Wednesday, August 30

Founding Farmer

During his term as Vice-President, Thomas Jefferson traveled to Baltimore on official business. He asked for a room in the city’s best hotel. Not recognizing the great man--who always traveled quite modestly without a retinue of servants and dressed comfortably in soiled working clothes--the proprietor turned him away.

Soon after Jefferson’s departure, the innkeeper was informed that he had just sent away the author of the Declaration of Independence. Horrified, he promptly dispatched a number of his employees to find the Vice-President and offer him as many rooms as he required.

Jefferson, who had already taken a room at another hotel, was not at all flattered or amused. He sent the man who found him back with the message, “Tell the innkeeper that I value his good intentions highly, but if he has no room for a dirty farmer, he shall have none for the Vice-President.”

It was not merely the spirit of democratic solidarity or of judicial propriety that piqued Jefferson’s ire in that situation. He had always prided himself as a man of the soil first and foremost. He was America’s preeminent agrarian theorist. He was an avid gardener and a skilled botanist. His gardening journals have inspired generations of farmers and planters. And his agricultural innovations helped to make American harvests the envy of the world.

He strongly believed that an attachments to the land was the chief mark of an advanced culture. He believed that the fate of a nation was ultimately decided by the attitude of that nation to its soil. He said, “Widespread distribution and careful stewardship over property is the most tangible attribute of liberty. The faith of a people, the vision of a people, the destiny of a people may be divined by its corporate concern for the soil.”

To be sure, Jefferson was often a conflicted intellectual, an inconsistent moralist, and an impractical idealist, but his ideas of land, the dignity of labor, the essential nobleness of common men, and the vitality of the agrarian virtues made Jefferson the undisputed father of American populism.


In 1659, John Locke published his defense of Biblical orthodoxy, The Reasonableness of Christianity. It would be the prototype for the study of apologetics throughout the next century. Indeed, virtually all the evidentialist apologists who followed Locke argued, like him, that Christianity is rational and that common sense, history, and empirical science provide sufficient evidence to believe in the God as He is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

Monday, August 28

Civil Rights March

It was on this day in 1963 that nearly a quarter of a million people gathered in Washington, DC for a peaceful demonstration to promote civil rights and economic equality for African Americans. Participants walked down Constitution and Independence Avenues, then--a century after the all-too-hollow rhetoric of the Emancipation Proclamation was proclaimed--gathered before the Lincoln Monument for speeches, songs, and prayer.

Televised live to an audience of millions, the march provided a number of dramatic moments--but the most memorable of all was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s stirring I Have a Dream speech. Far larger than any other previous demonstration for any other cause, the march had an obvious and immediate impact, both on the passage of civil rights legislation and on nationwide public opinion. It proved the power of mass appeal and inspired imitators in the antiwar, pro-life, and environmental movements.

As early as 1941 Philip Randolph--international president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, president of the Negro American Labor Council, and vice president of the AFL-CIO--had discussed the possibility of such a march. Thus, he was seen as the chief organizer. But because the march was also sponsored by five of the largest civil rights organizations in the United States, planning was complicated by dissention among the groups. Known in the press as "the big six," the leaders included Randolph and King as well as Whitney Young, president of the National Urban League, Roy Wilkins, president of the NAACP, James Farmer, founder and president of the Congress of Racial Equality, and John Lewis, president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In the end though, they were able to iron out their differences.

The marchers came in chartered buses and private cars, on trains and planes--one man even roller-skated to Washington from Chicago. By mid-day, more than 200,000 had gathered by the Washington Monument, where the march was to begin. It was a diverse crowd: black and white, rich and poor, young and old, Hollywood stars and everyday people. Despite the fears that had prompted extraordinary precautions--including pre-signed Executive Orders authorizing military intervention in the case of rioting--the marchers walked peacefully to the Lincoln Monument.

Dr. King, the last speaker of the day, was introduced by Randolph as "the moral leader of our nation." His speech, eloquent on the page, was electrifying in person. With the passionate, poetic style he had honed in the pulpit, King stirred the audience and built to a extemporaneous crescendo, "I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

As marchers returned home, the organizers met with the president, who encouraged them to continue their work. By all counts, the march was a great success. But just three weeks later, the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama--which killed four young girls--reminded all Americans that the dream had yet to be fully realized.


It was also on this day--in the year 430--that theologian, author, apologist and philosopher St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo went home to be with the Lord. The influential African patriarch was the philosophical founder of Western Civilization. His most influential works, essential to the Western Canon of great books, include Confessions and The City of God.

American Enterprise

Also on this day in 1736, a man witnessed a mid-air collision of two large flocks of birds. The impact was such that over 180 birds fell to the ground, either unconscious or dead. Not being one to miss opportunity, the man gathered the birds and sold them the same day at the nearby market in Preston. Now, that really is the spirit of American enterprise!

Saturday, August 26

John Buchan

Like the plot in one of his best-selling novels, the life of John Buchan was full of improbable adventures and prodigious achievements. He was one of the most accomplished men of the twentieth century--he was by turns a successful barrister, a respected scholar, a popular journalist, a trusted diplomat, a prolific author, an efficient colonial administrator, an innovative publisher, a progressive politician, a relentless reformer, and an active churchman. Best known for his historical romances and thrilling spy novels--he practically invented the genre--he was also the author of more than a hundred non-fiction works, including an authoritative multi-volume history of the First World War and biographies of Oliver Cromwell, Caesar Augustus, Lord Montrose, and Walter Scott.

He was born in Scotland on this day in 1875, the eldest son of a minister in the Presbyterian Free Church. He was of regal Scottish stock--a Countess of Buchan had crowned Robert the Bruce, an Earl of Buchan had avenged Joan of Arc as Constable of France, a Buchan of Auchmacoy had fallen at Flodden beside the King, and another had led the Jacobite remnant after the death of Dundee--but it was his early years in the strict Calvinistic manse that would shape his worldview and stimulate his imagination for the rest of his life. Following a brilliant academic career at the University of Glasgow he transferred to Oxford.

Upon graduation, he joined the foreign service in South Africa. Afterward, he began a successful career in journalism and publishing. But the First World War interrupted his plans. He helped to establish the British spy network during the war and continued his prolific writing. Then after the war he was elected to Parliament representing the Scottish Universities, a position he held until 1935. Meanwhile he continued to write--between 1922 and 1936 he averaged five books a year. For much of that time he was ranked among the world’s best-selling authors alongside his friends and acquaintances Rudyard Kipling, G.K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc. Several of his books, including The Thirty-Nine Steps were even made into full-length motion pictures by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock. Though his work was popular, it often explored serious theological themes and profound human dilemmas.

His great prominence made him an appropriate choice as the king’s High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for several years. The post enabled him to promote the vital relationship between the dynamics of the Christian life and the preservation of Western Civilization—a relationship he believed was threatened by the hubris of modern secularism. It was a theme that resonated throughout all his work. “Our enemies are attacking more than our system of Christian morals on which our civilization is founded” he lamented. “They are attacking Christianity itself, and they are succeeding. Our great achievements in perfecting the scientific apparatus of life have tended to produce a mood of self-confidence and pride. We have too often become gross materialists in our outlook on life.”

Buchan’s sudden death was on February 12, 1940 at his official Ottawa residence, where he served as the Governor General. The sad news made front-page headlines around the world.

Thursday, August 24

First Principles

Thinking about a new academic year always forces me to recall first principles and enduring truths:

"Our greatest inheritance, the very foundation of our civilization, is a marvel to behold and consider. If I tried to describe its rich legacy with utmost brevity, I should take the Latin word humanitas. It represents in the widest sense, the accumulated harvest of the ages, the fine flower of a long discipline of Christian thought. It is the Western mind of which we ought to turn our attentions to careful study." John Buchan

"Somehow, our whole approach to teaching and learning has gone awry. Do you sometimes have an uneasy suspicion that the product of modern educational methods is less good than he or she might be at disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible? Although we often succeed in teaching our pupils subjects, we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think. They learn everything except the art of learning." Dorothy Sayers

Wednesday, August 23

On Being Reformed

In reading a preview copy of the brilliant new book by Ben House, Punic Wars and Culture Wars, I came across this delightful definition from B.B. Warfield that I had almost forgotten about:

"The Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand, with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God's sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the other hand, adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who receives sinners. He who believes in God without reserve and is determined that God shall be God to him, in all his thinking, feeling, willing--in the entire compass of his life activities, intellectual, social, religious relations--is, by the force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist."

Forgotten History

On this day in 1784, the settlers in what is today East Tennessee declared their independence. They elected a legislature and named John Sevier to the presidency. They named their newly-independent state Franklin, in honor of the man who first conceived of the idea of the little nation: Benjamin Franklin.

The Continental Congress of the United States rejected this claim of independence and attempted to return control of the territory to the jurisdiction of North Carolina. But the new "sovereign state" refused to heed the admonitions of their "over-mountain brethren." The conflict was not entirely resolved for nearly decade--until finally Tennessee was admitted to the Union, first as a territory and later as a state.

The very nearly forgotten affair reminds us that the story of the United States is far more complex (and interesting) than what is normally taught in American history courses.

Monday, August 21

Wallace and Bruce

One of the very first books printed in Scotland, was a verse biography of the great national hero, William Wallace, composed sometime late in the fifteenth century (c. 1471-79) by the epic balladeer, Blind Harry. Written more than a century and a half after Wallace’s death, Harry’s account was supposedly based on an eye-witness account written in Latin by Wallace’s chaplain and former schoolmate, John Blair. Alas, there are no longer any surviving manuscripts of Blair’s hagiography--indeed, there is only one surviving manuscript of Blind Harry’s. Nevertheless, these are the primary sources for all the Wallace lore to this day.

The Wallace was probably written as a corrective to the fourteenth-century vernacular verse biography of the other most renowned Scottish national hero, Robert the Bruce. Harry refers to The Bruceand its author, John Barbour, a long-serving archdeacon of Aberdeen, a number of times in his own poem. Harry, while respectful of Bruce’s legacy, argues that Wallace merits a favorable comparison with Bruce. While he qualifies this with the acknowledgment that Bruce was the legitimate “heir” to the throne of the kingdom, Wallace was actually the greater hero because he was braver and more patriotic; he was unimpeachable in his virtue; and of course, he rescued Scotland from the English time after time and even challenged the enemy on their own ground.

The poem is a paragon of the Scotch-English verse style, from that century of transition between Chaucer and Shakespeare:

All worthi men that has gud witt to waille,
Bewar that yhe with mys deyme nocht my taille.
Perchance ye say that Bruce he was none sik.
He was als gud quhat deid was to assaill
As of his handis and bauldar in battaill,
Bot Bruce was knawin weyll ayr of this kynrik;
For he had rycht we call no man him lik.
Bot Wallace thris this kynrik conquest haile,
In Ingland fer socht battaill on that rik.

Christopher Robin

Christopher Robin Milne, the son of A.A. Milne and the model for the human hero of the Winnie the Pooh books, was born in London on this day in 1920. As an adult he would complain bitterly, "The fictional Christopher Robin and his real-life namesake were not always on the best of terms. In pessimistic moments, it seemed to me, almost, that my father had got to where he was by climbing upon my infant shoulders. Quite frankly, I can hardly stand the thought of those awful books--Pooh and Piglet and Eyore are but lamentable, even detestable, characters in my sight. I was robbed of my childhood by the very stories that seem to have defined the childhood of myriads of others. Such is the awful irony of celebrity." Ironic indeed.

Saturday, August 19

The Earl of Argyll

The Marquess Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll (1598-1661) defied Oliver Cromwell’s English Protectorate and invited the exiled Charles II to return to Scotland to receive his crown on this day in 1650. A Scots Presbyterian, Argyll was the leader of the Covenanters, and at the onset of the first phase of the English Revolution, he had forced King Charles I to submit to the demands of the Scottish Parliament--so his role in reestablishing the monarchy was seen as more than a little ironic.

The Covenanters had long been devoted to maintaining Presbyterianism as the faith of Scotland. As a consequence they were largely responsible for establishing the supremacy of Parliament over the monarchy. In reality though, the Covenanters were merely following an old Scottish tradition dating back to the Arbroath Declaration of 1320. Other early covenants--the written documents which bound them to their sacred cause--had been signed as recently as 1557 and 1581 by King James.

When Charles I came to the throne in 1625, he was immediately opposed by the Scottish bourgeoisie because of his policy of oppressive taxation and by the Scottish nobility because of his attempts to impose the Anglican church on Scotland. In 1638 the old covenant of 1581 was revived, and its signatories added a vow to protect the Reformation in their land. Charles, fearing a revolution, convened a General Assembly of Scotland in November 1638. Consisting exclusively of Covenanters, the assembly defied royal authority and abolished the Anglican episcopacy. The resulting First Bishops War (1639) was settled by referring the dispute to another General Assembly and to a new Scottish Parliament. But the new assembly reaffirmed the decisions of its predecessor, and a Second Bishops War resulted during which Charles was defeated at Newburn.

Similar conflicts led the English Parliament to join the Scots in their opposition to Charles, and the Solemn League and Covenant was adopted by the two parliaments in 1643 launching a united civil war between Royalists and Parliamentarians across the boundaries of the two nations. During the First Civil War (1642-46) the Covenanters fought side by side with the Parliamentarians. Eventually, Charles surrendered to the Covenanters in 1646. But because he still refused to subscribe to the Solemn League and Covenant, he was turned over to the English.

After the king's execution in 1649, the Scots increasingly became alarmed by the tyrannical ambitions of the English. During what was known as the Second Civil War--the Parliamentarian leader Oliver Cromwell brutally conquered Scotland. As a consequence, Argyll, brought Charles II to Scotland and crowned him king of Scotland at Scone.

Then, irony on top of irony, Charles II turned on the man most responsible for his restoration. In 1660, Argyll was arrested on a charge of having collaborated with the Cromwell in the infamous invasion of Scotland. Though the charges were patently false, Argyll was tried by the Scottish Parliament and was convicted and beheaded.

Friday, August 18

Wordsworth and Carlyle

One of the most influential social critics of the Victorian age, Thomas Carlyle wrote with a distinctive, energetic voice. The style that fuelled his political and historical writings was perhaps best exemplified in his portraits of his contemporaries. On this day in 1840, he met the elderly poet laureate, William Wordsworth. The account of the meeting, written sometime afterward by Carlyle, provided readers with a substantial insight into both men.

Carlyle wrote, “On that summer morning I was apprised by Taylor that Wordsworth had come to town, and would meet a small party of us at a certain tavern in St. James’s Street, at breakfast, to which I was invited for the given day and hour. We had a pretty little room, quiet though looking streetward (the tavern’s name is quite lost to me); the morning sun was pleasantly tinting the opposite houses, a balmy, calm and sunlight morning. Wordsworth, I think arrived just along with me; we had still five minutes of sauntering and miscellaneous talking before the whole were assembled. I do not positively remember any of them, except that James Spedding was there, and that the others, not above five or six in whole, were polite intelligent quiet persons, and, except Taylor and Wordsworth, not of any special distinction in the world. Breakfast was pleasant, fairly beyond the common of such things. Wordsworth seemed in good tone, and, much to Taylor’s satisfaction, talked a great deal; about poetic correspondents of his own; then about ruralties and miscellanies. Finally, he spoke of literature, literary laws, practices, observances, at considerable length, and turning wholly on the mechanical part, including even a good deal of shallow enough etymology, which was well received. On all this Wordsworth enlarged with evident satisfaction, and was joyfully reverent of the wells of English undefiled; though stone dumb as to the deeper rules and wells of Eternal Truth and Harmony, which you were to try and set forth by said undefiled wells of English or what other speech you had. For the rest, he talked well in his way; with veracity, easy brevity and force, as a wise tradesman would of his tools and workshop--and as no unwise one could.”

Carlyle concluded with a remarkably vivid description of the literary lion, “His voice was good, frank and sonorous, though practically clear distinct and forcible rather than melodious; the tone of him businesslike, sedately confident; no discourtesy, yet no anxiety about being courteous. A fine wholesome rusticity, fresh as his mountain breezes, sat well on the stalwart veteran, and on all he said and did. You would have said he was a usually taciturn man; glad to unlock himself to audience sympathetic and intelligent, when such offered itself. His face bore marks of much, not always peaceful, meditation; the look of it not bland or benevolent so much as close impregnable and hard: a man multa tacere loquive paratus, in a world where he had experienced no lack of contradictions as he strode along. He had a vivacious strength looking through him which might have suited one of those old steel-grey markgrafs whom Henry the Fowler set up to ward the marches and do battle with the intrusive heathen in a stalwart and judicious manner.”

Quite remarkable: the men, the meeting, and the description.

Friday, August 11

Grandparenting Redeux

He's pretty nigh unto perfect! Elijah Theodore (named for a prophet and a president) was born this morning, weighing in at a whopping 7 pounds 8 ounces. Mom and Dad are tired but happy. Big brother is as sweet as ever. And as you can see, the proud grandparents are absolutely, positively beaming. Do bear with us please--it may be a few days before we are willing to talk about or think about anything else!

Rock of Ages

Augustus Montague Toplady, clergyman and writer, was born in 1740, at Farnham, about 20 miles southwest of Windsor, England. He studied at the prestigious Westminster School for a short time, but was sent to Ireland in 1755, the same year as his conversion--he had been greatly influenced by the teachings of John Wesley.

Toplady received his degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Trinity College. During his studies, he gradually came to reject the Arminianism of the Methodists in favor of the doctrines of Sovereign Grace of the Calvinists. Ordained deacon in 1762, he was licensed to the Anglican curacy of Blagdon the same year. He was ordained a priest in 1764, and from then until 1766 he served as curate at Farleigh, Hungerford. For the next two years he held the benefice of Harpford with Venn-Ottery, and for two years after that, of Broad Hembury. During 1775 he took a leave of absence to minister to the French Calvinist Reformed Church in Orange Street, London.

His first published work was a work of verse, Poems on Sacred Subjects. But he was best known for his polemical and dogmatic works--including The Church of England Vindicated from the Charge of Arminianism which was published in 1769 and The Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England which was published five years later in 1774. Those works proved vital in the ongoing theological struggles within the English church and helped to ensure orthodoxy for at least another generation.

Toplady was only thirty-eight when he died, but his short life-span was enough to produce one of the most beloved of all hymns, Rock of Ages:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

The hymn was first published on this day in the Gospel Magazine, London, 1776. Today, only a very few non-specialists read the theological works which established Toplady as one of the most significant apologists of his day, but nearly all Christians sing his hymn--even the Arminians it was written to confound.

Wednesday, August 9

Mount Rushmore

On this day 1927, President Calvin Coolidge arrived in Rapid City, South Dakota in preparation for the dedication of the Mount Rushmore monument. The next day, the visionary sculptor Gutzon Borglum began the work of carving the likenesses of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and the just recently deceased Theodore Roosevelt into the face of the Black Hills.

Borglum defended the massive scale of his work by asserting, "A monument's dimensions should be determined by the importance to civilization of the events commemorated. We are not here trying to carve an epic, portray a moonlight scene, or write a sonnet; neither are we dealing with mystery or tragedy, but rather the constructive and the dramatic moments or crises in our amazing history."

Borders Database

The national bookstore chain, Borders, now has most of my in-print books in their database. The books may not actually be in your local outlet, but I am told that it is an easy matter to order them. So, if you're in need of additional copies of Bless This Food, The Patriot's Handbook, Christian Almanac, Carry a Big Stick, or any of the other books, stop by a Borders and get them there. As we get closer to the holiday season, apparently they will be featuring Christmas Spirit.

Monday, August 7

Where Is Thy Blush?

I did something that I only rarely do: I watched some network TV last night. My excuse was that the NFL season kicked off with the Hall of Fame Game--and I was more than a little ready for some football. But, I was shocked. I was stunned by the brazen commercials, the vile promos for new shows, and the defiling character of some of the sideline bantering.

The experience reminded me of Shakespeare's famous rebuke:

"Oh shame, where is thy blush?
If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones,
To flaming youth, let virtue be as wax
And melt in her own fire. Proclaim no shame
When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
Since for itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will."

It also reminded me of the quip of C.S. Lewis that, "The orgasm has now replaced the cross as the focus of longing and the image of fulfillment."

Somehow, we have forgotten G.K. Chesterton's sage observation that, "The moment sex ceases to be a servant it becomes a tyrant. There is something dangerous and disproportionate in its place in human nature, for whatever reason; and it does really need a special purification and dedication. The modern talk about sex being free like any other sense, about the body being beautiful like any tree or flower, is either a description of the Garden of Eden or a piece of thoroughly bad psychology, of which the world grew weary two thousand years ago." Or that of Robert Louis Stevenson, "Even the greatest of delights without the least of restrictions will quickly cease to satisfy. A pristine joy, like sex, made common and base is merely a defiled and repulsive thing."

I am going to have to be a lot more careful this season. We all are. After all, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow has said, "Purity is the beginning of all passion and shame is the beginning of discernment."

Sunday, August 6

Better Spelling for Hackers

A hacker shut down our websites and e-mail for a little less than a day this weekend. He must have thought he was being humorous. Alas, I'm not sure he knows much about humor. He apparently also doesn't know much about spelling. In a message he left for me, he misspelled three two-letter words! Really!

So, in the interest of helping hackers everywhere to compose coherent messages, I am prepared to list every single one of the 96 two-letter words--with their definitions--from that great repository of literary learning: The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. And they are all spelled correctly:

AA: rough, cindery lava
AB: abdominal muscle
AD: advertisement
AE: one
AG: pertaining to agriculture
AH: expresses delight
AI: three-toed sloth
AL: an East Indian tree
AM: form of "to be"
AN: indefinite article
AR: the letter "R"
AS: to the same degree
AT: in the position of
AW: expresses protest
AX: cutting tool
AY: affirmative vote
BA: (Egyptian) eternal soul
BE: to have actuality
BI: a bisexual
BO: a pal
BY: a side issue
DE: of; from: used in names
DO: a tone of the scale
ED: pertaining to education
EF: the letter "F"
EH: expresses doubt
EL: elevated railroad
EM: the letter "M"
EN: the letter "N"
ER: expresses hesitation
ES: the letter "S"
ET: a past tense of eat
EX: the letter "X"
FA: a tone of the scale
GO: to move along
HA: sound of surprise
HE: male person
HI: used as a greeting
HM: expresses consideration
HO: expresses surprise
ID: part of the psyche
IF: a possibility
IN: to harvest
IS: form of "to be"
IT: neuter pronoun
JO: sweetheart
KA: (Egyptian) spiritual self
LA: tone of the scale
LI: Chinese unit of distance
LO: expresses surprise
MA: mother
ME: personal pronoun
MI: tone of the scale
MM: expresses assent
MO: a moment UP: to raise
MU: a Greek letter
MY: possessive pronoun
NA: no; not
NE: born with the name of
NO: a negative reply
NU: a Greek letter
OD: a hypothetical force
OE: Faeroe Islands whirlwind
OF: coming from
OH: to exclaim in surprise
OM: a mantra
ON: batsman's side of wicket
OP: a style of abstract art
OR: the heraldic color gold
OS: a bone
OW: expresses pain
OX: a clumsy person
OY: expresses dismay
PA: father
PE: a Hebrew letter
PI: a Greek letter
RE: a tone of the scale
SH: urges silence
SI: ti (a tone of the scale)
SO: sol (a tone of the scale)
TA: expression of gratitude
TI: a tone of the scale
TO: in the direction of
UH: expresses hesitation
UM: indicates hesitation
UN: one
US: personal pronoun
UT: musical tone (is now DO)
WE: pronoun
WO: woe

Thursday, August 3

Election Day Meditations

"Whatever makes a man a good Christian also makes a good citizen." Daniel Webster

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not by religions, but by the gospel of Jesus Christ." Patrick Henry

"And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." George Washington

"Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand." John Adams

"In this actual world, a churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at, or ignored their Christian duties, is a community on the rapid down-grade." Theodore Roosevelt

"The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country." Calvin Coolidge

"The hand of Divine Providence was never more plainly visible in the affairs of the men than in the framing and adopting of the Constitution." Andrew Johnson

"Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future." Ulysses S. Grant

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of the civil government with the principles of Christianity. From the day of the Declaration the American people were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct." John Quincy Adams

"No human society has ever been able to maintain both order and freedom, both cohesiveness and liberty apart from the moral precepts of the Christian Religion applied and accepted by all the classes. Should our Republic ever forget this fundamental precept of governance, men are certain to shed their responsibilities for licentiousness and this great experiment will then surely be doomed." John Jay

"Religion and liberty are the meat and the drink of the body politic. Withdraw one of them and it languishes, consumes, and dies. Without religion we may possibly retain the freedom of savages, bears, and wolves, but not the freedom of New England. If our religion were gone, our state of society would perish with it, and nothing would be left." Timothy Dwight

"Religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience. It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other." Patrick Henry
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams

"The only sure and permanent foundation of virtue is religion. Let this important truth be engraven upon your heart." Abigail Adams

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that their liberties are the gift of God?" Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 1

King's Meadow Newsletter

The new King's Meadow newsletter has just been posted. There is an excellent, must-read article by Ben Crist on the literary craftsmanship of Graham Greene. Dave Raymond then picks up where Ben leaves off with a delightful meditation on the burden of joy as reflected in Greene's masterful work. Plus, there are updates on the ministry and how you can be praying for us. Read it and see what we're up to here in beautiful Franklin.

Lammas Day

In early Medieval England, August 1, the first day of harvest for the Celts, was called "Lugnasad." Christians observed this day by baking bread from the first corn or wheat harvested and dedicating it to God. They called this day the Festival of the First Fruits. With the same concept in mind, the Saxons called this day "Hlaf-Maesse," or literally, "Loaf-Mass," which eventually became "Lammas Day" in our modern parlance.

Shakespearean Sleuthing

This marks the anniversary of the imagined date for the birth of Shakespeare's tragic character Juliet Capulet. The text of the famous play states that "On Lammas eve at night shall she be fourteen. That shall she, marry; I remember it well. Tis since the earthquake now eleven years 'an she be weaned." The earthquake occurred in 1580 and thus if the normal age of weaning of two years be assumed, Juliet would have been born in 1578.