Tuesday, June 30, 2015

U.S.A. May be on Mars by 2039 and Return 300 Years After That

Going on N.A.S.A.'s Apollo program landings on the moon nearly a half century ago, if N.A.S.A. can land persons of uncertain gender on Mars moon Phobos by 2039 and down planet shortly thereafter, the second wave of Mars landings by anyone else including N.A.S.A. might happen within 300 years.

It cannot be certain that Americans first on Mars would be a good thing for humanity.


Some Foresee End of Human Life as Quick as 2030

There is a fair supply of climate change doom scenario on public shelves these days. Alaska is having a wealth of wild fires from record heat-dry kindle-sparking events of concern and smoke. Wars could arise as a consequence of global economic policies that are as silly as pollution and resource exploitation. The audio and the following web page doesn't represent my opinion yet its interesting to think about.

The solution to every sort of problem in D.C. these days seems to be to queer and drug it until the public moves on to something else . I am not sure that will solve climate change.


Greece Needs Euro Quantitative Easing

Greece Could Use Some Quantitative Easing

With the Euro-Zone levering Greece like legend has it that the I.M.F. levers nations that borrow from it, one wonders if Greece facing the prospect of being kicked out for default will look to the Russ-o-Zone, the China-Zone or even the Fagg-o-Zone for economic relief.

The Fagg-o-Zone states of the U.S.A., Canada and Britain have experience with quantitative easing from their central banks wherein they take bad debt from the sovereign big banks and sell it to their mint federal reserve when times are tough. Easily the Fagg-o-Zone could buy Greece and make it a protectorate as could the Russ-o-Zone, China-Zone etc.

If Greece becomes part of Russia the advantages to Russians and Greeks are manifest. Greeks can visit Moscow for air conditioning and Russia can get sun tans in winter. China would have a vast western trade facility and the Fagg-o-Zone could make shorter trips instead of going all the way to Thailand.

The Brick nations are perhaps too much second-worldish about them to purchase Greece and make it a part of their financial portfolio, yet plainly the Euro-Zone has no sense of brotherhood and financial love for those cast down to the miseries of insolvency; viva Scrooge!

The Age of Reason

I picked up Jean Paul Sartre's novel the Age of Reason the other day. It reminded me of reading it long ago; in the 1970s. Upon reflection I realized that the title does have several possible meanings neither exclusive or exhaustive of the other values. One that hadn't read the book might think it to be an existentialist or coming of age novel. it is neither .

Set in pre-war France it covers Sartre's personal experience of being mobilized into the Army and eventually captured by the Germans and repatriated to Paris. The French underground didn't want the philosopher in its movement because he was thought too talkative. That was lucky since he wrote 'Being and Nothingness' during the war. That probably wasn't the reason the Germans let him go (being to chatty since they had a way of persuading people to hush) -he may not have seemed much of a military threat and hoped Vichy France would expand to renormalize French society in the Nazi mold.

The experiences of the Second World War stimulated Sartre to write three 'freedom' novels about it. A philosopher named Matthew, a brother and a girlfriend provide elements of his experience with a transcendental gestalt that extrapolated along a time continuum I suppose might be regard as existentialist. The novel plainly is a thinly veiled prose fiction account of Sartre's own experience. As a thinking fellow he also wrote about France social transformation into a state of war from civilian to military to civilian.

The age of reason in French history was a significant enlightenment era social development where people like Descartes-hugely influential on Sartre's work, the encyclopedists, Diderot, Condorcet, Immanuel Kant and other made critical thought and technical philosophical method of self-examination and first principles primary tools of intellectual investigation into the meaning of life and social existence. One sees that effort in each of Sartre's major works; 'Being and Nothingness' and the Critique of Dialectical Reason'. Yet in naming his major fiction work The Age of Reason at the start of the Second World War era I wonder if Sartre was not being a little sarcastic; the result of the historical age of reason was evolution to mass mobilization and death.

One must stretch the age of reason out 300 years or so from its beginning to end if one were to credit Sartre with that reasoning for naming the book. Initially one might think it a coming of age novel-as if becoming old enough to go to war at 17 or 18 is reaches an age of adult reason. With social accountability one should want to war upon one's neighbor nation, or upon polar bear in the Arctic or perhaps take over the Ukraine from historical Russia before taking Russia from Russia along with the Arctic and the Arctic ocean seafloor.

Whatever Sartre meant in his novel's title, the book is a window into 1939-40 France. It is strange to just pick up the book after so many years and find it there unchanged.

Once while walking along the road in Valdez Alaska a Euro-style yellow taxi stopped. A window rolled down and a fellow that looked like Sartre asked me for directions to the ferry terminal. I said I didn't know, and the taxi drove off. That reminded me of a time at Fort Bliss walking in a dust storm when three soldiers asked me for directions to some place and I was at a loss to tell them.

Sometimes one just doesn't know what it is that other people are looking for, and might wonder if the information they needed-the alphanumeric data, would really be so fulfilling if they got it. One wonders if temporal beings seeking temporal things think enough of eternal things, of the Lord Jesus? One needs temporal things yet the mind is different than the things it usually seeks. Reason brings one to wonder of God and how he created the temporal even through a cascade of waves and particles, or disturbed the waters of a unified field with a word.

And that reminds me a little of holographic theories of the Universe, and of another topic too that goes on a little farther.

The topic originates with Paul the Apostle in his letter to Titus. He writes in Chapter 1 verse 2; "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;". One views pre-destination in that verse, and one wonders how eternity was promised to temporal beings from the eternal God.

Reason informs us that a promotion to eternal life would be inevitable for beings made by the eternal God. Eternity with God for those that love God, and eternity in hell for those that don't. There are more questions to be asked, and ideas that are too vast and that use more of human brain capacity than it would be easy to sustain perhaps. That is something of a paradox itself; how can ideas about vast subjects such as eternity and its relationship to the temporal passage of thought be ephemeral and disappear an instant after they arise?

It seems in a way as if eternity must be all around the temporal universe waiting like a greater than four-dimensional flood to surge over and engulf it wiping it away like a dream upon awakening. The temporal mind and temporal being could be like a hologram sandwiched into an instant of an expanded universe that necessarily entails time and motion of space to be in an other than eternal form. One imagines black holes, a singularity, inflatons, membranes and dimensions in various potential forms of minimalism and extension creating appearances of time, space and being for sentient life immersed within. Still, the eternal now seems ready to rip one out of the temporal in any instant as if the entire experience were illusory-and it is of course not. Yet the temporal is contingent being from which one may see eternity just dimly as if viewing it through a shaded glass darkly, with less resolution than if looking through a dark polarizing filter at the sun.

One must wonder of the loss of the age of reason, or of its transformation into a constellation of pride things, collectives, corporations, poisoned planet, social injustice, over-consumed resources and thoughtless politicians working classical corruptions and anachronistic divisions to crash populations again in primal historical recursion in order to concentrate wealth and engender environmental sustainability for the rich with relief from the existence of the poor.

One may look back at the end of the age of reason and consider what followed it-the age of mechanical man with the masses in revolt, as Ortega y Gasset wrote, to seek an existentialist utopia in a modern secular world ruled by the rich without requisite reason, where one need be only a same-cloned cell in the machine? Or is it an existentialist detachment from social responsibility or right historical and political management while the masses believe in quantum uncertainty as a political fact too wherein they may jostle as quantum contained immorally by the strong force of the ultra-rich.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Commentary of the philosophy of capitalism

U.S. Supreme Court Forces Homo Marriage Upon the States

In an advantage-butch decision, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to force all 50 states to allow homosexual marriage. Interpreting the constitution in a fictitious way to find approval for homo marriage shows just how remote the reasoning of the court is from that of the founders. Probably the founders would have expressly banned the practice if they had thought their political descendants would become so degenerate.


The court has added the U.S.A. to the ad hoc planetary Faggot Axis of Britain, Canada, Spain and a few other nations, and that will effect long-range U.S. foreign relations with Muslim states perhaps. It seems unlikely that China will soon join the Faggot Axis.

Yet is a complex situation with the President adding his Pacific Free Trade Treaty to bring his own nation of origin-Indonesia to an advantaged trade position with the U.S.A. The President said that he really believes its good for Americans, yet he thinks he is good for Americans, and is from Indonesia, hence he may believe that more Indonesians would be good for Americans.

The dark side of the farce is that the culture of queer corruption goes along with American free trade pacts as the concentrated powers of wealth seek to blow back their petverted postures on foreign cultures in close free trade partnerships; and that may stimulate conflict or recalcitrance about signing off on freak trade pacts with the U.S.A. and its international plutocrat martinets.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bobby Jindal Enters Race; Speaks Out Against Racism

The dynamic Bobby Jindal entered the 2016 Presidential race with a call for unification rather than division. It was plain after the racial profiling of white terrorists following the Charleston that the respect of Afro-Americans given to blacks did not go so far as to call Euro-American terrorists Euro-Americans when they are from South Carolina or if it just one spree killer.

Governor Jindal raised so criticism when he said that he is tired of being called an Indian-American and I agree-he sure doesn't seem like most Tlingits. The complaints were voiced in New Dehli after his Twitter comments though, so it proves that people don't know their geography or where they are from especially well in Presidential campaign season. At least we know for sure that Jeb Bush grew up in Midland Florida. If one was born in the U.S.A. I guess one is just an American, and the color chard or national theoretical origin is mostly for propaganda purposes.


Why Aren't the Moon & Mars Used for Robotics Test Sites?

Creating incentives for the wealth of robotics developers to test construction robots with human controllers in most cases on the moon and Mars is such an obvious synergetic 2-4-1 opportunity that one would think it would get started. Advancing human habitation construction research with robotics from the U.S.A., Europe, Japan, Russia and China is probably overdue. N.A.S.A. is still designing funky inflate-a-yurts and things that give astronauts something to do after they figure out how to move extra-planetary homes from Earth to wherever (call Mayflower).

Robots are just machines without a brain fundamentally. While the U.S. Government is already beginning to flood battlefields with predator drones to kill humans, drones for peace are not emphasized at all. N.A.S.A. could use some leadership that draws corporate research efforts into development of field projects to build human habitations from local extra-terrestrial materials or low tech materials from Earth so far as possible.

Like politicians with a shiny exterior or one in a suit stuffed with money robots may be just machines without a brain (central processing unit). They may have a tiny neuro mechanism enabling remote plutocrat controllers to operate their legislation from a distance while avoiding getting anything practical done for the poor and middle class yearning to breathe free where land its possible to own land themselves without it being levered away by government and redistributed to plutocracy. Some day that may be on the moon or Mars.

N.A.S.A. image Mars
This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the 'Mojave' site, where its drill collected the mission's second taste of Mount Sharp. The scene combines dozens of images taken during January 2015 by the MAHLI camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm.

Supremes Decide It's O.K. to Tax Youth for Obamacare

In a 6 to 3 decisions the U.S. Supreme Court decided that its o.k. to impose a special tax on youth to pay for Obamacare. It would have been far better to expand the V.A. and let poor people use it too, for free, as well as those middle class with no money or insurance that can prove they really need the free medical treatment for a while. No special taxes would have been required and it would have kept global corporate out of everyone's private health information.


Global corporate almost never says when hackers get in to their data records unless it involves credit cards or something that would kick back in the public sector. Instead they tend to keep it quiet so they don't look incompetent like Federal records keepers, and their is also the fact that some corrupt management probably exploit the information themselves.

Obamacare was another nail in the coffin of U.S. national sovereignty and democracy with freak trade authority for the Congress so they can pass treaties swiftly with a bare majority before anyone can read-em.

The Obamacare vote may pioneer new ways to make designer taxes on the rich to pay for iced lattes for government workers in the future when the economic reality check crashes something else.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

N.P.R's Invention of White Terror Organizations

In order to racially balance out and equalize the anisotropic dominance of world terror organizations by non-whites N.P.R. has provided reports assuring the public that white terror organizations do exist and their goal is to conserve the existence of white people. Today’s report did say that it would be a stretch to give equal value to white terror organizations with Al Qaeda and ISIS, yet each criminal act of violence over the past decades was plainly shown to be part of an imaginary ad hoc global terror organization.

NPR is not alone in trying to move the focus from a predominantly non-white era of terror on Americans to one where white terrorists are the greatest threat. A story at the Huffington Post proclaims that since 9-11 whites supremacists have been the number one problem for law enforcement rather than Muslims. Besides the protracted war on terror and all the lives and borrowed money its cost around the globe, there aren't as many Muslims in the U.S.A., and Homeland Security was created to keep the Muslim terrorist problem offshore rather than in Chicago and Boston-where the Boston Marathon Bomber had his death sentence read. That was a Muslim affair.


In the thought of the left of NPR that is saturated with a continuum of terror and oppression against blacks it is necessary to have an actual external white terror enemy to fight against at least with microphones and government budgets. They cannot imagine that it is offensive to some whites and does not advance the security of anyone in the United States. In a nation of 320 million people there will always be those that act with violence upon the structures of apparent enemies yet that does not mean that there is any real terror organization they belong to nor that their aim is that of terrorism.

The killing of Christians at church in Charleston by Mr. Roof did not require any great terror planning. He might have been any liquored up racist of the past. He could have plowed blacks with a car on the sidewalk. Instead he soberly attending prayer service and slaughtered Rev. Pinkney whom had been filling his udders with the grass of meditation in order to have a full bag for prayer to give to God. It seems Satanic. The U.S. Government under the Obama administration has seemed Satanic too in it's political choices recently. Satan may hide his motives behind race when nit is just Christians that he is attacking. President Obama knew Rev. Pinkey-perhaps that sealed his fate. The administration has sought to force the sin of homosexual marriage upon the entire nation and that's just demonic. Maybe the loud pr slaughter was to advance the New World Order and to get the hicks chasing their own tails around. The Senate passed the fast trade treaty making authority for the President.

It might also be considered that there is a difference between violence and acts of political terror. The Taliban may strike soft and hard targets killing civilians as acts of war with different rules of war than the U.S.A. has presently without any interest in terrorizing Afghans who are perhaps not as given unto fear as much as government bureaucrats and the rich in pleasure palaces.

U.S. government and corporate policy requires a populist consumer based planetary society malleable to and groaning under the economic thrusts of the uber rich. Since the world has a majority of non-white people the elimination of white culture that is politically conservative would be fine with them. Conservation of national interest of real citizens with adequate defense of boundaries, inheritance, properties of rights can be subverted with the media propaganda that it is a result of racism and unfair racial distribution of wealth. The astute citizen should not make the mistake of believing that wealth racially redistributed is given unto the non-whole class; instead it preponderantly trickles upward to the uber rich.

Nations and civilizations do have a right for continued self-dense and existence. They have no moral requirement to let down their guard if the invaders are of a different race. The primary moral requirement a nation has regarding race is that all citizens are treated equally within its jurisdiction. Subverting national boundaries subverts human rights for political self-determination and democratic rule.l Today he global power of the uber-rich superman trans-nationalist has many tools for using racism to subvert nationalism and existing culture. The destruction of nationalism and nation-based sovereign political rights undermines all human rights and their necessary ground in land and real property. Human rights are as closely tied to land as the value of money was to gold. When the tie is broken an awful lot of very flimsy accounting can develop. Exceptionally spacey, dissimulative use-truths and organizational operating falsehoods can flourish.

NPR is blurring the line between legitimate political concerns of people and culture and terrorism. Terrorism generally is an expression of a form of political activism with a motive to sway popular opinion and insider relinquishment of power. Alternatively state terrorism differs from the organic terrorist power of the state with exclusive use of condign power. No one ever found that Tim McVeigh was part of a terror organization. He was just a skillful operator trained by the U.S. Government. Sure he was white yet so were the people burned at Waco by the Clinton administration. If a day care center was destroyed in Oklahoma City, there were lots of little kids burned alive on the Koresh farm. Terrorism is a tool for government power too. Organizations of any kind are social phenomena with common characteristics. Compare McVeigh and Roof; McVeigh was a feburated trainee of the nude wirld hor'd'eouvre while Roof's train was at Cuz -in Qillah's Swig-n-Shoot Boo-teak. Whop campf yuk trupsht?

Toward the end of the Bush II administration it seemed as if there was a perception that white supremists were getting a little swell. The administration itself didn’t seem racist-G.W. was more like a dump, happy Opie from Mayberry. The late stage Obama administration has peaked its black racial ensemble too early though and the public may tire of it before the middle of 2016 even.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

S. Carolina Should Sell Its Government Rebel Flags

Flying a confederate battle flag at the Columbia capitol is harmful to white political interests. Its as if Munichers still flew the Swastika over their regional h.q. People hate being slaves and hate those that celebrate owning their ancestral kin still. It may be a pride thing for the I.Q. challenged of the South to malinger in the flag issue, yet it would be intelligent to move on and just sell the official flags from the state capitol and give the money to the next of kin of those Christians slaughtered by the rebellious pagan throwback. When Ulysses S. Grant granted Lee's request for surrender because of the pitiful, starving, shoeless condition of his surviving troops in the Army of Virginia, he did not fail to grant them easy terms. It is dishonorable for modern Americans to forget that. Ghengis Khan would have slaughtered the survivors like as not. Gov. Haley should auction the rebel flag supply.

Realistically it is unlikely that any sort of rebellion against the U.S. Government with military force would work any more. If Robert E. Lee was a better commander of rebellious generals than of West Point cadets the south might have stood a chance if they'd got better military supplies from Britain.

In Ukraine the U.S. Government is dumping advanced drones to target Russian sympathizers in the field and a host of other high-tech business tools of war. War is an important business for South Carolina too and they tend to support killing overseas rather than in D.C. The Roof rebel at 21 didn't know the facts of life evidently. The U.S. Government has a monopoly on violence and surveillance techniques and has even innovated modern forms of torture to apply to the Muslim problem.

The U.S.A. would rather fight Russia and take the heart of their historical nation entirely rather than have peace. It seems as if the U.S.A. prefers a step by step long term aggression policy through proxies and enmity for a few decades during which time southern defense contractors and Washington D.C. people would have something to do for easy cash.

I believe that policy is as silly and wrong-headed as the confederate flag at the capitol of South Carolina yet people are happy to lose votes, elections and respect of a majority of their fellow citizens in the pursuit of wrong policy without prospect for success.

I ought to say that a unified Europe and Russia is a much better direction to work on than that of conflict. In time national boundary conflicts would fade away I think if the United States were to butt out.

On William Gurnall's 'The Whole Armor of God'

TH640 Spiritual Warfare
Paper Three

  1. Write an outline of the book.
  2. Write 30 pages interacting with the author’s ideas and giving your analysis.
A Basic Outline of The Christian in Complete Armour
Volume One:
Part First: A Sweet and Powerful Encouragement to the Way -page 2
Part Second
Direction One- The Christian Must Be Armed -page 27
Direction Two-The Nature of the War and Character of the Assailants
Direction Three-A Second Exhortation to Arms & An Argument Encouraging the Exhortation-page 164
Direction Four-The Position to Be maintained in the Fight-page 199
Direction Five-The Several Pieces of the Whole Armor of God
First Piece; The Christian's Spiritual Girdle-page 211
Direction Six- The Christian's Breastplate-page 294
Direction Seven- The Christian's Spiritual Shoe- page 403
Volume Two:
Direction Eight- 4th piece of armor- The Shield of Faith- page 1
Direction Nine- 5th piece of armor- Helmet of Salvation-page 93
Direction Ten- 6th piece of armor-Sword of Spirit/Word-page 152
Direction Eleven- The Necessary Duty of the Christian as Clothed in the Whole Armor of God or How Alone the Spiritual Panoply Must Be Kept Furbished-page 223
Direction Twelve- The Duty of Every Christian in Complete Armor to Aid by Prayer the Public Ministers of Christ (cf. Ephesians 6:19-20)
In starting this 30 page commentary on Gurnall's 'Armor of God' I will stipulate that initially I wasn't very enthusiastic about the prospect of slogging through the 1000 pages (approximately) that the author uses to develop his thesis. He starts with Paul's statement about girding yourself with truth and putting on the full armor of God to defend against Satan's attacks, and that girding quote by an author named Gurnall (gird all) seems a little suspect initially. I wondered if the author wasn't a little egoistic in his approach or image of himself as an expository tool of divinity. A good selling point for girding if your name is Gurnall.
Hereat I am interpolating a prequel to the start of my commentary on Gurnall's work. The reason is that I write this quite a while after beginning the reading of 'Armour of God' and have again changed my opinion about the nature of Gurnall's work. I will not change what I have already written, and that forms a history of the problem encountered for many I would think who read Gurnall today when his language and settings are very dated. It is not only that they are old or quaint, its just that many of the situations no longer are experienced by ordinary people in a sanitized urban environment.
Gurnall has twelve basic sections as if they were his twelve own verisimilitude to the twelve disciples. Twelve is a nice number. Number twelve is the admonition of every Christian in complete armor to pray for an tithe public ministers, and I suppose Gurnall as author of the twelve sections must be recognized as a public minister of Christ. I support a priesthood of believers public ministry in the 21st century so I differ with Gurnall in that respect (Luther addressed the priesthood of believer's issue). It is worth noting about the temple of God criteria for tithing that temple priests were tithed, yet with abolition of the Temple for Christians when the veil was torn asunder at crucifixion and with His resurrection the temple of God was entirely within believers. A priesthood of believers has the temple of God where the Lord lives within each.
Gurnall's sentence structure can also be difficult to follow. The sentence are often long, compound sentences with a preposition disjunct I think that gives meaning or not to what follows positively or negatively. One needs to reread the beginning of the sentence sometimes to determine if he was describing a condition positively or negatively.
I think Gurnall just wrote about everything he thought about the Bible and his times and placed it loosely within Paul's Christian armor paradigm. That's a good armor to defend against calumny of the age at least, as one sees from page 405 of volume one;
"Had Christ in his gospel but gratified the cravings of men’s lusts with a few promises for these things—though he had promised less for another world—the news would have gone down better with these sots, who had rather hear one prophecy of wine and strong drink, than [to hear] preach of heaven itself. Truly, there are but a very few—and those sufficiently jeered for their pains —that like the message of the gospel so well as to receive it cordially into their hearts. If any one does but give entertainment to Christ, and it be known, what an alarm does it give to all his carnal neighbours! If they do not presently beset his house, as the Sodomite's did Lot’s, yet do they set some brand of scorn upon him—yea, make account they have now reason enough to despise and hate him, how well soever they loved him before.
O what will God do with this degenerate age we live in! O England! England! I fear some sad judgment or other bodes for thee! If such glad tidings as the gospel brings be rejected, sad news cannot be far off—I cannot think of less than of a departing gospel. God never made such settlement of his gospel among any people but he could remove it from them. He comes but upon liking, and will he stay where he is not welcome? Who will that hath elsewhere to go? It is high time for the merchant to pack up and be gone when few or none will buy, nay, when instead of buying, they will not suffer him to be quiet in his shop, but throw stones at him, and dirt on his richest commodities. Do we not see the names of Christ's faithful messengers bleeding at this day under the reproaches that fly so thick about their ears? Are not the most precious truths of the gospel almost covered with the mire and dirt of errors and blasphemies, which men of corrupt minds—set on work by the devil himself—have raked out of every filthy puddle and sink of old heretics and thrown on the face of Christ and his gospel! And where is the hand so kind as to wipe off that which they have thrown on? the heart so valiant for the truth as to stop these foul mouths from spitting their venom against Christ and his gospel? If anything be done of this kind, alas! it is so faintly, that they gather heart by it."
It is amazing that Gurnall wrote that about 17th century England. As Dickens said it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. England's empire would increase yet England itself would decline and lose its empire over time, and the United States though not having a formal empire seems to be a sunset power at its zenith-rather a paradox but consistent with what Toynbee wrote in His 'Study of History' about civilization cycles with the Universal phase achieved before the fall. The U.S.A. may be pursuing a policy of elite's developing a global plutonomy that will eventually downsize the population after they are somnafied and willful to be erased...that would be the long range plan rather than the short term.
I should reiterate the point that the pre-tribulationists aren't very helpful at converting the world's people to Christian faith and forward looking optimism for this world and the next. Even if the population experiences a managed burn and drops to two billion souls a majority could still become Christian and the third coming of Christ occur (his resurrection appearance was the second coming).
I once sanitized felony files for a state department of corrections in a non-permanent job. The files were records of cases that had been closed. One needed to remove staples and other items that would be problems for the microfilm operator to run the paper through the machine. The paper files were going to be trashed and the originals reduced to microfilm. I was prepping the files for microfilming.
So I noticed the names of the people and the kind of crimes they were convicted of, though I did not read the files at length (I am a speed reader). Many of the names were those of celebrities. Society makes it difficult for people with famous names even if they are not the original. That's just the way human beings associate things. If one looks like Clarke Gable they will expect you are rich too and don't need to work like a regular guy-that would make life difficult. If your name is that of a famous rock star it might not be helpful. If your name is {famous author} you might be thought too high, intellectual or rich or find life challenging especially if you are not so verbose. One guy named { famous author} was shot through the heart near a correctional facility by some criminal on parole I think. I knew a garbage collector at a Texas state office building named {famous car}. I cannot exaggerate how smelly and noxious the loading dock area was at 4 a.m. with diesel exhaust from a garbage truck parked in it with the engine running while it loaded dumpsters. {Famous car} drove every morning into that environment and inhaled it-it even bothered one's eyes. It was like a plastic-karma correction that should follow after people with the same name as the ultra rich.
Names are sometimes negatives and sometimes positives in regard to other meanings of the word. Christopher Walkin starred in 'Dogs of War' and several other choice roles like a villain in one of the Batman movies. Hollywood has learned to exploit symbolism too. Perhaps that was some sort of symbolic Satanic reversal of the author of 'Footprints' life.
Gurnall ends the second volume with admonishment for Christian duty to pray for and give (money) to public Christians. That the work Armour of God concludes with a request for money, following an earlier reference to Paul as a beggar for his statement of Ephesians in Ephesians 6:19-20 'As for me, that utterance may be given unto me. that I may open my mouth boldly..." provides some insight for me into the way Gurnall regarded himself and his career objectives.
There is some good writing in Gurnall's book though one would need to be a married monastic living by strict rule to use it well, and one would need to live without distractions and unplanned interruptions to one's meditations. it doesn't sound like a bad life to me really, yet it wouldn't work for sailors very well if on a smaller vessel where every wave is meaningful and peaceful when not violent yet distracting from some sorts of academic, spiritual thinking.
Before continuing on I want to make a substantial quote from page 88. I like this writing. It takes some of Solomon's paradigm and accentuates it positively. When Gurnall isn't providing the 96 varieties of prayer and of faith and countermeasures to the assaults of the enemy upon the spiritual fortress of the mind where I find it challenging to follow occasionally, his writing can be good.
From page 88; "Use First. Is man but frail flesh? Let this humble thee, O man, in all thy excellency; flesh is but one remove from filth and corruption. Thy soul is the salt that keeps thee sweet, or else thou wouldst stink above ground. Is it thy beauty thou pridest in? Flesh is grass, but beauty is the vanity of this vanity. This goodliness is like the flower, which lasts not so long as the grass, appears in its mouth and is gone; yea, like the beauty of the flower, which fades while the flower stands. How soon will time's plough make furrows in thy face, yea, one fit of an ague so change thy countenance, as shall make thy doting lovers afraid to look on thee? Is it strength? Alas, it is an arm of flesh, which withers oft in the stretching forth. Ere long thy blood, which is now warm, will freeze in thy veins; thy spring crowned with May-buds will tread on December's heel; thy marrow dry in thy bones, thy sinews shrink, thy legs bow under the weight of thy body; thy eye-strings crack; thy tongue [be] not able to call for help; yea, thy heart with thy flesh shall fail. And now thou who art such a giant, take a turn of thou canst in thy chamber, yea, raise but thy head from thy pillow if thou art able, or call back thy breath, which is making haste to be gone out of thy nostrils, never to return more; and darest thou glory in that which so soon may be prostrate?
Is it wisdom? The same grave that covers thy body, shall bury all that—the wisdom of thy flesh I mean—all thy thoughts shall perish, and [thy] goodly plots come to nothing. Indeed, if a Christian, thy thoughts as such shall ascend with thee, not one holy breathing of thy soul lost. Is it thy blood and birth? Whoever thou art, thou art base-born till born again; the same blood runs in thy veins with the beggar in the street, Acts 17:26 . All nations there we find made of the same blood; in two things all are alike, we come in and go out of the world alike; as one is not made of finer earth, so not resolved into purer dust."
Gurnall's approach to the simple analogy of Paul in Ephesians chapter 6 verses 10-18 is sort of like it would be if an ancient Jew took some verse from the Pentateuch and wrote a 1000 pages of commentary on it. With so much verbiage it is possible to miss the contextual point of the scripture itself. There is nothing wrong with all that Rabbinical commentary if one is living by the law rather than faith,yet if justification is by faith rather than the law it is not certain that one should develop a legalistic approach to faith considering all of the various mental dispositions or permutations and variations of thought that one might experience as postures of attitude in regard or belief, unbelief or 50 shades of gray in between.
It is not my intention to be overly critical of Gurnall's work. yet I believe people want to be productive and sometimes just relate everything they can think of on a topic. Composers produce variations on a tone bar sometimes, and one can elaborate variations and structures with mathematical complexity forever I suppose returning to the theme, in this case of salvation, righteousness through the Lord and Faith. Gurnall is too worried about losing faith and of false faith sometimes with technical investigations and relations that are distracting for those that are saved to a certain extent. Peter denied the Lord of course, yet Jesus had already told him he would do so, and had also said that Satan could not snatch any Christians from his hand. The Lord is faster than Satan.
It occurred to me that Paul may have intended to provide a mnemonic device for Christians to use as they went through the world. Remembering five points of Christian armor as they went through the day walking about the city or village would have been easier than inwardly deliberating upon innumerable, subtler fine distinctions of varieties of doctrine. Maybe the five pieces of armor were not intended to be terribly complex tips-of-the-iceberg of theology kinds of things that would launch a Christian in some retreat the opportunity to engage in inward theological debate and investigation. Perhaps the world of Paul's time was violent and often threatening with few real cures for medical problems, and life was short. At the time of the French Revolution the average life span for a Frenchman was 26 years. It was probably less in the first century A.D. As a Christian with very different worldly ethics than the overwhelming majority walked without the usual worldly defenses and devices he or she was not left defenseless. Instead they could put on the armor of God and look ahead toward the end of the race where they win the prize of eternal life with the Lord.
Having just read Bunyan's 'Holy War' and Brooks's remedies that are two different styles yet each economically written without fluff or the fatuous sort of stuffing of issues that I suspect comprises much of Gurnall's tomes volume one and two, I am a little critically inclined toward Gurnall.
Armor of God, volume one, that I opened at random, presented initially what seemed to be error in a few points. It isn't like imbibing Castor oil or some unpleasant remedy though, it is just rather theologically sloppy and stylistically reaching for quantity a little too much. Even thought the method is less than acute it may become better reading over time. It is an important topic yet not one that Brooks would have taken a thousand pages to write. I think Brooks would have got the work done in maybe 300 pages with a concise order of armor ensemble assembly.
Even so Gurnall develops some interesting viewpoints in his work. For instance says that God is at the bottom of the ladder as well as the top. I would add that that God in a sense is also the ladder itself as well as the ground and planet on which it rests. Some sophisticate might like to imply a Spinozan pantheism in that observation yet its not a valid criticism. I would venture that if one believes the Higgs field gives every particle mass that does not mean that individual particles do not exist as elements in the field or that the Higgs field is every string, quark lepton or muon. I believe physicists would call those emergent characteristics from the field.
He compares Christian action to water in a well that cannot be brought up without the action of the spirit. So he does maintain a doctrine of grace and providence acceptable to the reformers. When the King James version was newly printed it must have been an exciting time in Christendom.
In the first five pages of volume one Gurnall elaborates a too militarized analogy of the armor of God. Maybe Gurnall was never in a military yet he speaks of armies and generals a little more than one would like to see today. He uses the paradigm of a Roman general returning in victory to have his parade of victory in Rome and says that the general could never take his eyes from a courtesan on the street the entire way. If the victory parade were just 50 feet long it would have been possible to fix his eyes on her and not remove them. Yet the parade probable went some distance and unless the courtesan was jogging along the street beside the chariot she would have quickly receded into the past. Even so Gurnall says that the general that could defeat armies was himself defeated by 'a silly woman'.
I hate to think about modern African theology students reading Gurnall's accounts of an ancient Rome he never saw in 17th century England. Like Bunyan he would have been better off writing the secret histories of the corrupt rulers of his day and how they failed to put on the armor of God to much better effect. Gurnall's work seems to improve a little as one moves in it and gets accustomed to his style of writing. I think many of his examples taken from the world are a little off and lack the solid foundational logic of the Bible. Yet his interpretation and treatment of Biblical passages is a bit worrisome if mildly inaccurate or personalized from his own point of view too much, and the logic is just not acute. One wants to learn the right stuff in sound Biblical doctrine rather than ideas and attitudes inspired by a given circumstantial interpretation of the Bible.
I appreciate some of Gurnall's comments such as one must "trust in a withdrawing God Isa. 50:10" at times. One must trust in the name of the Lord even if he sees no light and walks in darkness Gurnall observes. Such opinions are interesting. Yet his idea that one should wrestle God with prayer in boldness and that some take heaven by force (of prayer) seems dubiously accurate points constructed from his ongoing preference for military metaphors. I suppose though that language must fit the times it is used in, and that subtlety isn't always appreciated by ordinary social clods of any age. I should say that I have respect for farmers and don't share an opinion that urban sophisticates are better sorts of people. On the contrary they may be environmentally primitives without the sense they could draw even from nature and living in as natural environment. pave and rave, pollute and ecosphere loot is more the zeitgeist for perennially recurrent Nazcar loopiness.
Maybe one day some modern writer can make a new and improved armor of God kind of book and use Bill Clinton as an example of how the commander-in-cheap was defeated by 'that silly woman' or maybe several 'silly women', and the way the Supreme Court voted for corrupt decisions or how national Public Radio was a propaganda agency for domestic moral decay and concentration of wealth and power for plutocracy.
A modern armor of God presentation would be intellectually challenging to compose if it were to serve realistic purposes inn today's modern world. I am not at all confident that Gurnall's version would have well served people of his own day even, yet I could be wrong about that.
It is notable that Paul used economy of writing though one feels that he treated topic fully. he did not write as if he needed to pad his letters with chat about Alexander or stories about how few disciples Manny had. Neither does he inform us much about the inhuman works of Herod the Great that were the dark underside of his bright and shiny Temple, Masada and Herodium construction masterpieces. For criticism of Caesar one must rather rely on the Apostle John's coded Revelation describing the beast of the Revelation that was Nero.
Well, perhaps this is enough commentary for day one of my reading. I suppose I will approach this is something of a journal style with a day by day commentary-possibly critical, yet Gurnall is tough enough to survive the commentary being nearly a half millennium dead and safely lined up for heaven on the resurrection day.
I hope I don't find much to negatively comment in this journey through the Armor of God. It isn't Gurnall's fault that he didn't write the books in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was establishing the new world order of G.H.W. Bush's vision that would let sin and wealth be centrally directed on the globe.
Gurnall mentions that one must get rid of one's most dear and favorite sin and throw it away. I suppose that I could learn to write in his effusive style a little, yet it is a temptation that must be avoided as some sort of sin itself I suppose.
it does bring me to wonder what my most dear and favorite, beloved sin would be if I had such a thing. It cannot be anger toward others, or even hate of the corrupt government that makes justice impossible if or when it uses its power asymmetrically to economically war on a poor individual to force him to sell his lem. Hatred is not a pleasure nor dear or beloved. hatred is not a cool tool of logic and I tend to vanish it when it is not re-stimulated by the appearance of more government perfidy broadcast on the satanic airwaves spreading manure analogously to the world.
So hatred cannot be a dear pleasurable sin but is instead an unpleasant one that may cause heart pain. I think that perhaps a better sin prospect would be entirely imaginary wherein I sky dive from a stolen aircraft over a skyscraper while the plane on autopilot flies on into the ocean. On the way down to the top of the 100 story building a burn a hole in a window with a laser beam filched from a secret government weapons testing lab, and the release my para-sail in time to fall into the side window of the penthouse and land standing up. In a few seconds the beautiful woman held captive by the evil billionaire plutocrat is captivated by my charm and divulges the location of the hidden safe with the chip that has code to make the entire world queer, as well as a billion dollars in cash. I open the safe with special cracking techniques, grab the woman and a billion dollars in crisp million dollar bills and jump out the window and open another para-sail to reach a cigarette boat that will take us to Cuba.
Somewhere in that imaginary scenario I am sure there are a few hypothetical sins. Perhaps there is some sort of academic license to conjecture about what does and doesn't comprise sin, in the abstract, without becoming a perpetrator of sin. Sins of thought are maybe as bad as sins of commission. If it is sin to think about adultery or fornication with some especially seductive, irresistible woman (or courtesan as the case may be {somewhere there must still be courtesans, perhaps in politics}), then it may also be sin to think about theft, or property destruction and so forth.
It might be that some of the reason that thought can be sin is that thought can lead to sinful behavior. If one daydreams about cheating the I.R.S. of taxes as much as one daydreams about earning an average salary annually, then if one ever did earn an average annual salary one might possibly cheat the I.R.S. and incur the wrath of bureaucracy not to mention fuel up Satan's fires of internal combustion of spirituality that are so destructive to the soul.
Before I leave the topic of hate-the topic of sin will recur throughout the books of Gurnall so I am probably not done with that- I would comment that hate is no more than a rejection of an exteriority (in existentialist terms). One must hate sin and hate the world's temptations and love the things of God and the Lord.
Government today by and for the rich would make hate a crime in-itself and developed hate as an evil that should be excised from the tool kit of possible human thoughts. If the government could condition people to find hate impossible it would be easier to force-feed everyone sin and hamburger with only 5% meat per serving. It would be easier to label nationalism as hate of foreigners and a sort of phobia for-itself. Fo be ya's are conditions to eliminate along with hate from a citizenry that ought to be as pliable as limp spaghetti to corporate programming. None should think for themselves, no not one in the brave new world of sinless feed lot tourism.
Hate as the rejection of an exteriority is a reasonable subjective thought status, so long as one can view it with detachment and analytically. It can be a tool of logic for-itself wherein the individual is immersed in a social or physical circumstance that requires an emotional level of response. It is just necessary to keep logical awareness of the use of hate as a stop-gap response to a challenging situation.
I have one example in mind. In 2013 I rowed an inflatable boat-an eight footer, from Wrangell to Juneau Alaska, a distance of about 150 miles if one were to travel in a strait line. By the time I had reached the southern edge of Holkam Bay I had been nearly out of food several days. The Bay is fairly large and can be difficult to row over. I planned a tactical crossing from the southern shore.
In 2004 when I rowed to Juneau I went straight across the Bay entrance after camping on the southern shore a few days delayed because of bad weather. The morning I launched the boat it was snowing and the water was somewhat calm. The waves in the midst of the crossing reached about 8 feet in height as the wind came up.
An inflatable boat camp be blown by the wind off course very easily. I risked being taken by the southern wind down the fairway of Stephens passage. Since the boat was leaking air from one of the two chambers I had no interest in delay or being capsized. used the oars to steer the boat and let the rising wind push it along.
Mid-crossing an army helicopter passed high overhead and must have seen the boat. A couple of days later after I made it to the other side a coast guard helicopter showed up at the camp site and I waved them off not needing rescue.
Anyway, I made it to the shore that time, just barely catching the north edge of the shore, and in 2013 decided to row around an inner part of the bay being more conservative. This time it was more difficult though less dangerous.
There are some islands half way across the bay and somewhat in from the entrance (it about 3 miles across the bay entrance), and there is a sand spit that kind of points to them, and on the map there is a feature called 'whirlpools'. If one had an outboard the whirlpools is a problem I discovered. It may be very difficult to get through them.
One cannot approach the sand spit directly from mid-current although along the shore one can reach it easily I found in 1994. From mid-crossing with the whirlpool currents being a problem I headed off to the sand spit and found I couldn't make any progress in that direction either. Getting to the island through the whirlpools wasn't working either. It is a strain to row for an hour in this or that direction and get nowhere in a vain effort to discover how one may travel to where one wants to go. One develops a hatred of the resistance of the currents to one's desired course. One develops hatred toward the currents that won't let one go very far in any direction and that won't allow access to the islands that at one point are just 200 yards away. Then the tide changes with larger waves rising and one must still guess about what way to go and must hate the entire situation to keep one's adrenalin pumped up and not give up on the rowing.
Even worse-since before Cape Fanshaw the oarlocks on the zodiac inflatable were worn out basically and kept working with cut up aluminum cans I found as detritus on a beach. There was always a strong possibility that the oars just wouldn't work any more on the journey. Somehow with hate and prayer I found a way behind one of the islands after giving up the short, direct course wanted to take. In a few minutes the fastest current I have encountered took the inflatable as if it was on a river around the island to the far side closest to the north shore of Holkam Bay. I camped that night on an island that I had anchored a sailboat next too for a while in the dark in 2009. It was a strange experience being without food, eating seaweed and camping on a shore that I recognized from long ago. It is something like a time travel experience. I suppose in heaven, where there is no need to hate any exterior conditions, there may be some experience of time travel paradoxes though there is not time in the sense that it is known in the temporal Universe, as a way of experiencing good within a continuum of the love of God.
I was reading a book on the nature of poetry and the writer goes over so of the characteristics of good poetry versus bad-Milton versus Kilmer-that some critics use to evaluate poetry. He mentioned that the use of paradoxical language is one device-present in Milton and mostly absent in Kilmer's 'Trees' that some use. Yet of course poetry cannot be rated solely in the complexity and subtlety of its method. The ambient aesthetic satisfaction to the reader is equally important. So is the sensibility and nature of the insight that a poet provides to the reader as when, like in a good novel, the reader discovers a different way to view the world and and insight into the architecture of the fabric of reality that may not have been within the readers intellectual content.
The book regards 17th century metaphysical poets; largely English poets, in one section. That gives me pause to consider the fact that the 17th century was a great one for English writers. many of the reformers wrote in the 17th century. perhaps it was a result of the printing press and the reformation developing more or less together, yet it was a great time for some of history's best writers to appear; Shakespeare, Milton, Bunyan, Watson, Brooks etc. And they followed martin Luther, Malanchthon, Erasmus and a host of classical scholars along with newer ones such as Calvin. Perhaps I am being too critical with Gurnall, yet he is being contrasted with some of the most economical and illuminating writers in history, and his technique stands as a kind of obtuse filter in a line of clear prismatic lenses letting through the light from the Word of God. it is not that Gurnall doesn't mean well, it is just that is particular use of the English language is somehow more bureaucratic as have read so far-not too far- than the other writers.
There are some philosophers in the history of Western philosophy that are not too well known outside professional philosophical circles that were not terribly influential in their own day and did not write in a way that would give them some sort of fame throughout history. C.D. Broad wrote a book called 'The Mind and Its Place in Nature' that is not often remembered. The last of the scholastics-a theologian named Duns Scotus, is not often retrieved to contemporary theological discussions.
Hegel wrote 'Reason in History' and Kant 'A Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics' and Heidegger 'Being and Time' and those sorts of works will be considered centuries after their composition as example paradigms for methods of developing intellectual world-views and paradigmata. The Christian struggle (I would substitute strudel for struggle in order to avoid the negative connotations of the word made by the archetype of evil of 1944 yet it would seem silly) to travel through stages in life's way without detours to sin or accidental head-on encounters with sin (the irresistible women encounters Ivan Moneybags) can use some training and pre-conditioning. don't think I would go too far with mililtary basic training conditioning though as the military itself is mostly institutionalized sin within a sinful sin city. The military even in Girnal's day was used for state policy execution in unjust wars like as not, and too support aims of territorial expansion, or to repress civil liberty and enforce the will of tyrants, and occasionally in necessary national or tribal defense. Paul uses a couple of indirect military allusions, yet his use of 'armor of God' is itself an alternative spiritual application of the armor of the material world. Spiritual war is fundamentally different than material war. Gurnall writes about valor and not being cowardly a lot at the start of his book, yet the military analogies contrast rather rudely with Christian virtues of meekness, humility, patience, long-suffering and faith in the Lord.
Military virtues differ from spiritual virtues of faith in God. A soldier might get in to firefights or slaughter vulnerable opposition forces like fish in a barrel if he can. A soldier should have courage yet that is a kind of training conditioning one gets within a unit and peer group of group-think. Criminal gangs, corporations and bureaucracies have the same sorts of indoctrination with different respective virtues accentuated for positive feedback and control. Christians though would disregard the fire and keep focusing upon the Lord. One can regard Polycarp and Christians thrown to lions in the Roman Colosseum as examples of disregard of exteriorities that would challenge them to be just worldly and alter their behavior or faith. Those Christians certainly had courage to follow through with their beliefs yet it is a very different sort of resolute courage based on faith. If one knows that the temporal world is an illusion compared to the eternal kingdom of God it is easier to go forward with the ethics required to continue into the kingdom than to deviate because of fear of temporal threats.
Not to be flippant here, one finds that Yoda when training young Luke Skywalker instructed him about not being frightened of his own imaginings and of other psychological things. I don't recall that Yoda had much to say about being frightened about exteriorities though-Jedi knights were supposed to defeat them if they were threats. Christians alternatively should ignore external spiritual attacks to a certain extent and let God defeat the wickedness that is the sin-toolkit of Satan.
Not that Christians should ignore spiritual dangers such as exist as exteriorities. There are remedies to external challenges of sin that can be determined and used to overcome sin. Christians may not always be able to overcome the temporal world's dangers and threats of one's interests. Yet the primary interest is in actualizing the will of God so the sort of things that are dangers are those that detract one from the spiritual path. perhaps wisdom helps lead one to the right responses and directions consistent with spiritual progress-a pilgrim's progress as it were. The Christians dangers are different than those of a soldier and the responses to and armor from are different.
Paul's armor metaphor can only go so far. One doesn't need a Kevlar vest and full body armor to stop spiritual attacks obviously. One needs the word of God and the sword of the Holy Spirit to provide the grace to cut through the Gordian knot of temporality's nexus of sin and webs of deceit.
Using martial metaphors for Christian defense brings to mind the entire lexicon of adjective, adverbs, nouns and verbs to construct a task-force of defense around the aircraft carrier of the individual Christian that the Lord sends the Holy Spirit to land on as needed. Like fleet commander the Lord lives in his own cabin of the heart of the vessel while the Christian is the boat commander hoping for direction from the fleet admiral. All of these metaphors are exteriorities to the serenity of being in the spirit with faith in God.
God is the only meaningful exteriority. He is the one who created nature and the Universe, physical laws and forms of being in which Satan's votaries rampage about liked crazed animals striving for hedonistic purpose. In the absence of sin all of the created Universe is good, yet mankind has original sin and the temporal Universe is one in which consumption of exteriorities to input energy and growth is implicit. Exteriorities often or perhaps always are others. One has issues in the social dialectic of ego and philosophy of personal egoism wherein one fulfills one's desires for exteriority consumption regardless of the wish of others not to be so consumed. U.S. politics has much of a disingenuous element of deception about in in which a politician persuades the public he is for their interest or that his or her policies are for the good of the people when that is just deception. The deceits are necessary to consume exteriorities of wealth, environment and power; redistributing wealth and resource control to the most rich globally. The politicians must persuade the public that their way is the only way to prosperity.
Remaining serene and in the spirit is easier in nature than in artificially created environments where the entire exteriority is a fabrication intended to control the user-exteriority. When corporate power extends outside the franchise store to include the street and government the public become programmable robot user-units that must conform or live broke in a tent at some distance ridiculed by the foreign poor that desire only to be consumer-users in the corporate environment. Corporate knows and exploits that. Meanwhile God has constructed and sustains the Universe. Social animals have their day with sound and fury, strutting about like actors on the global stage, hams to the last, and some people remain Christian distancing themselves so far as possible from the planetary indoctrination that occludes the spirit and the Lord from their ordinary thought. Christians resist that robbing of their peace and security in the Lord that is a popular front of aggression today.
Christians resist the aggression of atheism that seeks to annihilate religion and replace it with chaos under the control of Supermen and Superwomen of wealth. It is one thing to argue for religious tolerance and free thought for all; it is quite another to argue for atheism and against religion 'freedom from religion' as a new normal. Such a disposition is confrontational and aggressive-it stimulates conflict wherever it arises and places millions and even perhaps billions into the jeopardy of secular war and subjugation to atheistic dictators and plutocrats. While the atheists dream of world peace ala John Lennon they structure world conflict in trying to force the disturbance and reduction of religious faith.
Matters of conscious and matters of philosophical reflection and religious conviction are elements of personal liberty in a free society that should be defended rather than assaulted by thoughtless secular consumers of exteriorities that wish to consume the total national religious situation and excrete a pile of atheist futility under scientific controls.
Certainty that God exists does create a kind of serenity in knowing that the absolutely wise and good is in charge of everything ultimately. However each soul is immersed in a sea of temporal matter tearing him or her asunder if possible so far as losing sight of the eternal good God is concerned. it is something of a paradox that God is present always yet it dimly perceptible at most times as a kind of walk on player to his show. The pop adventure author Clive Cussler always writes himself into his book with a one-time appearance in a small yet critical role. Jesus Christ had a very large role in human history, yet the Holy Spirit seems sometimes to be just out of the corner of one's eye, or an ephemeral shadow transiting reality for a transcendent deity larger than the entirety of the Universe that is itself something like a will-o-the-wisp apparitious entanglement of mysterious particle-waves in a mysterious field emanated with uncertainty from an unknowable meta-set. In the beginning was the Word.
The temporal world's reality subjectively overcomes one's own material existence. It can snatch it in an instant or with long and agonizing cruelty. The pains and temptations of the world always draw one back from spiritual concerns to the reality of reality as a temporal fabric in which the soul is implicitly embedded. The Christian knows that God has got his 6, and more that his entire mind in its place in nature are constructions of God. Without God's will that each soul arises to be and become know one would. No one is a self-cause of their own being. Even the mind and soul are borrowed in a sense and must be returned to the Creator of souls eventually for His disposition.
In the second volume Gurnall continues a piece by piece examination of the armor of God a Christian should wear in the battle against sin. I thing that Brooks has much better concision and explanation of the basic criterion of sin and of remedies to Satan's device than Gurnall. Even so Gurnall has some interesting writing in going on about the nine piece ensemble of armor against satanic devices I suppose..
The first 93 pages of the second volume are about just faith as the shield of God and in the use of faith to repel the 'fiery darts of Satan'. In my way of thinking thats a lot of prose to remark upon faith in an overly technical way as if one could inventory the nature and applications of faith with concision and write about that exhaustively as if an article was requested by the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the topic. Perhaps I shouldn't be too critical of Gurnall on the point. I don't overload my own writing with scriptural references inevitably-I think that can be a substitute for theological reasoning although just quoting scripture without adding some sort of theological point can't do any harm either.
I am just not persuaded at all that it is a good idea to approach the issue of faith from some sort of neo-technical way as if it were characteristics observable equally for all, nor that such an approach can provide a good list of various 'flavors' of faith, nor that anyone would recognize their own faith in Gurnall's categories.
When i was isolated in Alaska and hungry many years ago I used a small snap trap to catch squirrels that I'd skin and try to cook. Alaska squirrels haven't much protein on them and are rather a waste of effort. Perhaps a little better than mussels on beach rocks, yet not worth it anyway.
I noticed that the little critters always stuck their heads in the trap the same way-and for that matter, mice stick there heads in a trap the same way most of the time too-rodents being rodents. yet I think that human psychology is not such an easy to explain item as rodent behavior. In my humble opinion faith may be deeper and more complex in its relationships of interiority and exteriority between mind and God than can be found in the Gurnall exposition. God too enables mind and mind content too exist in some mysterious way through pre-destination of its existence, yet to eternal, timeless God all things are present so the idea of pre-destination as if there was a temporal time order for God as well as man is dubious, even so mind content is foreknown to God and so is the presence of faith or not. Nevertheless faith and the experiences of faith might be written about in a different way than Gurnall does with equal and some similar points and cover it rather well. Because of that I think that Gurnall's method lacks some element of logical rigor that he might have found with a more discursive style less reliant on developing a thesis quantitatively.
Gurnall makes an awful lot of anecdotal examples from the world to illustrate his ideas about faith of various kinds, and usually with sparse scriptural references. it seems as if he got an idea for a thesis, developed an outline and filled in in with sufficient prose writing to comprise a thousand pages. His approach isn't that of the Summa Theologica, and it needn't be, yet in comparison to Watson and Brooks it lacks practical rigor. I am sure that Gurnall was Christian enough and had true faith yet it is problematic that his books are terribly effective at bringing a Christian to a brief, concise comprehension of faith and other facts about being a Christian as the armor of God.
Back in the day people didn't have too much to read and books were costly. The development of symbolic logic was centuries away although Leibniz developed an early version of mathematical logic and didn't publish it in his life. People and I suppose ministers had much time to read just one book and might have found Gurnall's methods OK. It was worth the effort in writing the study yet it does seem a little opportunistic with far too many anecdotal examples. It is as if I could put a computer chip in a bald eagle and make it fly a hundred fifty miles to bring cheap items from Wal-mart here to Wrangell as an example of faith in the honesty of Wal-mart employees and of the reliability of eagles with chips. Without a scriptural reference of support to relate the eagle mission to, is it reasonable to use that sort of example to prove a Biblical point (as if I had one there)?
It is possible that the full armor of God might have been a generic or categorical reference to faith and all things Christian said by the Lord and the prophets then just a few particular items that may be enumerated. One might write about such items from numerous approaches that might be equally valid and even more effective as mnemonics to help a soul defend against sin and wickedness.
Ephesians 6:11-20 follows chapters 4 and 5 without which a certain amount of context is lacking. Maybe Paul's writing is just better on the armor of God point. The armor of God seems like the right clothing for Christians as ambassadors of God to wear on a mission to the evil of the age that was then and is still now.
Ephesians 6:10-18 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Without the context of chapters four and five the armor of God verses can easily be given perhaps too much and yet not enough meaning. Christians have a lot of suffering and challenges in the world that they may encounter. Paul provides much pastoral elucidation about how a Christian should live-in-the-world yet not of it. Paul's armor of God statement is something like that of a pastor reminding the faithful on Sunday at the conclusion of service that they are about to enter the mission field. The armor of God is what they should put on in going about that mission. I believe that Gurnall at least on the point about faith may get too analytical about it and if a Christian has it or not-such self-doubts are perhaps not the sort of thing that people would have such as Paul would be addressing at that time.
Ephesians 4 "1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
I will provide an example of Gurnall's writing style that makes it somewhat challenging to follow in an edifying way. Well, it is edifying basically, yet it is more Gurnall than Biblical. Reading Gurnall is something of a departure from the clarity of the Bible as one follows along the somewhat convoluted trails that seem a little remote at time from scripture.
The helmet of salvation-just one line in Paul's sixth chapter of Ephesians, calls Gurnall to issue a vast storm of words generally about being a Christian in the world and stuffing that into the helmet of salvation. Following is a quote from pages 148-149;
"Consider it is possible—I do not mean in the way thou art in, for so it is as impossible that thou shouldst get to heaven, as it is that God should be found a liar—but it is possible that thou who art now without hope, mayest by a timely and vigorous use of the means obtain a hope of salvation; and certainly a possible hope carries in it a force of strong argument to endeavour for an actual hope. There is never a devil in hell so bad but if he had a thousand worlds at his dispose—and every one better than this we dote on—would exchange them all for such a may be, yea count it a cheap pennyworth too. It was but a possibility that brought that heathen king of Nineveh from his throne to lie grovelling at God’s foot in sackcloth and ashes, and that king will rise up in judgment against thee if thou dost not more. For that was a possibility more remote than thine is. It was spelled out, not from any express promise that dropped from the preacher to encourage them to humble themselves and turn to the Lord —for we read of nothing but desolation denounced —but from that natural theology which was imprinted on their minds. This taught them to hope that he who is the chief good would not be implacable. But you have many express promises from God’s faithful lip, that if you in his tie and way seek unto him, as sure as God is now in heaven, you shall live there with him in glory. ‘Your heart shall live that seek God,’ Ps. 69:32 . Yea there are millions of blessed ones now in heaven experimenting the truth of this word, who once had no more right to heaven than yourselves now have; and that blissful place is not yet crowded so full but he can and will make room for you if indeed you have a mind to go thither. There is one prayer which Christ made on earth that will keep heaven-gate open for all that believe on him unto the end of the world. ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word,’ John 17:20 . This is good news indeed. Methinks it would make your souls leap within your breasts, while you sit under the invitations of the gospel, as the babe once did in Elizabeth’s womb, upon the virgin Mary’s salutation. Say not then, sinners, that ministers put you upon impossibilities, and bid you climb a hill inaccessible, or assault a city that is unconquerable. No; it is the devil, and thy own unbelieving heart—who together conspire thy ruin—that tell thee so. And as long as you listen to these counsellors you are like to do well, are you not?"
Gurnall finds so many military threats to well being of the Christian and uses opposite extreme response terms a lot, coward/valor,truth-liar, craven-faithful etc. as if he took the not lukewarm, but hot or cold instruction to an extreme in all things with bitter-sweet meats of things to put on the table of thought in order to serve a hot, rich, savory stew of insight into the armor of righteousness. In the end he may be right of course in worrying to death the possibilities of having his faith hidden behind clouds, fogs and mists of self-deceit as he pursues sin and that would leave him stranded high and dry when he lay down to sleep in his grave only to discover a rude awakening unto sorrow when others are experimenting with happiness in heaven and he (not really Gurnall but one in the hypothetical position of being lost in the world and found only upon resurrection to be destined for perdition) well-set for retirement in eternal hell. The Gurnall style is just a little distracting.
I believe that I prefer a more logical, streamlined approach to the gospel and rely on God's grace for its actualization in life so far as possible. That works better for me. The power and will of God transcend interiority and exteriority. One must trust God.
Another example of the style of Gurnall that seems to contrived, that is not in a disingenuous sense, rather in just seeming artificial here follows. Quoting from page 380;
"It is no wonder that he should want matter for his prayer at night, and trifle in it with impertinences, who did not treasure up what passed in the day betwixt God and him. Though the minister be not making his sermon all the week, yet by observing in his other studies what may be useful for him in that work, he is furnished with many hints that help him when he goes about it.
Such an advantage the Christian will find for prayer by laying up the remarkable instances of God’s providences to him and of his carriage to God again under them; these will furnish him with necessary materials for the performance. The bag is filling while the kine are feeding or chewing the cud, and accordingly yields more plentily when milked at night. Truly thus it is here. That Christian must needs be most fruitful and plentiful in his devotions, when he comes to pour out his heart to God in prayer, that hath been thus filling it all the day with meditations suitable and helpful to the duty."
It is not plain to me that a professional, commercial Christian earning a living in a hierarchical church would benefit from building up items to prayer about all day before he and his kine milk their intellectual or spiritual banks and give that up to God in prayer. For some reason I tend to think that prayer should be more fervent or spontaneous-someone else I read said that?
I am not a commercial Christian and support a priesthood of believers reformation of ecclesiastical order supported and embedded with a number of networking social structures for attendance, work, loans, emergency services, counseling and prayer, education and housing. The present structure seems inefficient, outdated, dwindling and to disregard Luther's admonishment for a priesthood of believers as the right way for the church to be. Christians can pray in a number of ways and circumstances, yet their are probably numerous ways to give tribute or attention to God, including service I would think. The life of service of Jesus Christ was a kind of living prayer itself-if prayer is regarded as consciously trying to implement the will of God as well as words given to God. For that matter one ought to be able to intentionally pray without using words at all-just offering an intentional feeling or awareness unto God.
Getting one's bag full of spiritual prayer milk is a dated analogy obviously, yet it illustrates the point that Gurnall writes quite a lot of stuff that is his own take on things. For 8 stanzas of Ephesians Gurnall wrote a thousand words of his own detailed manual for operations and that too technical approach of an individual that wasn't an apostle leaves me rather cold though I am sure he meant well.
I am not finished with the point though. Why shouldn't one equally well just pray continuously or try to be aware of the presence of God continuously rather than saving it up for a concentrated up-link in the evening? It also makes me wonder about predestination or pre-determinism involving prayer; has God pre-destined when and what people will pray about?
In Kenya the Zulu herders would drink blood from their cattle. I am not sure that ministers as cows eating grass and chewing their cuds before regurgitating from one of their stomachs with a prayer connection installed is a good metaphor today. Cattle in the U.S.A. are moved about from lot to lot and drugged, fed and slaughtered within two or three years as if they were plants for harvest. Whenever I ride a bike around the nation I always sympathize a little with some of the fenced in animals hoping one could escape and was smart enough to hide out in some deep brush-moving only at night-so it wouldn't be found until it died of old age. Of course they never do-they haven't got a prayer.
Gurnall's point of view on the matters works, yet it is his point of view rather than that of Peter or Paul's. A thousand pages of Gurnall's point of view is a bit excessive.
I think I will write my own brief commentary on the Armour of God in order to contrast it with Gurnall's.
First, Paul's paradigm from Ephesians 6"13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"
I believe that to gird means to put on. That is an old English double meaning of course that probably isn't present in the same way in Hebrew. Even so a Christian puts on truth that is the gospel of the Lord. First things first
Secondly the breastplate of righteousness. If one is in the will of God following the gospel that is a good, righteous defense against the main thrust at one's primary center-of-mass target by the enemies of God.
Shoes are the third item of armor on the list. I need not point out that shoes regarded as armor stretch the analogy a little. I suppose shoes can have metal on them to stop enemy spears or arrows in the feet. Here I should make an historical aside. In some great battle of Roman history a legion was in present day Turkey pacifying the Celtic population. Rather famously they cornered the Celt warriors on a hill. Celts liked to fight naked, and Roman archers took advantage of that a little sending flocks of arrows in arching trajectories into the sky. Though Celts probably had shields to cover the downward trajectory of the arrows their feet were uncovered an were pinned to the ground. Though the Celts had pride in their bloody wounds in battle generally, as they died and were annihilated by the Romans they might have thought it better to win than to be glorious sometimes.
Shoes then can be an item of armor is designed so. Gurnall calls them spiritual shoes and Paul describes them as shoes preparing the gospel of peace. I like the idea of spiritual shoes bringing the preparation of the gospel of peace. With truth of the gospel and righteousness of grace shoes of spirit bring the preparation of the gospel of peace to the mission field.
Fourth is faith. Paul emphasizes faith. Gurnall uses about a 100 pages to emphasize faith. In reading so much I would tend to forget what it was that Paul said. Faith in God and in the Lord is the main point. Faith brings grace and salvation. Amen.
Fifth is the helmet of salvation. One has a head on one's shoulder in the temporal world. Salvation and the awareness of salvation brings the mind content to eternal life with God via the Son. The helmet of salvation encapsulates the temporal head and its content, quenching the fiery darts of the wicked; boo-ya!
Sixth is the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. There are two meanings here that I think are irreducible. One is the gospel of the Lord. Paul seems to be referring to written words in some way-perhaps the Quelle source or a general summary of the gospel circulating amongst churches in his day as well as his letters. verified communication from Jesus, God and the prophets were referenced here. That was one meaning. The other reference is to the actual Holy Spirit;
Genesis chapter 1; "1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
The Gospel according to John chapter 1;"1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 ¶ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
"32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him." (Jesus)
From the Book of Acts chapt 2; "1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 ¶ But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
So I think that Paul was referring to the Holy Spirit and the presence of the Spirit in the world in this era after Pentecost. I will note that the second coming of Jesus was at the resurrection. If one doesn't believe that was the second coming of Christ then one must not belief in the resurrection. When he arrives at the end of the age of the gentiles-maybe thousands of years from now or next week, that will be the third coming of Jesus Christ-the final yet renewing act of Universal history.
The Christian's Spiritual Shoe
Gurnall writes about the Christian's spiritual shoe(s) that he is 'to wear in the field' in the temporal battle against Satan. I think one should take Gurnall's work as edifying and encouraging writing rather than as a field training manual (FM) as one might use 'Precious Remedies to Satan's Devices'. Though Gurnall does have a paradigm of interpretation for Paul's armor that seems overworked, his writing is not-it is encouraging even if not exactly well titled.
Yet the Supreme Court passed forced homosexual marriage upon the United States and that will probably stimulate many and protracted social changes such as states vacating marriage and establishing just contract civil unions for anyone interested while letting religious marriage go its own way. I believe that is how it is in France. Otherwise anyone could sue to be free to marry under the liberal and erroneous interpretation of the constitution, regardless of their group configuration or number of members of a hypothetical marriage set. The corruption of secular law is a concern, a rather powerful one, and Gurnall' writing about being shod with good spiritual ideas is apropos today. Heaven beyond with God is such a great joy that the troubles of this world are just not significant. He writes on page 404 of volume one;
"Again, no ill news can come after the glad tidings of the gospel, where believingly embraced. God’s mercy in Christ alters the very property of all evils to the believer. All plagues and judgments that can befall the creature in the world, when baptized in the stream of gospel-grace, receive a new name, come on a new errand, and have a new taste on the believer's palate, as the same water by running through some mine, gets a tang and a healing virtue, which before it had not. ‘The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity,’ Isa. 33:24 . Observe, he doth not say ‘They shall not be sick.’ Gospel grace doth not exempt from afflictions, but ‘they shall not say, I am sick.’ they shall be so ravished with the joy of God’s pardoning mercy, that they shall not complain of being sick. This or any other cross is too thin a veil to darken the joy of the other good news. This is so joyful a message which the gospel brings, that God would not have Adam long without it, but opened a crevice to let some beams of this light, that is so pleasant to behold, into his soul, amazed with the terror of God’s presence. As he was turned out of paradise without it, so he had been turned into hell immediately; for such the world would have been to his guilty conscience. This is the news God used to tell his people of, on a design to comfort them and cheer them, when things went worst with them, and their affairs were at the lowest ebb, Isa. 7:15; Micah 5:5 . This is the great secret which God whispers, by his Spirit, in the ear of those only [whom] he embraces with his special distinguishing love, Luke 10:21; I Cor. 2:12 , so that it is made the sad sign of a soul marked out for hell, to have the gospel ‘hid’ from it, II Cor. 4:3 . To wind up this in a few words, there meet all the properties of a joyful message in the glad tidings of the gospel."
Gurnall continues on 404 with; "[The FIVE PROPERTIES of a joyful message found in the gospel.] Five ingredients are desirable in a message, yea, must all conspire to fill up the joyfulness thereof into a redundancy.
First Property. A message to be joyful must be good. None rejoice to hear evil news. Joy is the dilation of the heart, whereby it goes forth to meet and welcome in what it desires; and this must needs be some good. Ill news is sure to find the heart shut against it, and to come before it is welcome.
Second Property. It must be some great good, or else it affects little. Affections are stirred according to the degrees of good or evil in the object presented. A thing we hear may be so inconsiderable, that it is no great odds how it goes, but if it be good, and that great also, of weighty importance, this causeth rejoicing proportionable. The greater the bell, the more strength is required to raise it. It must be a great good that raiseth great joy.
Third Property. This great good must intimately concern them that hear it. My meaning is, they must have propriety in it. For though we can rejoice to hear of some great good befallen another, yet it affects most when it is emptied into our own bosom. A sick man doth not feel the joy of another’s recovery with the same advantage as he would do his own.
Fourth Property. It would much add to the joyfulness of the news if this were inauditum or nsperatum—unheard of and unlooked for—when the tidings steal upon us by way of surprise. The farther our own ignorance or despair has set us off all thoughts of so great enjoyment, the more joy it brings with it when we hear the news of it. The joy of a poor swineherd’s son, who never dreamed of a crown, would be greater at the news of such a thing conferred on him, than he whose birth invited him to look for it, yea, promised it him as his inheritance. Such a one’s heart would but stand level to the place, and therefore could not be so ravished with it, as another, who lay so far below such a preferment.
Fifth Property. To fill up the joy of all these, it is most necessary that the news be true and certain, else all the joy soon leaks out. What great joy would it afford to hear of a kingdom befallen to a man, and the next day or month to hear all crossed again and prove false? Now, in the glad tidings of the gospel, all these do most happily meet together, to wind up the joy of the believing soul to the highest pin that the strings of his affections can possibly bear.
1. The news which the gospel hath in its mouth to tell us poor sinners is good. It speaks promises, and they are significations of some good intended by God for poor sinners. The law, that brings ill news to town. Threatenings are the lingua vernacula legis —the native language of the law. It can speak no other language to sinners but denunciations of evil to come upon them; but the gospel smiles on poor sinners, and plains the wrinkles that sit on the law’s brow, by proclaiming promises.
2. The news the gospel brings is as great as good. It was that the angel said, ‘I bring you good tidings of great joy,’ Luke 2:10 . Great joy it must needs be, because it is all joy. The Lord Christ brings such news in his gospel as that he left nothing for any after him to add to it. If there be any good wanting in the tidings of the gospel, we find it elsewhere than in God, for in the covenant of the gospel he gives himself through Christ to the believing soul.
Surely the apostle’s argument will hold: ‘All things are yours and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s,’ I Cor. 3:22, 23 . The gospel lays our pipes close to the fountain of goodness itself; and he, sure, must have all, that is united to him that hath that is all. Can any good news come to the glorified saints which heaven doth not afford them? In the gospel we have news of that glory. ‘Jesus Christ, hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,’ II Tim. 1:10 . The sun in the firmament discovers only the lower world; absignat cælum dum revelat terram—O it hides heaven from us, while it shows the earth to us! But the gospel enlightens both at once— ‘Godliness hath the promise of the life that is now, and of that which is to come,’ I Tim. 4:8 .
3. The gospel doth not tell us news we are little concerned in—not what God has done for angels, but for us. ‘Unto you,’ saith the angel, ‘is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord.’ If charity made angels rejoice for our happiness, surely then, the benefit which is paid into our nature by it, gives a further pleasure to our joy at the hearing of it. It were strange that the messenger who only brings the news of some great empire to be devolved on a person should sing, and the prince to whom it falls should not be glad. And, as the gospel’s glad tidings belong to man's nature, not to angels; so in particular, to thee, poor soul, whoever thou art, that embracest Christ in the arms of thy faith. A prince is a common good to all his kingdom —every subject, though never so mean, hath a part in him—and so is Christ to all believers. The promises are so laid that, like a well-drawn picture, they look on all that look on them by an eye of faith. The gospel’s joy is thy joy, that hast but faith to receive it.
4. The glad tidings of the gospel were unheard of and unlooked for by the sons of men. Such news it brings as never could have entered into the heart of man to conceive, till God unlocked the cabinet of his own good pleasure, and revealed the counsel of his will, wherein this mysterious price of love to fallen man lay hid far enough from the prying eye of the most quick- sighted angel in heaven, much more from man himself, who could read in his own guilty conscience within, and spell from the covenant without, now broken by him, nothing but his certain doom and damnation. So that the first gospel-sermon preached by God himself to Adam, anticipated all thoughts of such a thing intended to him. O who but one that hath really felt the terrors of an approaching hell in his despairing soul, can conceive how joyous the tidings of gospel mercy is to a poor soul, dwelling amidst the black thoughts of despair, and bordering on the very marches of the region of utter darkness! Story tells us of a nobleman of our nation, in King Henry VIII.’s reign, to whom a pardon was sent a few hours before he should have been beheaded, which, being not at all expected by him, did so transport him that he died for joy. And if the vessel of our nature be so weakly hooped that the wine of such an inferior joy breaks it, how then could it possibly be able to bear the full joy of the gospel tidings, which doth as far exceed this as the mercy of God doth the mercy of a mortal man, and as the deliverance from an eternal death in hell doth a deliverance from a temporary death, which is gone before the pain can well be felt?
5. The glad tidings of the gospel are certainly true. It is no flying report, cried up today, and liked to be crossed tomorrow—not news that is in every one’s mouth, but none can tell whence it came, and who is the author of it; we have it from a good hand —God himself, to whom it is impossible to lie. He from heaven voucheth it—‘This is my beloved Son: hear him,’ Luke 9:35 . What were all those miracles which Christ wrought but ratifications of the truth of the gospel? Those wretches that denied the truth of Christ’s doctrine, were forced many times to acknowledge the divinity of his miracles, which is a pretty piece of nonsense, and declares the absurdity of their unbelief to all the world. The miracles were to the gospel as seals are to a writing. They could not deny God to be in the miracles, and yet they could not see him in the doctrine! As if God would set his seal to an untruth! Here, Christians, is that which fills up the joy of this good news the gospel brings—that we may lay our lives upon the truth of it. It will never deceive any that lay the weight of their confidence on it. ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,’ I Tim. 1:15 . This bridge which the gospel lays over the gulf of God's wrath, for poor sinners to pass from their sins into the favour of God here, and [into the] kingdom of God hereafter, is supported with no other arches than the wisdom, power, mercy, and faithfulness of God; so that the believing soul needs not fear, till it sees these bow or break. It is called the ‘everlasting gospel,’ Rev. 14:6 . When heaven and earth go to wreck, not the least iota or tittle of any promise of the gospel shall be buried in their ruins. ‘The word of the Lord endureth for ever; and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you,’ I Peter 1:25 ."-end quote
To a certain extent people don't really understand how messed up they are inn regard to sin and God. Gurnall helps explain that point around page 416 in writing about the meaning of the gospel. He has made a very important theological point at that page and it brought me to think a little more about the crucifixion and a couple of related issues.
Jesus had told Peter that he would deny him thrice before the cock crowed and of course he did. Yet Peter almost necessarily had to in order not to have some sort of pride. Pride Gurnall explains is very deadly for a Christian and for human beings generally because they have nothing to be proud about in regard to God. God hates sin and all people are sinners with original and subsequent sin, thus God hates people because of their sin though he would in theory love them if they had no sin.
In the Old Testament God seems to count some faith and following divine commands as righteousness here and there, yet the prophets and people that were in some way acceptable to God had some sort of dispensation that has since tightened up. People can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice was the proximal, necessary act enabling humans of faith to be saved and their sin debt relieved.
If Peter was ashamed of his denials of the Lord the night of the trail and morning of the crucifixion he certainly made up for that later in being senior elder of the Church at Jerusalem for a time. Though people speculate that he made it to Rome and was crucified there nothing is said of his being Pope. In the chaos of the tribulation of the a.d. 60's the churches were well served with independent local leaders.
The crucifixion of the Lord ended the Temple worship era. God had lived in the temple in a way. It was the place specially appointed by him through David to be a place were he could live instead of in a tent. God had a kind of Yurt or tent where the ark of the covenant was kept before the Temple was built. When Jesus was crucified and resurrected the old Temple was destroyed along with living by the old laws primarily. The new temple was the body of believers individually and corporately. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you and God had told Jeremiah that his laws would one day be written on the hearts and minds of believers. That all came together with the death and resurrection of the Lord where the laws of God are written on the hearts and the spirit of God lives.
With the end of the Temple at Jerusalem era the tithing of temple priests ended to. martin Luther believed in a priesthood of believers yet the formalities of a modern church structure of an egalitarian priesthood of all Christians with perhaps beginner, intermediate and elder ranks have never been worked out. Instead people follow the old Temple priesthood hierarchical style not only in catholic churches but also in Protestant..
I think that Peter-Cepheus as the rock was told by Jesus that he would be the rock on which the church was built was treated by the Lord as might an intelligent first-responder direct one person individually in a crowd to go get help, in order to actually get someone to move. Peter was the first of billions of Christians to be an elder in the new priesthood of believers that are all Christians. Billions more would follow yet there is no recognizable or commensurate church structure existing for them to act out their lives as serving Christians.
the catholic church easily misunderstood the situation of peter and thought he was the first of a new hierarchical church structure rather like that of the old Temple era although with a professional class eventually emerging rather than annually serving amateurs. In that respect even the tribe of Levites was a more egalitarian priesthood than todays Christian churches.
Pride is a deadly sin for human beings because they cannot do anything at all to pay their sin debt to God and are entirely reliant upon the Lord for that payment. Paul really meant it when he said that all are saved through grace that none might have pride. Pride is a deception to anyone-especially for a Christian in regard to his status for eternity. If he or she goes to heaven with their debts forgiven it isn't through any sort of merit at all. People are dust and to dust they return, except then follows a judgment and the unsaved have an eternity in hell unable to pay off their sin debt. Pride may bring billions to make the wrong temporal choices especially involving failing to accept the Lord as their savior from sin and sin debt.
So with modern computers and telecommunications it ought to be really easy to work out the creation of a priesthood of believers church structure and support networking with appropriate skill levels, rolls, attendance record transferred globally and on-line with skill levels reached. It is remarkable that people don't put any effort into what seems to me to be an obvious right reform.
Then of course people also misunderstand eschatology and think that Jesus is coming for a second time after a tribulation, when the reverse order has already occurred in the first century; Jesus was crucified, and was resurrected to appear in his second coming followed 30-40 years later by a tribulation in which Jerusalem was destroyed and Peter and Paul with thousands of others martyred.
Jesus will appear a third time at the end of the age of the gentiles when the world will be at a majority of Christians status. I don't think anyone can tell what circumstances will precede that well enough to forecast exactly when it will be. Maybe world plutocrats will bring the world population to crash down to 2 billion so the rich can have a sustainable world economy to live in comfort in. They may just decide have decided that sustaining more than the 1% isn't practical. Maybe survivors will populate the moon and Mars and the inner solar system will have ten billion people living someday that will preponderantly become Christians and then Jesus will arrive. It is hard to predict the future when only general prophetic parameters were provided.
I think I will quote Gurnall on his brilliant piece of theology of the Christian condition.

Lengthy Quote of a Pretty Strong Theology Point
Quote from Vol. 1 page 416-417; "[Particular reasons why God adopts the method of reconciliation by the gospel]
Reason First. God lays this method of reconciling sinners to himself by Christ, that he might give the deepest testimony of his perfect hatred to sin in that very act wherein he expresseth the highest love and mercy to sinners. no act of mercy and love like that of pardoning sin. To receive a reconciled sinner into heaven is not so great an advance as to take a rebel into a state of favour and reconciliation. The terms here are infinitely wider. There is reason to expect the one, none to look for the other. It is pure mercy to pardon, but truth, being pardoned, to save, Micah 7:19, 20. Well, when God puts forth this very act, he will have the creature see his hatred to sin written upon the face of that love he shows to the sinner.
And truly this was but needful, if we consider how hard it is for our corrupt hearts to conceive of God's mercy without some dishonorable reflection upon his holiness. 'I kept silence,' saith God, Ps. 50-21. And what inference doth the wicked draw from thence? 'Thou thouhtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself,' that is, 'thou thoughtest I liked sin as well as thyself.' Now if so plain and easy a text as God's forbearing mercy be wrested, and a false gloss, so repugnant, not only to the end of God therein, but to the holy nature of God imposed, how much more subject is forgiving mercy-that is so far superlative to that, and infinitely more luscious to the sinner's palate-to be abused? Some men gaze so long on this pleasing object that they are not willing to look off, and see any other attribute of God. Now in this way of reconciling himself to sinners by Christ, he hath given such an argument to convince sinners that he is an implacable hater of sin, as hath not its fellow. it is true, every threat in the Bible tells us that sin finds no favor in God's heart; the guilty consciences of me, that hunt them home, and follow them into their own bosoms, continually yelling and crying damnation in their ears; the remarkable judgments which now and then take hold of sinners in this world; and much more the furnace which is heating for them in another world show abundantly how hot and burning God's heart within him in wrath against sin. but, when we see him run upon his Son, and lay the envenomed knife of his wrath to his throat, yea, thrust it into his very heart, and there let it stick-for all the supplications and prayers which in his bitter agonies he offered up to his Father, 'with strong crying and tears'-without the least sparing of him, till he had forced his life, in a throng of sad groans and sighs, out of his body, and therewith paid justice the full debt, which he had, as man's surety, undertaken to discharge-this, this I say, doth give us a greater advantage to conceive of God's hatred to sin, than if we could stand in a place to see what entertainment the damned find in hell, and at once behold all the torments they endure. Alas! their backs are not broad enough to bear the whole weight of God's wrath at once-it being infinite and they finite, which, if they could, we would not find them lying in that prison for non-payment. But behold one here who had the whole curse of sin at once upon his back. Indeed their sufferings are infinite extensive-extensively, because everlasting; but his were infinite intensive- intensively. He paid in one sum what they shall be ever paying, and yet never come to the last farthing of. 'The chastisement of our peace was upon him,' Isa. 53-5, 'the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,' ver. 6. Or [as it is in the margin], 'he hath made the iniquity of us all to meet in him,' The whole curse met in him, as all streams do in the sea-a virtual collection of all the threatenings denounced against sin, and all laid on him. And now, take but one step more, and consider in how near relation Christ stood to God, as also the infinite and unspeakable love with which this relation was filled, and mutually endeared on each hand, and this at the very same time when he ascended the stage for this bloody tragedy to be acted on him in; and, I think, that you are at the highest stair the word of God can lead you to ascend by, into the meditation of this subject.
Should you see a father that has but one only son, and can have no more, make him his mittimus to prison; come into court himself, and sit judge upon his life; and with his own lips pass sentence of death upon him, and order that it be executed with the most exquisite torments that may be, yea, go to the place himself, and with his own eyes, and those not full of water, as mourning for his death, but full of fire and fury- yea, a countenance in every way so set as might tell all that see it, the man took pleasure in his child's death;-should you see this, you would say, Surely he bitterly hates his son, or the sin his son hath committed. This you see in God the Father towards his Son. It was he, more than men or devils, that procured his death. Christ took notice of this, that the warrant for his death had his Father's hand and seal to it. 'Shall I not drink of the cup my Father gave me?' Yea, he stands by and rejoiceth in it. His blood was the wine that made glad the heart of God-'it pleased the Lord to bruise him,' Isa. 53:10 When God corrects a saint he doth it, in a manner, unwillingly; but when Christ suffers, it pleaseth him; and not this from want of love in his heart to Christ, nor that any disobedience in Christ had hardened his father's against him - for he never displeased him-but from that hatred he had to sin, and from zeal to exalt his mercy towards sinners, by satisfying his justice on his Son.
Reason Second. God effected our peace by Christ, that he might for ever hide pride from his saints’ eyes. Pride was the stone on which both angels and men stumbled and fell. In man’s recovery, therefore, he will roll that stone, as far as may be, out of the way—he will lay that knife aside with which man did himself the mischief. And that he may do this, he transacts the whole business by Christ for them. Man’s project was to cut off the entail of his obedience to God, and set up for himself as a free and absolute prince without holding upon his Maker. A strange plot! for to effect this he must first have thrown away that being which God gave him, and, by self-creation—if such a thing had been possible — have bestowed a new one upon himself; then, indeed, and not till then, he might have had his will. But alas! his pride to be what he could not lost him what he had, and still might have, enjoyed. Yet how foolish soever it now appears and infeasible, that was the plot pride had sprung into man’s heart. Now, God, to preserve his children from all future assaults and batteries of hell at this door, chose such a way of reconciling and saving them, that, when the prince of the world comes to tempt them to pride, he should find nothing in them to give the least countenance or colour to such a motion; so that, of all sins, pride is such a one as we may wonder how it should grow, for it hath no other root to bear it up but what is found in man's dreaming fancy or imagination. It grows, as sometimes we shall see a mushroom or moss, among stones, where little or no soil is for its root to take hold of. God, in this gospel way reconciling sinners by Christ, makes him fetch all from without doors. Wilt thou, poor soul, have peace with God? Thou must not have it from thine own penance for thy sins. ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon him;,’ Isa. 53:5 . O know thou art not thy own peacemaker! That is Christ’s name, who did that work: ‘for he is our peace, who hath made both one,’ Eph. 2:14 —Jew and Gentile one with God, and one with one another. Wouldst thou be righteous? Then thou must not appear before God in thy own clothes. It is another’s righteousness, not thy own, that is provided for thee. ‘Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness,’ Isa. 45:24 . In a word, wouldst thou ever have a right in heaven’s glory? Thy penny is not good silver to purchase it with. The price must not come out of thy purse, but Christ’s heart; and therefore, as it is called the ‘purchased possession,’ in regard of Christ —because he obtained it for us with a great sum, not ‘silver and gold,’ but his ‘precious blood’— so ‘an inheritance’ in regard of us, because it descends upon us as freely as the father’s estate on his child, Eph. 1:14 . And why all this, but that the ‘lofty looks’ of man may be ‘humbled,’ and the ‘haughtiness of man’ should be ‘bowed down, and the Lord alone exalted’ in the day of our salvation?
The manna is expounded by Christ himself in a type of him: ‘The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world,’ John 6:33. Now observe wherefore God chose that way of feeding them in the wilderness: ‘Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee,’ Deut. 8:16 . But wherein lay this great humbling of them? Were they not shrewdly humbled think you, to be fed with such a dainty dish, which had God for its cook, and is called ‘angels’ food’ for its delicacy? Ps. 78:25 —such, that if they needed any repast, might well suit their table. I answer, it was not the meanness of the fare, but the manner of having it, which God intended should humble them. Man is proud, and loves to be his own provider, and not stand to another’s allowance. The same feast sent in by the charity and bounty of another, will not go down so well with his high stomach as when it is provided at his own cost and charges; he had rather have the honour of keeping his own house, though mean, than to live higher upon the alms and allowance of another’s charity. This made them wish themselves at their onions in their own gardens in Egypt, and their flesh-pots there, which though they were grosser diet, they liked better, because bought with their own penny."