sign you shall know them,

That they ruin and make dark;

“By all men bond to Nothing,

Being slaves without a lord,

By one blind idiot world obeyed,

Too blind to be abhorred;

“By terror and the cruel tales

Of curse in bone and kin,

By weird and weakness winning,

Accursed from the beginning,

By detail of the sinning,

And denial of the sin;

“By thought a crawling ruin,

By life a leaping mire,

By a broken heart in the breast of the world,

And the end of the world’s desire;

“By God and man dishonoured,

By death and life made vain,

Know ye the old barbarian,

The barbarian come again—

“When is great talk of trend and tide,

And wisdom and destiny,

Hail that undying heathen

That is sadder than the sea.

“In what wise men shall smite him,

Or the Cross stand up again,

Or charity or chivalry,

My vision saith not; and I see

No more; but now ride doubtfully

To the battle of the plain.”

Alfred’s prophecy

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Apology of Socrates

Monday, May 30, 2016

8:41 AM

This is the examination, men of Athens, from which I have incurred many hatreds, the sort that are harshest and gravest, so that many slanders have arisen from them, and I got this name of being “wise.” For those present on each occasion suppose that I myself am wise in the things concerning which I refute someone else, whereas it is probable, men, that really the god is wise, and that in this oracle he is saying that human wisdom is worth little or nothing. And he appears to say this of Socrates and to have made use of my name in order to make me a pattern, as if he would say, “That one of you, human beings, is wisest, who, like Socrates, has become cognizant that in truth he is worth nothing with respect to wisdom.”

Do you suppose, then, that I would have survived so many years if I had been publicly active and had acted in a manner worthy of a good man, coming to the aid of the just things and, as one ought, regarding this as most important? Far from it, men of Athens; nor would any other human being.

The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.

I also say the following to these same ones. Perhaps you suppose, men of Athens, that I have been convicted because I was at a  loss for the sort of speeches that would have persuaded you, if I had supposed that I should do and say anything at all to escape the penalty. Far from it. Rather, I have been convicted because I was at a loss, not however for speeches, but for daring and shamelessness and willingness to say the sorts of things to you that you would have been most pleased to hear: me wailing and lamenting, and doing and saying many other things unworthy of me, as I affirm—such things as you have been accustomed to hear from others. But neither did I then suppose that I should do anything unsuitable to a free man because of the danger, nor do I now regret that I made my defense speech like this: I Much prefer to die having made my defense speech in this way than to live in that way.

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The Way of Kings

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

9:13 PM

Wit began playing the enthir. “Let us have a conversation to pass the time. Tell me. What is it that men value in others?” The music played toward an audience of silent buildings, alleys, and worn cobblestones. The guards didn’t respond to him. They didn’t seem to know what to make of a black-clad, lighteyed man who entered the city just before evening fell, then sat on boxes beside the gates playing music. “Well?” Wit asked, pausing the music. “What do you think? If a man or woman were to have a talent, which would be the most revered, best regarded, considered of the most worth?” “Er … music?” one of the men finally said. “Yes, a common answer,” Wit said, plucking at a few low notes. “I once asked this question of some very wise scholars. What do men consider the most valuable of talents? One mentioned artistic ability, as you so keenly guessed. Another chose great intellect. The final chose the talent to invent, the ability to design and create great devices.” He didn’t play a specific tune on the enthir, just plucks here and there, an occasional scale or fifth. Like chitchat in string form. “Aesthetic genius,” Wit said, “invention, acumen, creativity. Noble ideals indeed. Most men would pick one of those, if given the choice, and name them the greatest of talents.” He plucked a string. “What beautiful liars we are.” The guards glanced at each other; the torches burning in brackets on the wall painted them with orange light.

“You think I’m a cynic,” Wit said. “You think I’m going to tell you that men claim to value these ideals, but secretly prefer base talents. The ability to gather coin or to charm women. Well, I am a cynic, but in this case, I actually think those scholars were honest. Their answers speak for the souls of men. In our hearts, we want to believe in—and would choose—great accomplishment and virtue. That’s why our lies, particularly to our-selves, are so beautiful.” He began to play a real song. A simple melody at first, soft, subdued. A song for a silent night when the entire world changed. One of the soldiers cleared his throat. “So what is the most valuable talent a man can have?” He sounded genuinely curious. “I haven’t the faintest idea,” Wit said. “Fortunately, that wasn’t the question. I didn’t ask what was most valuable, I asked what men value most. The difference between those questions is both tiny and as vast as the world itself all at once.” He kept plucking his song. One did not strum an enthir. It just wasn’t done, at least not by people with any sense of propriety. “In this,” Wit said, “as in all things, our actions give us away. If an artist creates a work of powerful beauty—using new and innovative

techniques—she will be lauded as a master, and will launch a new move-ment in aesthetics. Yet what if another, working independently with that exact level of skill, were to make the same accomplishments the very next month? Would she find similar acclaim? No. She’d be called derivative. “Intellect. If a great thinker develops a new theory of mathematics, science, or philosophy, we will name him wise. We will sit at his feet and learn, and will record his name in history for thousands upon thousands to revere. But what if another man determines the same theory on his own, then delays in publishing his results by a mere week? Will he be remem-bered for his greatness? No. He will be forgotten. “Invention. A woman builds a new design of great worth—some fabrial or feat of engineering. She will be known as an innovator. But if someone with the same talent creates the same design a year later—not realizing it has already been crafted—will she be rewarded for her creativity? No. She’ll be called a copier and a forger.” He plucked at his strings, letting the melody continue, twisting, haunt-ing, yet with a faint edge of mockery. “And so,” he said, “in the end, what must we determine? Is it the intellect of a genius that we revere? If it were their artistry, the beauty of their mind, would we not laud it regardless of whether we’d seen their product before? “But we don’t. Given two works of artistic majesty, otherwise weighted equally, we will give greater acclaim to the one who did it first. It doesn’t matter what you create. It matters what you create before anyone else.

“So it’s not the beauty itself we admire. It’s not the force of intellect. It’s not invention, aesthetics, or capacity itself. The greatest talent that we think a man can have?” He plucked one final string. “Seems to me that it must be nothing more than novelty.” The guards looked confused.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

4:56 PM

“If, for instance, it was a book of metaphysics I opened, I had scarcely read two pages before I seemed to myself to be pondering over discovered truth, and constructing the intellectual machine whereby to communicate the discovery to my fellow men. With some books, however, of this nature, it seemed rather as if the process was removed yet a great way further back; and I was trying to find the root of a manifestation, the spiritual truth whence a material vision sprang; or to combine two propositions, both apparently true, either at once or in different remembered moods, and to find the point in which their invisibly converging lines would unite in one, revealing a truth higher than either and differing from both; though so far from being opposed to either, that it was that whence each derived its life and power. Or if the book was one of travels, I found myself the traveller. New lands, fresh experiences, novel customs, rose around me. I walked, I discovered, I fought, I suffered, I rejoiced in my success. Was it a history? I was the chief actor therein. I suffered my own blame; I was glad in my own praise. With a fiction it was the same. Mine was the whole story. For I took the place of the character who was most like myself, and his story was mine; until, grown weary with the life of years condensed in an hour, or arrived at my deathbed, or the end of the volume, I would awake, with a sudden bewilderment, to the consciousness of my present life, recognising the walls and roof around me, and finding I joyed or sorrowed only in a book. If the book was a poem, the words disappeared, or took the subordinate position of an accompaniment to the succession of forms and images that rose and vanished with a soundless rhythm, and a hidden rime.” – Chapter 11

“They who believe in the influences of the stars over the fates of men, are, in feeling at least, nearer the truth than they who regard the heavenly bodies as related to them merely by a common obedience to an external law. All that man sees has to do with man. Worlds cannot be without an intermundane relationship. The community of the centre of all creation suggests an interradiating connection and dependence of the parts. Else a grander idea is conceivable than that which is already imbodied. The blank, which is only a forgotten life, lying behind the consciousness, and the misty splendour, which is an undeveloped life, lying before it, may be full of mysterious revelations of other connexions with the worlds around us, than those of science and poetry. No shining belt or gleaming moon, no red and green glory in a self-encircling twin-star, but has a relation with the hidden things of a man’s soul, and, it may be, with the secret history of his body as well. They are portions of the living house wherein he abides.” – Chapter 12

“What a strange thing a mirror is! and what a wondrous affinity exists between it and a man’s imagination! For this room of mine, as I behold it in the glass, is the same, and yet not the same. It is not the mere representation of the room I live in, but it looks just as if I were reading about it in a story I like. All its commonness has disappeared. The mirror has lifted it out of the region of fact into the realm of art; and the very representing of it to me has clothed with interest that which was otherwise hard and bare; just as one sees with delight upon the stage the representation of a character from which one would escape in life as from something unendurably wearisome. But is it not rather that art rescues nature from the weary and sated regards of our senses, and the degrading injustice of our anxious everyday life, and, appealing to the imagination, which dwells apart, reveals Nature in some degree as she really is, and as she represents herself to the eye of the child, whose every-day life, fearless and unambitious, meets the true import of the wonder-teeming world around him, and rejoices therein without questioning?” – Chapter 13

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Is “Popular Culture” Either?

Monday, July 25, 2016

7:35 PM

“The fact is that popular culture is sustained by elites whose guiding hand is not entirely unprejudiced. Since the well-being of these elites is sustained by certain cultural sympathies, they will always amplify certain themes at the cost of others. For example, popular culture is unimaginable without mass-media, which is in turn unimaginable without advertising, which would not survive in a cultural climate that places a premium on modesty, chastity, frugality, simplicity, and contentment. So those virtues will necessarily be alien to popular culture, even if the people wanted them there. Themes of restless desire, the lust for power, the insistence of moral autonomy, and resistance to restraint are common in popular culture precisely because its elites must sustain these sensibilities to stay in business.”

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Paradise Lost

Thursday, November 24, 2016

8:55 AM

Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable

Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,

To do ought good never will be our task,

But ever to do ill our sole delight,

As being the contrary to his high will

Whom we resist. If then his providence

Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,

Our labor must be to pervert that end,

And out of good still to find means of evil;

Which oft times may succeed, so as perhaps

Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb

His inmost counsels from their destined aim.

 – Satan to Beelzebub, I.157-168

So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay

Chained on the burning lake, nor ever thence

Had risen or heaved his head, but that the will

And high permission of all-ruling Heaven

Left him at large to his own dark designs,

That with reiterated crimes he might

Heap on himself damnation, while he sought

Evil to others, and enraged might see

How all his malice served but to bring forth

Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown

On man by him seduced, but on himself

Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance poured.

 – Satan to Beelzebub, I.209-220

The mind is its own place, and in itself

Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

What matter where, if I be still the same,

And what I should be, all but less then he

Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least

We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built

Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:

Here we may reign secure, and in my choice

To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:

Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heaven.

 – Satan to Beelzebub, I.254-263

Mammon led them on,

Mammon the least erected Spirit that fell

From heav’n, for even in heav’n his looks and thoughts

Were always downward bent, admiring more

The riches of Heav’n’s pavement, trodd’n gold,

Than aught divine or holy else enjoy’d

In vision beatific: by him first

Men also, and by his suggestion taught,

Ransack’d the Center, and with impious hands

Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth

For Treasures better hid.

 – I.688-698

Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed

In bigness to surpass Earth’s Giant Sons

Now less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow room

Throng numberless, like that Pygmean Race

Beyond the Indian Mount, or Faery Elves,

Whose midnight Revels, by a Forest side

Or Fountain some belated Peasant sees,

Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon

Sits Arbitress, and nearer to the Earth

Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance

Intent, with jocund Music charm his ear;

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

 – I.777-788

For he, to be sure,

In height or depth, still first and last will Reign

Sole King, and of his Kingdom lose no part

By our revolt, but over Hell extend

His Empire, and with Iron Scepter rule

Us here, as with his Golden those in Heav’n.

 – Beelzebub, II.323-328

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

2:45 PM

“What my net can’t catch isn’t fish” – Arthur Eddington

“What my mind can’t grasp can’t be true” – Scott Oliphint, in explaining how reason becomes foundational to theology producing Arminian theology

“The world expects us to be different, and this idea that you are going to win the world by showing that you are not very different from it…is basically wrong, not only theologically but even psychologically.” – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Lecture series on preaching, “Congregation” ~45:40

“The man who builds a factory builds a temple, the man who works there worships there.” – Calvin Coolidge

“Denial of perspicuity is not humility; it is arrogance of the highest order.” – David Garner in Did God Really Say? p. 135

“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” – Pensées

“Philosophers are the patriarchs of heresy.” – Tertullian, n.2 De Anima, c. 3.

“legalism is often what some Christians call other Christians who are more concerned about holiness than they are.”

“The biblical method of application has another great advantage. It delivers us from the tyranny of the currently fashionable norms of our own particular Christian subculture. So often in preaching, the application is mass-produced out of the current orthodoxies and enthusiasms of the wider church scene. The latest book, the newest ideas, the most exciting models are bolted onto a biblical text with very little authenticity. Because such applications are usually in the form of obligation: “We ought to . . .”, followed by the challenge, “so are you . . . ? ” they quickly develop into legalism and soulless duty. The emphasis is then more and more on doing Christian things (giving, praying, witnessing) so that grace is effectively evacuated from the preaching. Attention becomes focused on the present— on me and my world, on my current concerns, or on our congregation and its growth and prosperity. It is almost as though there is no great eternal plan and no universal church. We become entirely obsessed with our own concerns, the prisoners of our inflated egos.” –  David Jackman in Preach the Word: Essays in Honor of Kent Hughes

“Doctrinal orthodoxy is thus necessary to the authority of preaching.” – Logan, The Preacher and Preaching pg. 152

“The prevalent viewpoint in evangelical circles is that the literary dimension of the Bible, if it is acknowledged at all, is regarded as an optional activity to be pursued if we have time or interest to engage in it after we have assimilated the message or content of a biblical passage.

But this practice violates a very obvious principle of communication, namely, that content is communicated through form. There can be no message without the form in which it is embodied, starting with language itself but including many additional aspects of form (broadly defined to include everything having to do with how an author expresses content). – Leland Ryken, Preach the Word: Essays in Honor of Kent Hughes, p. 63

“If one truly believes God inspired every word of Scripture, how can he justify treating it with any degree of triteness or superficiality? And if the word is the sword of the Spirit and the power of God for salvation and sanctification, how can anyone invest more trust in stories and clever insights than in Scripture? A man once said to the Puritan preacher Richard Rogers, “Mr. Rogers, I like you and your company well, only you are too precise.” “Oh sir,” replied Rogers, “I serve a precise God.” And God has not lowered his standard of precision to accommodate a dumbed down society.” – John MacArthur, Preach the Word: Essays in Honor of Kent Hughes, p. 90

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The Grace of God and the Bondage of the Will

Thursday, July 30, 2015

6:22 PM

“Those whose overriding concern is human self-determination and a preservation of human standards of fairness must argue that the ruin of those who fall is a declaration of the value of humanity and of human freedom. Paul, on the other hand, argues that God “endure[s] with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory,” a glory that includes not only his mercy to those “prepared beforehand for glory” but also his power and wrath…If it were the case that none at all fell, the full force of the wrath of God in opposition to sin and the full strength of his dedication to preserving the integrity of his glory as a perfect gift to those who desire it would never become known or displayed. There, in Paul’s scheme of values, lies the greater potential injustice.” – Donald J. Westblade, pg. 85

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Knowing God

Saturday, June 20, 2015

10:19 PM

“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, and under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.” – pg. 23

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Monday, February 16, 2015

4:50 PM

Who among us, even in a converted state (if indeed we are converted) hungers and thirsts to understand the deep things of God? How many professing Christians have you heard say, “I do not need to study the Scriptures; I do not want to get involved with theology?” – pg. 89

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Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2:14 PM

If you enter certain American churches you will hear the enthusiastic singing of some such ditty as “He’s a great big wonderful God.” Regrettably, I never fail to think of a great big wonderful teddy bear. Such “choruses” are not quite heretical, not quite blasphemous. I sometimes wish they were, for then they could be readily condemned for specific evil. They are something much worse than isolated blasphemy and heresy. They constitute part of a pattern of irreverence, shallow theology, and experience-dominated religious criteria, which has eviscerated a terribly high proportion of evangelical strength in the Western world. – pg. 68

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The Humiliation of the Word

Monday, November 16, 2015

2:28 PM

“Telling the story of the Bible in comic strip form is undoubtedly efficacious. The only problem is in knowing if such a comic strip is still the word of God.” – pg. 202-203

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The End for Which God Created the World

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

4:56 PM

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The Reformed Pastor

Friday, February 5, 2016

5:02 PM

“No man that hath not the vitals of theology, is capable of going beyond a fool in philosophy. Theology must lay the foundation, and lead the way in all our studies.”

 – pg. 58

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Christianity and Liberalism

Sunday, September 18, 2016

6:25 PM

“No department of knowledge can maintain its isolation from the modern lust of scientific conquest; treaties of inviolability, though hallowed by all the sanctions of age-long tradition, are being flung ruthlessly to the winds.” – pg. 3

“The whole development of modern society has tended mightily toward the limitation of the realm of freedom for the individual man…The result is an unparalleled impoverishment of human life. Personality can only be developed in the realm of individual choice. And that realm, in the modern state, is being slowly but steadily contracted. The tendency is making itself felt especially in the sphere of education. The object of education, it is now assumed, is the education of the greatest happiness for the greatest number But the greatest happiness for the greatest number, it is assumed further, can be defined only by the will of the majority. Idiosyncrasies in education, therefore, it is said, must be avoided, and the choice of schools must be taken away from the individual parent and placed in the hands of the state. The state then exercises its authority through the instruments that are ready to hand, and at once, therefore, the child is placed under the control of psychological experts, themselves without the slightest acquaintance with the higher realms of human life, who proceed to prevent any such acquaintance being gained by those who come under their care. Such a result is being slightly delayed in America by the remnants of Anglo-Saxon individualism, but the signs of the times are all contrary to the maintenance of this half-way position; liberty is certainly held by but a precarious tenure when once its underlying principles have been lost. For a time it looked as though the utilitarianism which came into vogue in the middle of the nineteenth century would be a purely academic matter, without influence upon daily life. But such appearances have proved to be deceptive. The dominant tendency, even in a country like America, which formerly prided itself on its freedom from bureaucratic regulation of the details of life, is toward a drab utilitarianism in which all higher aspirations are to be lost.

Manifestations of such a tendency can easily be seen. In the state of Nebraska, for example, a law is now in force according to which no instruction in any school in the state, public or private, is to be given through the medium of a language other than English, and no language other than English is to be studied even as a language until the child has passed an examination before the county superintendent of education showing that the eighth grade has been passed. In other words, no foreign language, apparently not even Latin or Greek, is to be studied until the child is too old to learn it well. It is in this way that modern collectivism deals with a kind of study which is absolutely essential to all genuine mental advance. The minds of the people of Nebraska, and of any other states where similar laws prevail, are to be kept by the power of the state in a permanent condition of arrested development.

It might seem as though with such laws obscurantism had reached its lowest possible depths. But there are depths lower still. In the state of Oregon, on Election Day, 1922, a law was passed by a referendum vote in accordance with which all children in the state are required to attend the public schools. Christian schools and private schools, at least in the all-important lower grades, are thus wiped out of existence. Such laws, which if the present temper of the people prevails will probably soon be extended far beyond the bounds of one state, mean of course the ultimate destruction of all real education. When one considers what the public schools of America in many places already are–their materialism, their discouragement of any sustained intellectual effort, their encouragement of the dangerous pseudo-scientific fads of experimental psychology–one can only be appalled by the thought of a commonwealth in which there is no escape from such a soul-killing system. But the principle of such laws and their ultimate tendency are far worse than the immediate results. A public school system, in itself, is indeed of enormous benefit to the race. But it is of benefit only if it is kept healthy at every moment by the absolutely free possibility of the competition of private schools. A public school system, if it means the providing of free education for those who desire it, is a noteworthy and beneficent achievement of modern times; but when once it becomes monopolistic it is the most perfect instrument of tyranny which has yet been devised. Freedom of thought in the middle ages was combated by the Inquisition, but the modern method is far more effective. Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them then to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist. Such a tyranny, supported as it is by a perverse technique used as the instrument in destroying human souls, is certainly far more dangerous than the crude tyrannies of the past, which despite their weapons of fire and sword permitted thought at least to be free.” – pg. 10-14, emphasis added

“That difference is indeed serious, and to deny its seriousness is a far greater error than to take the wrong side in the controversy itself. It is often said that the divided condition of Christendom is an evil, and so it is. But the evil consists in the existence of the errors which cause the divisions and not at all in the recognition of those errors when once they exist. It was a great calamity when at the “Marburg Conference” between Luther and the representatives of the Swiss Reformation, Luther wrote on the table with regard to the Lord’s Supper, “This is my body,” and said to Zwingli and Oecolampadius, “You have another spirit.” That difference of opinion led to the breach between the Lutheran and the Reformed branches of the Church, and caused Protestantism to lose much of the ground that might otherwise have been gained. It was a great calamity indeed. But the calamity was due to the fact that Luther (as we believe) was wrong about the Lord’s Supper; and it would have been a far greater calamity if being wrong about the Supper he had represented the whole question as a trifling affair. Luther was wrong about the Supper, but not nearly so wrong as he would have been if, being wrong, he had said to his opponents: “Brethren, this matter is a trifle; and it makes really very little difference what a man thinks about the table of the Lord.” Such indifferentism would have been far more deadly than all the divisions between the branches of the Church. A Luther who would have compromised with regard to the Lord’s Supper never would have said at the Diet of Worms, “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me, Amen.” Indifferentism about doctrine makes no heroes of the faith.” – pg. 50-51

“Involuntary organizations ought to be tolerant, but voluntary organizations, so far as the fundamental purpose of their existence is concerned, must be intolerant or else cease to exist. The state is an involuntary organization; a man is forced to be a member of it whether he will or no. It is therefore an interference with liberty for the state to prescribe any one type of opinion or any one type of education for its citizens. But within the state, individual citizens who desire to unite for some special purpose should be permitted to do so. Especially in the sphere of religion, such permission of individuals to unite is one of the rights which lie at the very foundation of our civil and religious liberty. The state does not scrutinize the rightness or wrongness of the religious purpose for which such voluntary religious associations are formed–if it did undertake such scrutiny all religious liberty would be gone–but it merely protects the right of individuals to unite for any religious purpose which they may choose.

Among such voluntary associations are to be found the evangelical churches. An evangelical church is composed of a number of persons who have come to agreement in a certain message about Christ and who desire to unite in the propagation of that message, as it is set forth in their creed on the basis of the Bible. No one is forced to unite himself with the body thus formed; and because of this total absence of compulsion there can be no interference with liberty in the maintenance of any specific purpose–for example, the propagation of a message– as a fundamental purpose of the association. If other persons desire to form a religious association with some purpose other than the propagation of a message– for example, the purpose of promoting in the world, simply by exhortation and by the inspiration of the example of Jesus, a certain type of life– they are at perfect liberty to do so. But for an organization which is founded with the fundamental purpose of propagating a message to commit its resources and its name to those who are engaged in combating the message is not tolerance but simple dishonesty. Yet it is exactly this course of action that is advocated by those who would allow nondoctrinal religion to be taught in the name of doctrinal churches–churches that are plainly doctrinal both in their constitutions and in the declarations which they require of every candidate for ordination.”

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The Supremacy of God in Preaching

Monday, March 20, 2017

8:27 PM

“It horribly skews the meaning of the cross when contemporary prophets of self-esteem say that the cross is a witness to my infinite worth, since God was willing to pay such a high price to get me. The biblical perspective is that the cross is a witness to the infinite worth of God’s glory and a witness to the immensity of the sin of my pride. What should shock us is that we have brought such contempt upon the worth of God that the very death of his Son is required to vindicate that worth. The cross witnesses to the infinite worth of God and the infinite outrage of sin.” – p. 35-36

“If you endeavor to bring a holy hush upon your people in a worship service, you can be assured that someone will say that the atmosphere is unfriendly or cold. All that many people can imagine is that the absence of chatter would mean the presence of stiffness and awkwardness and unfriendliness. Since they have little or no experience of the deep gladness of momentous moments of gravity, they strive for gladness they only way they know – by being lighthearted and chipper and talkative.

     Pastors have absorbed this narrow view of gladness and friendliness and now cultivate it across the land with pulpit demeanor and verbal casualness that make the blood-earnestness of Chalmers and the pervading solemnity of Edwards’s mind unthinkable, The result is a preaching atmosphere and a preaching style plagued by triviality, levity, carelessness, flippancy, and a general spirit that nothing of eternal and infinite proportions is being done or said on Sunday morning.” – p. 55

“Laughter seems to have replaced repentance as the goal of many preachers. Laughter means people feel good. It means they like you. It means you have moved them. It means you have some measure of power. It seems to have all the marks of successful communication – if the depth of sin and the holiness of God and the danger of hell and need for broken hearts are left out of account.” – p. 59

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“How can we deliver a solemn message in a flippant manner, or refer to the eternal destinies of men and women as if discussing where they will spend their summer holidays? No, topic and tone, matter and manner must match one another, or the anomaly will be deeply offensive. A congregation learns the seriousness of the gospel by the seriousness with which their pastors expound it.” – p. 278-279


“The request for decision without doctrine is an offense to human beings, for it is little less than a mindless manipulation.” – p. 238


“I said before that God is the cause of loving God. I spoke the truth, for he is both the efficient and the final cause. He himself provides the occasion. He himself creates the longing. He himself fulfills the desire. He himself causes himself to be (or, rather, to be made) such that he should be loved. He hopes to be so happily loved that no one will love him in fain. his love both prepares and rewards ours. Kindly, he leads the way. He repays justly. He is our sweet hope. He is riches to all who call upon him. there is nothing better than himself. He gave himself in merit. he keeps himself to be our reward. He gives himself as food for holy souls. He sold himself to redeem the captives.” p. On Loving God, p. 72-73


The sin of Adam did not make the condemnation of all men merely possible; it was the ground of their actual condemnation. So the righteousness of Christ did not make the salvation of men merely possible, it secured the actual salvation of those for whom He wrought.” – Charles Hodge


“Every age and time has its especial temptations; and it is the will of God that the church should be exercised with them and by them. And it would be easy to manifest, that the darkness and ignorance of men, in not discerning the especial temptations of the age in which they have lived, or neglecting of them, have been always the great cause and means of the apostasy of the church. By this means has superstition prevailed in one age, and profaneness in the another; as false and noxious opinions in a third. Now, there is nothing that God requires more strictly of us, than that we should be watchful against the present and prevalent temptations, and he charges us with guilt when we are not so. And those which are not awake with respect to those temptations which are at this day prevalent in the world are far enough from walking well-pleasing before God.” – John Owen, Covenant Theology from Adam to Christ, p. 225


“[The new] covenant is of that nature, as that the grace administered in it will effectually preserve all the covenanters to the end, and secure to them all the benefits of it. For, [God’s] power and faithfulness are engaged to the accomplishment of all the promises of it. And these promises do contain every thing that is spiritually and eternally good or desirable to us.” – John Owen, Biblical Theology from Adam to Christ, p. 235-236


“Even in peacetime I think those are very wrong who say that schoolboys should be encouraged to read the newspapers. Nearly all that  a boy reads there in his teens will be known before he is twenty to have been false in emphasis and interpretation, if not in fact as well, and most of it he will therefore have to unlearn’ and he will probably have acquired an incurable taste for vulgarity and sensationalism and the fatal habit of fluttering from paragraph to paragraph to learn how an actress has been divorced in California, a train derailed in France, and quadruplets born in New Zealand.” Surprised by Joy, p. 128-129


“I number it among my blessings that my father had no car, while yet most of my friends had, and sometimes took me for a drive. This meant that all these distant objects could be visited just enough to clothe them with memories and not impossible desires, while yet they remained ordinarily as inaccessible as the Moon. The deadly power of rushing about wherever I pleased had not been given me. I measured distances by the standard of man, man walking on his two feet, not by the standard of the internal combustion engine. I had not been allowed to deflower the very idea of distance; in return I possessed “infinite riches” in what would have been to motorists “a little room.” The truest and most horrible claim made for modern transport is that it “annihilates space.” It does. It annihilates one of the most glorious gifts we have been given. It is a vile inflation which lowers the value of distance, so that a modern boy travels a hundred miles with less sense of liberation and pilgrimage and adventure than his grandfather got from traveling ten. Of course if a man hates space and wants it to be annihilated, that is another matter. Why not creep into his coffin at once? There is little enough space there.” Surprised by Joy, p. 127


“It seems to me that there’s a strain or a thread of songs that tend to assume that people’s sorrows, shame, and difficulties in life are enough of a backdrop (a bad backdrop) to make the mysteries of the glory of the gospel known over against them. I don’t think so.
I don’t think the sorrows and the shame that people bring, without being taught what their real condition is, are enough to help them understand grace. In fact, people are going to distort grace if its not taught against the backdrop of the biblical bad news rather than the bad news that people bring which they think they understand to be the bad news. It’s not the bad news.
The New Testament assumes that people need to be taught what their real terrible condition is under the power of sin before grace can really be the God-exalting reality that it is.” – http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/when-worship-lyrics-miss-the-mark     


“Grace in the Bible we are dead in trespasses and sins, Paul is making a point about our relationship with God: if we are to be brought back into his favor and enjoy that holy communion with him for which we were originally designed, then God must take the initiative. We do not need spiritual healing, for that would imply we are merely in need of repair. We need spiritual resurrection. And resurrection is the unilateral act of God, not a cooperative exercise between the living God and the dead. That is vital for an accurate understanding of grace. Grace is not God giving wholesome advice or a helping hand. It is God raising someone from the dead, first Christ and then those who are in Christ.” Grace Alone, p. 41


“As to the word, bearing witness, or attesting, it points out the right use of miracles, even that they serve to establish the Gospel. For almost all the miracles done in all ages were performed as we find for this end, that they might be the seals of Gods word.” Commentary on Hebrews 2:4


“In a word, in proportion to the greatness of Christ will be the severity of God’s vengeance on all the despisers of his Gospel.” Commentary on Hebrews 2:3


I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes—that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens—that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphis over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence—the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche. He that believes in a God must believe this truth. There is no standing-point between this and atheism. There is no half way between a mighty God that worketh all things by the sovereign counsel of his will and no God at all. A God that cannot do as he pleases—a God whose will is frustrated, is not a God, and cannot be a God. I could not believe in such a God as that.” Spurgeon in a sermon on Ezekiel 1


“An accurate taste in poetry, and in all the other arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed, is an acquired talent, which can  only be produced by severe thought, and a long continued intercourse with the best models of composition. This is mentioned not with so ridiculous a purpose as to prevent the most inexperienced reader from judging for himself; but merely to temper the rashness of decision, and to suggest that if poetry be a subject on which much time has not been bestowed, the judgment may be erroneous, and that in many cases it necessarily will be so.” Lyrical Ballads, Advertisement


“In expository preaching, the Biblical text is neither a conventional introduction to a sermon on largely a different theme, nor a convenient peg on which to hang a ragbag of miscellaneous thoughts, but a master which dictates and controls what is said.” in I Believe in Preaching, p. 125-126


“If it is bad to preach over people’s heads, not to preach to their heads at all is worse.” in Heralds of God, p. 152

“Evangelism as defined in Scripture, is a battle for the mind. Its very essence is the affirmation and explanation of truth, that is it needs to have a teaching content.” in The Preacher and Preaching, p. 261-262


“Charismatic ‘prophecy’ (that is unpremeditated applicatory speech, uttered in God’s name) is an extreme form of [the current cult of spontaneity], but wherever interest centres on spontaneity


“Using graphic descriptions of God’s judgment in Scripture to legitimize graphic violence in our entertainment is like using the graphic images of adultery and sexual immorality as a metaphor for Israel’s sin to legitimize pornography.” – Me


“though this secularist educational approach looks patient and civil, it has a darker underbelly. It proposes to suppress the fundamentalist
opponent not by a friendly discussion searching for truth but by the use of state power and state money to smother a generation of vulnerable children with propaganda. Propaganda in the schools will preach tolerance and, by implication, the errors of fundamentalism. Power and money will take away from fundamentalists the opportunity for equal means to educate their own children or to spread their particular views. This procedure appears to mean, “We will tolerate you temporarily, but we will make sure by political power that we seize the minds of your children and educate them against your views.” Tolerance has apparently become intolerance. People who abhor oppression nevertheless oppress. People who abhor dogmatism turn dogmatic. People who may say that all their knowledge is tentative, and who may even say that there is no absolute truth, have remarkable confidence in their ability to use political power. They craft a compulsory educational system that they allege will solve our moral problems. (See, at the end of this chapter, the excursus on public education.) Implicitly, they have supposed that they can diagnose the deepest ills behind human moral failures. They are really proposing an alternative means of salvation, a means of rescue from the evils of the human heart. That amounts to an alternative religion.”
 – Vern Poythress, Redeeming Science, p. 61-62
Earlier in this chapter I raised a problem about public, state-controlled education. State-controlled education in its present form in the United States tends to impose secularism. Secularism is a whole worldview, and in its approach to the nature of scientific law, it is intrinsically religious, in that it exchanges God for an idolatrous view of scientific law. Moreover, as we have seen, it excludes minority views like animism and Shankara’s interpretation of Vedantic Hinduism. It is oppressive toward those who radically disagree with its worldview.
But is this unique to secularism? Does not everyone have the same problem when it comes to state-controlled education? Parents naturally want their children to be taught in conformity with their own beliefs. But statecontrolled education cannot possibly please all parents at the same time. It cannot please both those who believe in absolute moral standards and those who believe that morality is merely the product of personal choices and opinions. It cannot please both those who believe that scientific law is impersonal and those who believe that it is the personal word of God. It cannot please those who believe that the universe is a product of chance and mindless evolution and those who believe that it is the creation of God. In political science courses, it cannot please both political conservatives and political liberals.
At an earlier point in the history of the United States, state-controlled education tended to draw on a broad Protestant consensus as its main religious background. In Europe, education was influenced by state churches. These approaches oppressed all kinds of religious minorities, as well as atheists and agnostics. Nowadays, in the United States and to some extent in Europe, state-controlled education is controlled by secularist ideology and opposes religious “interference” and minority views that would take a different approach to issues like scientific law and moral standards. The victims of oppression have shifted, but the general problem has not disappeared.
I cannot pursue the issue here, but it seems to me the morally proper remedy is not, as many Christians might wish, the reintroduction of less hostility toward the Bible and Christianity in state-controlled schools, but the introduction of real parental control and choice in education. As it is now, because of the tax system for supporting education, only the very rich can afford to send their children to schools of their choice.19 School vouchers—or better, tax credits for education of the parents’ choice—can provide relief that gives the average parent real choice. And with choice comes control of what kind of worldview and educational approach the child receives. But there is a political price: we must then give up the hope of using state power to impose our own views on others’ children.
19 Or the very determined can undertake to homeschool their children. I am grateful that homeschooling is allowed in the United States. But it is a great injustice that homeschoolers still see their tax money go to support public schools, while they pay out of their own pockets in time and money for their homeschooling activities.
 – Vern Poythress, Redeeming Science, p. 66-67


“A completely undifferentiated state of the will, with out any inclination in one direction or another, is simply an impossibility. Just as in nature only a good tree can produce good fruit, so also in ethical life a good nature precedes good works. To act one must first be. Scripture, accordingly  teaches that both in creation and re-creation holiness is a gift from God. One who has this gift can further develop it in word and deed; but one who lacks it can never acquire it.” – Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, p. 538


“I came to Christ as a twenty-year-old college student, and thirty years later, I am still fighting against mental habits I developed in my first twenty years. Through his Spirit, God wants to reprogram my thinking. But I must respond to the Spirit’s work and actively engage in the process if it is to happen.
The key question becomes: What are we feeding our minds? …if we spend all our discretionary time watching television [Youtube, gaming] reading secular books [ect.] it will be a wonder if our minds are not fundamentally secular. Our job is to cooperate with God’s Spirit by seeking to feed our minds information that will reprogram our thinking in line with the values of the kingdom.” – Douglas Moo, Romans, p. 399


“Tolerance and suicide are congenial bedfellows.” Judges, p. 24


Should any one object, that a frugal use of food and drink is simply that which suffices for the nourishing of the body: I answer, although food is properly for the supply of our necessities, yet the legitimate use of it may proceed further. For it is not in vain, that our food has savor as well as vital nutriment; but thus our heavenly Father sweetly delights us with his delicacies. And his benignity is not in vain commended in Psalm 104:15where he is said to create “wine that maketh glad the heart of man.” Nevertheless, the more
kindly he indulges us, the more solicitously ought we to restrict ourselves to a frugal use of his gifts. For we know how unbridled are the appetites of the flesh. Whence it happens that, in abundance, it is almost always lascivious, and in penury, impatient. We must, however, adhere to St. Paul’s method, that we know how to abound and to suffer need; that is, we must take great care if we have unusual plenty, that it does not hurry us into luxury; and, on the other hand, we must see to it, that we bear poverty with an equal mind. Some one, perhaps, will say, that the flesh is more than sufficiently ingenious in giving a specious color to its excesses; and, therefore, nothing more should be allowed to it than necessity demands.” Commentary on Genesis 43:34




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