Washington: Resolved, Resolute, In Pursuing The Goal

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Washington had finally hit upon a way to win this seemingly unwinnable war – not through military brilliance but by slowly and relentlessly wearing the enemy down. Throughout the month of June, Washington displayed a cool resolve that was in stark contrast to the fiery pugnacity of just a few months before. Not everyone was sure they approved of Washington’s unwillingness to engage the enemy. Some in his own army dismissed what they called Washington’s “Fabian” strategy (in reference to Fabius Maximus, the Roman leader who defeated Hannibal through a war of attrition) as unnecessarily cautious. But Washington remained resolute. “We have some among us, and I dare say generals,” he wrote to Joseph Reed on June 23, “who… think the cause is not to be advanced otherwise than by fighting…But as I have one great end in view, I shall maugre all the strokes of this kind, steadily pursue the means which, in my judgment, leads to the accomplishment of it, not doubting but that the candid part of mankind, if they are convinced of my integrity, will make proper allowances for my inexperience and frailties.
Book cover: “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution”, by Nathaniel Philbrick. (Viking via AP)Valiant Ambition, p. 104

Cultural Faithfulness Through Divine Summons

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We need to be reminded that whenever we cease to offer resistance, to compromise with the world, then we are the victims of the world. The only way for us, is to be summoned again and again, and to summon ourselves again and again!, to the unchanging and unalterable norms of behavior, established by God and therefore regulated of life, in all circumstances and conditions.

John Murray The Lord’s Day – It’s Blessing, Sanctity Sermon on Genesis 2:2

Dissecting Hope

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john_owen2Hope is a glorious grace, whereunto blessed effects are ascribed in the Scripture, and an effectual operation unto the supportment and consolation of believers. By it are we purified, sanctified, saved. And, to sum up the whole of its excellency and efficacy, it is a principal way of the working of Christ as inhabiting in us: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Where Christ evidences his presence with us, he gives us an infallible hope of glory’ he gives us an assured pledge of it, and works our souls into an expectation of it.

Hope in general is but an uncertain expectation of a future good which we desire; but as it is a gospel of grace, all uncertainty is removed from it, which would hinder us of the advantage intended in it. It is an earnest expectation, proceeding from faith, trust, and confidence, accompanied with longing desires of enjoyment… Gospel hope is a fruit of faith, trust, and confidence; yea, the height of the actings of all grace issues in a well-grounded hope, nor can it rise any higher (Rom. 5:2 – 5).

The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded

Ferguson: Children’s Sermons Are Not For Legalism

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sinclair_ferguson“Actually, it [how we teach redemptive history to 3 and 4 year olds] is a huge test of where ministers are. One of the things that has stuck me throughout the whole of my life, because I’ve lived in a world where ministers give children’s sermons, is how many evangelical ministers turn into legalists when they give children’s sermons. And its there, when they’re speaking to the children, that it becomes clear how little of the redemptive story they understand; how little they understand how the Gospel works, and how little they understand who Christ is.”

Sinclair Ferguson on teaching truth to little minds (at the 54:20 mark)

Rutherford on Discouragement

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Let us be ballasted by grace, that we not be blown over, and that we stagger not. Yet a little while and Christ and His redeemed ones shall fill the field and come out victorious. Christ’s glory in triumphing… is yet in the bud and in the birth, but the birth cannot prove an abortive. “He shall not faint not be discouraged till He have brought forth judgment into victory.” Let us only mind our covenant and the very God of peace will be with you. Your brother in Christ,

Samuel Rutherford

British Marriage Equality and Marriage Without Sex

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From The Telegraph:

…Lobbyists naturally believed that all you had to do to allow gay marriage was to extend to same-sex couples exactly the same law as applied to existing, heterosexual marriages.

Too late, they discovered, this cannot be done. Civil servants, confronted with the embarrassing task of working out what defined the consummation of a homosexual relationship, faltered. Since homosexual acts have no existential purpose and no procreative result, consummation is a meaningless concept. From this it followed that the Government could come up with no definition of adultery in a homosexual marriage. A law designed to be equal, is not. Under the Bill, non-consummation will not be grounds for divorce in same-sex marriage. Nor will adultery.

By accident, then, the Government is introducing, for the first time, a definition of marriage which has no sexual element. Yet it refuses to face the logical consequence of this surprising innovation. If sexual intercourse is not part of the definition of same-sex marriage, why should blamelessly cohabiting sisters not marry one another in order to avoid inheritance tax? Why should father not marry son? Why shouldn’t heterosexual bachelor chum marry heterosexual bachelor chum? What, come to think about it, is so great about the idea of monogamy, once sex and children are removed from the equation? Does the word “marriage” any longer contain much meaning?

And if Equality is the highest of all moral aims, how can the Government possibly justify not extending the gay right to a civil partnership to heterosexual couples who, at present, have no such privilege? If this Bill becomes law, all these matters will be litigated over, right up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Against such outcomes, as he painfully well knows, Mr Cameron can make no provision.

Possibly the House of Commons, where mere politics reigns and virtually no time has been permitted for debate on the Bill, will fail to think through these issues, although revolt is growing. But precision and fairness in framing our laws are subjects in which the House of Lords rightly claims a key role. The Government faces trouble there. Continue reading

Malick: Only in Russian Characters

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…combine the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters

on filming To the Wonder

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So, for example, he recommended that Kurylenko read The Idiot with a particular eye on two characters: the young and prideful Aglaya Yepanchin, and the fallen, tragic Nastassya Filippovna. “He wanted me to combine their influences — the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. ‘For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters,’ he said to me.”

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As prompts for the actors, Malick shared representative works of art and literature. For Affleck, he suggested Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. (Affleck read Martin Heidegger on his own, having known that Malick had translated one of the German philosopher’s works as a grad student.) For Kurylenko, he also recommended Tolstoy and Dostoevsky — specifically, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot. “Those books were, in a way, his script,” she says. But he did more than give the actors the books; he suggested ways to approach the texts and characters to focus on. So, for example, he recommended that Kurylenko read The Idiot with a particular eye on two characters: the young and prideful Aglaya Yepanchin, and the fallen, tragic Nastassya Filippovna. “He wanted me to combine their influences — the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. ‘For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters,’ he said to me.”

source

…Amidst all the dangers of this world, may we stand upon the foundation of thy word which never can fail…”

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john-calvin“Grant, Almighty God, since thou settest before us so clear a mirror of thy wonderful providence and of the judgments on this ancient people, that we may also be surely persuaded of our being under thy hand and protection: – Grant, that relying on thee, we may hope for thy guardianship, whatever may happen, since thou never losest sight of our safety, so that we may invoke thee with a secure and tranquil mind. May we so fearlessly wait for all dangers amidst all the changes of this world, that we may stand upon the foundation of thy word which never can fail; and leaning on thy promises may we repose on Christ, to whom thou has committed us, and whom thou has made the shepherd of all thy flock. Grant that he may be so careful of us as to lead us through this course of warfare, however troublesome and turbulent it may prove, until we arrive at that heavenly rest which he has purchased for us by his own blood. – Amen.”

John Calvin, prayer concluding his 1st lecture on the book of Daniel
(HT: AC)